Arthur Shimkin bought the BELL label from Benny Bell in 1952 and was the owner of BELL RECORDS between 1952 and 1960. His creativity and feeling for marketing have led to the wonderful BELL RECORD series of records, enjoyed by so many people in the 1950's and onwards.
Below is a nutshell recap of Mr. Shimkin's achievements as recorded by his son, Carl Shimkin:
Born in Brooklyn, NY on October 8th 1922, Mr. Shimkin created Golden Records in 1948, the first record company devoted exclusively to publishing children's records. In the 1950's he created the Golden Records Libraries, thus creating the largest children's record company in the world. Working with such artists as Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Cab Calloway, Jimmy Durante, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers, Shari Lewis, Alfred Hitchcock... he inspired major stars from film, radio and television to lend their talents to entertaining and educating children.
In 1961 he produced "Young Abe Lincoln", the first children's musical ever on Broadway. In the same year he won his first Grammy award for his "Peter &
the Wolf" children's album conducted by Leonard Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic. Mr. Shimkin was subsequently a driving force behind Disney Records and Bell Records (predecessor to Arista), and founded Sesame Street Records, where he became a multi-Grammy award winning producer.
A lifelong advocate of teaching literacy, one of his last projects was converting his popular series on phonics "The Little Red Schoolhouse with Fran Allison" into DVDs. As a survivor of cancer of the larynx Mr. Shimkin became fluent in esophageal speech, and went on to teach and mentor many other laryngectomy patients. He also devoted his expertise to the American Arbitration Association over many years of work as an arbitrator.
Raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Shimkin graduated from Columbia University and served in WW II (1942-1945) as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. He was a man of many passions: master to his beloved dogs Pinky and Ellie, a lifelong tennis player and instructor, a clarinetist and lover of opera and classical music, a man who, like his favorite author Mark Twain, always said what was on his mind. In his own words Arthur Shimkin's philosophy in life was very simple: "I did my best to take pride in my work - call it devotion or artistry or even self-indulgence . . . I never gave up . . . I tried-honestly and with all my strength . . . that's the satisfaction, that's the love, that's the reason for "doing - for breathing - for living".
Arthur Shimkin passed away underneath the full moon on Monday December 4th, 2006 at 7:35 pm in his NYC home with his loving family around him.
Arthur Shimkin is survived by his wife of 40 years- the love of his life-Bonnie Lee Sanders; his four sons, David, Jonathan, Tony and Carl; his daughter-in-law Alicia; and his five grandchildren, Erin, Amanda, Sarah, Isaiah, and Paul. He will be buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Montauk, N.Y. The family will be offering a memorial service for him on Wednesday, December 13th at The Library for the Performing Arts Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, in the Bruno Walter Auditorium (entrance at 111 Amsterdam Avenue, between 64th and 65th Street) from 10 am. to 1 pm.
December 7, 2006