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Frank Skinner


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Frank Skinner (31 December 1897 – 9 October 1968) was an American composer and arranger.

Skinner was born in Meredosia, Illinois. A graduate of the Chicago Musical College (now known as the Chicago Conservatory of Music), 16-year-old Frank found employment in vaudeville and began playing in local areas with his brother Carl on drums. They were billed as the Skinner Brothers dance band. From there they began playing on the steamboats that went up and down the Illinois river. It was during this time that he began writing and arranging music for dance bands. This work brought him to New York, where from 1925 to 1935 he arranged about 2000 popular songs for Robbins Publishing. By the time he left Manhattan for Hollywood, he had written two books on arranging for dance bands.

After a short period at MGM, working on musical settings for The Great Ziegfeld (1936), Skinner was hired by Universal Studios. Over the course of his 30 years there, he composed music for more than 200 films. Although he continued to work on musicals, he quickly mastered the art of dramatic scores, eventually earning five Academy Award nominations (1938–43). He died in Beverly Hills, California.

His distinctive approach to scoring horror films, such as Son of Frankenstein (1939) and The Wolf Man (1941), has been characterized as a ‘passion for chromatic lines … mirrored contours … restrained, yet ominously mythical orchestrations’ (Marcello).

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  • Phibes2

    Oh come on, I don`t believe that a british comedian wrote all those wonderful horror scores from the 30s.

    24 Sep 2011 Reply
  • winterreise29 - you need to sort out your Frank Skinners. One is a Brummie comedian of sorts. The other was a Hollywood composer. They are not one and the same.

    4 May 2009 Reply
  • Steveweiser357

    What's up with the picture? I guess this is of the Frank Skinner who does these songs, yet all these Frank Skinner gig dates are for the comedian...

    18 Jul 2007 Reply