korla pandit :: dreamy & hypnotic hammond organ

korla pandit had a daily afternoon music tv show in LA back in the 1950s where he played his unique percussive style of hammond organ while mystical cloud projections passed in the background and the camera focused in on his dreamy hypnotic eyes.

so dreamy & hypnotic, in fact, that wealthy women started sending him really expensive gifts, like grand pianos. rumors began to circulate that pandit was actually hypnotizing women through the tv & the concern got so great that the station cancelled him and he was replaced by and up and coming pianist – liberace.

korla slipped into obscurity, eventually playing organ at silent film revival houses in LA until tim burton cast him for a cameo as himself in ed wood.

watch this on videosift.

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  1. ghraydon wallick’s avatar

    I watched Korla Pandit on television all the time when I was between 5 and 10 years old in Long Beach, California in the early 50′s. I really liked him a lot. I’m unaware of the hypnotic claims, but who knows. Thanks for the memory.


  2. yuka’s avatar

    lucky you for watching that show in a real time. thanks for visiting.

  3. Cliff’s avatar

    Hm, just wondering: where did you get the info on Korla’s show being cancelled over concerns of televised hypnotism?

    Multiple sites simply claim that renewed contractual obligations were too oppressive and Korla intentionally refused to re-sign. These two sources say as much:


    Regardless, despite the illegible design in the korlapndit.com site History page (copy the page text to a text program and read from there), it’s a worthy read to glimpse a fascinating career of a musical and visual pioneer in a heady time of TV, early Hollywood, and beyond.

  4. yuka’s avatar

    interesting! the story is from the description of this video on youtube – don’t know where that came from originally.

  5. Jeff Bates’s avatar

    As a Young Boy in the 1950s I remember watching Korla Pandit Perform at the LoRay Market in Richmond, California. He was a GREAT Performer and I can remember all of the Local Women that Shopped at LoRay’s being Mesmerized by Korla. Back in those Days We had No Idea that Korla was actually a Black Man, pretending to be as an East Indian. This is just such a revelation, but I was just so happy to have been a very small part of this History, and a beguiled follower. He was a GREAT Performer, God rest his soul.

  6. john turner’s avatar

    there is a 78 minute documentary on the life and times of Korla Pandit.

    Go to the website http://www.korlathemovie and click on info.


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