Friday, May 31, 2013


Published April 7, 1941:

"Casual, talented and loaded with Irish luck, the Crosby career is also notable for making a bum out of Horatio Alger. For in 37 years, Bing Crosby has shed a confusing new light on the problem of how to be a success. He has never studied music or voice or pounded the pavements looking for work; yet jobs kept turning up—each a little better than the last. He always falls uphill. Year after year he just sings, and people pay fortunes to hear him. Over the radio, Bing’s voice is worth $7,500 for one hour’s broadcast a week."


Monday, May 27, 2013


Bing Crosby’s 1966 Aston Martin DB6...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Bing starred with some of the truly most beautiful and talent women that Hollywood had to offer during his long movie career. One actress he starred with more than any other actress was Dorothy Lamour (1914-1996). Dotty joined Bing and Bob Hope on the road in seven "Road" movies, and she also starred with Bing in the costume biopic Dixie in 1943. Despite this, Lamour described Bing as being sort of cool towards her. However, at the time of Bing's death in 1977 they were all talking about an eighth possible Road movie, and Lamour narrated an excellent documentary on Crosby called "Remembering Bing" for PBS in 1987. Whatever their history was together, they made a lot of move magic as these pictures show...

The Road To Bali (1952)

clowning on the set of Road To Zanzibar (1941)

opening day of Del Mar - 1937

Road To Morrocco (1942)

The Road To Rio (1947)

one last road - The Road To Hong Kong (1961)

Friday, May 17, 2013


Bing had a definite admiration for songbird Peggy Lee, and the feeling was mutual. I wish they would have worked together more, but Bing is mentioned quite extensively in Peggy's Autobiography,"Miss Peggy Lee~An Autobiography", published in 1991.

On page 125 she writes~"By now my work with Bing and Durante was going full force, and my love for them both brightened my life. Years earlier I had literally saved pennies to go see Bing's movies. Tears rolled down my cheeks if the leading lady didn't treat him right. In the film "Mississippi" I was emotionally spent when the brokenhearted Bing sang "Down By The River"

Through the several years I sang on Bing's program,I met the most fantastic stars, like Al Jolson, whom I also sang with, and Bing was always finding ways to help give me confidence. In fact, everyone connected with him was funny and nice and talented.

Bing and I were always the first to arrive for rehearsals~that was something that always impressed me, his promptness. And I always felt you could count on his honesty. Bing maintained a certain modesty, even diffidence, about himself, although he didn't wear it on his sleeve. I remember his saying, "I wish I could really make something of my life...". That amazed me, that he could feel so humble. I tried, in a stumbling sort of way, to tell him what the world thought of him, but I don't think I ever convinced him. evening in San Francisco, Bing asked me to go to dinner with him..

For dinner he took me to one of San Francisco's great restaurants, during which I told him about my emotional experience with his movies, especially "Mississippi" when he sang "Down By The River". We then cruised all over that wonderful city until we found a pianist who could play the song in Bing's key, and he actually sang it to me at our table. Once again, all those years later, the tears rolled. A whole river of them....

Bing was also so protective of me. Once he found me standing rigid outside the studio at NBC and asked what he could do to help me. He was so sensitive to my early days of nerves and self-consciousness. This was just before air time on one of Bing's many Kraft programs. I managed to say something like: "When you introduce me, would you please not leave me out there on the stage alone? Would you stand where I can see your feet?" He agreed and always sort of casually leaned on a speaker or piano to give me the support and time I needed to learn about being at ease onstage.

You have to love a man like that. He offered everything-money, cars, his own blood, and even volunteered to personally babysit with our little daughter, Nicki, while David was so sick in the hospital.

The last time I saw Bing, we were both doing a benefit performance. It was beautiful, if brief. He called to me, "Hello, baby! So good to see you."

I was grateful I got to see him one more time.

Yes, once we walked along, Bing--down by the river...."  


Monday, May 13, 2013


Here is an excellent interview that was done with model, actress, and Bing Crosby's grand-daughter Denise Crosby...

Sometime in 1987 the talk amongst the lunch tables at my junior high school was, “Who is the cool new-wave chick inStar Trek: The Next Generation?” At the time we had a lot of interesting women to look up to in music, but this one was living in a future where a woman could be the head of security on a starship. The character was named Tasha Yar, and her backstory was even more inspiring. She was an orphan who had to scavenge for the bare necessities of life, escaped rape gangs, overcame a drug addiction, and through her bravery and determination made her way into a high-profile job aboard the Starship Enterprise. For a bunch of teenage girls facing an uncertain future ourselves, she was the ultimate heroine. Until she was killed by Armus, a malevolent life form made from the byproduct of human negativity and evil. Tragically, our heroine had become a memory contained in a hologram.

But Denise Crosby, the actor who made Tasha Yar legendary, lives on and continues to appear in films and on television as heroines in all sorts of universes. I met her recently at a Star Trek convention, where I saw her walking down the hallway with a small group of admirers. My opening line was one of pure fandom: “You’re awesome!” Surprisingly, we hit it off like old friends, discovering we grew up in the same neighborhood and had a deep affection for anything Fiorucci. As we spoke, the fandom subsided, and I became very much inspired by her legacy. A month later I found myself in her backyard discussing her career over coffee and cookies.

VICE: Being the granddaughter of Bing Crosby and the daughter of Dennis, you were born into the entertainment industry. Was there ever a time when you thought you would not go into showbiz?

Denise: Absolutely. In my youth I had that rebel spirit in me that didn’t want to do anything people assumed I would do. Instead I would purposefully go out and do the opposite. I moved away from home and out of Los Angeles as soon as I could. I loved journalism and wanted to be like Christiane Amanpour or Diane Sawyer. I knew I wanted to be on camera, but I wanted to do investigative reporting or work in the field, so I studied journalism and drama at a college in Santa Cruz. On a fluke I auditioned and got the part in the spring production of the school play, which put me in touch with a part of myself that I enjoyed but wasn’t ready to embrace. I took a year off and bummed around the world, scored a few modeling jobs in London and Paris. Eventually I came back home to my parents’ place in Los Angeles, and it was there that I was contacted by a casting agent who had seen some pictures of me in Playboy.

But before you became a sensation, you worked at a furniture shop on Melrose called Dodson’s, which went on to become famous because it was owned by the world’s most achieved bank robber, Eddie Dodson, a.k.a. the New York Yankees Bandit. How did that come to be?

I knew Eddie Dodson because he was the center of the party scene. He was a great friend and the most fun person to be around… probably because he was insane! There were a lot of drugs and always a lot of cocaine. Eventually Eddie gave me a job at his shop. I would rehearse scenes while working, and in my off time I would go on auditions. I worked there until I got a role in the film 48 Hrs.

Did you know Eddie was robbing banks in his spare time?

My goodness, no. But sometimes I would show up for work and he wouldn’t be there and the shop would be closed. By this time his drug use was so out of hand I figured he was passed out—but now I know he was either running from the cops or robbing a bank somewhere.

After 48 Hrs. you started getting regular work as an actor appearing in several TV movies and the awesome feature Eliminators, where you played a robotics engineer. Then, in 1987, you landed the part of Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Throughout your career, you are often cast as strong hard-nosed characters—cops, detectives, security chiefs, stock-market executives—basically women who can handle themselves in tough situations. Why do you think that is?

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m tall and wear my hair short—in Hollywood they look at the physical first.

One of your best loved roles was on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Tell me about thet experience.

I think one of the reasons why Star Trek: The Next Generation continues to be influential is because of the roles the women played on the show. They were equal to the men, and in Tasha’s case the only man who could take over her job was a Klingon!

In my opinion the intentions were good, but they should have taken it even further—that was my main frustration with the show. I hate to burst your bubble, but it was the writers, not Gene Roddenberry, who were fighting to make the female characters more dynamic. There was a real friction with putting the women in power.

Is that why you left the show?

Sexism was involved, and although I understand it is an inherent part of the world, it is something we must continue to fight. You fall in love with what you do and at that point in my career, I was very passionate about acting. It wasn’t a rash decision to leave the show. I was continuously asking my coactors and the writers what the trajectory was. One day Gene Roddenberry told me, “This is the formula for Star Trek and it works. It is not going to change.” I was simply afraid of staying in that uniform for six more years while I was in the prime of my life. I had to take a risk.

What did you do after you left Star Trek?

I did a movie I really loved called Miracle Mile. I also did Pet Semetary, X Files, Southland, and I have a new show about to premiere on Showtime called Ray Donovan. I play a character named Deb who is an interior decorator and Elliott Gould’s mistress. Don’t get me wrong—I loved the Tasha Yar character. In hindsight I think she became more iconic by dying.

When we met what impressed me most about you was seeing you at my first Star Trek convention. It was late at night and the convention was technically closed, but you were sitting at a table full of fans laughing and talking.

Well I don’t see divides between people. At heart, we are all the same. Especially once you get rid of the autograph table...


Wednesday, May 8, 2013


MISSISSAUGA — When Bing Crosby first took to the airwaves in September 1931, he was a little-known former member of The Rhythm Boys.

But his 15 minutes of weekly exposure on CBS radio soon soon made him a big star. By the end of that year, Crosby had recording and radio contracts and was cranking out the hits, which came in quick succession.

One of them was a violin-soaked plea for forgiveness called One More Chance, in which Crosby crooned "I've learned the meaning of repentance/I know that I should serve my sentence."

Jazz singer Alex Pangman revived the old chestnut for her just-released CD, Have a Little Fun. She's now followed that up with a video of the song.

It features atmospheric black-and-white vintage footage of couples strolling around Lisbon interspersed with Pangman strolling the same streets in modern days, shot in colour, as she sings the tune.

The jarring juxtaposition of the black-and-white and colour episodes adds to the nostalgic tone of the Mississauga native's treatment of the Crosby classic, on which she is accompanied by guitar jazz legend Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar and Michael Herring on double bass. Drew Jurecka adds a sensational violin solo.

Pangman says she chose Lisbon for the video because it has been "home for over a century to the fado music that told of broken hearts and fate."

She wonders what Crosby might think of her interpretation.

"I doubt Bingo ever saw his hit song performed this way," she says.

After launching her CD at the end of March, Pangman has a busy month of May scheduled.

She's at The Reservoir Lounge at 7 p.m. tomorrow night (Thurs. May 2). Then on May 9 she's at The Aeolian in London, Ont.

Local fans can see her closer to her roots at The Old Mill on May 17 at 7:30 p.m., in a comfy trio with two of her backing musicians on the CD, Peter Hill (piano) and Ross Wooldridge (clarinet and sax).


Friday, May 3, 2013



It is hard to believe that the voice of the 20th century, Bing Crosby would be 110 years old. Bing singing "Brother Can You Spare A Dime" was the voice of the Great Depression. When he sang "I'll Be Seeing You" he was the voice of World War II, and when he sang such catchy tunes was "South America,Take It Away" or "You Don't Have To Know The Language" with the Andrews Sisters, he was the voice of the post war prosperity that our country has not seen in years. Bing was so many things to so many people.

To me, Bing Crosby was like an extra grandfather. He always reminded me of my own Grandfather (until my Grandfather started looking like Peter Boyle on Everyone Loves Raymond). My Grandfather had many of the same mannerisms and moods that Bing had. My Grandfather introduced me to Bing, and they both got me through some tough times in my life. A Bing Crosby recording could set the mood for anything you are feeling. When I would break up with a girlfriend or visa versa I would listen to Bing's "I'm Through With Love". When I wanted to feel happy I would put on "My Heart Is A Hobo" or "Sunshine Cake". When I finally fell in love and married my wife, Bing's version of the Rodgers and Hart standard "You Are Too Beautiful" became the theme song that I remember. Bing Crosby again was so many things to so many people.

As I said, my Grandfather introduced me to Bing at a young age. My first Bing recording was a 45rpm I bought for 50 cents of "My Girl's An Irish Girl" and "Galaway Bay". I bought it when I was six in 1980. I actually had that record up until maybe nine years ago. Most of my Bing Crosby collection is now on CD, but if I play a song now that my Grandfather and I played on one of his 78rpms, I can still remember where the skips or scratches were. Bing Crosby not only has sung the soundtrack of my life, he helped a young kid get closer to his Grandfather. For that alone Bing is the second most important man I ever had in my life. Happy 110th birthday Der Bingle...