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Community Sing: Songs of the West


Columbia Pictures Corporation

Release Date: 1938 02 08

Running time: 9 minutes of the Sons of the Pioneers

Director: Sam Nelson

Producer: Ben K. Blake

Production and Publicity Stills


Video clip - singing Way Out There)

Intro to the short film (by Les Adams)

        The Sons of the Pioneers during the late 1930s were also guests on the popular "Community Sing" ten-minute short films, singing mostly public domain music. These shorts were directed by Sam Nelson and often included Donald Grayson singing off-screen. They were seen on screen only briefly as most of the film was karaoke-style lyric sheets for the audience to sing along with.

        "Community Sing" was the series title for Columbia's version of the old "follow-the-bouncing-ball" short subjects. The only one I know for certain that the Sons of the Pioneers appeared in was the one released on May 25, 1938. They released one each month. Their appearance was brief as most of the footage would have been film frames with the lyrics to a song on them, while a bouncing ball would help the audience to sing-along. The songs in this one were Oh, Susanna, Just an Echo in the Valley and The Last Roundup. Columbia preferred public domain music. Donald Grayson appeared in many of the 1937-38 Community Sings as the off-screen singer. This one also included Gene Morgan and his Orchestra. (Courtesy of Les Adams)

A typical Community Sing program:
A 9-minute sing-a-long with the Sons of the Pioneers. These fellows had an unforgettable sound, featuring Bob Nolan. Here the boys are sitting around a campfire singing 5 favorites: Red River Valley; Old Oaken Bucket; Old MacDonald; When You & I Were Young, Maggie; and The Girl I Left Behind Me.



Unidentified "cook".


(eBay image)


Clipping (Courtesy of Chuck Anderson)
Blurb from one of the trade papers (probably Film Daily) about the Sons of the Pioneers doing one of the Sam Nelson-directed "Community Sings" shorts.



Production and Publicity Stills


Private Collection


Private Collection


December 5, 1938