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MIDLANDS ONLY WOMAN CINEMA ORGANIST TO PLAY TO HER OWN FOLK
Betty

THE only woman cinema organist in the Midlands. That is the proud claim of an attractive 19-year-old Handsworth-born girl who is due to appear at the Regal Cinema, Handsworth, on Thursday.
"Just call me Betty, and nothing else. That's how the audience knows me, and that's how it likes me," she told an Evening Despatch reporter.
Betty began her career as a relief organist at the Philpot Cinema, Coventry, 18 months ago. She was such an immediate success that she was transferred to the Plaza Cinema, Coventry, and now she is resident organist at the Rex Cinema, Coventry.
"Before all this I used to work in a shipping office, and I spent my spare time studying under Leslie Taff at the Tower Cinema, West Bromwich, and under Felton Rapley, at the Birmingham Gaumont," she added.

Extract:- Evening Despatch - Monday 11 March 1940
Does the above refer to Betty Mitchell? There are discrepancies, date of birth for instance.

WOMAN AS CINEMA ORGANIST

A TALK WITH MISS B. MITCHELL

The only resident woman organist of a cinema in the Midlands is Miss Betty Mitchell, aged 20, of the Plaza Cinema, Coventry. She has triumphed over difficulties that are not met with by the average person.
Usually attired in charming white dress, with a spray of red carnations, she has captured the hearts of hundreds of local cinema goers, not only at the Plaza but at the remainder of the Philpot Circuit of cinemas in the city.
In an interview with Coventry Standard representative. Miss Mitchell explained how she became a cinema organist, and with tremendous enthusiasm spoke of her hopes for the future and her reception by Coventry audiences. "Ever since I could talk I have been interested in music, and when I was eight years old learnt to play the piano," she said.
"I suddenly had a passion to play the cinema organ about 16 months ago, and I availed myself every opportunity to practise. Although such opportunities were very rare, I worked hard and managed to play in cinemas occasionally at Sunday evening performances. Then, twelve months ago last week, I had what I considered a wonderful offer to come to Coventry as a relief organist for the Philpot Circuit. Ever since I started in that position I have worked very earnestly, and about a month ago I was offered the position of resident organist at the Plaza. I thought myself very lucky, and immediately accepted it."
Miss Mitchell, who is Birmingham girl, was asked if she was satisfied with the work. Her reply was "Oh, I will say it is my whole life."
Speaking of audiences, she said that Coventry people, in her experience, were "mad" on jazz, and many them would hear nothing else, although some liked light overtures. "Such items as 'The Lambeth Walk,’ are popular now in Coventry as they have ever been." she remarked.
Asked about the reception she received from audiences. Miss Mitchell said that very often she had had personal messages of congratulation. Children especially appreciated her efforts, and often those five and six years of age would make request for special number. It is a real delight to play for those children. "If I can delight adults as I do these children. I may one day be a great success," she concluded.
Extract:- Coventry Standard - Saturday 07 October 1939

Betty Mitchell
Betty Mitchell at the 3c-6 Wurlitzer of the Rex, Coventry (photo: John D. Sharp collection).


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