Monday, August 31, 2015

FANCY MEETING YOU HERE

Fancy Meeting You Here is a 1958 RCA Victor studio album of duets by the American singers Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, arranged by Billy May.

In its review, Time magazine called this album, "An infectious musical dialogue between two of the sassiest fancy talkers in the business. C. & C. give slick and witty readings to a selection of retreads — On a Slow Boat to China, You Came a Long Way from St. Louis — and introduce a punchy, potential hit named Calcutta. One of the most intriguing vocal entertainments since Noel Coward had his famous chat with Mary Martin."

In 1969, the album was reissued on the budget RCA Camden label under the title Rendezvous with a truncated track listing.

In 2000, Taragon Records issued a twofer CD including the album and a Rosemary Clooney album called "Clap Hands! Here Comes Rosie!" In 2001, the album was given a 24-bit Digital remastering and reissued on CD on RCA's Bluebird Records label. Bonus tracks from both Clooney (2 duets with Bob Hope) and Crosby (audio duets with Jo Stafford from a March 2, 1959 "The Bing Crosby Show" on ABC-TV) were also included.

Clooney and Crosby would record a second album of duets, That Travelin' Two-Beat for Capitol Records in 1964.


Track listing:
"Fancy Meeting You Here" (Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Heusen) – 2:31
"(I'd Like to Get You on a) Slow Boat to China" (Frank Loesser) – 2:40
"I Can't Get Started" (Vernon Duke, Ira Gershwin) – 3:50
"Hindustan" (Oliver Wallace, Harold Weeks) – 2:53
"It Happened In Monterey" (Billy Rose, Mabel Wayne) – 2:44
"You Came a Long Way From St. Louis" (John Benson Brooks, Bob Russell) – 3:07
"Love Won't Let You Get Away" (Cahn, Van Heusen) – 2:03
"How About You?" (Burton Lane, Arthur Freed) – 3:14
"Brazil" (Ary Barroso, Bob Russell) – 3:31
"Isle of Capri" (Will Grosz, Jimmy Kennedy) – 2:40
"Say "Si Si"" ("Para Vigo Me Voy") (Ernesto Lecuona, Francia Luban, Al Stillman) – 2:22
"Calcutta" (Ray Evans, Jay Livingston) – 2:55
"Love Won't Let You Get Away" – 3:41


Monday, August 24, 2015

AUDIO ASPIRIN: WHOSE DREAM ARE YOU

PHOTOS OF THE DAY: BING AND FISHING

Bing Crosby had so many activities outside of Hollywood - from horse racing to golf that a few of his interests get overshadowed. One such past time that I enjoyed when I was younger was fishing. Here are some great pictures showing Bing enjoying the relaxing art of fishing...













Monday, August 17, 2015

GUEST REVIEWER: HIGH TOR

Our resident Bing Crosby guru, Bruce Krogan is back with his review of the rare Bing television movie, High Tor...


High Tor is a musical adaption by Maxwell Anderson of his own drama of the same name. The play High Tor had a run of 171 performances in 1937 and had Burgess Meredith and Peggy Ashcroft starring in the roles that Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews took in this version. Additionally Anderson wrote the lyrics that Bing and Julie and the rest of the cast sang to Arthur Schwartz's music.

High Tor was an episode done for Ford Star Jubilee and it was a live broadcast of an original musical done for television. In watching a tape of the production, you would have to remember that this was still early television and in that the values were pretty shoddy, not at all what we are used to now. It's an outdoor story, the whole plot takes place on a mountain owned by Bing Crosby on the west bank of the Hudson River. It would better have been done on film with some nice location shots. It couldn't be done on the Hudson now though, what was feared at the time, commercial development, has come to pass.

Bing owns a mountain called High Tor and a couple of sharpies played by Hans Conreid and Lloyd Corrigan are trying to get it from him. Bing's fiancé played by Nancy Olson wants him to sell so they can start afresh somewhere else.


There's another group interested in the mountain. A group of marooned sailors who were left there by Henry Hudson who never came back for them are there, or at least their spirits are. Two of them are Everett Sloane and his daughter Julie Andrews. Henry Hudson on a later voyage was marooned on the bay that is named after him in Canada. I guess what goes around, truly does come around.

On a magical autumn night Crosby, the crooks, Olson, the Dutch sailor spirits, and a trio of bank robbers who robbed the bank in Nanuet all have a date with destiny on High Tor. If you think the play borrows a lot from A Midsummer Night's Dream, you'd be right.

Another reason that this is not better remembered is that no hit songs came from the score. That is a pity because it has some lovely tunes. Bing gets one of his philosophical numbers, Living One Day at a Time, a genre that was almost his alone. A favorite of mine is a ballad sung at one time by all the cast members, When You're In Love and there's a comic ode to a different kind of spirit, John Barleycorn.

Bing's rival Frank Sinatra had early done a live original musical adaption of Our Town in which his classic Love and Marriage came from. If Bing had a song that got that kind of acclaim from this score, High Tor would be a classic itself.

Since the story did involve ghosts some special effects that wouldn't have been available in a live TV broadcast also would have added to the production values.

Still if you can get the tape of the kinescope it would be a real viewing treat...

BRUCE'S RATING: 6 OUT OF 10
MY RATING: 7 OUT OF 10



Monday, August 10, 2015

BING CROSBY AND WOODBURY SOAP

Like everything in classic Hollywood, I think the advertisements of classic Hollywood were just better as well. Here is an advertisement that is over 80 years old. It is Bing's pitching Woodbury Soap from 1934, which was one of his first radio sponsors...



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A TRIBUTE TO KEN BARNES



KEN BARNES: A MUSIC LEGEND

FEBRUARY 14, 1933 - AUGUST 4, 2015

RIP: KEN BARNES


Record producer and musical genius Ken Barnes has died today. No words can express what he meant to Bing's career in the 1970s - so here are a few pictures of the greats he worked with - Bing, Fred Astaire, and Johnny Mercer.

He will be missed...








RIP: COLEEN GRAY - BING'S LEADING LADY IN RIDING HIGH

Coleen Gray, the dark-haired beauty who stood out in such film noir thrillers as Kiss of Death,Nightmare Alley and Kansas City Confidential, has died. She was 92.

Gray, who also starred opposite John Wayne in Howard Hawks’ Red River (1948) and played crook Sterling Hayden’s attractive accomplice in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (1956), died Monday of natural causes at her home in Bel Air, longtime friend David Schecter told The Hollywood Reporter.

“My last dame is gone. Always had the feeling she'd be the last to go,” Eddie Muller, founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation, wrote on Facebook. They collaborated on his 2001 book,Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir.

Gray was “introduced” to audiences in Henry Hathaway’s Kiss of Death (1947) as Nette, the girlfriend and future wife of ex-con Nick Bianco (Victor Mature), who battles psychopathic killer Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark) in a bid to go straight once and for all.

The Nebraska native then segued to a role as scheming carnival barker Tyrone Power’s aide inNightmare Alley (1947), then appeared as Wayne’s sweetheart Fen in Red River.

In Kansas City Confidential (1952), Gray portrayed the law-school daughter of a former cop (Preston Foster) who engineers a bank heist by framing a delivery man played by John Payne. (Gray and Payne’s characters fall for each other in the movie, and they were romantically linked offscreen as well.)


Gray also starred in the Frank Capra horse picture Riding High (1950), where her scene with Bing Crosby and Clarence Muse singing “Sunshine Cake” was the favorite film moment of her career.

She played a nurse femme fatale in The Sleeping City (1950) opposite Richard Conte, was manhandled by a creature in The Vampire (1957) and discovered the secret to immortality (but not without consequences) in The Leech Woman (1960).

Gray spent much of the 1960s on television, with guest-starring roles on such shows as Rawhide,Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 77 Sunset Strip, Mister Ed, Perry Mason and Family Affair.

Later, on the NBC drama McCloud, she played the wife of police chief Peter B. Clifford (J.D. Cannon) in a few episodes.


She was born Doris Bernice Jensen on Oct. 23, 1922, in Staplehurst, Neb. At age 7, she and her family moved to Hutchinson, Minn., and she studied drama at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.

With only $26 to her name, she took a Greyhound bus to Hollywood. She enrolled at USC and then drama school and starred in the play Brief Music. She was seen by an agent and signed with Fox, where she made her movie debut for the studio in State Fair (1945).

In 1949, Gray starred on Broadway in Leaf and Bough with Charlton Heston.
Gray was married three times, the first to screenwriter, producer and future TV director Rod Amateau and the last to biblical scholar Joseph “Fritz” Zeiser, who died in 2012 (they were together for more than 30 years). Survivors include her daughter Susan, son Bruce, stepsons Rick and Steve and several grandchildren.

A memorial service at Bel Air Presbyterian Church is being planned...


Monday, August 3, 2015

BING CROSBY - A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY


Billboard launched its country music charts in 1944, and the very first No. 1 single in history belonged to Bing Crosby. The legendary “White Christmas” crooner made a surprise leap onto the country chart with the jukebox favorite “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” written by Al Dexter. According to the Western Music Hall of Fame, which inducted Crosby as a member in 2008, Crosby was responsible for “exposing a large and very receptive audience to Western music and laying the groundwork for its acceptance among fans beyond the country genre.”