“It’s time for Dodger baseball!” With those words, 95-year-old Bob Mitchell — the original organist for Dodger Stadium and current accompanist for the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society’s “Flickers at the Junction” silent film series — opened the Los Angeles Dodger game against the Florida Marlins on Friday, July 11. Mitchell was on-hand as part of the Dodger’s season-long celebrations commemorating their first 50 years in Los Angeles.
During Mitchell’s evening at the stadium he was interviewed on his days with the team, and was able to get reacquainted with old friends Nancy Bea Hefley, the Dodger’s current organist, and legendary Dodger’s announcer Vin Scully. At the start of the game, Mitchell was led out onto the field near home plate to make the opening announcement.
During the “seventh inning stretch,” Mitchell regaled the 50,000-strong crowd with “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.”
Mitchell played for silent films in the 1920s and served for many years as choir director for the “Robert Mitchell Choir Boys,” who performed around the world and appeared in over 100 films. His organ was a familiar sound on L.A. radio for many years before he joined the Dodgers in 1962. That year the team moved to their new ballpark in Chavez Ravine after having played their first four seasons in L.A. in the cavernous Los Angeles Coliseum. Mitchell accompanied the team for four seasons, which coincided with his co-role as organist for the startup Los Angeles Angels, who also played at Dodger Stadium at the time. Mitchell still holds the distinction of having been the only organist to accompany major league teams from both leagues concurrently.
Mitchell proved so popular with the Dodger staff and fans that he has been asked to play for a game in 2012, when Dodger Stadium turns 50 and Mitchell turns 100!
Mitchell’s next performance in Santa Clarita will be on Friday, August 1 at 7:30 p.m., when he accompanies four short silent comedies for the “Flickers at the Junction” series (formerly “Friday Night Flickers”) at Heritage Junction in Newhall.
For more information, visit www.scvhs.org .
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