Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Here is a cute commercial with that crooning pitchman, Bing Crosby! This is from the 1960s...

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Perry Como was born Pierino Ronald Como in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania on May 18, 1912, the son of Pietro Como, a mill hand, and Lucia Travaglini Como, immigrants from Palena, Italy. The seventh of thirteen children, Perry Como earned a few cents a day working after school in a local barbershop in Canonsburg.

Later, while attending high school, he operated his own barbershop. Como, performing at wedding receptions and other functions, gained local recognition for his singing ability. One of the few vocalists of his generation to read music, he played both organ and baritone horn. Como's popularity skyrocketed in the late 1930s after he became the featured vocalist with the Ted Weems orchestra.

When the Weems band broke up in the early 1940s, NBC offered him a contract to share star billing with singer Jo Stafford on the Chesterfield Supper Club, a radio show broadcast Mondays through Fridays. Como usually sang romantic ballads during each broadcast. When that show came to Friday night television in the late 1940s Como continued to be a featured vocalist, supported by the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra and the Fontane Sisters. A smorgasbord of comedy routines, dancing, and singing, the show gave him the opportunity to reveal a captivating personality. His neckties and business suits, however, did not complement his casual style and in later shows he wore cardigan sweaters, dubbed Perry Como sweaters by his fans.

The program was soon moved to a half-hour slot on Sundays, competing with Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town. Meanwhile, Como was also performing before enthusiastic and often frenetic audiences at the Paramount Theater in New York City and the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. "Perry Como was the heartthrob of the ladies at that time," remarked David Hamid, Jr., part owner of the Steel Pier. In 1950 Como signed with CBS, hosting his own program for five seasons. In 1955 he went back to NBC, starring in the weekly Perry Como Show, later titled The Kraft Music Hall. He remained with NBC until 1963. From the late 1940s through the early 1960s Como was a pioneer in the television variety show genre. His singing style evolved into the popular musical form called easy listening, influencing a generation of lounge singers. Beginning with his first, on Christmas Eve 1948, Como's Christmas specials on ABC-TV became an integral part of the holiday season. These annual events were accompanied by his three Christmas albums (1946-1948) for the RCA Victor label.

A fourth Christmas album, recorded for Como's 1993-1994 Irish Christmas television special, was his only non-RCA recording in half a century. When ABC decided to cancel Como's annual Christmas special in 1987, the Dallas Morning News mounted a "Save Perry" letter-writing campaign. A fan wrote: "If Perry Como is removed from Christmas, can Santa Claus be far behind?"

Como was one of the most successful performers of the twentieth century, next to Bing Crosby. Along with nonsense tunes like "Hot Diggity Dog Ziggity Boom," lighthearted songs like "Papa Loves Mambo," and even a rock-and-roll number, "Juke Box Baby," he left an enduring legacy as an interpreter of the romantic ballad. In 1943 in the midst of a strike by the American Federation of Musicians, Como recorded with only vocal accompaniment "Goodbye Sue" for the RCA Victor label. Among his most popular romantic ballads are "Dream Along with Me," "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes," "Temptation," "Because," "Till the End of Time," "Prisoner of Love," "And I Love You So," and "It's Impossible." Often accompanied by the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra and the Ray Charles Singers, Como sold more than one hundred million records and had fourteen tunes that were ranked number one musical hits. In 1946 he was named top-selling male singer by Billboard. As late as 1973 he received a Grammy award nomination as best male pop vocalist for "And I Love You So."

His achievements during the rock-and-roll era, when ballad crooners were falling by the wayside, were particularly remarkable. During the final years of his long life Como spent most of his time at his home in Jupiter Inlet Beach Colony near Palm Beach, Florida, golfing, fishing, and taking long walks with his wife. Near the time of his death he had become a great-grandfather. He devoted himself to various charities, including his annual golf benefits at Duke University in North Carolina, and even found time to visit radio stations that carried Weekend with Perry, a weekly program syndicated throughout the United States. Combining a gentle voice with a pleasant personality, Como celebrated in life and in song romantic love and lifelong fidelity. He parlayed these values and his ability to express them in song into one of the most successful careers in twentieth-century popular entertainment. Perry Como died in his sleep on May 12, 2001 --a national treasure was lost...

Monday, March 22, 2010


If anyone can help me, that would be great. I am not sure where this video comes from. Bing sings "Out Of Nowhere" as a solo and then joins in with the Rhythm Boys. Nevertheless where this is from, Bing was great...

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Rosemary Clooney was born on May 23, 1928, in Maysville, Kentucky. The distinctively unpretentious, deep, rich, and smooth voice of Rosemary Clooney earned her recognition as one of America's premiere pop and jazz singers. According to Clooney's record company press biography, Life magazine, in a tribute to America's "girl singers" named her one of "six preeminent singers ... whose performances are living displays of a precious national treasure ... their recordings a preservation of jewels." First-class crooner Frank Sinatra stated, as was also reprinted in Clooney's press biography, "Rosemary Clooney has that great talent which exudes warmth and feeling in every song she sings. She's a symbol of good modern American music." It was at Columbia that Clooney began an important association with Mitch Miller, one of the company's A&R [Artists and Repertoire] representatives and top entertainers.

In 1951 Miller convinced Clooney to record an oddball song, "Come On-a My House," written by Ross Bagdasarian with lyrics by William Saroyan. When Miller first suggested the song, Clooney was highly skeptical, insisting the song was not her kind of material. She felt it was silly and demeaning; she believed the double-entendres were a cheap lyrical device and felt uncomfortable putting on an Italian accent. But Miller was persistent and finally persuaded Clooney to record "Come On-a My House." He conceived a novel instrumental effect utilizing a harpsichord to accompany Clooney. Much to her surprise, the song was an immediate and enormous success, topping the charts to become a gold record. "Come On-a My House" made Rosemary Clooney a star. A household name, she became known simply as "Rosie." As her popularity swelled, Clooney began a romance with dancer Dante Di Paolo, her co-star in the films Here Come the Girls and Red Garters. Nonetheless, to her friends' and the public's amazement, Clooney eloped in the summer of 1953 with Oscar-winning actor Jose Ferrer, 16 years her senior. "Rosie" and her whirlwind marriage became a favorite topic of the tabloid journals. Clooney and Ferrer moved into a glamorous Beverly Hills home once owned by composer George Gershwin and entertained with lavish poolside parties attended by the toast of Hollywood.

Their first child was born in 1955 and by 1960, they had five children. Clooney became the star of her own television series in 1956. The Rosemary Clooney Show, which ran through 1957, was syndicated to more than one hundred television stations. But by that time, Clooney had begun to feel the strain of stardom and her relentlessly hectic schedule. The pressure of raising five children while pursuing careers as a television, movie, radio, and recording star, coupled with the deteriorating state of her marriage, soon took its toll. Clooney developed an addiction to tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Although her life appeared idyllic to the public, the singer's addiction to drugs worsened. Clooney and Ferrer divorced in 1961, reconciled for a few years, then divorced again in 1967. Recalling in her autobiography how she fell prey to "the '50s myth of family and career," the singer confessed, "I just did it all because I thought that I could, it certainly wasn't easy."

 For Clooney, the world came crashing down in 1968. She was standing only yards away when her close friend Bobby Kennedy, then campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, was assassinated in Los Angeles at the Ambassador Hotel. The tragedy, compounded with her drug addiction, triggered a public mental collapse: At a Reno engagement she cursed at her audience and stalked off the stage. She later called a press conference to announce her retirement at which she sobbed incoherently. When a doctor was summoned, Clooney fled and was eventually found driving on the wrong side of a dangerous mountain road. Soon thereafter she admitted herself to the psychiatric ward of Mount Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Clooney remained in therapy for many years. She worked when she could—at Holiday Inns and small hotels like the Ventura and the Hawthorne and selling paper towels in television commercials.

In 1976 Clooney's old friend Bing Crosby asked her to join him on his 50th anniversary tour. It would be Crosby's final tour and Clooney's comeback event. The highlight of the show came when Clooney joined Crosby in a duet of "On a Slow Boat to China." The next year, Clooney signed a recording contract with Concord Jazz, taking the next step on her comeback trail—one that would produce a string of more than a dozen successful recordings, inaugurated with Everything's Coming Up Rosie. "I'll keep working as long as I live," Clooney vowed in an interview with Lear's magazine, "because singing has taken on the feeling of joy that I had when I started, when my only responsibility was to sing well. It's even better now ... I can even pick the songs. The arranger says to me, 'How do you want it? How do you see it?' Nobody ever asked me that before." Along with her renewed recording efforts, Clooney created a living memorial to her sister Betty, who died in 1976 from a brain aneurysm: the Betty Clooney Center in Long Beach, California, a facility for brain-injured young adults. The first of its kind in the U.S., the center is supported by grants and donations. After receiving the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal in 1992 in recognition of her contribution to American music, Clooney told the Washington Post, "It's for showing up day after day, for small increments of time and achievement." Claiming that singing has become her salvation, Clooney added, "I'm the only instrument that's got the words, so I've got to be able to get that across." As her top-selling jazz albums indicated, Clooney was still able to mesmerize audiences with her warmth, depth of feeling, honesty, and unsurpassed craft.

After years of doing it all, and on her own, Rosemary married her longtime companion Dante DiPaolo, a graceful hollywood dancer. They married in November of 1997. In January of 2002, Rosemary underwent lung cancer surgery. She remained hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic until early May, at which time she was able to go home to Beverly Hills and share Mother's Day and her birthday with her family, which includes, five children, ten grandchildren, brother and sister-in-law Nick and Nina Clooney, sister Gail Stone Darley and their and Betty's children. She died on June 29, 2002...

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Here is a very rare video of Bing leaving a USO tour in 1944...


Here is an interesting public service announcement Bing did in 1945 telling kids to stay in school...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I have always loved this duet Bing did with the great Mary Martin. It is from their 1941 film together BIRTH OF THE BLUES...

MR. MUSIC (1950)

Bing's movie, MR. MUSIC, is one of the most underrated Bing films. The songs may not be Irving Berlin or Cole Porter classics, but Bing was in great voice... clips courtesy of Martin Knight

Monday, March 15, 2010


This clip is a prime example of how the movie soundtrack was better than the commerical record. Bing recorded "High On The List" with the Andrew Sisters, but I think the version from 1950's MR. MUSIC was much better...


Here is Bing singing the title song from the 1949 film TOP O' THE MORNING. Just in time for St. Patrick's Day...

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Entertainer Phil Harris was a lifelong friend of Bing Crosby. Phil was one of the few people that Bing let in to his inner circle. Up until Phil's death in 1995, he dedicated to Bing! Phil Harris (born Wonga Philip Harris June 24, 1904 – August 11, 1995) was an American singer, songwriter, jazz musician, actor and comedian.

Though successful as an orchestra leader, Harris is remembered today for his recordings as a vocalist, his voice work in animation and as a pioneer in radio situation comedy, first with Jack Benny, and then in a series in which he co-starred with his second wife, singer-actress Alice Faye, for eight years. Harris was born in Linton, Indiana but grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and identified himself as a Southerner (his hallmark song was "That's What I Like About the South"). His upbringing accounted for both his trace of a Southern accent and, in later years, the self-deprecating Southern jokes of his radio character. The son of two circus performers, Harris' first work as a drummer came when his father, as tent bandleader, hired him to play with the circus band. Harris began his music career as a drummer in San Francisco, forming an orchestra with Carol Lofner in the latter 1920s and starting a long engagement at the St. Francis Hotel. The partnership ended by 1932, and Harris led and sang with his own band, now based in Los Angeles. Phil Harris also played drums in Henry Halstead Big Band Orchestra in the mid 1920s.

In 1931, Lofner-Harris recorded a couple of records for Victor, then he recorded a couple of records for Columbia in 1933. In 1935, he recorded a couple of records for Decca. From December, 1936, through March, 1937, he recorded 16 sides for Vocalion. Most were hot swing tunes that used a very interesting gimmick; they faded up and faded out with a piano solo. These were probably arranged by pianist Skippy Anderson. On September 2, 1927, he married actress Marcia Ralston in Sydney, Australia; they had met when he played a concert date.The couple adopted a son, Phil Harris, Jr.(1935-2008), but they divorced in September, 1940.

Harris and screen beauty Alice Faye married in 1941; it was a second marriage for both (Faye had been married briefly to singer-actor Tony Martin) and lasted 54 years, until Harris's death. Harris engaged in a legendary fist fight at the Trocadero nightclub in 1938 with RKO studio mogul Bob Stevens over Faye, after Stevens ended a romantic relationship with her in favour of Sharon Gunn. In 1942, Harris and his entire band enlisted in the U.S. Navy and they served until the end of World War II. By 1946 Faye had all but ended her film career. She drove off the 20th Century Fox lot after studio czar Darryl F. Zanuck reputedly edited her scenes out of Fallen Angel (1945) to pump up his protege Linda Darnell. Originally a vehicle for big bands, including Harris' own, The Fitch Bandwagon became something else entirely when Harris and Faye's family skits made them the show's breakout stars. Coinciding with their desire to settle in southern California and raise their children (Alice Jr., born 1942, and Phyllis, born 1944) without touring heavily, the Bandwagon name disappeared when Fitch yielded to Rexall as sponsor in 1948, and the show was renamed The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.

By that time, it had become a full-fledged situation comedy featuring one music spot each for Harris and Faye. The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show ran until 1954, by which time radio had all but succumbed to television. (Harris continued to appear on Jack Benny's show, along with his own, from 1948 to 1952.) Because the Harris show aired immediately after Benny's on a different network (Harris and Faye were still on NBC, whereas Benny jumped his show to CBS in 1949), Harris would only appear during the first half of Jack's show; he would then leave the CBS studio and walk approximately one block to his own studio down the street, arriving just in time for the start of his own program. He was succeeded as Benny's orchestra leader in the fall of 1952 by Bob Crosby.

Harris had once become so significant a comedy presence on the Benny show that the actual band conductor was arranger Mahlon Merrick. After the show ended, Harris revived his music career. He made numerous guest appearances on 1960s and 1970s TV shows, including the Kraft Music Hall, The Dean Martin Show, F Troop, The Hollywood Palace and other musical variety programs. He appeared on ABC's The American Sportsman hosted by Grits Gresham, and later sports announcer Curt Gowdy, which took celebrities on hunting, fishing or shooting trips around the world. Harris was also a close friend and associate of Bing Crosby and appeared in an episode of ABC's short-lived The Bing Crosby Show sitcom.

After Crosby died in 1977, Harris sat in for his old friend doing color commentary for the telecast of the annual Bing Crosby Pro-Am Golf Tournament. Harris said of Crosby's death, "I have grown up to learn that God doesn't make mistakes. Today, I'm beginning to doubt that." An old episode of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show began with Harris telling the story of how he once won the tournament. Harris was a longtime resident and benefactor of Palm Springs, California, where Crosby also made his home. Harris was also a benefactor of his birthplace of Linton, Indiana, establishing scholarships in his honor for promising high school students, performing at the high school, and hosting a celebrity golf tournament in his honour every year. In due course, Harris and Faye donated most of their show business memorabilia and papers to Linton's public library.

Harris died of a heart attack in Palm Springs 1995 at age 91. Alice Faye died of stomach cancer three years later...

Friday, March 12, 2010


Here is Bing's cameo from the forgotten film PEPE(1960). The best part of the movie were the cameos, especially Bing's appearance! clip courtesy of Martin Knight

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Here is a rare color video of Bing singing this great song from 1934. The color is great for the time!


Here are two great voices - Bing Crosby and Andy Williams together from Williams' television show!


Here is an example of a horrible song that is made listenable by Bing's delivery. I believe this is from one of Bing's Christmas specials!


Here is the opening number from what many say is Bing Crosby's worst movie SAY ONE FOR ME from 1959!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Here is the first Mrs. Crosby in a rare song and dance number from 1929! clip courtesy of Martin Knight


Here is some great video of Bing golfing with Bob Hope in 1946!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This will be a new weekly feature where we profile on of Bing's contemporaries. This first profile is that of Connee Boswell. Constance Foore "Connee" Boswell was born in Kansas City in 1907 but raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. With her sisters, Martha and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell, she performed in the 1930s as The Boswell Sisters and became a highly influential singing group during this period via recordings and radio. Connee herself is widely considered one of the greatest jazz female vocalists and was a major influence on Ella Fitzgerald. In 1936, Connee's sisters retired and Connee continued on as a solo artist (having also recorded solos during her years with the group). 

The Boswells came to be well known locally while still in their early teens, making appearances in New Orleans theaters and radio. They made their first recordings for Victor Records in 1925, which included "Cryin' Blues" where Connee is featured singing in the style of her early influence, the African American singer Mamie Smith. The Boswell Sisters became stage professionals that year when they were tapped to fill in for an act at New Orleans' Orpheum Theatre. They received an invitation to come to Chicago and perform in 1928 and honed their act on the Western Vaudeville Circuit. When their tour ended they traveled to San Francisco. The hotel that had been recommended had a less than savory reputation, and the man at the desk suggested that these three young ladies might be better off in another hotel. That man, Harry Leedy, would later become their manager on a handshake and become a permanent part of Connee's life.

The Boswell Sisters travelled to Los Angeles where they performed on local radio and "side-miked" for the soundies, including the 1930 production "Under Montana Skies." They did not attain national attention, however, until they moved to New York City in 1930 and started making national radio broadcasts. After a few recordings with Okeh Records, they made numerous recordings for Brunswick Records from 1931-1935. In 1935, the sisters had a #1 hit with "The Object of My Affection", the biggest of twenty top 20 records they would enjoy. In 1936, the group signed to Decca Records and after just three releases called it quits (the last recording was February 12, 1936). Connee Boswell continued to have a successful solo career as a singer for Decca. All through her career with The Boswell Sisters, and well into the 1940s, her name was spelled "Connie". She later changed the spelling to Connee, reputedly because it made it easier to sign autographs. Connee Boswell was also an arranger (the legendary Boswell Sisters harmony arrangements are hers) and a composer. Connee sang from a wheelchair - or seated position - during her entire career, due to either a childhood bout with polio or a childhood accident (sources differ).

The general public was not aware of her condition although Boswell herself did not keep this secret. During World War II, she tried to get involved with the U.S.O. tours but was not given permission to travel overseas. The Army thought it might not be a morale-booster to have a wheelchair-bound singer perform for the troops. Connee Boswell was a favorite duet partner of Bing Crosby and they frequently sang together on radio as well as recording several hit records as a duo in the 1930s and 1940's. Boswell, Crosby, and Eddie Cantor recorded a version of Alexander's Ragtime Band that was a #1 hit in 1938.In 1939, Crosby and Boswell had three hit duet records that each climbed into the top 12 on Billboard; "An Apple For The Teacher" climbed all the way to #2. Connee Boswell also had several dozen solo hits, including "Moonlight Moon" in 1942. Boswell's career slackened in the 1950s but she still recorded occasionally and would be featured on a number of television broadcasts including a regular stint on the 1959 series "Pete Kelly's Blues". Connee Boswell died from stomach cancer at age 68 in 1976, in New York, NY...

Friday, March 5, 2010


This is one of my favorite early Bing Crosby songs. It is a great rememberance of the Great Depression...


Here is a very rare clip of Bing Crosby at the dedication of his library at Gonzaga University in 1957! clip courtesy of Martin Knight

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I have so many versions of Moonlight Becomes You on CD, but I often forget the video of the song from THE ROAD TO MOROCCO!


Here is one of those great Warner Brothers cartoons from 1936 showing a cartoon version of Bing Crosby! GREAT STUFF!!!


Here is a great song from a so-so Bing Crosby movie: clip courtesy of Martin Knight

Monday, March 1, 2010


Here is the late Dom Deluise with Bing from 1967!


Here is a take off of the Bing Crosby-Bob Hope road movies from a 1981 skit. Larry David (creator of Seinfeld) plays Bing! clip courtesy of blog follower Jarbie.


I think this is the best version I have ever heard of this song!


I gotta give it to Bing...he could sing with anyone. Here is Bing teaming up with The Temptations from a Hollywood Palace show!


It is just a joy to see two icons like Bing Crosby and The Mills Brothers together again! clip courtesy of Martin Knight.