Mitch Miller, the bandleader who popularized the sing-along-with-your-TV form of entertainment which sure seems like some kind of black-and-white TV ancestor of karaoke, died at age 99.
Miller's show, Sing Along With Mitch, which I'm old enough to kind of remember, barely, was a visual and aural rebuke to rock and roll, which Miller disdained.
Which is kind of odd, given that he was the A&R man for Columbia records at the same time that rock music was coming on strong.
The site TVAcres.com has this on Miller:
During the 1950s record producer Mitch Miller, choosing not to go along with the popular rock and roll movement of the times, introduced a series of "Sing Along" recordings of old standard favorites and printed their lyrics on the album jackets so that the listener could read and sing along with the music.
The program featured vocalists Carolyn Conway, Gloria Lambert, Barbara McNair, Louise O'Brien, Sandy Stewart, Diana Trask, and Leslie Uggams, as well as the Sing-Along Gang and the Sing-Along Kids. who performed such popular songs as "You Are My Sunshine," "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home" and "Goodnight Sweetheart" and "The Yellow Rose of Texas."
Throughout the program, the goateed Mitch Miller waved his musical baton and encouraged the viewers at home to "follow the bouncing ball" that jumped over the words of the songs superimposed on the bottom of the TV screens at home.
Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time, all right?
Anyway, one of the most interesting reactions to the news that Miller had died, apparently two days ago, was "He was still alive?"
Which reminded me of the shock people always have when they hear that the 87-year old actor Abe Vigoda is still alive, at least according to his website.