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date: 11 December 2019

Churchill, Franklocked

  • Ross Care

Extract

(b Rumford, ME, Oct 20, 1901; d Castaic, CA, May 14, 1942). American composer, songwriter, and pianist. He studied for a time at UCLA, but dropped out to pursue a musical career. He was not an academically trained musician but possessed particular, intuitive talents for playing piano and improvisation. He began his career as a dance band and theater pianist; in Hollywood he worked in radio and played inspirational “mood” music on the sets of silent films. In 1930 Walt Disney discovered Churchill at the RKO studios. Disney originally engaged him to score Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies shorts. “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” (lyrics by Ann Ronell), from The Three Little Pigs (1933), was the studio’s first hit song and swept depression-era America. Its popular success led to Churchill’s writing the songs for Disney’s first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs...

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