Friday, December 8, 2017

BING AND A FRIENDSHIP TREE

Tis the season for Bing at the holidays! Here is an ad that I found in 1950, and it talks about Bing and his co-star from his movie Mr. Music, decorating a friendship tree. Cute idea!



Sunday, December 3, 2017

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE - EPISODE 2

Here is episode two of my You Tube series. This time around we take a look at my five favorite female singers - enjoy!




Monday, November 27, 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON: FRANK MCCUGH

Frank McHugh is another one of those characters, where you know his face but maybe not his name. I remember him most from his role as another priest alongside Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way (1944).

Born in Homestead, Pennsylvania on May 23, 1898, McHugh came from a theatrical family. At age ten, Frank McHugh began performing in his parent's stock company, side by side with his siblings Matt and Kitty. Another brother, Ed, became a stage manager and agent in New York.

By age 17, McHugh was resident juvenile with the Marguerite Bryant stock company. Extensive vaudeville experience followed, and in 1925 McHugh made his first Broadway appearance in The Fall Guy; three years later, he made his movie debut in a Vitaphone short. Hired by Warner Bros. for the small role of a motorcycle driver in 1930's The Dawn Patrol, McHugh appeared in nearly 70 Warners films over the next decade. He was often cast as the hero's best pal or as drunken comedy relief; his peculiar trademark was a lightly braying laugh. Highlight performances during his Warners tenure included Jimmy Cagney's pessimistic choreographer in Footlight Parade (1933), "rude mechanical" Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), an erstwhile poet and horserace handicapper in Three Men on a Horse (1936) and a friendly pickpocket in One Way Passage (1932) — a role he'd repeat word-for-word in Till We Meet Again, 1940 remake of Passage. One of the biggest movies he was in was Roaring Twenties (1939) with Jimmy Cagney.


He appeared in over 150 films and television productions and worked with almost every star at Warner Bros. By the 1950s, his film career had begun to decline, as evinced by his smaller role in Career (1959). From 1964 to 1965, he played the role of Willie Walters, a live-in handyman on ABC's sitcom, The Bing Crosby Show. Reportedly Bing insisted he be cast alongside him. His last television appearance was as Charlie Wingate in the episode "The Fix-It Man" on CBS's Lancer western series. McHugh played a handyman in that role too.

McHugh was married to Dorothy Spencer. He had three children and two grandchildren.

Frank McHugh's last film role was in the Elvis Presley film Easy Come, Easy Go(1967). He basically left Hollywood for the next decade. He died on September 11, 1981...largely forgotten for the great supporting roles he starred in...



Friday, November 17, 2017

GUEST REVIEWER: MAN ON FIRE


Bing Crosby guru Bruce Kogan is back with another review. This time it's the overlooked 1957 drama Man On Fire...

The movie opens with Bing Crosby singing the Sammy Fain-Paul Francis Webster title song over the opening credits. But that's all you hear from Crosby the singer. For the first time Bing starred in a film without any singing at all.

The story involves a pair of divorced parents who have fallen out of love and are contesting the custody of their son. Crosby the father has the kid and wife Mary Fickett and her new husband Richard Eastham want him.

It's a well acted film and Crosby proves he doesn't need to sing to carry a film. His Earl Carleton is a troubled man, a loving father wounded terribly by the divorce. Mary Fickett is a loving mother who's been denied custody of her son by a hastily signed agreement at the time of her's and Bing's divorce. Her new husband Richard Eastham wants a share of custody for his wife's sake.


The point is that this is a film without villains. These are just good people caught in a bad situation trying to do the right thing as they conceive it. And in probably the best performance of her long career, Judge Anne Seymour has to decide it. The custody hearing scene in her chambers is the best acted scene in the film.

This situation may have inspired some of the situations portrayed in the current series Judging Amy. The film has an honored place in the films of Bing Crosby. A must see.

BRUCE RATING: 8 OUT OF 10
MY REVIEW: 9 OUT OF 10


Thursday, November 9, 2017

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE - WEB EPISODE 1

Welcome to my first episode of my You Tube show - titled as you guessed it A Trip Down Memory Lane. From time to time I will do a little 30 minute episode highlighting some of the great stars of our times. For this first episode I will count down my five favorite male singers. I hope you enjoy it, and I encourage comments and suggestions...





Wednesday, November 8, 2017

PHOTOS OF THE DAY: BING IN THE 1940S

The decade of the 1940s was marked by the horrors of World War II. However, Bing owned the 1940s. He was the biggest star of that decade, the most widely beloved American, and was the most recorded human voice. Bing was at the height of his career in the 1940s as theses photos show...





with Dinah Shore 

with Bob Hope

with Joan Caulfield


Monday, October 30, 2017

PAST OBITS: JOHN SCOTT TROTTER

On this day 42 years ago, Bing's long time orchestra leader John Scott Trotter passed away. He never fully got the recognition that he deserved. Here is the original NY Times article from October 31, 1975...

HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 30 (UPI) —John Scott Trotter, whose entertainment career spanning a half century took him from the side of Hal Kemp in the bigband era to Bing Crosby on radio and records and George Gobel on television, died yesterday of cancer at Mt. Sinai Hospital. He was 67 years old.

Mr. Trotter's most remembered musical achievement was that of arranger and conductor for Mr. Crosby, an association that lasted 17 years on radio and included recordings that encompassed some of the crooner's best‐known songs, such as “White Christmas” and “Swinging on a Star.”

Only last month, Mr. Trotter joined with the Bostorl Pops conductor, Arthur Fiedler, in recreating the big‐band sound on a public television fund‐raising broadcast.


He was the recipient of an Academy Award nomination in 1970 for his musical work on the Charles Shultz animated movie “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” and he received an Emmy nomination for the music of one of the peanuts television specials.

Mr. Trotter, who was born in Charlotte, N. C., June 14, 1908, began his musical career at the University of North Carolina, playing piano for a college band formed by Mr. Kemp in 1925.Continue reading the main story

Mr. Trotter was the orchestra's pianist and principal arranger for 11 years, creating the “fresh, happy sound” of Mr. Kemp that produced such music as “Got a Date With an Angel” and “You're the Tops.”.


In 1936, while vacationing in California, Mr. Trotter was signed to orchestrate five songs for the film “Pennies From Heaven,” starring Bing Crosby, and a year later he took over as musical director for Mr. Crosby's radio show.

Mr. Trotter was Mr. Crosby's arranger and conductor for 364 consecutive weeks on NBC radio shows.

In 1954, when the Crosby radio shows came to an end, Mr. Trotter began a 10‐year career as musical director for the “George Gobel Show.”

He is survived by his sister, Margaret Kinghorn, and three brothers, William, Thomas and Robert...

Saturday, October 14, 2017

40 YEARS AGO TODAY

The year 1977 began poorly for Bing. In March 1977, during a televised concert to celebrate his fifty years in show business, he fell backwards into an orchestra pit headfirst. He ruptured a disc in his back, and was hospitalized for a month. After recovering, he made appearances all over the world, from Norway to England to tape a Christmas special, which featured David Bowie the famous Christmas duet. After taping the special, he recorded his final album, Seasons.

Bing’s next stop was the London Palladium for a two-week engagement. Then he and his band went to Brighton where they performed their final performance on October 10. The next day Bing was a guest on the Alan Dell radio show, where he sang eight songs with the Gordon Rose Orchestra. Later that day he posed for photos for the Seasons album. The next day Bing headed for Spain to play golf and die.


On the afternoon of October 14, 1977, Bing was playing at the La Morajela golf course near Madrid, Spain. He finished 18 holes with a score of 85, and with a partner, defeated two Spanish golf pros. After his last putt, Bing bowed to applause and said, "It was a great game." He was about 20 yards from the clubhouse, when he collapsed from a massive heart attack. His three golfing companions remarked that he did not look tired and was even singing around the course, though he seemed to be favoring his left arm near the end of the game. They thought he had slipped. They carried him to the clubhouse, where a physician attempted to revive him, to no avail. Bing Crosby was dead on arrival, at the Red Cross hospital. He was 74.

A few hours after learning of her husband’s death, Kathryn issued a statement, "I can’t think of any better way for a golfer who sings for a living to finish the round." Their son Harry, 19, and the family’s former butler, Alan Fisher, flew to Spain to accompany Bing’s body back to LA.

The most widely heard voice of the 20th Century and maybe all time was silenced on that fateful day on October 14, 1977...

Friday, October 13, 2017

ATTENTION: NEW BING RELEASES

After a seemingly desert of Bing Crosby recordings, there are now two new Bing Crosby CDs coming up on the horizon. Please support these issues so there will be more...


Two New Bing Crosby CD Releases From the Bing Crosby Archive & UMe



October 14 marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of Bing Crosby. HLC Properties, Ltd., the Crosby family company, announces the release of two new entries in the Bing Crosby Archive CD series. New Tricks: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition and Among My Souvenirs: More Treasures from the Crosby Archive will be released on December 8, 2017, through UMe. Kathryn Crosby, Bing's widow is the executive producer of the series. She notes, "It's gratifying that forty years after Bing left us we're still able to bring both familiar and unfamiliar recordings to new generations of listeners." Bing's son Harry added, "It's very satisfying to be able to keep my father's music available, and to bring him into the digital world with such an expansive catalog. He was a pioneer on the technical side of the music industry, so it's important to keep him current. The Crosby family is very pleased to partner with UMe on this project."

The original 1957 twelve-track New Tricks LP has been freshly mastered from the original session tapes and expanded with twelve bonus tracks, including nine that have never previously been released. Bing is accompanied by Buddy Cole and His Trio, and the small group setting is a wonderful showcase for his voice on such standards as "Georgia on My Mind," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," and "Chicago." New Tricks is the fourth and final 1950s Decca Crosby LP to be reissued in the deluxe format by the Bing Crosby Archive. In 2013 Bing's first LP, Le Bing: Song Hits of Paris (1953), received the deluxe treatment. Some Fine Old Chestnuts (1954) and Songs I Wish I'd Sung the First Time Around (1956) were released in deluxe editions in 2014.

New Tricks: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
(Original album, remastered)
1. Alabamy Bound
2. When I Take My Sugar to Tea
3. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
4. Georgia on My Mind
5. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
6. If I Could Be With You
7. Avalon
8. Chinatown, My Chinatown
9. You're Driving Me Crazy
10. On the Alamo
11. Chicago
12. Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise
Bonus Content:
13. Rain
14. Church Bells
15. I'll Remember Today
16. My How the Time Goes By
17. Chee Chee-oo Chee (Sang the Little Bird)
18. Surprise
19. All the Time
20. Gigi
21. Tammy
22. Big D (with Lindsay Crosby) Take 2
23. Allegheny Moon (with Lindsay Crosby)
24. More Than You Know

Among My Souvenirs: More Treasures from the Crosby Archive is a 2-CD collection of 35 previously unissued recordings spanning Bing Crosby's entire career. The set, newly compiled by Crosby archivist Robert S. Bader, is comprised of recordings made between 1932 and 1977, and includes outtakes, live recordings, and radio and television performances, many featuring songs not previously part of the voluminous Crosby discography. Among the rarities: a 1968 recording with Diana Ross and the Supremes; some recently discovered concert recordings from 1956, and a track from Bing's final American concert in 1977. Among My Souvenirs is a companion volume to the 2010 Bing Crosby Archive release, So Rare: Treasures from the Crosby Archive.

Among My Souvenirs: More Treasures from the Crosby Archive
Disc 1:
1. Please
2. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
3. The Day You Came Along
4. Bing & Jack Oakie at Paramount
5. Boo Boo Boo
6. Roll Along Prairie Moon
7. I've Been Floating Down the Old Green River
8. Hello Hawaii
9. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
10. You Forgot Your Gloves
11. A Horse That Knows the Way Back Home
12. She Is the Sunshine of Virginia
13. What Do You Do in the Infantry?
14. Good Morning Mr. Zip Zip Zip
15. I've Told Every Little Star
16. Oh, But I Do
17. Minute Maid Radio Jingle (Extended Version)
18. Alabamy Bound (with Lindsay Crosby)

Disc 2:
1. Be My Life's Companion
2. Undecided
3. Please Mr. Sun
4. Moonlight and Roses (with Bob Crosby)
5. Tell Me Why
6. Dream a Little Dream of Me
7. Eternally
8. True Love (Live at Fall River)
9. In a Little Spanish Town (Live at Fall River)
10. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You) (Live at Fall River)
11. Big D (with Lindsay Crosby) Take 1
12. Old Cape Cod
13. The NATO Song
14. Among My Souvenirs
15. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
16. Paint Your Wagon Medley: I'm on My Way/I Talk to the Trees/I Still See Elissa/They Call the Wind Maria (with Diana Ross and the Supremes)
17. Send in the Clowns (Live at Concord Pavilion)