Despite what some writers have suggested, for the most part, what you hear in a Soundie is also what you see. That is, in a large majority of Soundie shorts, the group that recorded the soundtrack is also the one you see on screen. But there are exceptions.

In the early days of Soundies productions, radio orchestras and groups of studio musicians were often called upon to record soundtracks that would feature other instrumentalists on screen. On the West Coast, Victor Young, Bobby Sherwood, David Rose, and Lou Forbes each assembled groups of top-notch studio musicians for Soundies recording sessions.

Lou Forbes was the younger sibling of Warner Brothers music director Leo Forbstein. Forbes came to Hollywood in the early 1930s where he received support and guidance from the famed Max Steiner. Forbes served as a musical director for Universal Pictures, moving later to Selznick International. Forbes was often associated with independent producers and he worked for both Selznick and Samuel Goldwyn. Forbes was active throughout the 1950s and passed away in 1981.

Feed the Kitty is a swing piece featuring all-woman orchestra conducted by Rita Rio, who was later known in feature films as Dona Drake. The band we see on screen is probably the Los Angeles-based radio orchestra known as the Singing Strings. On the soundtrack, however, we hear the Lou Forbes studio band, composed of big band veterans who had settled in Los Angeles for the more stable and lucrative life of a radio/recording or motion picture musician.

“Feed the Kitty” is by Henry Russell, a songsmith who worked largely in the motion picture industry. Several men arranged the music for this particular recording session, including Arthur Schutt and Carmen Dragon. The tune is a fine swing performance, and among the soloists –here I am using my ears and some educated guesses based on the recording contract – are Mannie Klein, trumpet; Ed Kusby, trombone; Peyton Legare, clarinet and Jack Stacy, tenor sax. The prominent drums is by Richard (Dick) Cornell.

So, there you have it: one Soundie, two bands. The original viewers would have just stood and enjoyed the film, oblivious to the fact that the musicians on screen were not performing the music. Your job? Appreciate the music and the visuals then get another dime ready for the next Soundie.