Friday, September 19, 2014

NEW CDS FROM BING CROSBY ENTERPRISES

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.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

RECALLING BING AND THE PIRATES

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

BING'S MEMORABILIA GETS NEW HOME

 
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..

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

THE REAL FATHER O'MALLEY

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 http://www.lourdeswestorange.org/.
 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

HOLIDAY INN GOES TO BROADWAY

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...


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BING CROSBY: THE SILVER SCREEN COLLECTION


From Universal Studios Home Entertainment: Bing Crosby: The Silver Screen Collection
FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, THE LARGEST COMPILATION OF BING CROSBY'S CLASSICS IN ONE TIMELESS DVD 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!

Friday, August 22, 2014

BEHIND THE SCENES OF BING AND BOWIE

BEVERLY HILLS, California (AP) — David Bowie's duet with Bing Crosby on the entertainer's 1977 Christmas television special left an indelible impression on Crosby's teenage children.
Harry, Mary and Nathaniel Crosby were on set when Bowie arrived to tape his appearance. The mash-up between the cardigan-clad singer known for "White Christmas" and the glam rocker who was in his Ziggy Stardust phase required some last-minute reworking of "The Little Drummer Boy."
The result was a new melody and lyrics called "Peace on Earth." The duet remains a holiday staple and a curiosity. Bowie was 30 and Crosby was 73 at the time. Crosby died of a heart attack a month after the taping in September 1977.
Mary Crosby remembered Bowie arriving on set.
"The doors opened and David walked in with his wife. They were both wearing full-length mink coats, they have matching full makeup and their hair was bright red," she told the summer TV critics' tour Wednesday. "We were thinking, 'Oh my god.'"
Nathaniel Crosby added, "It almost didn't happen. I think the producers told him to take the lipstick off and take the earring out. It was just incredible to see the contrast."
Watching in the wings, the Crosby kids noticed a transformation.
"They sat at the piano and David was a little nervous," Mary Crosby recalled. "Dad realized David was this amazing musician, and David realized Dad was an amazing musician. You could see them both collectively relax and then magic was made."
The Crosby siblings — now all in their 50s — and their 80-year-old mother, Kathryn, made a rare public appearance together Wednesday to discuss the American Masters episode, "Bing Crosby Rediscovered," airing Dec. 2 on PBS...


Thursday, August 14, 2014

JIMMY VAN HEUSEN: SWINGIN' WITH FRANK AND BING


When they talk about the great golden-age songwriters like Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and the Gershwins, they sometimes leave out Jimmy Van Heusen.

This delightful hour proves that’s a mistake.

Van Heusen, who borrowed his name from an ad for men’s dress shirts, wrote the likes of “Swinging on a Star,” “All the Way,” “High Hopes,” “Love & Marriage,” “Call Me Irresponsible,” “Come Fly With Me” and “Here’s That Rainy Day."

As that list suggests, he wrote a lot of songs that were scarfed up by his pal Frank Sinatra. Earlier he wrote a lot of songs that were recorded by another pretty good singer, Bing Crosby. Van Heusen composed “Moonlight Becomes You,” not to mention the songs for six of Crosby’s seven “Road” pictures with Bob Hope.

The special also touches on his reputation, apparently well earned, as what used to be called “a ladies’ man.” Specifically, someone cracks that Sinatra wanted to be Van Heusen.

For the record, Van Heusen eventually settled down, married and bought a horse ranch.

Most of the special focuses, though, on the music. As a composer, Van Heusen had a gift for irresistible melodies, plus the good sense, reputation and connections to work with lyricists like Sammy Cahn.

They often turned out songs on demand, which is how movie musicals, or movies with songs, used to work.

A childhood prodigy, Van Heusen switched coasts a couple of times, spending part of the ’50s with the New York nightclub crowd and eventually ending up closer to the film biz in L.A.

“Jimmy Van Heusen” leaves a clear impression, strongly supported by multiple clips of singers performing his songs, that no “great composers” sentence should omit his name.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

BING AND MARTIN MCQUADE

Martin McQuade, a Bay Ridge crooner who has performed songs made famous by the likes of Bing Crosby and Dean Martin, is paying tribute to the King.
McQuade’s new dinner show, to be presented at Hunters Steak and Ale House at 9404 Fourth Ave. on July 17, will honor Elvis Presley.
“I will perform a show honoring the 60th anniversary of Elvis Presley's very first recording session (July 5, 1954) as well as his first live professional appearance (July 30, 1954),” McQuade wrote in an email to the Brooklyn Eagle.
Pianist Pete Sokolow will accompany McQuade as the singer celebrates the milestones of Presley’s early career.
McQuade has dedicated much of his adult  life to the study and singing of American popular music. He has been regularly performing at restaurants in Bay Ridge for more than 10 years.
McQuade is a graduate from New York University, where he earned a BA in Cinema Studies. His radio series, “Going Hollywood,” appeared on WNYE-FM for many years. In 2002, Martin served as guest curator for Hofstra University’s conference, “Bing! And American Culture.”
From 2003 – 2008 he worked for Bing Crosby’s widow, Kathryn Crosby, serving as her special events coordinator. McQuade assisted her with the organization of several tributes and retrospectives honoring her late husband. Among the tributes was a 2004 New York Public Library series, “Celebrating the Crosbys.” McQuade also arranged several visits that Kathryn Crosby made to Brooklyn, including two visits she paid to the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton in 2005 and 2006.
McQuade is currently a consultant for Bing Crosby Enterprises. He has written liner notes on albums and served as production assistant for the company's recent CD and DVD releases. He is also a correspondent for Bing Magazine, published by the International Club Crosby.
Martin is writing the liner notes for a forthcoming deluxe Crosby jazz collection due to be released this fall.
Martin has also just completed a promotional campaign for a major Dean Martin exhibition held in New York in June...

Monday, August 4, 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON WILLIAM HOLDEN

William Holden was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1950s. A combination of good looks and acting ability made him a sought after actor. His association with Bing came in a few ways. He starred with Bing in the tense drama The Country Girl in 1954. Like Bing, Holden dated his co-star from the movie Grace Kelly. Then after Bing died in 1977, Bill Holden narrated a documentary on Bing a year later. Like Crosby, Holden was one of the leader movie actors. However, personal demons derailed his career in the 1960s and caused him to have a tragic end in 1981. 

Holden, eldest of three sons (brothers were Robert and Richard), was born William Franklin Beedle, Jr. in O'Fallon, Illinois on April 17, 1918, the son of Congregationalist parents Mary Blanche (née Ball), a schoolteacher, and William Franklin Beedle, Sr., an industrial chemist. Holden's first starring role was in Golden Boy (1939), in which he played a violinist turned boxer. That was followed by the role of George Gibbs in the film adaptation of Our Town.

After Columbia Pictures picked up half of his contract, he alternated between starring in several minor pictures for Paramount and Columbia before serving as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, where he acted in training films. Beginning in 1950, his career took off when Billy Wilder tapped him to star as the down-at-the-heels screenwriter Joe Gillis who is taken in by faded silent-screen star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) in Sunset Boulevard, for which Holden earned his first Best Actor Oscar nomination.

Following this breakthrough film, he played a series of roles that combined good looks with cynical detachment, including a prisoner-of-war entrepreneur in Stalag 17 (1953), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, a pressured young engineer/family man in Executive Suite (1954), an acerbic stage director in The Country Girl (1954), a conflicted jet pilot in the Korean War film The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), a wandering braggart in Picnic (1955), a dashing war correspondent in Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), an ill-fated prisoner in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and a WWII tug boat captain in The Key (1958).


He also played a number of sunnier roles in light comedy, such as the handsome architect pursuing virginal Maggie McNamara in the controversial Production Code-breaking The Moon is Blue (1953), as Judy Holliday's tutor in Born Yesterday (1950), as a playwright captivated by Ginger Rogers' character in Forever Female (1953) and as Humphrey Bogart's younger brother, a playboy, in Sabrina (1954), which also starred Audrey Hepburn.

Holden starred in his share of forgettable movies — which he was forced to do by studio contracts — such as Paris When It Sizzles (1964), also co-starring Audrey Hepburn. By the mid-1960s, his roles were having less critical and commercial impact. According to the Los Angeles County Coroner's autopsy report, on November 12, 1981, Holden was alone and intoxicated in his apartment in Santa Monica, California, when he slipped on a throw rug, severely lacerated his forehead on a teak bedside table, and bled to death. Evidence suggests he was conscious for at least a half hour after the fall but may not have realized the severity of the injury and did not summon aid, or was unable to call for help. His body was found four days later.

Holden dictated in his will that the Neptune Society cremate him and scatter his ashes in the Pacific Ocean. No funeral or memorial service was held, per his wishes...