Bing, Back, Tells of Exciting Eight-week Tour.
A two-man invasion of German-held territory in France and a two-minute capture of a town in the Metz area was accomplished by Bing Crosby, who is used to capturing top honors in crooning, and an Army lieutenant, while Der Bingle was on a U. S. O. Camp Shows tour in France. The singer recalled the experience today at the Waldorf-Astoria as he discussed his eight-week tour in which he sang for G. I. audiences numbering anywhere from a dozen to 15,000 soldiers.
Bing’s misadventure occurred early one morning when, after he attended Mass by himself, a lieutenant offered to drive him to a point near the front lines a few miles from where he was scheduled to sing.
“After we had traveled for ten or fifteen minutes,” the singer stated, “I became concerned because the telephone lines had run out and when you don’t see them, you know you’ve gone too far. Then we got to this town and I was surprised because I had looked at the war map earlier and it was still in German hands. I asked the lieutenant and he said that he was lost, and I said, ‘let's get out of here fast.’” Talking to a commanding officer that night Bing mentioned that he had been in the town.
“You couldn’t have been.”
“I sure as hell was,” Crosby replied.
“It was in German hands,” the officer protested.
“Well, we had it for two minutes.”
Lost 10 Pounds on Trip.
Crosby, who lost ten pounds during the trip, put on his show while under German gunfire on numerous occasions and was in London while buzz bombs, which he described as “frightening and devastating,” were falling. Though he had lunch with Gen. Eisenhower and visited Gen. Bradley and other high officers, he played only for enlisted men.
Praising the morale of the troops as “terrific,” Bing said: “The boys want to get home, but there is no whining. They want to know that the people at home are staying behind them and there is no weakening, and the needed supplies will be gotten to them. They are somewhat concerned about a complacent attitude. They’ve read about postwar planning discussions, and they don't want to hear about post-war plans. They want to get the war won first.
Crosby, who was dressed in a tan and blue sports combination, puffed occasionally on a big briar pipe while being interviewed. Asked if the report that he was a member of the Hollywood for Dewey Committee was true, he answered: “I don’t know anything about that.” He said that the men asked him mostly about Bob Hope (whom Crosby claimed the G. I.'s like most of all the entertainers), his children, his horses and Brooklyn. He mentioned that “a lot of pictures” have their premieres overseas.
In discussing the soldiers’ preference in songs, Crosby said that the ones they most requested him to sing were “White Christmas,” “Swinging on a Star” and “San Fernando Valley.” He declared that he had made recordings of songs for propaganda broadcasts to Germany, singing in German from words written out phonetically. “They told me I was adequate,” he said.
Although a great many German prisoners watched the shows and smiled, they probably didn’t know what was going on, Bing said. When asked if he had converted any of them, he answered with a grin: “I probably widened the breach.”
He lauded the Red Cross workers and members of his troupe which included Joe de Rita, Jean Darrell, singer; Darlene Garner, dancer; Buck Harris, guitarist, and Earl Baxter, accordionist. He said that he would leave for the coast tomorrow night and resume his radio program late this month...