Minstrel Magic by Eleanor Pritchard
The Black and White Minstrel Show was one of the greatest shows the BBC ever produced, bringing the BBC international plaudits and awards. Sweeping the board at the first-ever Golden Rose of Montreux, it was snapped up by nearly fifty countries worldwide. It became the first television show in the world to invade and conquer the live theatre, running for an amazing eleven years in London, twenty-seven years in the UK provinces and a total of six years in Australia and New Zealand. Yet after running for an unprecedented twenty-one years on television, the BBC airbrushed it from history.
Yet the George Mitchell Choirs were more than the Minstrels, and their story spans half a century of light entertainment history. Already at the top before the Minstrels were dreamt of, the choirs helped lift Britain out of its post-war gloom and depression, on radio, television, stage, records and films. Their founder George Mitchell - the most famous back in show business - created an entertainment phenomenon, one which deserves to reclaim its rightful place in the post-war history of show business.
Those who remember the dark days of the 1940s and 1950s will enjoy revisiting the thousands of shows which involved the Mitchell Singers. Readers interested in cultural and show business history will revel in learning more about the phenomenon of the Minstrels, now for the first time set against the atmosphere of Britain and the rising consciousness of racism.
‘Of all the shows I have produced and directed, and that’s nearly three hundred of them, the show that gave me the greatest pleasure, the greatest thrill that came from inside here, was the Black and White Minstrels, because that is the greatest show that ever got to the heart of the people in this country. George himself is a genius, there’ll never be the likes of this man again.’ Ernest Maxin
Read this review (unsolicited) from Australia: Click here
Another great review:
I’ve just spent the entire weekend being entertained and informed by a lady I’ve never met and whose name I didn’t even know until a few days ago. And the whole weekend only cost me thirteen quid.
Before you get the wrong idea, I’m referring to Eleanor Pritchard’s superb book, “Minstrel Magic – The Story of the George Mitchell Choirs”. I just couldn’t put it down.
Eleanor's book is full of the most incredible detail and the spirit which made the George Mitchell Choirs feel more like a close-knit family. Of course, you’ve all read this superb book already, haven’t you? So I’m preaching to the converted. If you haven’t, I strongly advise you to order it now, before it goes out of print. It deserves to be a best seller.