The Columbia Band on the Big Screen

The Band made its first motion picture appearance in 1935, as a featured player in a musical short titled Meet the Professor! The film is a two-reeler shot at what Spectator called “talkie studios” in the Bronx. Filming took place in January; release was in February. (Post-production was not so intensive back in the 30s.) The story is set at “Oyster College,” yet the fictional school’s band plays “Who Owns New York?” (and sings “C-O-L-U-M-B-I-A”) as well as “Sans Souci” and “Stand Up and Cheer.” Demonstrating that it was a double-threat ensemble — a symphonic band as well as a marching unit — the group also gives a creditable rendition of Wagner’s Prélude to Act III of “Lohengrin”.

Meet The Professor shows off the Band in all its majesty.
Meet The Professor shows off the Band in all its majesty.
That's us! Fourth billing!
That’s us! Fourth billing!
The players in action.
The players in action.

A full half-century later, in 1985, a contingent from the Band made a brief showing in another movie whose title ends with an exclamation point: Turk 182! This one is a Bob Clark action comedy, set in New York City and starring Timothy Hutton, Robert Urich and Kim Cattrall. A crew from the Band, wearing white slacks and baby blue tops (mysteriously accented by flowing red bandanas), plays “London Bridge Is Falling Down,” and a fun time is had by all.

look ma we're on TV
The Band in Turk 182. The red bandanas did not catch on.