Wednesday, May 3, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BING!

One hundred and fourteen years ago...



Friday, March 10, 2017

NEW CD: JOIN BING AND SING ALONG

Here is a new issue from Sepia Records.This is not from Bing's greatest period, but there has not been a new Bing Crosby CD issue for awhile so let's support this one!



BING CROSBY - JOIN BING & SING ALONG 101 GANG SONGS / ON THE HAPPY SIDE (SEPIA 1309)

CD1

1. Shine On Harvest Moon / That's Where My Money Goes / Harrigan / Listen To The Mocking Bird
2. Flow Gently, Sweet Afton / Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms / Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes
3. Sweet Rosie O'grady / My Sweetheart's The Man In The Moon / Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway / Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye
4. When The Saints Go Marching In / Little David, Play On Your Harp / Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho / Hand Me Down My Walking Cane / Ezekiel Saw The Wheel
5. While Strolling Through The Park One Day / Today Is Monday / Big Rock Candy Mountain / Oh Dear! What Can The Matter Be? / Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
6. Annie Laurie / Loch Lomond / Bluebells Of Scotland / Comin' Thro' The Rye
7. Hello, Ma Baby / The Girl I Left Behind Me / Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey? / Wait For The Wagon / Row, Row, Row Your Boat
8. Sweet Adeline / On Top Of Old Smokey / Down In The Valley / In The Good Old Summer Time
9. This Old Man / Schnitzelbank / Pop Goes The Weasel / Careless Love
10. Li'l Liza Jane / Cindy / Where Did You Get That Hat? / So Long Mary / Three Blind Mice
11. Anchors Aweigh / Tramp, Tramp, Tramp / Blow The Man Down / For He's A Jolly Good Fellow
12. Love's Old Sweet Song / Kathleen Mavourneen / Juanita
13. My Wild Irish Rose / Come Back To Erin / Killarney / The Minstrel Boy
14. In The Gloaming / Stars Of The Summer Night / Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming
15. Little Annie Rooney / Du, Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen / Ach Du Lieber Augustine / Lovely Evening / Goodnight To You All
16. She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain / Our Boys Will Shine Tonight / The Gospel Train / Walk Together Children / The Nut-Brown Maid
17. Casey Jones / Polly Wolly Doodle / The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo / I've Been Working On The Railroad / Asleep In The Deep
18. Battle Hymn Of The Republic / America / When Johnny Comes Marching Home / America The Beautiful
19. There Is A Tavern In The Town / Oh! Susanna/ Maryland, My Maryland / Carry Me Back To Old Virginny / The Bear Went Over The Mountain
20. Gumtree Canoe / Dear Evelina / Sweet And Low
21. My Gal Sal / I Don't Want To Play In Your Yard / School Days / Abdul Abulbul Amir
22. Heaven, Heaven / Mary, Don't You Weep / Jacob's Ladder / Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen / Roll, Jordan, Roll
23. O Sole Mio / Funicul�, Funicul� / My Grandfather's Clock / Keemo Kimo

CD2

1. Sweet Genevieve / Santa Lucia / In The Evening By The Moonlight / Goodnight Ladies
2. Singin' In The Rain / The Darktown Strutters' Ball
3. My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii / Around Her Neck She Wore A Yellow Ribbon
4. Me And My Shadow
5. Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue / Marching Along Together
6. Should I? / Blue Moon
7. Cecilia
8. Gimme A Little Kiss / When The Red, Red Robin
9. The Loveliest Night Of The Year
10. Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree / My Pony Boy
11. The Man On The Flying Trapeze
12. A-Tisket, A-Tasket / Billy Boy
13. Forever And Ever
14. A Bicycle Built For Two / The Bowery / After The Ball
15. Long, Long Ago / The Quilting Party
16. Polly Wolly Doodle / Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me! / Oh, Dem Golden Slippers 
17. Old Macdonald Had A Farm / Today Is Monday
18. On Top Of Old Smokey / Down In The Valley / In The Good Old Summer Time
19. This Old Man / Blow The Man Down / For He's A Jolly Good Fellow
20. Maryland, My Maryland / Love's Old Sweet Song / Goodnight Ladies
21. Little Annie Rooney / Did You Ever See A Lassie? / Lovely Evening
22. She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain / Our Boys Will Shine Tonight / The Gospel Train's A-Comin'
23. I've Been Working On The Railroad / Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? / Oh! Susanna
24. The Music Of Home
25. It's A Good Day
26. Aloha Means I Love You


SOURCE

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

MISSISSIPPI: A 1935 REVIEW

Here is the original review of the 1935 film Mississippi which paired Bing up with WC Fields. This was written by Andrew Sennwald and published in the New York Times on April 18, 1935...

THE SCREEN; W.C. Fields Joins Hands With Bing Crosby in the Paramount's Easter Attraction "Mississippi."..,

Amid an atmosphere of magnolia, crinoline and Kentucky whisky, the boozy genius of Mr. Fields and the subterranean croon of Mr. Crosby strike a happy compromise in "Mississippi," the new film at the Paramount Theatre. Having its money on Mr. Fields, this column considered the photo play only pleasant when he wasn't around, preferring during those interludes to remember how the Commodore of the River Queen shuddered with ecstasy in the grip of a mint julep or how he looked when he drew the five aces. But that, as Jimmy Durante would say, is ingratitood "Mississippi" is a tuneful and diverting show even when it isn't being particularly hilarious, and it is madly funny at sufficient length to satisfy us Fields idolaters. The Paramount has served its Easter Week clientele generously.



Naturally, it is Bill Fields, the beery aristocrat of the river, the bogus Indian fighter, the prodigious quaffer of rum, the greatest liar afloat, who provides the entertainment with its memorable moments. You ought to be told about that marvelous poker game in which the Commodore, surrounded by Southern gentlemen and primed pistols, deals himself five aces and then makes desperate and fruitless efforts to reduce his holding to the more orthodox four. Then there are some hoary but reliable monkeyshines about the cigar-store Indians who invade the dazed vision of the Commodore like a tribe of authentic redskins in quest of scalps, causing him to seek a hasty refuge in a bottle of bourbon, which he dilutes with two timid spurts of soda.


A good-natured burlesque of the old Mississippi dueling code, freely adapted from Booth Tarkmgton's "Magnolia," the film tells about the soft-spoken lad from Philadelphia who is about to marry into a Kentucky family. When he declines to fight a duel for his lady's honor he is sent off scornfully into the night, despite his sensible plea that the proposed affair of honor is somewhat lacking in motivation. So he joins Commodore Jackson's showboat troupe on the River Queen. Under that gentleman's tutelage he acquires a considerable paper reputation as a dead shot and soon is being billed as The Notorious Colonel Blake, the Singing Killer. Then he falls in love with Miss Joan Bennett, the sympathetic younger sister of his former fiancee, and finally bullies the Kentucky aristocracy into a cocked hat.

Mr. Crosby, who is a personable light comedian as well as a husky-voiced master of the croon, makes an excellent partner for Mr. Fields. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart have composed some appropriate romantic numbers for him. Miss Bennett, modest and charming in her pantalettes, is admirably suited to the demure requirements of her part Queenie Smith appears rather too briefly as one of the belles of the River Queen. Concealed behind goatees, ten-gallon hats, stogies and itching pistols, you will find such reliable performers as Claude Gillingwater, Fred Kohler, John Miljan and Ed Pawley. But the spot news in Forty-third Street concerns Mr. Fields. "Women," he proclaims in one of his numerous oratorical flights, "are like elephants to me. They are all right to look at, but I wouldn't like to own one."



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

DEFENDING BING CROSBY

My wife laughs at me because I defend Bing Crosby like I would for one of my children. It frustrates me that almost 40 years after Bing's death the rumors seem to get worse. Recently I was on facebook, commenting in a group, and someone posted a Bing exhibit they were going to. I thought wow, this would be a great post for a change. About an hour later the first posts appeared proclaiming Bing to be an "alcoholic", "a child abuser", and "a miser" - and those were the posts that were able to be written again! When I posted that I have written about Bing, and I have come to know some people associated with Bing, I was accused of being a "name dropper" and "wanting my own fame". Really? I love Bing Crosby, but if I wanted my own fame - latching on to a crooner that has been dead for 40 years is not how to do it!

Anyways, it just frustrates me that one book - "Going My Own Way" by Gary Crosby has changed how the public views Bing. In the 1930s and 1940s, Bing was the most widely admired person in the world, and now a smutty book took down his legendary status. It is a shame. I wonder where all this hatred from Bing really comes from? I mean there have been other books about stars that taint their reputation but they seemingly rebound. I always tell people that Bing was not a great father to his first family - but he was not the monster that people think he is. Bing was a human - capable of making mistakes. He was not perfect other than in his singing.

I had to get this off my chest. So far all of the people out there that now think that his children were hospitalized because he beat them up or Bing and Bob Hope used to trade young starlets back and forth or that his sons could not get any of his money until they were 85 - please expand your horizon and at least learn more about the man who gave millions of people enjoyment through decades of entertaining...


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

BING AND SPARK PLUGS

Like I have said before, Bing was so popular that he could sell ice to an Eskimo. Here is an advertisement Bing did selling spark plugs. This was from 1950 and also has a pitch for the newest Crosby film Mr. Music. Do these cars today even contain spark plugs?



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON LEON ERROL

Anyone who knows me, knows that my love of classic movies basically started with watching Bing Crosby movies. Years ago I was watching the Bing Crosby-Carole Lombard film We're Not Dressing from 1934, and what I liked about the film, (next to Bing's singing) was the comedic appearance of character actor Leon Errol. His bits were sort of corny, but I found myself laughing at some of them! Errol was born Leonce Errol Sims in Sydney in 1891, Errol had toured Australia, New Zealand and the UK in a variety of theatrical settings, including circuses, operettas, and Shakespeare, by the time he arrived on the west coast of the U.S. in 1905. In Portland, Oregon he managed a touring vaudeville company troupe, giving an early boost to the career of a young comedian named Roscoe Arbuckle.

By 1911 Errol had graduated to the New York big time in the 1911 Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway, notably in two skits with the legendary Bert Williams. Errol's sister, Leda Errol (née Sims) was a personal friend of Ziegfeld Follies star Fanny Brice, and she appeared with him in the Ziegfeld Follies doing one and two act plays. He appeared every year in the Follies through 1915, when he is also credited as director of the show that included W.C. Fields, Ed Wynn, as well as Marion Davies as one of the Ziegfeld Girls.


Errol made his first film, a comic short subject called Nearly Spliced, in 1916 (it was not released before 1921), for pioneering east-coast producer George Kleine. By 1930 he'd left Broadway and turned his full attention to movies, third-billed for Samuel Goldwyn's One Heavenly Night in 1931. The box-office for that film was disappointing, but overall Errol made a smooth transition to films in a variety of comedy roles. His comic trademark was a wobbly, unsteady walk, moving as though on rubber legs; this bit served him well in drunk routines.


Errol starred in a long string of two-reel comedy shorts, which began at Columbia Pictures in 1933. He also starred in two early three-strip Technicolor shorts made at Warner Brothers, Service With a Smile (released 28 July 1934) and Good Morning, Eve! (released August 5), just beating the RKO Radio Pictures release La Cucaracha (31 August) as the first live action, wholly Technicolor release.

Moving to RKO Radio Pictures in 1934, he continued to make six shorts per year until his death in 1951. Most of these were marital farces in which Leon would get mixed up with a pretty girl or an involved business proposition, and face the wrath of his wife (usually Dorothy Granger); the theme tune to the series was the nursery rhyme, London Bridge Is Falling Down.


Leon Errol is well remembered for his energetic performances in the Mexican Spitfire movies opposite Lupe Vélez (1939–43), in which Errol had the recurring dual role of affable Uncle Matt and foggy British nobleman Lord Epping. Monogram signed Errol to appear as fight manager Knobby Walsh in the eight entries of their "Joe Palooka" sports comedies (1946–50). Leon Errol's most famous non-series appearance is in the nonsensical comedy feature Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941), starring fellow vaudeville and Ziegfeld alumnus W. C. Fields. Errol's next-to-last film, Lord Epping Returns in 1951, reprised his famous characterization (and some of the gags) from Mexican Spitfire.

Footage from Errol's short subjects was incorporated into RKO's compilation features Variety Time, Make Mine Laughs, Footlight Varieties, and Merry Mirthquakes. RKO kept Leon Errol in the public eye by reissuing his older comedies through the mid-1950s. His RKO shorts soon became a staple of syndicated television.

Errol married Stella Chatelaine in Denver, Colorado in 1906. She died on November 7, 1946 in Los Angeles. Five years later Errol suffered a fatal heart attack, on October 12, 1951, aged 70. They had no children. Leon Errol never received the fame of some character actors did, but his comedic timing highlighted many great films of the 1930s....


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

REST IN PEACE: BUDDY BREGMAN

Buddy Bregman, the talented orchestra leader who was a driving force on many great LPs of the 1950s and 1960s has died. Bregman backed Bing on his excellent album "Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings" in 1956...







Sunday, January 8, 2017

BARRY FITZGERALD - 1945

Here is a charming article that appeared in the New York Times on  January 14, 1945. It detailed actor Barry Fitzgerald's rise in fame and how he dealt with it...



Fitzgerald Meets Fame — and He Frowns
By FRED STANLEY

HOLLYWOOD — In Hollywood these days everyone, it seems, is excited about Barry Fitzgerald - except Barry Fitzgerald. On the basis of his performance as the whimsical, petulant old parish priest in Paramount's ''Going My Way,'' the New York critics have just given him their award for the best film acting of the year.

Today Barry Fitzgerald is in greater demand by the studios than any character has ever been in the history of the film city. One conservative estimate, by people who figure such things out, has it that if the 56-year-old Irish actor accepted all of the parts that have been offered to him in the past four months he would be working in front of the cameras, night and day, for the next two years. Film producers calculate that Fitzgerald's name in the cast of one of their products now means increased returns at the box office. That fact explains an increase in his ''per picture'' pay to $75,000 more than three times his pre-''Going My Way'' rate.

To all of which Barry Fitzgerald says: ''I am now just another Hollywood celebrity and that's downright boring.'' He doesn't understand why being a successful actor should mean that he can, per se, set the general public an example by smoking so and so's cigarettes or wearing this or that brand of underwear.


Gone are the days, he will regretfully tell you, when he could walk down the street unrecognized and just watch people go by. Now the people watch Barry Fitzgerald go by. In Hollywood he is too easily recognized, pointed out, stared at and besieged by that curious American phenomenon, the autograph seeker.

He finds it all rather bewildering. He resents the disruption of his previously inconspicuous private life. He can't even browse in Los Angeles book shops or join in a discussion with strangers at some out-of-the-way barroom or drug store without being tagged as Father Fitzgibbon. His old clothes and cloth cap, which once kept him inconspicuous, now make him a marked man.

And along with fame have come obligations - obligations which are particularly distressing to Mr. Fitzgerald, who cheerfully admits to being a ''very lazy man.'' Fame has brought sacks full of fan mail to be answered. It has resulted in invitations to parties and social events - for he is now being recognized, even by some of the town's so-called ''greats.''