Monday, April 4, 2022


Colleen Gray (1922-2015) starred with Bing in 1950's Riding High. Here is a story she had about Bing...

Bing was very relaxed, a little cool; not a gushy person. I noticed one day on the set, he was reading a book and I looked at the title. It was, 'NOTES TOWARD A DEFINITION OF CULTURE by T S Elliot. You know you don't think of Bing in those terms. The kindness and sweetness of this man was illustrated when we were to do the SUNSHINE CAKE routine, which was such a charming scene. It was a routine, involving a dance. I'm not a dancer. So I was coached by a man who shall remain nameless. He'd say 'You have to keep the arms down, the shoulders up, the fanny in, the bandy legs, and this and that, and now do it.' I'm working on this and that and get stuck, sort of. It didn't come naturally. So he says 'Oh, come on now damnit! You do it! You're making more money than I am, now do it!' Well I worked as hard as I could and, the day we shot the routine, I was still behind the scenes, trying to get this whole thing going, so, when it came time to do it, I became very apprehensive. I'm trying to smile and be funny and laugh and so forth, keeping my head up so that the tears would run down my nose rather than down my cheeks. Well, Bing saw this. He said 'Frank (Capra)? You know something, I don't feel quite relaxed in this. I think we need a little more rehearsal. Can we have some more rehearsal?' Capra said 'Of course' And so we rehearsed it some more, and that's all it took. I was so grateful to Bing for that and he made the routine such fun. You know, I hate to say it, but it was adorable'. (laughing)


  1. I enjoyed reading this Coleen Gray story -- she holds a special place in my heart. I know her more from her noirs, so it was a pleasure to read about her experience with Bing in this non-noir film!

  2. What an interesting and good story. You never know what's going on behind the scenes of even the simplest scenes. Riding High has always been a favorite of mine, so fun and entertaining and Colleen Gray was as cute as a button. Nice to see that Bing treated her as kindly off screen as on. This was the mark of a real professional to stop everything in a not obvious way to help out a younger and less experienced performer.

    I've heard similar type stories of other "old pros" who saw the new comer having a hard time and would call a time out to help, but not being obvious about it.