Wednesday, December 31, 2014


The other day I was at the supermarket, and I had a Bing Crosby record playing from my CD player. A guy in his early 30s, maybe a few years younger than me asked who that was. I told him Bing Crosby happily, but my happiness was short lived when he said "Oh Bing is the guy that beat his wife and tried to kill his kids."

I am going to start out this article though by saying it is hard to raise children. There are so many outside pressures that societies places on parents as well as children. Those pressures are magnified when one is famous. The famous parent has an image that they must keep up for the public. Also, they are the real problems that “normal” parents have. In my opinion, famous people do not make good parents. Even if they try their best, their children also have to live up to their image. That image is nearly impossible to match, and the child cannot create a life of their own, because they are always compared to their famous and successful parent. Then after the child grows up and often after the famous parent is dead, they write the tell-all book. They do it for many reasons, but I think the two biggest is money and revenge. Two of the most famous instances of the children writing a book about their parents are when Christina Crawford wrote “Mommie Dearest” about her adopted mother Joan Crawford in 1978, and when Gary Crosby followed her book up with “Going My Own Way” about his father Bing Crosby in 1983.

Two be perfectly blunt and honest, neither Joan Crawford nor Bing Crosby were the greatest parents. As for Bing Crosby, he had the most widely recorded voice in the history of mankind. How can someone compare to that. When his son Gary was born in 1933, Bing was becoming the most popular star in the world. By the 1940s, Bing was the most popular icon in movies, on records, and in radio. Bing worked non-stop and pretty much was never home. Bing grew up with a strict mother himself, and he wanted to instill that strictness in his children. However, with Bing gone maybe 300 days a year, when he would come home and try to discipline the children and be a father, it would just make their relationship worse. If Bing was able to tell his sons, especially Gary, that he loved them more then Gary might have turned out differently. What compounded matters was the fact Bing’s wife Dixie Lee was becoming an alcoholic. She could not cope with the fame and the absence of a husband for long periods of time. Gary blamed Bing for Dixie’s problems, and when Dixie died of cancer in 1952 then Gary really started acting out. Gary got in public fights (some with brothers), got married and divorced numerous, and arrested on many occasions. All four sons suffered from alcoholism like their mother. However, even though one’s home life may not be ideal or may not have a father present, once one is an adult then their life is their own responsibility. Gary never took responsibility for his own life.

Gary wrote his book about his dad to ride the coattails of Christina Crawford. As source in the Crosby family says that Gary actually wrote two versions of his book. The publisher said it wasn’t juicy enough so he made Bing out to be an abusive and unfeeling monster. As Gary laid dying of cancer in 1995, he not only was planning on doing a duets album with old recordings of his father, but he recanted his whole book. He said Bing never beat him, and although he was absent for most of his childhood he admitted the book was mostly lies.

Whatever the truth actually is, the damage was done to the memory of Joan Crawford and even moreso to the memory of Bing Crosby. When one sees their names they instantly think of the abuse and not the talent the stars had. Maybe Joan and Bing were not the greatest parents, but isn’t that their own business behind closed doors. They both entertained millions of fans who needed it during the Great Depression and World War II. Even if they were the monsters that their children painted them as for financial gains, that does not diminish their talents. Both icons deserve to be remembered for their talents and not negative books written by their children…

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


It’s that time of year in the Bolen house when Christmas music has started to play and I get to hear all the little voices throughout the house singing along. The other night I was hanging out with my kids and Bing Crosby’s version of “The First Noel” came on and I about collapsed with excitement. As the ensemble began to gently play the opening notes of the song, Bing started to speak, not sing, but speak. It was a very different type of introduction to a song, yet as a worship pastor, very relatable in a strange way. Here’s what he said:
“Say friends wherever you are tonight, whether you’re in the snows of New England or up in the Northwest, or on the warm tropical beaches of the Florida coast, I really hope you’re getting into the spirit of this Christmas song. I don’t mean just sitting back in your easy chair listening to us having all the fun. I mean throwing back your head, opening up your hearts and singing as loud or as pretty as you know how. Gang singing is a lot more fun then you’ll ever know unless you give it a whirl sometime. So come on now, join me in the The First Noel. If you don’t know the words well, hum a little, tap your feet or gee whiz, do something! You ready?”
Um, yeah! Two things in what he said really stood out to me. First, the call he was giving people to sing was compelling and I imagined in my head my tone-deaf grandfather 50 years ago would have been pretty keen to join in. The second, I found it refreshing, (even if the recording is over 50 years old), that he would go through the work of casting a vision in such a way that anyone could participate, regardless of their ability. Now I don’t know all that Bing had in mind except to assume that his reasons for inviting people to sing was that he believed it was a good thing. It wasn’t a call to worship, although the song is about Jesus, it was in so many ways an invitation to do something that is natural...

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Along with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney - one of the most charming parts of the 1954 musical White Christmas was dancer Vera-Ellen. The movie was released 60 years ago, but since then rumors have persisted as to the health of Vera-Ellen during the making of the movie.

As you might notice, Vera-Ellen’s neck is covered in many pictures. In fact, her neck is covered up in the entirety of White Christmas. Vera-Ellen was an extremely thin woman who died in 1980 (at the age of 61). While never officially diagnosed during her lifetime (heck, the term itself was barely around during her lifetime), Vera-Ellen is alleged to have suffered from anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness pertaining to a distorted view of how skinny a person is that results in many different effects in people, most specifically, the physical problems of having their body waste away due to their belief that they are too fat.

Vera-Ellen was an EXTREMELY skinny woman for the rest of her life, and biographers of her have made it pretty clear that she suffered from the disease (it was perhaps exacerbated by studio weight requirements, something that afflicted Judy Garland, as well).

While it has not been proven, I do agree that the circumstantial evidence is probably there enough that I would tend to agree that she had SOME sort of eating disorder.

Bill Dennington, a friend of Vera-Ellen, had the following to say on the matter:
"Vera-Ellen was a friend for 20 years until her death. I was in L.A. and had lunch with her 2 weeks prior to her death. If you’ve read David Soren’s book Vera-Ellen: The Magic and The Mystery you would have seen my personal photographs of Vera-Ellen. The photographs were taken in the 60’s and 70’s and she looked fine. All of her life she wore something around her neck, a necklace,a choker, a scarf, a collar, etc., etc. It was her “trademark” like Van Johnson wore red socks. I saw her neck many times it was lovely… Audrey Hepburns. Hate that people think of her as “the dancer with anorexia” and not just the FABULOUS DANCER WHO HAS BEEN SO OVERLOOKED !!!!!!!!!!!!"
In any event, to the matter at hand – the story is that Vera-Ellen’s neck had to be covered up in White Christmas because the costumes were designed to cover her neck, which was aged beyond her years due to her eating disorder. If you search around, you’ll get that basic story in lots of places.

However, while I would agree that it seems to be too much of a coincidence that they happened to cover her neck in EVERY shot in White Christmas, I differ about the reason behind it. It may be none of our business what Vera-Ellen was suffering from, but regardless what is not disputed is that she was a wonderful and talented dancer...

Thursday, December 11, 2014


I was born in 1974, so my life was decades after the Great Depression and World War II. However, I learned to appreciate the music of that generation due to a close friendship I had with my Grandfather. He instilled in me a love of great music and more importantly a love of Bing Crosby. Young people today do not really know who Bing Crosby is. People in my generation barely know who he is. Thankfully PBS television on their "American Masters" program presented a great documentary on Bing called Bing Crosby Rediscovered. The documentary debuted on December 2nd, but it did not air in the Pittsburgh area until December 10th.

Of course the documentary presented the facts that Bing's fans have known for years: Bing Crosby was much more than the White Christmas crooner. Crosby established his name on radio and stage throughout the 1920s. By the early 1930s, he had become a superstar. For more than two decades, his name was at or near the top of record charts, radio ratings and the movie box office. He won an Academy Award as best actor for his performance inGoing My Way (1944). He received an honorary Grammy in 1963. His later career included a series of highly rated TV specials, a format he helped to pioneer.

Half way through the documentary, it gets very interesting as Bing's private life is examined. As the documentary tells it, Crosby and his wife, actress Dixie Lee, were alcoholics, and, although he managed the disease, she did not. She died at age 40 after a battle with ovarian cancer. Crosby wasn’t around much for his family because of work, but when he was present, he was a strict father. Six years after Crosby’s death, son Gary Crosby published the memoir Going My Own Way, which claimed that Bing beat his kids severely. It is a claim that Gary later recanted on his deathbed.

For fans of Bing, the music is all familiar, but what is even more fascinating is some of the photos of Bing Crosby that I have never seen before. Even my wife was amazed at how Bing looked without his toupee. There are even sad pictures of Bing at the funeral of his wife Dixie Lee, deep in mourning. I believe the death of Dixie was a turning point for Bing, both personally and professionally. 

The documentary lets viewers draw their own conclusions about Bing Crosby’s personal life.

But the film’s perspective on his professional legacy is clear: He was a landmark entertainer, a technological maverick, a colleague who stood up for pals in need. He came to the aid of such fellow performers as Judy Garland and Mildred Bailey. Back to his sons, there is also audio showing how concerned Bing was with his boys, and how they were basically out of control.

Does Bing Crosby need rediscovered? He certainly does. Without Bing Crosby even many of these so-called singers would not be around today. Bing Crosby may have been the most widely recorded human voice in the history of mankind! The statistics are mind boggling, and although it is hard to cover Bing's career in a 90 minute documentary, Bing Crosby Remembered definitely does Bing justice...


Monday, December 8, 2014


But a new documentary called Bing Crosby Rediscovered – which aired on December 2nd at 8 p.m. ET on PBS as part of the American Masters series – sheds fresh light on Crosby's first family with Dixie Lee, a shy actress who drank herself to oblivion before succumbing to ovarian cancer in 1952 at the age of 41.

She and Crosby had four sons, two of whom were twins named Dennis and Phillip, who experts believe suffered from their mother's heavy drinking.

"I had been hearing about it and then the twins, they didn't look quite right," Robert Trachtenberg, the documentary's director, tells PEOPLE. "Something had told me that it was fetal alcohol syndrome, so I took existing photos of the twins and showed it to a couple of specialists at USC. When they’re born [with fetal alcohol syndrome], it affects their skull and their nose, and it manifests itself physically as well. The specialists looked at them and said 'Yeah, this is a like a textbook case of fetal alcohol syndrome.' "

It's not clear whether Crosby ever suspected that his first wife's drinking had an adverse affect on their twins, Trachtenberg admits. Dennis Crosby killed himself in 1991, and Phillip died of a heart attack in 1994. (The two other brothers, Gary and Lindsay, died in 1995 and 1989).

"I couldn't find anything where he blamed her," Trachtenberg says. "That's the other tragedy of this whole situation. She died at 41. Nobody really had any significant way to treat that. Kathryn, Bing's second wife, says in the film it was a terrible way to die. So to add insult to injury, you have this situation [with the twins] on the one hand and then she dies on the other. We could have done a whole other film just about that."

The rest of the documentary features interviews with Crosby's second family – including wife Kathryn and their daughter, Dallas actress Mary Crosby – and focuses on the singer's many contributions to the business, like how he revolutionized radio when he began taping his popular radio shows.

"I think people have this idea of him from those Christmas specials from the end of his life, which even Mary said was bad variety TV," Trachtenberg says. "But what they don’t remember was how cool he really was in the '30s and '40s and '50s. He is just so revered as a musician’s musician to this day … his timing, his phrasing. People still cite him as one of the most influential singers of the 20th century."


Monday, December 1, 2014


Just in time for Christmas, this company in the Czech Republic is producing a Bing Crosby marionette!

I am trying to contact the company to get more info and inquire about the costs...


Monday, November 24, 2014


Don Clark, a former member of Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, offered Bing and Al Rinker an opportunity to make their first record while they waited to join the Whiteman band. On October 18, 1926, Bing and Al recorded "I've Got the Girl" accompanied by Don Clark's Biltmore Hotel Orchestra in Los Angeles.

The song was recorded using an electrical, not acoustic, microphone. "I've Got the Girl" was released on a 78rpm disk as Columbia #824-D. On the flip side was Don Clark's instrumental version of "Idolizing." Two months later Bing and Al joined the Whiteman Orchestra in Chicago, where they cut their first records with Whiteman -- "Wistful and Blue" and "Pretty Lips" -- on Dec. 22.

If anyone has a 78rpm copy of this first record for sale, please contact me. I have been searching for it for my collection....

Monday, November 17, 2014


Sadly the news of this show is a little late, but I am so happy that Bob Pasch is still going strong...

A Tribute to Bing starring Bob Pasch is heading to the Old Creamery Theatre for one show only on Saturday, November 15 at 2 p.m. A Dean Martin Tribute was originally scheduled at this time, however due to an emergency surgery he has had to cancel the show. The Old Creamery Theatre wishes him a speedy recovery. Lucky for you, we found an incredible Tribute to Bing Crosby to come to the Old Creamery Theatre!

Bob Pasch has delighted audiences for more than 30 years with his good, clean humor and his remarkable likeness in sound, appearance, and mannerisms to Bing Crosby. His tribute shows are endorsed by Kathryn Crosby, Bing’s widow, as well as all the major Bing Crosby fan clubs.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $18 for students. Reservations are recommended. Call the box office for tickets and information 319-622-6262 or visit us online at


Saturday, November 15, 2014


July 10, 1944...
Bing Crosby was the headline attraction at the Super-Star Bond Show held at Atascadero Golf Club. Bing played the crowd of 600 bond buyers at the microphone and then played the course in a nine-hole exhibition. He was one of the best golfers. After the war his golf tournament, the Crosby Clambake, up in Carmel would become famous.
Other celebrities included golf trick shot artist "Mysterious" Montague, welterweight boxer Jimmy McLarnin, heavyweight boxer Jim Jeffries and football player Bronko Nagurski...

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Allison Schuster remembers when Bing Crosby built a summer home next to her family’s place on Hayden Lake.

She was married with young children of her own at the time. She’s 93 now.

She saw the Slice question about how many around here can say they knew Crosby.
“He was always friendly,” she said. “He always waved.”

She said you could always tell when his friend Phil Harris, also an entertainer, was visiting for the week. “You could hear him laugh.”

Today Schuster occasionally encounters people who don’t recognize the name Bing Crosby. “Can you imagine that?”


Saturday, November 1, 2014


Ian Fraser, whose 11 Emmy Awards and 21 additional nominations made him the most-honored musician in television history, died of complications from cancer Friday morning at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.

All of Fraser’s Emmy noms and wins were in the music direction category, for supervising and conducting television specials, including 14 of the annual “Christmas in Washington” events over the past 30 years.

Fraser was also in his 10th term as a governor of the Television Academy. He conducted the 1984, 1993 and 2002 Emmy shows, as well as the 1984 Oscar telecast, and served as musical director for many of the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame ceremonies.

He was also nominated for a 1970 Oscar for adapting Leslie Bricusse’s song score for “Scrooge.”

Fraser had long professional relationships with Bricusse as well as with Julie Andrews and with Anthony Newley.

Fraser was born in Hove, England, in 1933, and served in the Royal Artillery band and orchestra as pianist, harpist and military-band percussionist. In the late 1950s he worked as a pianist in London nightclubs and began a career as an arranger.

He first worked with singer-songwriter Anthony Newley in 1960, arranging his songs and adapting his theatrical ventures including, with Bricusse, “Stop the World — I Want to Get Off,” which he supervised and orchestrated for Broadway in 1962.

Also for Broadway, he later conducted Bricusse’s “Pickwick” in 1965 and Henry Mancini and Bricusse’s stage version of their film hit “Victor/Victoria” in 1995.

His film career began in 1965 as vocal supervisor for the musical “Doctor Dolittle” and as associate musical supervisor on “Goodbye Mr. Chips,” both of which sported Bricusse song scores.

Fraser’s professional association with Julie Andrews started with his work as vocal arranger for her 1972 ABC variety series. They later did five TV specials, two Christmas albums and two Broadway albums together, with Fraser arranging and conducting the music.

He served as musical director on dozens of TV specials beginning in the mid-1970s, many of them produced by the team of Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith.

He won Emmys for “America Salutes Richard Rodgers,” “Ben Vereen: His Roots,” “Baryshnikov on Broadway,” Linda Lavin’s “Linda in Wonderland,” “SAG 50th Anniversary Celebration,” two of the “Christmas in Washington” specials, “Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas,” a “Great Performances” Julie Andrews concert, the “American Teacher Awards” and the “52nd Presidential Inaugural Gala.”

Fraser was the last person to conduct “White Christmas” for Bing Crosby, on Crosby’s final TV special in 1977. He also scored several films including “Hopscotch,” “First Monday in October” and “Zorro, the Gay Blade.”

Survivors include his wife Judee, three children, five grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer...


With new mammoth Universal box release of some twenty Bing Crosby movies on DVD, you would think that the loyal allegiance of Bing Crosby fans would be clamoring to buy the expensive and yet seemingly extensive collection of Bing films. However, I do not think it will be the case, because all of these films have already been issued on DVD – sometimes for the fifth and sixth time. It got me thinking of the countless Bing Crosby movies that have never seen the light of day. Here are five films that in my opinion deserve to be released:

It is really shocking that this early musical is not on DVD yet. It was never even been issued on video. It not only was Bing’s first feature film for Paramount Studios, but it also had a huge cast of radio superstars in addition to Bing like: George Burns, Gracie Allen, Kate Smith, The Boswell Sisters, and The Mills Brothers just to name a few. Bing gets so sing some great standards as well like: “Please”, “Here Lies Love”, and “Dinah”. The old days of radio may seem outdated these days, but it is fun to see how the most important medium of 1932 worked.

2. THE STAR MAKER (1939)
This forgotten film was Bing’s first movie where he played a character based on a real person. Bing played entertainer Gus Edwards (1879-1945). Edwards did not want his life made into a movie, so they changed Bing’s name in the movie to Larry Earl. The movie did not really touch upon the songwriting ability of Gus Edwards but more about his work as a child show producer. Bing sings some great vintage numbers like “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now” and “School Days” as well as singing some new songs like “An Apple For The Teacher” and “Still The Blue Birds Sing”. Again, it amazes me that such a cheerful and fun movie has not even been released on video, let alone DVD.

3. DIXIE (1943)
I do not think the film Dixie will ever see the light of day because of how racist blackface is viewed as. It is an outdated and sort of embarrassing genre of entertainment, but I believe it is a part of American history no matter how it is perceived now. Bing again played a real person, songwriter Dan Emmett (1815-1904) who wrote the popular song “Dixie”. This film was important because it was Bing’s first movie in color, and the story is actually pretty good. Aside from Bing trying to make it as a song writer and performer he had an interesting love triangle with Marjorie Reynolds and Dorothy Lamour. A nicely remastered version of this Technicolor film would be great to see.

4. MR. MUSIC (1950)
Of the five Bing films I put on this list, Mr. Music is the only film that was released on video. So it is a shame it is not on DVD. The movie is not great, and unfortunately the songs are not that memorable either, but Bing was in great voice. The film is the charming story of a lazy songwriter (another songwriting role) who is facing financial ruin if he does not start writing again. The cast included guest appearances by Groucho Marx, Peggy Lee, and Dorothy Kirsten to name a few. Bing and Kirsten duet on “Accidents Will Happen”, which is a sleeper favorite of mine, and Bing is great on the number “And You’ll Be Home”. The movie was no Holiday Inn, but it is a breezy fun movie in my opinion.

5. MAN ON FIRE (1957)
Man On Fire was one of the four films Bing made at MGM Studios. The other three were Going Hollywood (1933), High Society (1956), and That’s Entertainment (1974). This 1957 film is distinctive because it was one of the few movies Bing did not sing it. The film is a tense drama about a husband divorcing his wife and fighting for the custody of his only son. Many people do not like this dramatic side of Bing Crosby’s movie career, but I enjoy the film. TCM plays the movie from time to time, but it has yet to be released on DVD. Viewing this movie even makes me wish Bing would have done more dramas.

All five of these films are worthy to be released on DVD. Maybe in time they will be. Fortunately I have been able to get bootleg copies of all five movies, but again they deserve an official studio release…

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Of all the melancholy memories of Jan Hooks -- who died on October 9, 2014 at the age of 57 -- certainly none resonate more with me, and maybe you too, than this remarkable short film that aired during the ninth episode of the 14th season of "Saturday Night Live."

For "SNL," "Love is a Dream" was a departure -- and "SNL" has never quite "departed" in this way since. This short film -- which "SNL" fans will vividly recall also repeated as a tribute, following Hartman's death in 1998 -- was directed by Tom Schiller, a true "SNL" original (and, in fact, a member of the original writing team) who had created other short films/send-ups of classics like "La Dolce Gilda," or "Java Junkie" -- influenced naturally by "Reefer Madness."

This film is based on the cornpone weepy "The Emperor Waltz," a 1948 before-he-was-great Billy Wilder romantic fantasy starring Joan Fontaine and Bing Crosby, about a lovestruck Austrian princess, her dog and a salesman from Newark who wanted to marry her, but dear old dad -- the King, or whatever -- didn't think that was such a good idea. (For one thing, he didn't think they could live happily ever after in Newark...seriously, that was a reason.)

Here's what Schiller told Mike Thomas, as recounted in his just-published (and excellent) biography of Hartman, "You Might Remember Me": "Phil was a gentleman and she was a gentle lady. They weren't crass. They weren't showbiz types climbing to the top. That's why they had fun on the shoot, because it was away from Studio 8H, they got their own costuming, they were the stars. There was no one else telling them what to do. And it just wasn't for laughs every two lines." As it turns out, this short film, with principal photography by Neal Marshad, may well have been Hooks' finest moment on "SNL" -- and there wasn't a single laugh to be had...


Tuesday, October 21, 2014


"It's one of the best-loved scores ever," Gordon Greenberg says of Holiday Inn, the 1942 Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire musical film that launched the lives of now-classic Irving Berlin songs including "White Christmas" and "Easter Parade." Greenberg, the director and reinventor of musicals including Working and The Baker's Wife, is now helming the show in a new adaptation he coauthored with Chad Hodge. The world premiere production is currently running at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut, through December 7.

The classic film revolves around Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby's role, here played by Tally Sessions) and Tim Hanover (Fred Astaire on film, now Noah Racey), longtime vaudeville performers whose partnership comes to an end when Ted announces that he's going to run off with Jim's girlfriend, the dancer Lila Dixon (Hayley Podschun taking on Virginia Dale's screen role). Jim, using this as the impetus to retire, buys a New England farmhouse and converts it into an inn that is open to the public only on major holidays. It's a relatively quiet existence, until Ted returns and sets his sights on Jim's new lady friend, Linda Mason (Patti Murin, in the Marjorie Reynolds role).
Gordon Greenberg, director
For Greenberg, it was the opportunity to make the story that had a surprising mature subject matter (for a family film) just a touch more family-friendly. "In the original, it was a romantic triangle," he says. "Fred Astaire was literally stealing his best friend's fiancée. In this version, it's not about him stealing his best friend's fiancée, but instead offering her a golden opportunity in show business." It's an idea that he finds more contemporary — "the pull of accomplishment and success and how one defines that" — and one that he hopes will resonate with today's audiences. That's not the only thing that's been changed. The painfully dated blackface number "Abraham," presented in honor of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, has been excised completely, as it is when the film is broadcast annually on television.
Despite the presence of a cast of Broadway regulars and the backing of none other than the Universal Stage Productions division of Universal Pictures, a New York run isn't guaranteed. Still, the success of the stage version of Berlin's White Christmas, which toured the United States and Europe before landing on Broadway in 2008 and 2009, is encouraging. But the two shows couldn't be more different, at least in terms of becoming a holiday perennial. "The difference between that and this is that this is a musical in ten holidays, as we like to say. Christmas is only a small percentage of the show. We spend just as much time on Easter," Gordon says. "Just in terms of Americana, it probably has more in common with The Music Man than it does with White Christmas."


Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Thirty-seven years later Bing Crosby is still missed...


Friday, October 10, 2014


It is hard to believe that the 1954 musical White Christmas is turning 60 years old. It is all being reissued on DVD...

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas Diamond Anniversary Edition from Paramount celebrates the 60thanniversary of the holiday classic starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. The Blu-Ray Combo Pack arrives on October 14th and includes new special features, such as five classic Christmas television show appearances by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, including a virtual duet between Bing Crosby and Michael Bublé.
There’s also an exclusive twelve-song Christmas CD featuring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney, with guest appearances by Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Judy Garland. The CD includes eight never- before-released tracks.
The release also celebrates the 60th anniversary of Danny Kaye’s appointment as UNICEF’s first Goodwill Ambassador, and The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation and Paramount Pictures are proud to make a combined $100,000 donation to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children around the world. Danny Kaye received an honorary Academy Award for Assignment Children. The 1954 short film documented his world travels for UNICEF. Assignment Children – with a new introduction by Michael Bublé – is included among the bonus features of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas Diamond Anniversary Edition...

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Of all the new releases I am looking foward to this one most. I love this concept album Bing recorded originally in 1956. He was in great voice. This will be coming out on November 25th...

1. April Showers
2. When My Baby Smiles at Me
3. My Blue Heaven
4. A Little Kiss Each Morning
5. Prisoner of Love
6. Ain't Misbehavin'
7. Paper Doll
8. This Love of Mine
9. Thanks for the Memory
10. Blues in the Night
11. Mona Lisa
12. Memories Are Made of This
13. Thank Heaven For Little Girls - Previously unissued.
14. You'll Never Know - Previously unissued.
15. At Sundown - Previously unissued.
16. Cocktails for Two
17. Way Down Yonder in New Orleans - Previously unissued.
18. Mandy Make Up Your Mind - Previously unissued.
19. Deed I Do - Previously unissued.
20. Lady of Spain - Previously unissued.
21. Heart of My Heart (with The Four Aces) - Previously unissued.
22. A Kiss to Build a Dream On - Previously unissued.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Here are the track details for the new CD compilation of Bing singing Irving Berlin tunes. This comes out on November 25th...

1. Alexander's Ragtime Band (with Connee Boswell)
2. Call Me Up Some Rainy Afternoon
3. When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'
4. When I Lost You
5. Tell Me Little Gypsy
6. All By Myself
7. Always (with Eugenie Baird)
8. Let's Start the New Year Right
9. Abraham
10. Kate (Have I Come Too Early, Too Late?)
11. Blue Skies (featuring Les Paul)
12. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
13. I Got the Sun in the Morning
14. Easter Parade (with Trudy Erwin)
15. Some Sunny Day
16. Call of the South (with Gary Crosby)
17. Play a Simple Melody (with Dick Powell)
18. There's No Business Like Show Business (with the Andrews Sisters and Dick Haymes)
19. Puttin' on the Ritz
20. A Man Chases a Girl (Until She Catches Him)
21. The Song is Ended (But the Melody Lingers On)
22. White Christmas (with Michael Buble)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Here are the track details for the 60th anniversary issue of the Some Fine Old Chestnuts album. The reissue comes out November 25th...

1. Do You Ever Think of Me
2. I Never Knew (That Roses Grew)
3. Somebody Loves Me
4. After You've Gone
5. Sleepy Time Gal
6. Dinah
7. I Never Knew (I Could Love Anybody)
8. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
9. In A Little Spanish Town
10. Honeysuckle Rose
11. Ol' Man River
12. Swanee
13. Painting the Clouds with Sunshine - Previously unissued
14. Bright Eyes - Previously unissued
15. Avalon Town - Previously unissued
16. Sometimes I'm Happy (with Helen O'Connell) - Previously unissued
17. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me - Previously unissued
18. Hallelujah - Previously unissued
19. I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Rehearsals) - Previously unissued and never broadcast.
20. I Can't Give You Anything But Love - Previously unissued
21. I Never Knew (I Could Love Anybody) (take 2) - Previously unissued
22. I Never Knew (That Roses Grew) - Previously unissued and never broadcast.
23. After You've Gone (take 2) - Previously unissued and never broadcast.

Friday, September 26, 2014


You often hear about Bing Crosby - the crooner, the hunter, the movie star, the golfer - but you never really hear or see stories about Bing reading. I looked through the picture files and found some great photos of Bing reading. He read a lot from sheet music to the newspaper...


With Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland


With Gary Crosby

Friday, September 19, 2014


Here is some exciting news from the Bing Crosby Archive and Universal Music. It is a good time to be a Bing Crosby fan...

American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered – The Soundtrack includes several previously unissued recordings of songs heard in the film, and is one of four new CD releases coming on November 25th from the Bing Crosby Archive and Universal Music Enterprises.

Also coming, Bing Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook, a brand new compilation featuring familiar classics from Bing’s Decca catalog alongside rare previously unissued recordings. The album features the first ever CD release of the 2012 Michael Bublé – Bing Crosby duet of “White Christmas.”

Expanded reissues of two classic Decca Crosby albums, Songs I Wish I Had Sung the First Time Around (Deluxe Edition) and Some Fine Old Chestnuts (60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) also feature previously unissued recordings, as well as newly remastered versions of the albums taken directly from the original master tapes, which had been stored in the Crosby archive for decades.


Thursday, September 18, 2014


The singer-actor-entrepreneur purchased a stake in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1946; years after his death, a pristine recording of what's been called The Best Game Ever — the seventh game of the 1960 World Series — was found in his cellar...

Bing Crosby ranked among the wealthiest entertainers of his era and was an early, highly successful multihyphenate.
The singer-actor-entrepreneur sold a half-billion records; did a string of hit movies withBob Hope; won a best actor Oscar for 1944'sGoing My Way; and in 1948 invested in a "fast freezing" process that paid off handsomely when it became Minute Maid. By the late 1950s, his wealth was estimated at up to $130 million in today's dollars. But the investment that got the most attention was his 1946 purchase of a 25 percent stake in the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The total price for the team was $2.25 million ($29 million today). Crosby always had been interested in baseball (he'd played semipro ball in his youth), but since 1937 he'd owned part of the Del Mar racetrack in Southern California.
At that time, the baseball commissioner was the formidable Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who prohibited anyone involved in what he considered the shady world of horse racing from becoming involved in Major League Baseball. When Landis died in 1944, the door opened for Crosby.
Arguably the biggest effect the singer had on MLB history was in preserving what's been called The Best Game Ever, the seventh game of the 1960 World Series, in which Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit a game-ending home run to beat the Yankees 10-9 after the lead had changed four times. Crosby, who had a passionate interest in videotaping -- Ampex, an early tape-recorder manufacturer, was another of his investments -- believed he'd be a jinx to the Pirates since they'd lost a number of games he'd attended, so he arranged for a kinescope (a pre-videotape recording process) of the last game to be made. Crosby died at 74 in 1977, and in 2010 the pristine copy of the NBC broadcast was found in his wine cellar.
"There's no replays or no nothing except the actual play," says 1960 Cy Young Award winner Vernon Law, now 84, who pitched the game's first seven innings for the Pirates. "I could remember every pitch I threw to every hitter. I remember those things like it was yesterday." Nine years after Crosby's death, the team was sold to a group of Pittsburgh businessmen... 

Friday, September 12, 2014


SPOKANE — Gonzaga University's collection of Bing Crosby memorabilia is being moved into the singer's boyhood home on the campus in Spokane. The public exhibition of the entertainer's gold and platinum records, trophies and other items will be on display at the 101-year-old Crosby House.

A grand opening is scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 1 - 4 p.m.

The university says it's the largest public collection of Bing Crosby memorabilia.

The Crosby House is a tourist attraction for people who want to see where the singer learned to love music. Crosby attended Gonzaga for a time before joining a band and leaving for Hollywood in 1925..


Sunday, September 7, 2014


100th Anniversary Concert to Feature the Music of Father Joseph P. Connor, Inspiration for Classic Film "Going My Way"
By Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ - What do American Bandstand, the Oscar-winning film "Going My Way," and former New Jersey Governor Brendan T. Byrne have in common? The answer is a 100th Anniversary concert celebrating the life and music of Father Joseph P. Connor, beloved parochial vicar and American music composer at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in West Orange on September 14.

The Les Elgart Orchestra, a 40s Big Band best-known for "Bandstand Boogie," the American Bandstand theme song, will perform many of Father Connor's compositions. Connor was the inspiration for Father O'Malley in "Going My Way," the classic film that earned Bing Crosby a best actor nod in 1944. The event chair is Gov. Brendan T. Byrne, who was a youth at Our Lady of Lourdes while Father Connor served there.

Father O'Connor composed popular and religious music during the twenties, thirties and forties. His best-known contemporary work is When I take my Sugar to Tea, which is regularly performed by the Les Elgart Orchestra. Other songs include By a Waterfall, You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me, The Golden Dawn, Lilies of Lorraine, The Far Green Hills of Home, Little Black Dog, I Shall Return, Love Sends a Little Gift of Roses, Miracle of the Bells and Honeymoon Lane. Father O'Connor wrote several movie scores including Footlights on Parade and 42nd Street.

“His history is truly amazing,” said Our Lady of Lourdes Pastor, Father James Ferry. “He was composing during the great swing era, and this year—our 100th anniversary-- is the right time to tell his unique story, celebrate his contributions to the parishes he served, and touch more people through his music.”
He is credited with 180 songs of his own; 330 in collaboration with composers like Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal, and his works were recorded by superstars like Frank Sinatra. His friends included Ed Sullivan, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and Jack Dempsey. He also worked closely with Oscar Hammerstein.Father Connor frequently used pseudonyms for his works, including Pierre Norman and John OpenshawIn.
Just like Father Chuck O'Malley in "Going My Way," Father Connor used his royalties for parish and the poor, and spearheaded the construction of Our Lady of Lourdes School. Sadly, after a short illness, Father Connor passed away in 1952 at the age of 54.
The Les Elgart Orchestra will perform Father Connor's music in a concert on Sept. 14 at Our Lady of Lourdes, One Eagle Rock Avenue, beginning at 2:15 pm. General admission is $50.00. On November 9, a 100th Anniversary Mass will be held and a Gala Celebration will take place at the Hanover Manor. More information on those events will be provided in the near future.

For more information on the event, visit the Our Lady of Lourdes website at

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Bing Crosby's classic 1942 movie Holiday Inn is headed to Broadway...
Broadway's Tally Sessions (Big Fish) is set to star as Jim Hardy in the upcoming Goodspeed Opera House production of Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, replacing the previously announced Corey Mach. The new musical runs from September 19-November 30, with opening night set for October 15 at the Goodspeed Opera House.

Inspired by the Fred Astaire-Bing Crosby film of the same title, Holiday Inn tells the story of a Connecticut farmhouse that is transformed into a holiday nightspot. The score includes classic tunes like "Easter Parade," "Happy Holiday," and "White Christmas." The stage musical features a book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge.

In addition to Sessions, the previously announced cast will feature Noah Racey, Danny Rutigliano, Patti Murin, Hayley Podschun, Susan Mosher, and Noah Marlow. The ensemble will include Alissa Alter, Abby Church, Darien Crago, Caley Crawford, Jeremiah Ginn, Juliane Godfrey, Laura Harrison, Bryan Thomas Hunt, Charles MacEachern, Karl Skyler Urban, and John T. Wolfe. The swings are Sarah Fagan and Darrell T. Joe.

Greenberg directs the production, which will feature choreography by Denis Jones, scenic design by Anna Louizos, costumes by Alejo Vietti, lighting by Jeff Croiter, sound by Jay Hilton, orchestrations by Dan DeLange, musical direction by Michael O'Flaherty, and assistant musical direction by William J...


Wednesday, August 27, 2014


From Universal Studios Home Entertainment: Bing Crosby: The Silver Screen Collection

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Bing Crosby: The Silver Screen Collection presents the legendary performer in 24 of his most memorable films available November 11, 2014 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Bing Crosby was a superstar of movies, music, radio and television during a spectacular career that lasted over 50 years, earning over an astounding $1 billion in ticket sales. From his Academy Award-winning performance in 1944's Best Picture winner Going My Way to his series of classic comedic "Road" films with Bob Hope to entertaining musicals enlivened by his distinctive baritone, Crosby is featured in top form crooning some of his most memorable songs such as "June in January," "Swinging on a Star," Sweet Leilani," "I've Got a Pocketful of Dreams" and the evergreen "White Christmas" from Holiday Inn.

This timeless collection will entertain longtime fans and introduce a whole new generation to the legendary style of the most popular singing star of the 20th century in his most unforgettable roles and diverse performances from his early career in the 1930s to his superstar roles in the 1940s. The collection also features iconic screen legends Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Carole Lombard, Donald O'Connor, Barry Fitzgerald, and many more. Bing Crosby: The Silver Screen Collection includes:

College Humor (1933)
We're Not Dressing (1934)
Here is My Heart (1934)
Mississippi (1935)
Rhythm on the Range (1936)
Waikiki Wedding (1937)
Double or Nothing (1937)
Sing You Sinners (1938)
East Side of Heaven (1939)
Road to Singapore (1940)
If I Had My Way (1940)
Rhythm on the River (1940)
Road to Zanzibar (1941)
Birth of the Blues (1941)
Holiday Inn (1942)
Road to Morocco (1942)
Going my Way (1944)
Here Come the Waves (1944)
Road to Utopia (1946)
Blue Skies (1946)
Welcome Stranger (1947)
Variety Girl (1947)
The Emperor Waltz (1948)
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949)

DVD Collection Bonus Features:

 American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered

A new feature-length PBS documentary on the life and career of Bing Crosby with new interviews, never-before-seen footage and photos by Emmy-winning director Robert Trachtenberg

Plus featurette, original theatrical trailers and more!