Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Hard to believe another end of the year is here. The fading year of 2013 marked what would have been Bing Crosby's 110th birthday. It seems like only yesterday! This year was a fairly good year for Bing Crosby fans. Many new CDs have really assisted with filling in the gap in the libraries of Bing collectors.

Sepia Records continues to champion rare and unusual material. They issued two great CDs in 2013. The first one was "Bing In The Hall". That CD centered on Bing's rare recordings from the Kraft Music Hall. It was a radio show Bing starred on from 1935 to 1945. Many of the radio recordings on the release, Bing never recorded commercially. Their second issue was "Bing Crosby Sings For The AFRS". These recordings were taken from broadcasts Bing specifically made for the troops. One of the highlights was Bing singing "Johnny Doughboy Found A Rose In Ireland". Those two issues were among the best of 2013.

Another two great CDs were issued by The Bing Crosby Enterprises label, which is now aligned with MCA records. They issued a 60th anniversary issue of Bing's classic "Le Bing" album. It was Crosby's first long-playing album, and was released by his longtime label Decca Records. "Le Bing" is a concept album where all the songs are sung in French. My personal favorite from this album is "La Mer" (which later became "Beyond The Sea"). The other issue from BCE/MCA was "Bing Crosby Sings The Johnny Mercer Songbook". Some of the tracks were radio remotes, but I had all of these tracks. I still need to buy this issue which I will, just to support these rare issues.

Bing's movies still come out in a trickle. Bing's 1959 Say One For Me was recently released on DVD. I have my copy from a third generation copy, and it is enough for me. The soundtrack and music for the 1959 film was much better than the movie (in my opinion), but it is a movie that has not even been released on VHS. Here's hoping that in 2014 more movies will be released!

Unfortunately, there is always some sad news to report on. The year started with the death of the great Hobie Wilson on January 15th. He ran The Bing Crosby Friends And Collector's Society for decades with his devoted wife Cathie Wilson, and Hobie was one of the great Bing fans out there. He is sorely missed among Bing collectors. Another loss to the Bing Crosby world was the closure of Worlds Records. They sometimes were expensive, but they supplied many collectors with rare releases and their catalogues were always great to read. They were in business for nearly 40 years, opening up in 1974.

With that we close the pages on the book that was 2013. Here is to a great 2014 and more great things to come to Bing Crosby fans worldwide. Happy New Year...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013




Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Decades before Paris Hilton and voracious media hordes anxiously awaited her release from a county jail, aspiring crooner Bing Crosby was quietly jailed with nary a mention in the newspapers. And after he became a star, his arrest and court records just as quietly vanished. Crosby, then 27, crashed his car in front of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in November 1929 after a night of drinking. This was during Prohibition, when liquor was illegal in the U.S. The incident is also documented in a 2001 biography by Gary Giddins and in a 1955 Hollywood Reporter article written by Crosby.

In 1929, Crosby and his trio, the Rhythm Boys, came west to film the Whiteman musical, a vaudeville-type production. To make the band feel at home, Universal Studios, the film's producer, built a recreational lodge for the 24 musicians on the back lot. Whiteman arranged for each of them to buy a Ford to drive around L.A. "We all bought autos -- or at least we made the down payments with money which Pops [Whiteman] advanced to us, then deducted from our salaries," Crosby wrote in the Nov. 15, 1955, article in the Hollywood Reporter. Bing chose a convertible. "Pops had promised me a song, 'Song of the Dawn,'" Crosby wrote in the article. "I rehearsed and rehearsed, then took time out to see the SC-UCLA game." Crosby was a fan of St. Mary's College, or SMC, and the Galloping Gaels beat UCLA at the Coliseum on Nov. 16, 1929.

"There was quite a shindig after the game in our studio bungalow, involving some tippling, but not to excess," his brother recalled. Bing evidently drove an unknown party guest to her hotel, the Hollywood Roosevelt. There, Bing told his brother, "a car bumped mine after the party," and he was taken to the slammer. The other driver, also allegedly drunk, was arrested, though his name is not known. "Bing made a left turn into an oncoming car with such force that he and his passenger were knocked over the windshield and onto the pavement. He was fine, but the woman was bloody and unconscious,"

Giddins wrote in "Bing Crosby, A Pocketful of Dreams: The Early Years 1903-1940." "He practically drove through the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel," Bobbe Brox Van Heusen, a singer in Whiteman's film, told Giddins. From the Lincoln Heights jail, Crosby called a friend and he was bailed out a day later. Golfing attire in court At his court hearing, he came "directly from the golf course, wearing green plus-fours, an orange sweater and check socks," Giddins wrote. The judge didn't take kindly to his attire, or to his drinking. He asked the singer if he was familiar with the 18th Amendment, the constitutional measure enacting Prohibition. "Yes, but no one pays much attention to it," Crosby reportedly replied. Crosby maintained his innocence, claiming he was a victim of a bad driver and a zealous cop. "But it was his brazen court performance," Giddins wrote, that got him a sentence of 60 days. Crosby fumed in his cell over the severity of his sentence. He was later transferred to a jail with a liberal visitation policy.

His new jailers apparently allowed two police officers to escort Crosby to the studio during the day and back to jail at night. But during the two weeks or so it took to arrange the deal, Whiteman gave Crosby's solo to John Boles, arguing it was too costly to hold up filming. It's not clear how Crosby's arrest records were erased, how his sentence was calculated or whether the judge specified he serve it all -- but he got out early. Once Crosby became secure in his career, he became philosophical about the 1929 arrest and his loss of the solo. "[Boles] had a bigger voice and a better delivery for that kind of song than I had, and I often wondered what might have happened to me if I had sung it. I might have flopped with the song. I might have been cut out of the picture. I might never have been given another crack at a song in any picture."


Friday, December 20, 2013


The now famous Barbara Walters interview was conducted at Bing's San Francisco home in May, 1977, while he was recovering from a ruptured intervertebral disc suffered in a fall two months earlier following a concert commemorating his 50th anniversary in show business. His 17-year-old daughter, Mary, had already moved out of her parents' home into her own apartment and was contemplating moving in with her boyfriend, Eb Lottimer. Following her father's death, Mary and Lottimer did move in together and later married. Neither Mary's mother nor her two brothers attended the wedding. Mary and her husband divorced in 1989.

WALTERS: Suppose one of your sons came home and said, "Dad, I've got this girl and do you mind if we share a room here in the house?"

BING: In OUR house? No chance!

WALTERS: It happens in other families.

BING: Well, it wouldn't happen in MY family. If any one of them did that I wouldn't speak to them ever again.

WALTERS: Ever again?

BING: Ever again!

WALTERS: Do you mean that if one of your sons came home and said "I like this girl and I'm living with her and we're not married" you would never speak to him again?

BING: Aloha on the steel guitar.

WALTERS: That's awfully stern.

BING: Well, I was raised a Catholic. We believe in marriage.

WALTERS: And you'd rather he be married than maybe spend some time and found out what she was like?

BING: He doesn't have to take her to bed to find out what kind of woman he's marrying.

WALTERS: What would you do if Mary Frances, who is now 17, came to you at 19 or 20 and said "Dad, I'm having an affair. There's somebody I care about."?

BING: I'd say take your things and move where you're having the affair.

WALTERS: And you wouldn't talk to her or see her?


WALTERS: This daughter whom you adore?

BING: Yes.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Joan Fontaine, the Oscar-winning actress who was one of the last remaining links to Hollywood’s golden age of the 1930s and ’40s, has died at age 96, her assistant confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

In her most famous films — Rebecca, for which she was Oscar-nominated, and Suspicion, for which she won — Fontaine came across as appealingly passive-aggressive. She could seem radiantly shy, believably insecure, gazing into the middle distance with a hesitancy that drew you immediately to her side. Yet she fashioned a movie career out of willpower and, quite possibly, large reservoirs of spite.

The younger sister of Olivia De Havilland, she maintained a ladylike-yet-intense rivalry with the sibling who beat her to the big screen. Peer between the cracks of Fontaine’s filmography and you’ll find a more intriguingly aggressive persona than the actress was generally given credit for. Maybe she wasn’t Born to be Bad, as the title of her juicy 1950 Nicholas Ray noir claimed, but she was much more than the second Mrs. DeWinter — or the other De Havilland. Both sisters, in fact, were born to entitlement, the daughters of Walter de Havilland, a British patent attorney with distant royal blood, and his actress wife. The children were born in Tokyo, Joan in 1917, and after their mother learned of the father’s affair with his Japanese maid, she whisked them to California. (The studio publicity later ascribed the move to health reasons for the “sickly” children.)

Olivia kept her family name and made a splash in early talkie Hollywood; Joan, by contrast, looked to stepfather George Fontaine for a screen alibi and struggled in smallish roles for RKO and other studios — to see her timid, wooden performance opposite Fred Astaire in A Damsel in Distress (1937) is to realize the appropriateness of the title. She saw her sister take roles she had hoped for; she auditioned for and lost the part of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, only to see Olivia score the part of Melanie. Despairing of ever making it, Fontaine curled up in bed to read a new best-seller called Rebecca and instantly saw herself in the put-upon heroine struggling against a powerful (if dead) rival. The next night she found herself at a dinner party seated next to producer David O. Selznick, who owned the rights. “Would you like to test for it?” he asked.

Rebecca made Fontaine’s name, and she returned to director Alfred Hitchcock for Suspicion,as a young wife convinced husband Cary Grant wants to do her in. She was nominated for Best Actress — and so was De Havilland, for Hold Back the Dawn. Fontaine won by one ballot, and late in life, Olivia was still kicking herself for voting for Barbara Stanwyck. In the career that followed, Fontaine tried to stretch with lustier roles — a lady on a pirate ship in Frenchman’s Creek (1944), a poisoner in Ivy (1947) — and was nominated once more for The Constant Nymph (1943). But victimized elegance kept calling her back, no more so than in the sublime heart-breaker Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948).

Joan went on to star opposite Bing Crosby in Billy Wilder's ill-conceived The Emperor Waltz (1948). Bing, who had co-star approval originally wanted to star alongside Greta Garbo or Deanna Durbin in the film. Fontaine was his third choice. Supposedly Bing and Joan did not have chemistry on the screen as well as off the screen, and the film was not either star's best work.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Watching an episode of "The Twilight Zone" this weekend, I was reminded of what a wonderful actress Inger Stevens was. She died way too young in 1970 at the age of 36.Inger Stevens was born Inger Stensland in Stockholm, Sweden. She was an insecure child and often ill.

When she was nine, her parents divorced and she moved with her father to New York City. At age 13, she and her father moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where she attended Manhattan High School. At 16, she worked in burlesque shows in Kansas City. At 18, she left Kansas for New York City. She worked as a chorus girl and in the Garment District while taking classes at the Actors Studio.

Stevens appeared on television series, commercials and in plays, until she got her big break in the movie Man on Fire starring Bing Crosby. Although it did not create a sensation, it led to a romance between the baritone crooner and the young Swedish-born actress. Throughout her career, Stevens displayed a propensity for falling in love with her co-stars and Bing Crosby, 31 years her senior, was no exception. The affair began after Inger suffered an appendicitis attack on the set in December of 1956. The two grew close during Crosby’s visits with her at the hospital.

Inger had hopes of marrying Crosby although she refused to convert to Catholicism for him. Soon after the release of Man on Fire, Bing invited her to supervise the renovation of his Palm Springs home. Stevens was under the mistaken impression that this was to be their matrimonial home. Unbeknownst to her, Bing was also seriously involved with another young actress named Kathryn Grant. It was while working on the house that Inger learned about Bing’s marriage to Kathryn.

Roles in major films followed, but she achieved her greatest success in the ABC television series The Farmer's Daughter, with William Windom. Previously, Stevens appeared in episodes of Bonanza, Route 66, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Eleventh Hour, Sam Benedict and The Twilight Zone.

Following the cancellation of The Farmer's Daughter in 1966, Stevens appeared in such movies as A Guide for the Married Man (1967), with Walter Matthau, Hang 'Em High, with Clint Eastwood, 5 Card Stud, with Dean Martin, and Madigan, with Henry Fonda and Richard Widmark, all in 1968. Stevens was attempting to make a comeback on television with the detective drama series The Most Deadly Game when she died.

Her first husband was her agent, Anthony Soglio, to whom she was married from 1955 to 1957. From 1961 until her death, she was secretly married to Ike Jones, an African-American actor. She was also romantically linked with Bing Crosby, Anthony Quinn, Dean Martin, Clint Eastwood, Harry Belafonte, Mario Lanza, and Burt Reynolds.

On the morning of April 30, 1970, a house guest found Stevens lying face down on her kitchen floor, having overdosed on Tedral (a combination drug of theophylline, ephedrine and phenobarbital, commonly prescribed in the treatment of breathing disorders such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis), washed down with alcohol. After an autopsy, her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean...

Monday, December 9, 2013


I normally do not post videos on my blog anymore, but here is a fascinating interview with Mary Carlisle. She is now in the Motion Picture Retirement Home, but she is pretty amazing for 100...

Saturday, December 7, 2013


In a career spanning six decades, composer-arranger-conductor,Pete Moore’s music was and is known to millions the world over, but his name is less familiar to the average person. As a composer, he wrote themes for many TV commercials including such famous brands as Coca Cola and Lux Toilet Soap, numerous songs recorded by such artists as Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Frankie Laine and Fred Astaire. But it is his composition “Asteroid” – the famous theme for Pearl and Dean’s cinema advertisements – that remains his most familiar and most successful composition. Apart from being heard every day (for the last 45 years) on cinema screens in the U.K., it is constantly featured around the world in commercials and documentaries. For many people, the very sound of its “pa-papa-pa” fanfare spells “cinema.” It has also been “sampled” by modern-day pop artists and enjoyed chart success on more than one occasion.

But that is only a small portion of a career that saw him providing orchestrations and accompaniments for such artists as Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie Andrews, Frankie Laine, Rosemary Clooney, Slim Whitman and Randy Crawford – to name but a few. His orchestrations can be found in the repertoires of such world famous musical units as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra – in addition to writing scores for such luminaries as Burt Bacharach, Marvin Hamlisch and Liberace.

A quiet, soft-spoken and unassuming man, cockney-raised and academy-trained, Pete Moore usually declined to do interviews because he was always “too busy.” In fact, it would seem that he never actively sought work, it just came to him. Which is why he was often referred to as “The Invisible Genius.” As a person and as a musician, he was liked and admired by everyone who knew him. While he may not be a household name, Pete Moore’s music remains alive and well. As it has for the past half-century.

His funeral takes place at 1.20 pm next Friday December 13th at Mortlake Crematorium, Kew Meadow Path, Townmead Road, London TW9 4EN

Pete Moore with Johnny Mercer and Ken Barnes


Wednesday, December 4, 2013


This is an excellent review that Bing Crosby fan Richard Pearson did way back in 2003. I thought it was an appropriate CD to review at the holiday season...

This Bing Crosby Christmas album is roughly 30 years old and I had the pleasure of purchasing it when it first came out back in the early l970s on LP. I was completely knocked out by the tunes, arrangements, brilliant background chorus and finally the great unique voice of Bing Crosby singing in the twilight of his years. His sincerity, workmanship, and seemingly effortless singing is so great that he makes each of these songs sound as though it was written for him! And the fact that I am not aware of hearing any other artists sing these songs makes me think that that the album was written for him! But irregardless of that, each song sounds as if it is a bonafide Christmas classic.

There is just the right amount of tradition and religious concepts worked into the beautiful lyrics that I cannot imagine a Christmas without listening to this album! Indeed I have downloaded the CD at work on my computer so I can listen to it in the office as well as home! The big mystery is why hardly anyone is aware of this album other than a few Crosby fans. This is indeed some of his finest work. Bing's voice had lowered a few notes by the 1970s but as mentioned before I can't imagine anyone singing the tunes any better! Those of you who love this album PLEASE write a review and let everyone know how great this CD is!

Friday, November 29, 2013


Louis Armstrong sang this song with Bing as a guest on Bing's radio show in April 1951. The duet reveals the delightful musical kinship between Bing and Satchmo. Decca preserved this performance on disc, which charted for two weeks that summer.

GONE FISHIN' Nick A. Kenny / Charles F. Kenny)

I'll tell you why I can't find you Every time I go out to your place...

You gone fishin' (well how you know) Well there's a sign upon your door (uh-huh) Gone fishin' (I'm real gone man) You ain't workin' anymore (could be) There's your hoe out in the sun Where you left a row half done You claim that hoein' ain't no fun (well I can prove it) You ain't got no ambition

Gone fishin' by a shady wady pool (Shangrila, really la) I'm wishin' I could be that kind of fool (should I twist your arm?) I'd say no more work for mine (welcome to the club) On my door I'd hang a sign Gone fishin' instead of just a-wishin'

Papa Bing (yeah Louis) I stopped by your place a time or two lately And you aren't home either Well, I'm a busy man Louis. I got a lotta deals cookin' I was probably tied up at the studio You weren't tied up you dog You was just plain old...

Gone fishin' (bah-boo-bah-boo-bah-boo-bah-boo-bah) There's a sign upon your door (Pops, don't blab it around, will you?) Gone fishin' (keep it shady, I got me a big one staked out) Mmm, you ain't workin' anymore (I don't have to work, I got me a piece of Gary) Cows need milkin' in the barn (I have the twins on that detail, they each take a side) But you just don't give a darn (give 'em four bits a cow and hand lotion) You just never seem to learn (man, you taught me) You ain't got no ambition (you're convincin' me)

Gone fishin' (bah-boo-dah-do-dah-do-dah-do) Got your hound dog by your side (that's old Cindy-Lou goin' with me) Gone fishin' (mmm-hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm) Fleas are bitin' at his hide (get away from me boy, you bother me)

Mmm, folks won't find us now because Mister Satch and Mister Cros We gone fishin' instead of just a-wishin' Bah-boo-baby-bah-boo-bah-bay-mmm-bo-bay Oh yeah!

Monday, November 25, 2013


When a young Kathryn Grant married older crooner Bing Crosby, many people thought it would not last. However, they remained married for twenty years until Bing's death. Bing has been dead over 35 years now, and Kathryn remains one of Bing's supporters. On this day, November 25, Kathryn Crosby turns 80 years old.

Born Olive Kathryn Grandstaff in Houston, Texas, she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1955. Two years later she became Bing Crosby's second wife, being more than thirty years his junior. The couple had three children, Harry, Mary Frances, and Nathaniel. She appeared as a guest star on her husband's 1964–1965 ABC sitcom The Bing Crosby Show. She largely retired after their marriage, but did have a featured role in the courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder (1959).

She also played the part of "Mama Bear" alongside her husband and children in Goldilocks and starred with Jack Lemmon in Operation Mad Ball (1957).In the mid-1970s, she hosted The Kathryn Crosby Show, a 30-minute local talk-show on KPIX-TV in San Francisco. Husband Bing appeared as a guest occasionally. Since Bing Crosby's death in 1977, she has taken on a few smaller roles and the lead in the short-lived 1996 Broadway musical State Fair.

For 16 years ending in 2001, Crosby hosted the Crosby National Golf Tournament at Bermuda Run Country Club in Bermuda Run, North Carolina. A nearby bridge carrying U.S. Route 158 over the Yadkin River is named for Kathryn Crosby. On November 4, 2010, Crosby was seriously injured in an automobile accident in the Sierra Nevada that killed her 85-year-old second husband, Maurice William Sullivan, whom she married in 2000. Luckily Kathryn recovered...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


For those that know me, know I am a fan of tape recording. It is a lost art these days. Bing started it all in the 1940s, and here is a great advertisement for an early tape recorder...

Friday, November 15, 2013


It looks like Bing's nephew and godson and the son of Bob Crosby, Chris Crosby is trying to get funding to do a documentary on Bing. Interesting stuff...

For 35 years I've been filming & documenting the life story of my Uncle & Godfather, Bing Crosby. This will set the record straight...

This is a Bing Crosby story that reveals the real Bing, with all his faults and foibles. A story that has emerged through 36 years of research by his Nephew and Godson, Chris Crosby, as he explored the archives and interviewed at length, the friends and family and stars who knew Bing the best. These stories were only revealed to Chris because he was family, and he got the whole truth... over 40 hours of interviews.

Chris developed a new view of Bing and the complicated emotions that drove him. He was a Superstar before the word Superstar was even invented. He lived by a code amidst great personal strife. It wasn't easy... his first wife Dixie Lee was an alcoholic and died in a coma. He was a legend and the press was always gunning for him. A private man... very few people knew the real Bing.

The real truth is revealed about Bing's oldest son Gary, his drinking and anger toward his famous father and his motivation for writing the tell-all book, "Going My Own Way"... including Gary's shocking death bed confession to author Gary Giddens recanting his accusations against Bing. Turns out Bing was a good father after all and Chris Crosby finally sets the record straight. In fact, he was not only helpful to family but many celebrity friends told Chris that Bing was responsible for their success as well.

Bing built 4 churches, started Del Mar race track, owned the Pittsburgh Pirates, oil fields & orange groves, Bing Crosby laboratories were involved in the development of Ampex audio tape and video tape. He's won Grammys, Emmys, Oscars & is still a million selling artist annually. He's been called by his peers: "the biggest star of the 20th Century".


To date, over $200,000.00 of priceless footage has been shot by Chris... all contain personal stories and intimate information about Bing and Bob, things never before revealed. The best moments of these interviews will be used throughout the docudrama, both on camera and voice-over.

To finish the project, funds are being sought for dramatic recreations, still to be filmed and post production editing, mastering, color & sound correction, film clips & music licensing...

For more information, see HERE

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Here is an interesting article on Bing from Life Magazine Jan. 11, 1954, page 57 in regards to Bing's first TV special...

For two years the Columbia Broadcasting System tried to get Bing Crosby to join the parade of film stars moving into TV, but, except for brief guest appearances, the Groaner was "too busy" as oil tycoon, rancher, investor in scores of enterprises. Finally Crosby broke down and put himself on film in a half-hour TV program. To millions of Americans who tuned in last Sunday the Bing Crosby Show brought back memories of radio, 1932, and an era when the blue of the night regularly and tunefully met the gold of the day.

On TV Bing was the same old Crosby. He did a fairly spry song and dance. He indulged in mild horseplay with Guest Star Jack Benny. But, as was proper for a man who has been probably the finest and certainly the most enduring popular singer of his time, Bing kept the show mostly musical, singing in his easy, artful style. Feeling old (49), he sighed as he watched Benny with pretty Sheree North: "Oh to be 39 again." Then, eyeing a graceful retirement on his multimillion-dollar fortune, Crosby decided not to film another TV show until spring.


Friday, November 8, 2013


Here is the usual great review done by the Bing Crosby guru Bruce Kogan. This time around he reviews one of Bing's least liked films - Say One For Me from 1959...

I'm sure that during his career in his later years Bing Crosby was offered the chance to repeat playing Father O'Malley as an older priest and at one point that would have been a natural fit for him. Unfortunately after this film, Bing was done with the clergy.

He tries his best with Father Conroy and his best moments are musical ones especially with Debbie Reynolds, but the story is not convincing. It seems like Bing was doing a favour for someone just being involved in the film. The plot was the worst. Try as I might, I just can't believe that Robert Wagner turns from opportunistic heel to good guy just to win Debbie Reynolds.

In fact the main problem with the movie is Robert Wagner. A good actor he just doesn't have any talent musically. His big number in the movie was You Can't Love Them All was recorded by Dean Martin and had a modest success. Now if Dino had played his part, he might have overcome the script.

Bing's best number is The Secret of Christmas. In addition to recording it for the cast album of this film, six years later he recorded it for Frank Sinatra's Reprise label in a joint Christmas album with Old Blue Eyes and Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians. That is the superior version to the one he did in Say One For Me...

Bruce's rating: 4 out of 10
My rating: 3 out of 10

Monday, November 4, 2013


VIDEO may have killed the radio star but it seems CDs and iPods have not permanently dulled the love affair music buffs have with vinyl records. Vinyl is staging a comeback in the US, Europe and Australia and the nation's only vinyl record manufacturer is in a spin as modern artists elect to produce LPs as well as CDs.

The owners of Tasmanian music stores are also seeing a resurgence driven by collectors and audiophiles who rave about the superior sound, indie and punk bands who like the retro feel, and DJs who want vinyl records for their shows.

Records were thought to be close to obsolete a generation ago as CDs and internet downloads took hold.

But older music lovers like Ashley Cooper, 83, of Glenorchy, never lost touch.

Mr Cooper has about 460 Bing Crosby records and another 180 LPs.

He has built a cupboard to store his prized collection.

"I started collecting when I was about 14 years old and my old 78-speed records are as good today as the day they came out of the shop," Mr Cooper said.

He said he had noticed the recent interest in vinyl.

Andrew Argent from Red Hot Music in Devonport said the resurgence was being driven by younger customers.

New vinyl records arrive every week at the store.

Five years ago, there were none in stock.

"It is still a niche market but it has really taken off in the past two to three years," Mr Argent said.

"Records are more costly than CDs and while the younger ones are happy to pay the price, older shoppers tend to buy second-hand records from markets and garage sales." Mr Argent said the appeal of vinyl stemmed from a combination of factors.

"Vinyl is seen as cool and while some records are bought to never be played, most of the young buyers are giving them a spin," he said.

Vinyl Factory Australia is the nation's last vinyl record manufacturer capable of automated pressings. Business is booming and the factory recently produced 600 copies of Powderfinger's Dream Days at the Hotel Existence.

The records were stamped on a Beatles-era EMI 1400 machine and are among an estimated 500,000 pressings expected to emerge from the company's Marrickville factory this year.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013


From Michael Feinstein:
"In 1978 while doing research for Ira Gershwin on the RKO films for which the Gershwins had written scores, I stumbled upon a box of old lacquer disks in the RKO Warehouse. I asked the curator Jon Hall about them, and he told me that he was unaware of any such disks in the collection. It was a jumble of files and papers and not well organized. He told me that they had no interest in the recordings and had no desire to keep them. Rather than see them destroyed, I offered to make a tape transfer of the disks if he would give me the originals. Jon was happy to clear out some of the detritus in the warehouse and I departed with a hodgepodge of film-related disks from the 1940s. Some were audition records of film hopefuls, some were orchestral cues, and there were also two 12" glass base lacquer disks of Bing Crosby, one cracked beyond repair and the other not only playable but in miraculously good shape for its fragility. It had no label and simply said "Crosby- fluff" in grease pencil. Upon playing the side I was delighted by the rich sound of Crosby's voice–and also the comment he makes at the end. In The Bells Of Saint Mary's he plays a pious man of the cloth. I wonder if he was wearing a priest's collar when he made this record?"


Friday, October 25, 2013


I wish ABC Television would get off their money making rumps to issue The Hollywood Palace varierty show on DVD. The series was one of the best out there, and it is a time capsule of talent from the 1930s to 1960s. The Hollywood Palace very successful, and it ran on Saturday nights from 1964 to 1970. This was one of the first variety shows on TV to feature a different host each week. The Les Brown Orchestra was the house band for most of the show. While most of the entertainers were more of the mainstream type, the Rolling Stones did make their very first American television appearance on the show on Jun 6, 1964. In 1969 the Jackson Five made their very first TV appearance on the show also. Bing Crosby was the most frequent show host, doing the emcee duties 31 times, including the final show on February 7, 1970.

Other hosts included Ginger Rogers, Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis, Jr. The show’s set was pretty remarkable for an “early” variety show. It started with the a thousand twinkling lights spelling out HOLLYWOOD PALACE. The announcer dramatically identified the host and the stage set opened up and went up over the stage to reveal the star. For most of its run on television, with a lead-in of The Lawrence Welk Show at 8:30 p.m., at 9:30, The Hollywood Palace enjoyed consistently respectable ratings, although it never made the list of top 30 programs. By the start of the 1969-1970 season (its seventh year), the ratings had slipped and ABC canceled the series in February 1970. Bing Crosby hosted the final episode, which consisted of clips from previous shows. Please release this series on DVD!

Monday, October 21, 2013


Bing Crosby is the undisputed king of Hollywood. He was the top box office draw longer than any other actor before or since. He held that position from 1944 until 1949. Slowly, his movies are starting to see the light of day on DVD, but many of his movies are currently unavailable. Here are a few different pictures that you might not have seen before from Bing's movies...

DR. RHYTHM (1938) with Mary Carlisle




SAY ONE FOR ME (1959) with Debbie Reynolds


Monday, October 14, 2013

OCTOBER 14, 1977

Remembering Harry Lillis Crosby (aka Bing Crosby), thirty six years after his death...

His voice spanned generations, and it was what made America great. There will never be another Bing...

Friday, October 11, 2013


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Frank (Bingy) A. Lucci, 97, of Fort Myers, Fla., who loved music and was an avid Bing Crosby fan, died Sept. 24 in Hope Hospice, Fort Myers. Born in East Kingston, N.Y., he was brought to Port Richmond as a child and remained in the community until 2003, when he relocated to Fort Myers. Mr. Lucci served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He attained the rank of seaman first class and was honorably discharged in 1945. He worked at his brother's appliance shop, Johnny Lucci's Radio Sales and Appliance Inc., in West Brighton.

Mr. Lucci enjoyed listening to music and his nickname grew out of his appreciation for singer Bing Crosby. He also was fond of visits to Atlantic City. He was known for always being there for a friend or family member in need. Mr. Lucci remained very active and was still driving until a couple of months ago, family said. While living on the Island, he was a parishioner of St. Roch's R.C. Church, Port Richmond. His wife of 68 years, the former Josephine Scolaro, died in 2008. Surviving is his son, Frank Jr. A memorial mass will be celebrated in May at St. Roch's Church, with burial of ashes in St. Peter's Cemetery, West Brighton. Arrangements, including cremation, were handled by the National Cremation and Burial Society, North Fort Myers, Fla...


Monday, October 7, 2013


A letter from Bing Crosby to Archbishop John Charles McQuaid appealing for nurses for his new US hospital is just one of the fascinating artefacts that will be on exhibition at the Archdiocese of Dublin as part of this year’s Culture Night.

The American singer and actor won an Oscar for his performance as Father Chuck O’Malley in 1944 but he was also a practising Catholic and active care-giver in real life. One of his projects involved the building of a hospital in Sacremento, California but his “efforts to find someone to staff the hospital have been futile”, he wrote. In the letter sent in 1961, he asked the Archbishop about the “possibility of getting some Sisters from Ireland to come and operate the hospital.” The document will be on display along with many other historical items as part of the annual Culture Night, Dublin Diocesan Archivist Noelle Dowling told Independent.ie. It is the first time that the Clonliffe-based seminary is participating in Culture Night celebrations, with rooms at the Holy Cross College hosting a presentation of 20th Century religious art and related manuscripts. Another manuscript on display at the Dublin Diocese – which is one of the largest archives in the country - is a parchment issued by the then Archbishop of Dublin, Hugh Curwen, in 1558. “Archbishop Curwen had expressed his approval of the marriage of Henry VIII to Ann Boleyn and then later declared himself a Protestant,” said Ms Dowling. Ms Dowling, who has been working with the Dublin diocesan archive for over eight years, has also done significant work in uncovering a large amount of documents chronicling the role of the Catholic Church in the 1913 Lockout dispute. “Some of the work that was being carried out quietly to help those families and children in need at the time may not already be known,” she said, adding she hoped this exhibition will give the public a more balanced perspective. One such document highlights the efforts of women during the strikes, their images likened to “pictures from the French Revolution”. And while the Church’s part in the dock strike has always been somewhat controversial, a letter from Archbishop Walsh, Archbishop of Dublin at the time, indicates his intention to stop a Dublin woman from raising money to deport children of poor Dublin families to the UK. Now in its eighth year, Culture Night aims to offer “a myriad of cultural possibilities” as more than 190 organisations across 34 towns and cities in Ireland take part to bring their hidden ‘treasures’ to the public. Most participating venues taking part will be open 5pm-11pm and all events as part of Culture Night are free of charge... SOURCE

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Bing Crosby advertised so many things in his legendary career, it is almost impossible to know everything Bing was a spokesman for. Every Bing fan though is familiar with Bing's work for Philco radios. The advertisement below is probably my favorite ad that Bing ever did. I wish I was there listening to records with him...

Friday, September 27, 2013


There is a forum, hidden among other sites on the internet called The Bing Crosby Free Speech Fan Forum. It is a site available to spotlight the greatest entertainer of all time. What are your favorite movies or records? Did you ever meet Bing Crosby?

Please feel free to share your experiences with other people that enjoy Bing Crosby as well as his contemporaries. Bing Crosby guru and fan Steve Fay started the forum back in 2010. Serious Bing Crosby fans needed a place to freely discuss the delights and complexities related to one of the greatest film and recording artists of our time. Personal attacks will not be tolerated, but facts, weblinks, individual personal opinion labeled as opinion, and civil argument are welcomed. Stop in and participate in the conversation!


Monday, September 23, 2013


When I was younger and listening to old broadcasts of Bing Crosby's radio show, I always fast forwarded the songs that were performed by a group called The Charioteers. Listening years later now, I have finally realized what a great group they were, and they should be remembered up there with the greats like The Mills Brothers and The Ink Spots as well.
The Charioteers were a black gospel group formed in Ohio in 1930 by Billy Williams (1910-72). By 1937 the group consisted of Williams (lead tenor), Eddie Jackson (second tenor), Ira Williams (baritone), Howard Daniel (bass) and James Sherman (piano). They recorded mostly negro spirituals for the Vocalion label until they signed with Columbia in 1940. Columbia wanted to remake the group into a pop rival to Decca's Ink Spots. Soon the Charioteers were in the pop music charts with their recording of Russ Morgan's 1940 song "So Long." Although they never achieved the phenomenal success of the Ink Spots, the Charioteers' gospel-pop sound did produce a total of 7 hits of their own in the 1940s and two more in support of other artists.

The Charioteers became regulars on Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall during the fall 1942 season. They stayed with Bing on the radio throughout most of the next 5 years, including the first season of the Philco show. Although the Charioteers did not commercially record with Bing (they were under contract to different record companies), they did record with other top vocalists, and produced two top 30 hits with Sinatra ("Don't Forget Tomorrow Night") and Buddy Clark ("Now is the Hour"). Their seven solo hits include "So Long" (1940), "On the Boardwalk in Atlantic City" (1946), "Open the Door Richard" (1947), "Chi-Baba" (1947), "What Did He Say?" (1948), "Look-A-There Ain't She Pretty" (1948), and "A Kiss and a Rose" (1949). During this same period the Ink Spots produced more than 3 dozen top 30 hits.

In 1950 Billy Williams was asked to form a group to perform regularly on TV in Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows. The TV producers thought the Charioteers were too old. So Williams left the Charioteers and formed The Billy Williams Quartet. The Charioteers sans Williams continued to perform throughout most of the 1950s but without their previous chart success. The group disbanded in 1957. Williams eventually became a solo artist and was the first in-person guest on American Bandstand. Williams died in Chicago on Oct. 17, 1972. The group never rose to the heights of the Mills Brothers or Ink Spots, but their recordings and appearances did a lot for African-American acts, and they were pioneers in their field...


Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I don't have many details on this CD, but it looks like it could be interesting. Release date is November 19, 2013.  It is being offered on Amazon...

"This CD Features the great Bing Crosby (he had three hundred and forty entries in the charts between 1931 and 1954) performing selections specially recorded for the Armed Forces Radio Service with The Andrews Sisters, Trudy Erwin, The Charioteers Eugene Baird accompanied by John Scott Trotter And His Orchestra. Plus four numbers taken from his popular series Philco Radio Time which also featured Dinah Shore, Ken Carpenter and The Rhythmaires."



It is good to see another Bing film on the latest newer medium Blu-Ray. I am not sure if there are any special features on this issue and or if it will be released on DVD...

Olive Films have revealed that they are planning to bring to Blu-ray Leo McCarey's The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), starring Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, and Henry Travers. The release will be available for purchase in November.

Witty, heartwarming and utterly charming, The Bells of Saint Mary's delivers all the entertainment of its predecessor, the Academy Award-winning Best Picture (1944), Going My Way. Bing Crosby recreates his Oscar-winning (Best Actor) role as parish priest Father O'Malley, who is sent to revive the financially ailing parochial school. The easy-going O'Malley is immediately at odds with no-nonsense Sister Benedict (Ingrid Bergman in a Golden Globe-winning performance) on how to educate children. Beyond their delightful battle of wits lies a bigger problem. The skinflint businessman next door (Henry Travers, It's A Wonderful Life) wants St. Mary's condemned. Only a miracle can save it now. How a devilish situation finds a heavenly solution remains to be seen in this captivating family classic that was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress.


Friday, September 13, 2013


The nephew of legendary crooner Bing Crosby has said the singer was always "enormously proud" of his Irish roots.

Howard Crosby (above) was speaking ahead of a concert in which he was performing in honour of the bi-centenary of the founder of St Vincent de Paul, Frederic Ozanam. "The Irish were second-class citizens in America for the better part of 100 years," he said. "But when Bing Crosby (right) openly acknowledged and celebrated his Irish ancestry . . . it went from being something you might have been ashamed of, to something that was cool."

The charity concert was held last week in the National Concert Hall.

Also singing was 'X Factor' contestant Mary Byrne (above). In 1995, Mary was struggling with her finances and received help from the charity. "I always said if I could give back a little I would," she said...


Monday, September 9, 2013


Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Bing Crosby's Boyhood Home, 508 E. Sharp Ave., Saturday, October 26, 2013; 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. To celebrate this home's 100th anniversary, the Advocates of the Bing Crosby Theater will be hosting an open house and cake during Gonzaga's Fall Family Weekend.

This event is free and open to the public. In July 1913, Harry and Catherine Crosby moved with their six children (No. 7 on the way) into the nine-room, two-story home, Bing Crosby's father, had the house built to accommodate his large family. Catherine had purchased the property for $1 from the Pioneer Educational Society, a Jesuit organization that owned much land around Gonzaga. Numerous Catholic families built their homes in this neighborhood, which became known as "the Holy Land" or "the Little Vatican."

The house served as the Crosby family's home for 23 years, including when Bing attended Gonzaga High School and Gonzaga University (1914-24). The C. P. Higgins family purchased the home from the Crosby family in 1936 for $3,600, and owned it until 1978. The Gonzaga Alumni Association purchased the house in 1980. The Crosby Alumni House was used for alumni events with staff offices upstairs unitl 2010, when the Alumni Association moved to the Heutter Mansion across the street. Afterwards, the Crosby House was used for office space for a couple of departments.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Here is another excellent review from our guest reviewer Bruce Kogan. I am anxious to read what he has to say about Here Is My Heart - it was pratically a lost film until it was recently issued on DVD...

This film had been thought of as lost for about half a century when apparently Kathryn Crosby must have been rummaging through some closets and announced that Bing had a copy of this formerly lost film of his. It was restored and back in the early 1990s I saw the newly restored version with my friend Scott Barton and hosting the film was its co-star, Kitty Carlisle. It was a great afternoon.

And the film was well worth saving. Songwriters Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger gave Crosby, It's June In January and With Every Breath I Take to sing and Robin teamed up with Lewis Gensler for Love Is Just Around the Corner. All three songs were good selling records for Bing and a particular favorite of mine has always been With Every Breath I Take. He sang these a few times during the film both solo and as duets with Carlisle.

The records incidentally were the first movie songs and almost the first songs Crosby recorded for the brand new Decca record label. Although Decca signed many artists, Crosby was their number one artist for 20 years. Decca and Crosby were virtually synonymous.

No acting stretch here in terms of character. Crosby plays a rich crooner. Jokes about his wealth were a staple in Bob Hope's repertoire, although Hope did pretty good in that department as well. In 1934 Crosby was accumulating his fortune, but he wasn't near the point where as Hope once said, "he doesn't pay taxes, he just calls up the Treasury and asks how much they need."

Like many rich people and some not so rich Bing was collecting his toys in this film and he had one pistol in a matched set of dueling pistols that once belonged to John Paul Jones. Bing wants to get the set and donate them to the Naval Academy. Problem is that the other one belongs to Kitty Carlisle who is an exiled Russian princess living in Monte Carlo with her retinue which consists of Roland Young, Alison Skipworth and Reginald Owen. Essentially these people live off her selling her possessions and they're getting fewer and fewer.

So Bing goes off to Monte Carlo meets Carlisle and the fun begins. A standard criticism I have of Crosby's films is that Paramount shot them on the cheap, especially his musical numbers. It would have been great if Paramount had actually shot the thing in Monte Carlo, but to be fair, no studio in Hollywood would have gone those lengths in 1934. Twenty years later Paramount did go to Monte Carlo for a movie and the result was To Catch A Thief. Here Is My Hear would have been as special as that film had they done that and with color to boot.

This was also the first film Crosby did with William Frawley who appeared in several of his films. Frawley was one of film land's great misanthropic alcoholics and by all accounts not a nice man to know. Crosby and a lot of Hollywood gave up on him, until Desi Arnaz saved him from oblivion and gave him a fresh career as Fred Mertz.

Kitty Carlisle said that Crosby was a difficult man to know for her. He came to the studio, did his business and left. If he had his druthers, Bing would have been out on the golf course. But she enjoyed the two films she did with him. When I saw Here Is My Heart it was playing with Murder At the Vanities and she had not much good to say about her leading man Carl Brisson in that one.

One ironic tragedy. The film centered around Crosby trying to acquire antique dueling pistols. Crosby's crooning rival Russ Columbo was killed by an antique dueling pistol that summer around the time Here Is My Heart would have been in the theaters. A year before Columbo had visited Bing on the set of We're Not Dressing where Crosby's co- star was Carole Lombard who was linked to Columbo at the time.

Here Is My Heart was well worth saving. I guess we should all be grateful to Kathryn Crosby for doing her spring cleaning...