Monday, November 24, 2014

BING'S FIRST RECORD

 
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

A TRIBUTE TO BING

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 www.oldcreamery.com.

SOURCE

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BING: JULY 10, 1944

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...


Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/07/21/3162092/bing-crosby-plays-golf-in-atascadero.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, November 8, 2014

MY NEIGHBOR BING

 
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?”

SOURCE

Saturday, November 1, 2014

IAN FRASER, BING'S LAST MUSICAL DIRECTOR DIES


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...


BING'S MOVIES THAT DESERVE A DVD RELEASE

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:



1. THE BIG BROADCAST (1932)
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

BING AND JAN HOOKS

 
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...


SOURCE

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

REINVENTING HOLIDAY INN

 
"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."


SOURCE

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

GOODBYE BING

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


 

Friday, October 10, 2014

60 YEARS OF WHITE CHRISTMAS

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...