Sunday, June 21, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Frank Churchill.

Artist:Frank Churchill
Album:Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Frank Churchill was a songwriter and composer best known for his work on the very first full length animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Sadly, he committed suicide in 1942 so he is somewhat forgotten today. He was born Oct. 20, 1901 in Rumford, ME. As a teen, he played piano accompanying films at the local theater. That's how many pioneers in film music composition got started. Churchill moved to Los Angeles to study medicine at UCLA. But he dropped out and played piano at Los Angeles radio station KNX. In the early 30s, Churchill replaced Carl Stalling as music supervisor at The Walt Disney Company and he composed the music for many of the Silly Symphonies including Three Little Pigs. So when Disney decided to produce the first full length animated feature, Churchill was in charge of the music. He wrote the songs with lyricist Larry Morey. Churchill wrote the score with Paul J. Smith and Leigh Harline. Smith worked for Disney for many years and he won an Oscar for Pinocchio. Harline started out at Disney but he left in 1941 and composed many film scores over the years. Of course Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a huge hit and today is considered one of the most important films in history. Back then, there were no soundtrack albums as the movie studios didn't think there was any value to the music. The songs from Snow White were released on three 78rpm discs. The incidental music from the film was never available until Disney released the entire score on CD in 1993. It's still available. After the success of Snow White, Churchill composed music for the features Dumbo and Bambi. Then he committed suicide on May 14, 1942 at age 40. It seems Churchill was a heavy drinker and he was depressed because a couple of his pals in the Disney orchestra recently died. So a sad and premature end for a man who was an important figure in film history. Here's a video for Overture by Frank Churchill as it appeared over the opening credits of the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

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