Wednesday, July 25, 2018

GUEST REVIEWER: THE EMPEROR WALTZ

Our resident reviewer Bruce Kogan is back to review Bing's 1948 film The Emperor Waltz. I have to admit it's not one of my favorite films, but I might have to give it another viewing soon...

According to a new book out on Billy Wilder, Wilder had a much different film in mind than what emerged here. He was a contract director for Paramount at the time this was made with a few hits under his belt. And he was assigned to direct this film with Bing Crosby who was the biggest name in movies when this came out.

Crosby had a whole different film in mind and what Bing wanted Paramount gave him at that point. Wilder wanted a biting satire on the Franz Joseph court and he also wanted a the killing of the puppies, the offspring of Crosby's and Joan Fontaine's dogs to be an allegory for genocide. Crosby knew what his audiences expected from him and he opted for a lighter treatment.


The result was a second rate Billy Wilder movie, but a first class Bing Crosby film. Unlike in the thirties when Paramount just depended on Crosby's personality to put over a film, they gave this one the full A treatment. The outdoor sequences were shot in the Canadian Rockies and they serve as a great Alpine background. Though its muted, Wilder still gets some of his cynical point of view into Crosby's phonograph salesman who woos a member of Viennese royalty played by Joan Fontaine. Roland Culver who is Fontaine's father is also pretty good as the impoverished count who is quite willing to sell his title in marriage to anyone who can afford him.

Great vehicle for the winning Crosby personality...

BRUCE'S RATING: 8 OUT OF 10
MY RATING: 7 OUT OF 10


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

REST IN PEACE: WAYNE MARTIN

A sad day for fans of Bing Crosby. Earlier this year Wayne Martin, the editor and vice-president of Club Crosby until 2003 died...



Wayne LeRoy Martin, 87 of Higginsville, Missouri died on Friday, February 23, 2018, at his home. Born Tuesday, March 11, 1930 in Corder, Missouri, he was the son of the late LeRoy Martin and the late Golda Belle Welliver. He married Sandra Hostetter Martin on July 16, 1974. She survives of the home. He was a Veteran of the Korean War serving in the United States Army. He received a masters degree in Library Sciences from the University of Colorado and a masters degree in English from Central Missouri State University.

He was a former editor for the Bing Crosby magazine and the Director of Libraries for Brentwood, Missouri school systems, retiring in 1989. He was a member of United Church of Christ in Kirkwood, Missouri prior to moving to Higginsville in 2011. Surviving are one daughter, Robin Teter and her wife, Sandra Martin. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at the Hoefer Funeral Home with Rev. Dr. Tommy Faris officiating. Interment will be in the City Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at Hoefer Chapel. Memorial contributions may be sent to Beacon of Hope in Oak Grove, MO...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

COMING SOON: BEST OF THE BING CROSBY SPECIALS

Never-before-released TV Specials, unseen for decades!

From the 1950s through the ’70s Bing Crosby starred in 30 highly rated TV specials that featured a who’s who of guest stars. Bing’s groundbreaking broadcasts have never been available in one comprehensive collection—until now.

The Best of the Bing Crosby Specials DVD collection features all of Bing’s iconic hits, including “Pennies from Heaven,” “Swinging on a Star,” “Don’t Fence Me In,” “It’s Easy to Remember,” “Dina,” and of course, “White Christmas.”

You’ll get 26 Episodes on 11 DVDs, featuring the very best of Bing’s acclaimed specials, along with hours of bonus features. Highlights Include:

Bing’s good friends Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Dean Martin appeared on multiple specials, and Bing’s shows also featured Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Pearl Bailey, Jack Benny, Carol Burnett, Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como, Jackie Gleason, Robert Goulet, Peggy Lee, Patti Page, Bernadette Peters, Debbie Reynolds, Flip Wilson and many others!

Bing’s first TV special from 1954, featuring good pal Jack Benny.


Bing’s last TV special, featuring an unlikely guest, David Bowie. This is the 1977 program that yielded what may be the most popular Christmas duet ever—Bing and Bowie’s recording of “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.”

Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank—a rare special with Frank Sinatra that features the two legends singing classics in an intimate setting.

Bing’s 50th anniversary special, featuring Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, the Mills Brothers and others, and including a memorable Bette Midler.

Episodes of The Carol Burnett Show and the Bob Hope TV specials with guest shots by Bing.

Free bonus DVD—The Legendary Bing Crosby, a celebration of Bing’s life that includes rare performances, exclusive interviews with Bing’s family and friends, home movies and rare, behind-the-scenes material.

Exclusive 36-page book: Bing Crosby: A Life in Pictures, featuring rare photos, memorabilia, and behind-the-scenes snapshots from Bing’s 60+ year career...

Sunday, July 1, 2018

THE CROSBY BOYS: A 1961 REVIEW

Bing's Boys Sing Out In Latin Quarter Debut

Music in harmony, clear and sweet and rhythmic, approached intelligently, often humorously and always with a timing that is a thing of beauty in itself, is the essence of an act starring Phillip, Dennis and Lindsay Crosby, three of Bing's sons, which E. M. Loew and Ed Risman presented last night at the Latin Quarter.

Advance notices from Las Vegas, where the boys were enthusiastically received, do not exaggerate. It is no fly-by-night act, built on a father's reputation. Rather, does it subtly recognize talent handed down to another generation that carries on in its own proficient way.

Much credit is due John Bradford and William Friml, who added some apt lyrics for the opening "This is a Lovely Way to Spend an Evening" and the following "You're a Good Group." The numbers are the boys' introduction of themselves to the audience, and they are solid.

The next two numbers "Mamselle" and "Dinah," are purely the harmony, indicating the range of each voice and pinpointing the personalities in little ways. There isn't a solo all night, but each boy takes a brief turn in introducing a segment or singing a few bars.

Charles O'Curran staged and produced this superior act of the Crosy Bros., Bill Thompson did the orchestration and vocal arrangements and drummer Lloyd Morales sat in with Joe Lombardi's orchestra as Fred Otis conducted from the piano.

A folk medley of "Scarlett Ribbons," "Little White Duck," "Old Dan Tucker," "Lil' David" and "Joshua" made up the second segment of the act, with each number interpreted in an original manner.

Then came the finale, as the boys did excerpts from about 30 songs made famous by their father. This could have been an ear-bending, wearying number without proper editing. As they present it, it is a closely woven tapestry of song and sentiment, bringing the past to the present with taste and skill.

As they closed, in tribute to Bing, with "The Blue of the Night," I felt deeply moved and awfully glad I attended the opening.

Earlier, before and during the show, I realized the familiar antics of Frank Libuse, the mad "waiter," as well as other variety acts and the beautiful girls in Fred Wittop's scintillating costumes.

The Crosby Bros. and the Latin Quarter have a rare treat for all comers.

Pictured above are the twins Phillip (top) Dennis (bottom) and Lindsay (the youngest). Eldest brother Gary is not with the group at this time...



SOURCE