Monday, April 22, 2013

THE BING CROSBY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

This year marks a surprising 20 years since The Bing Crosby Historical Society officially closed up shop in Washington. Its founder and heart of the cause was Ken Twiss. I had the honor of knowing him for a couple of years, so I thought it would be fun to relive some memories of the organization:

"Living just north across the Washington State border on Vancouver Island in Canada gave me the opportunity to attend the Bing Crosby Historical Society banquets that were held occasionally in Tacoma. Usually a guest connected to Bing was invited to attend and give a short talk on his/her experiences in working with or knowing Bing. I remember Al Rinker attended in the early 80's. I met Carolyn Schneider who attended the banquet along with her daughter Mollie in 1989. Bill Osborne, who early in life was a radio programme director and DJ in Victoria B.C., was usually the MC. He was very knowledgeable of things Bing and was a very personable MC. Cathie and Hobie Wilson [Bing's Friends & Collectors Society] would drive up from Sonoma, California. Bob & Joyce Lundberg [Bingtalks Fan Club] were regular attendees. I made many new friends from my association with the Society. Unfortunately it folded with the serious illness and passing of founder Ken Twiss." (BEN)

"Ken Twiss enthusiastic Crosby fan and supporter opened his collection and museum to any all who were interested in Bing. Many Crosby enthusiasts also shared some of their treasures with the BCHS museum. Among those who so actively supported Bing's talent and now gone on to a better reward was Bill Osborn, VernTaylor, Russ Rullman, Pat Sullivan, Bob Lundberg, Herb Edleman, come immediately to mind. - The party would go on even after the banquet. Laughter would be heard and felt when the fellas got together and it was usually in an 24 hour restaurant. Happily some of the old timers are still with us and  I wish I could get these fans together in a room once againwith a nice bottle of spirits and let you have a listen. The  conversation would have done Bing and Phil proud, I would even venture to say they would have included themselves in the conversation and would come up with as many corny one liners. Not a cross word or envious remark would have been said and the sharing of information and collections was something to behold. " Hey Hobe, do you have Brunswick label #..... ?" Sure I have several copies, I will send it to you. Guys were always willing to share and be happy to do so.- No greed, no snarky remarks, just comradeship and long standing friendships. Hopefully that spirit will return once again ." (CATHIE WILSON)

More on the society...Established as a non-profit organization in 1977, the Bing Crosby Historical Society (BCHS) in Tacoma, WA achieved widespread recognition as the focus of attention regarding the history, life, and career of Bing Crosby. BCHS was founded by Kenneth Twiss, a longtime fan of Bing Crosby. Twiss dedicated himself and the society to preserving Crosby's memory and his place in history as a leading international radio and film personality. The society sponsored many events and activities, including an annual Tribute to Bing Crosby in Tacoma; the designation of Bing's birthplace as a historic landmark; and the pursuit of the issuance of a commemorative Bing Crosby postage stamp. One of the primary aims of the BCHS was to acquire Bing's birthplace in Tacoma and create a permanent museum of Crosbyana to replace the existing traveling exhibits that had been displayed at functions like the 1989 Washington State Centennial celebration. Unfortunately, this goal was not met. In 1993 with only 216 active members, the BCHS board decided to give its collection to Gonzaga in June 1993.

Those were the days! If anyone else has memories of Ken Twiss or The Bing Crosby Historical Society, please connect me...

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