Alan Robinson and his brother, Gale, were an important part of the Los Angeles studios starting in the 1940s. Gale died in 2006 and Alan is now retired. Alan played the memorable horn part in God Only Knows.
Alan was five years younger than Gale and started to learn horn in junior high school while Gale was away fighting in World War II. He started playing in the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra at age 13; his first movie credit was Humoreque with the youth orchestra. At Los Angeles City College, he studied geology and psychology because, “Music was my life. I knew all about music, so I wanted to learn about other things.”
Alan played in the Utah Symphony for three years before returning to Los Angeles to 20th Century Fox, playing second to Alfred Brain and then Vincent DeRosa. From the 1950s into the 1980s, he traveled between Las Vegas and Los Angeles to perform with leading artists such as the Beach Boys, Barbra Streisand, Dizzy Gillespie, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. His movie credits at 20th Century Fox include The King and I, Carousel, Spartacus, and The Sound of Music.
Alan became a house painter and real estate agent during the musicans’ strike in 1958, and toured with the National Orchestra of Mexico, then in the Los Angeles Philharmonic, finally joining Gale in a tour of the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1964. Back in Los Angeles in the freelancing era, Alan played on television series The Waltons and Starsky and Hutch; movies include The Muppet Movie, Star Trek I, and To Kill a Mockingbird. His last studio session was for television in the early 1980s.
See Annie Bosler’s article on the Robinson Brothers in the February 2007 issue of The Horn Call.