Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Here is a great looking advertisement Bing did for Philco Radio. I still think they make them. Philco was Bing's radio sponsor from 1946 to 1949 on ABC. Those were the days...

Friday, February 24, 2012


Bing Crosby not only could hold a tune better than any other crooner, but he could recognize great talent as well. He truly appreciated girl singers, and one of his favorites was the great Judy Garland (1922-1969). They recorded some really great duets for Decca Records in the 1940s, and when Judy was down and out in the 1950s, she appeared numerous times on Bing's radio show. She even filled in for Bing on the air when his wife died in 1952. Reportedly after Judy died tragically in 1969, Bing helped pay for the funeral bill along with Frank Sinatra and Ray Bolger. Here are some happy moments that Bing and Judy shared...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Guys And Dolls

In 1955 Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra dazzled as Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit in MGM’s film version of the hit play. But here’s a 1952 newspaper item written by famed entertainment columnist Louella Parsons: “Is this a natural, or isn’t it—Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in Guys and Dolls! Paramount owned the film rights to the original Damon Runyon story before it became a top stage musical. But the movie with Bing and Bob will also carry those wonderful Frank Loesser tunes from the show. Bing will be the gambler-singer [Masterson] and Bob inherits the Sam Levine [Detroit] comedy role.”

It is interesting to imagine what might have been...

Friday, February 17, 2012


Buyer plans to improve Bing Crosby Theater
By Tom Sowa
The Spokesman-Review PrintEmail

Spokane's historic Bing Crosby Theater, a downtown entertainment landmark, has been purchased by area business developer Gerald V. Dicker.

Dicker’s GVD Commercial Properties Inc. paid $920,000 to the previous owner, Mitch Silver. Silver, who owns a collectible vehicle auction company, bought the building from Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities in 2004.

Dicker said Thursday he will invest in major renovations and upgrades to the building. “We are doing that in part to have more events in the Bing,” he said.

“In the future, I believe this building could become a major tourist draw for Spokane,” Dicker said in a news release.

Built in 1915, the theater at Lincoln Street and Sprague Avenue was originally called the Clemmer. It later became the State, and then the Met, before Silver changed the name again in 2006. The name recalls Bing Crosby’s early history, as he performed in the Clemmer in the 1920s before moving to California.

Dicker will retain the name and develop the theater into a showcase of Crosby memorabilia. Over the past few years he has helped acquire several thousand photos of the singer.

Dicker also said he’s gratified to be able to keep Michael Smith, the theater manager for the past 25 years, in that job.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dicker owns several area businesses and properties. He owns and operates the Hotel Ruby and Sapphire Lounge at the corner of Lincoln and First Avenue. GVD Northwest LLC also bought majority interest in the former Burgan’s Fine Furniture building at 1120 N. Division St.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


It is time for a little history lesson.

In 1937, Bing Crosby was one the biggest stars in the world. He was an avid golfer with a two-handicap, and he got the idea to start his own golf tournament.

Remember, this was long before there was a PGA Tour as we know it, and well before television covered golf events.

Crosby put up the $10,000 prize money himself, and his goal was to get his Hollywood buddies who loved to play golf to come Rancho Santa Fe Country Club near his home in San Diego and play.

They would play in a team format of professionals and amateurs in the tournament. The goal was simple—learn a little about becoming better golfers, and then when the tournament was over, they would have a clambake for the stars and the golfers.

The first Crosby Clambake was won by Sam Sneed and he was given a check for $500. The event was an instant hit both with Crosby’s Hollywood pals and with the professional golfers. It became the most popular tournament on the West Coast tour.

After World War II in 1947, Crosby moved the tournament to Northern California, to the Monterey Peninsula, just outside of San Francisco, where there were a number of outstanding courses that suited his needs perfectly.

The tournament had grown so large by then that it needed to be played on two courses.

The field would rotate through the Cypress Point and Monterey Peninsula courses over the first three rounds. The field would then be cut for the final round to the 25 Pro-Am teams and the 60 Low-Pros, and they would play at Pebble Beach.

The format remained the same until Spyglass Hill, a new Trent Jones course, replaced the Monterey Peninsula Club in 1967.

One of the most famous stories from the Clambake happened in the early 1950s at Cypress Point, when Johnny Weissmuller, the former Olympic champion and the original Tarzan in the film series, hit a ball that lodged in a tree.

He decided to try to knock it out. He nudged it onto the fairway, but before climbing down, he hung by one hand from a branch and with the other pounded his chest and gave out a Tarzan yell, as he had done in so many movies.

When television began to cover golf tournaments in the 1960s, the Crosby Clambake was a big hit with the viewers.

Crosby always had the Hollywood A-list stars like Jack Lemon, Dean Martin, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, and recent stars like Bill Murray, Glenn Frey, Kevin Costner, Steve Young, George Lopez, Tom Brady, Tony Romo and Carson Daly all make the trip to Pebble beach for the Clambake.

Crosby helped the PGA in the early days by getting his friends to host tournaments throughout the country.

Some highlights from the Bob Hope Desert Classic

Of course his partner Bob Hope had his event in Palm Springs, as did Andy Williams in San Diego, Glen Campbell in Los Angles, Danny Thomas in Memphis, Sammy Davis Jr. in Hartford, and of course the Jackie Gleason Classic in Ft. Lauderdale all followed the template that the Clambake started.

Those stars brought in their sponsors from television, and later it would be those same companies that would underwrite many of the PGA tournaments. One example of the power of stars to bring their sponsors with them to television was Chrysler, who signed on in the early 1960s to sponsor the Bob Hope Desert Classic.

In 1977 on a golf course in Spain, Crosby died of a heart attack. But his dedication to the game—and his star power—helped create the PGA Tour that we all know today.

Recently, CBS Sports' lead golf broadcaster Jim Nantz told me that this weekend on the network’s telecast of the AT&T Pro-Am, “You can bet that we will make quite a few references to Mr. Crosby and what he started here at Pebble Beach. To most of the golf community this will always be the Clambake.”


Saturday, February 11, 2012


WHEN people ask Arthur Blood which is his favourite Bing Crosby song, he will always reply: "It's the one I'm listening to now".

Because when he puts on a record, tape or CD of the famous artist's work, the 87-year-old feels like "everything is all right with the world".

Arthur first got hooked on Bing's music in 1942 after watching the film Holiday Inn, which featured the all-time-classic White Christmas.

But what started as an interest became a lifelong passion as he set about collecting Crosby memorabilia.

And his memories of Bing and a lifetime spent following him are so extensive, Arthur is not exactly sure when he first joined the International Crosby Circle.

The pensioner, of Osmaston Road, Derby, said: "Bing was born with a unique voice and, as soon as I saw the film and heard it, I just fell in love with it.

"It must have been after that when I became a member but I'm not exactly sure when it was – more years ago than I care to remember, anyway.

"But the most important thing to me now is to try to keep his memory alive.

"He had a fantastic career and, as his fans get older, I get worried this won't happen if we don't make the effort."

The American actor and musician was one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century. He enthralled audiences throughout his life, before his death from a heart attack on a golf course, aged 74, in 1977.

Arthur was originally a member of Britain's International Crosby Circle until it amalgamated with America's Club Crosby.

The group is now called the International Club Crosby and is celebrating its 75th anniversary. It has been recognised in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running fan club.

Arthur said: "The two clubs joined together a few years ago now because both were struggling for members. We now have about 900 across the world.

"It's a very friendly club and I've not met anyone in it who wasn't a true lady or gentleman. Because of it, I have friends in Ireland, America, Australia and all over."

The hundreds of Bing- related items and memorabilia Arthur has collected over the years are stored in his back bedroom, which he has turned into a shrine.

Among his prized possessions are the tie worn by Bing in the 1936 film Anything Goes and signed photographs and letters from the star.

The latest addition to the collection is a trilby hat which belonged to the singer – which he has vowed will never be sold – and, to keep his memorabilia up to date, he has a Blu-ray DVD of the 1954 film White Christmas.

The room itself is painted blue and many of the photographs, images and records are framed in gold, to acknowledge Crosby's song Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day.

Arthur said: "All the serious fans have a blue and gold room."

And it was in this room to which Arthur, a former page boy at Derby's Hippodrome Theatre, would retreat after coming home from work.

His career began at the Carriage and Wagon Works in 1939, at the age of 14, when he worked as an apprentice wagon repairer.

Arthur joined the RAF about three years later and served as a wireless operator and air gunner in the Second World War.

He then went back to night school and took a course in welding before working his way up to chief foreman at British Rail Engineering.

Arthur said: "When I used to come home, I'd have a meal, then go into my room and just sit and listen to Bing Crosby.

"It would only have to be for half-an-hour or so but, when you listen to him, you feel like everything is all right with the world.

"I've just taken so much pleasure from his life."

Through the help of the fan club, Arthur had plenty of correspondence with Bing over the years but only saw him in person twice.

Both occasions were during concerts at the London Palladium, in 1976 and 1977, just before his death.

Arthur said: "The first time, I was sitting two rows from the front. They showed a film first and then the curtains went up. There was no big announcement.

"He then just strolled on from the wings like he just stepped off the set of High Society, which was the 1956 musical film he starred in.

"He was absolutely immaculate and I just sat there gobsmacked because I couldn't believe I was so close to the person who has always been my idol."

Arthur continues to promote Bing's work wherever he can but said it was getting more difficult as he got older.

He said: "The family have said that the fans have helped to keep Bing's memory alive and they once mentioned my name as someone doing that.

"I'm still in touch with them and I keep in contact with my friends across the world but I don't go to the annual meeting held by the ICC in Leeds any more."

Although Arthur said he considers Bing a man for all seasons, it was no surprise that the star is often referred to as Mr Christmas.

He said: "At that time of year, because of his Christmas radio shows and television specials, that is what he is always referred to.

"And I personally don't think that anyone sings at Christmas with the tenderness, the respect and the charm of Bing.

"No one in the world has done more to perpetuate the magic, the mystique, the reverence or the gaiety of Christmas."

Arthur lives with wife Vera, 84, and the couple have been married for 61 years.

He said: "She listens to Bing as well but it's fair to say she's not as enthusiastic about him as I am."

Arthur said he was starting to notice younger people joining the fan club but stressed his concern that Bing could one day be forgotten.

He said: "We are getting a few young members coming through and his family are also starting to do more, releasing DVDs and unseen radio programmes, so I am hopeful of the future.

"But when they asked the Crosby family why Bing isn't remembered like Frank Sinatra was, they said he was always a private person so they didn't issue CDs like Frank's family did.

"That's why we have to keep working hard to make sure his memory and legacy is perpetuated and he is not the forgotten man."


Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Someone needs to save this car...

This 1951 Cadillac sedan is said to have belonged to Bing Crosby, and is now sitting in a farm yard in Carmel Valley not far from Bing’s famous home and golf tournament in Pebble Beach. Celebrity ownership is usually oversold, but Bing was on another level, and this car is offered so cheap that we hope it can be saved. It is for sale on Craigslist in Carmel Valley, California for $1650. Special thanks to blog reader John S. for this submission!


Sunday, February 5, 2012


Looking back at the advertisments of the 1940s and 1950s, it seems like Bing Crosby's face was everywhere. I never knew he hawked a soda product until I found this advertisement for RC Cola...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


By Ian Cull

SPOKANE, Wash. -- If you've ever wanted to own part of Spokane's history, now's your chance as the Bing is on the market.

"Built in 1915 with 756 seats in the Bing Crosby Theater, one of the sales pitches is there's not a bad seat in the house," owner Mitch Silver said.

Walking down through the Bing Crosby Theater and onto the stage one gets a sense of the history of the place. This is the stage where everyone from Big Crosby himself to Pearl Jam has performed.

If you've ever wanted to own part of Spokane's history, now's your chance as the Bing is on the market. KXLY4's Ian Cull reports.

Silver is asking $1.3 Million, $100,000 more than what he bought it for. He's enjoyed it but says now its time to leave the Bing behind.

"The economy in the last three years, if I was rolling in the dough and had money coming in hand-over-fist, I'd have no problem hanging onto this," he explained.

There are, however, a few upgrades that need to be made. Cracks in the sidewalk are causing water to seep into dressing rooms, which will cost $9,000 to fix. The roof also leaks at times and needs to be replaced, which will cost the buyer another $60,000.

Still, Silver says it's a steal compared to the other theaters in town for a piece of local theatrical history.

"Extremely affordable for what this building is," Silver said...