Sing along with Mitch (and Bob)

On my Spotify Christmas playlist, I have the album “Holiday Sing Along With Mitch.” I’m just barely too young to remember the “Sing Along With Mitch” TV show, but Dad had a couple of the albums, and I fondly remember hearing them on the record player at Christmas time, so it was a natural addition.

For those of you even younger than me, Mitch Miller, who died a couple of years ago at the ripe old age of 99, was a record company executive and producer who was, for a time, a household word because of his prime time NBC TV show, “Sing Along With Mitch,” which ran from 1961 until 1964, with reruns making a brief reappearance in 1966. The show featured Miller leading a men’s chorus, and various soloists and guest stars, in peppy standards with which the home viewing audience was invited to sing along, assisted by on-screen lyrics. Miller conducted with a scenery-eating grin and very mechanical-looking arm movements which were parodied by comedians of the time, such as Steve Allen and Stan Freberg.

I linked to this clip in 2010 after hearing of Miller’s death, but here it is again:

If you are at all familiar with “Sesame Street,” zip forward to about the 1-minute, 10-second mark to get a good look at the featured tenor in that chorus: Bob McGrath, one of two human cast members who’s been with “Sesame Street” since its inception.

Occasionally, without warning, they’d slip a celebrity into the chorus as a little surprise cameo. Here’s part 4 of the same show as the previous clip. If you zip to 2:54, you’ll see a personality whose NBC show lasted a little bit longer than four years.

Mitch … and Bob?

I’m too young to really remember the TV show “Sing Along With Mitch,” but I definitely remember the “Sing Along With Mitch” record albums my father had, which we often had on the record player on Saturday afternoons.

On the occasion of Mitch Miller’s death at age 99 (I frankly had no idea he was still alive), I went looking for a clip. I found one — and I noticed something. Look at the fellow at 1:11 in this clip:

I saw him and I thought, “Bob! Bob from Sesame Street!

Sure enough, IMDb says that Bob McGrath appeared on a 1963 episode of “Sing Along With Mitch.” (I was one year old at the time, so I’ll take IMDb’s word for it.) Even more convincing: his name is in the opening credits.

By the way, has anybody seen my gal?

Time Capsule 5: Sing Along With Mitch

Another in a series of post-dated entries designed to deploy while I’m in Kenya. I’ll be back in the U.S. on Aug. 4.

Today’s post is fun rather than mission-oriented. It seems like I’m frequently passing along little bits picked up from Mark Evanier’s blog, and this is one of those.

I am too young to remember the TV show “Sing Along With Mitch,” but I do remember several tie-in record albums which my Dad loved and played often. We used to have stuff like this on the LP on Saturday afternoons — the Chad Mitchell Trio, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and so on.

Anyway, I didn’t know much about the format of the show, but apparently it was a running thing that during the big finale, they would sometimes have an unannounced celebrity just standing in among the chorus. The camera would pan across, and there they’d be.

See if you can spot a well-known TV host in this one:

If you need help, you can see him just before the three-minute mark. Someone could introduce him, of course, but the best guy for that job passed away a few weeks ago.