Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Here is an interesting article about how some audio recordings, namely old radio shows with Bing Crosby have begun to fade away... WASHINGTON – New digital recordings of events in U.S. history and early radio shows are at risk of being lost much faster than older ones on tape and many are already gone, according to a study on sound released Wednesday. Even recent history — such as recordings from 9/11 or the 2008 election — is at risk because digital sound files can be corrupted and widely used CD-R discs last only last three to five years before files start to fade, said study co-author Sam Brylawski. "I think we're assuming that if it's on the Web it's going to be there forever," he said. "That's one of the biggest challenges." The first comprehensive study of the preservation of sound recordings in the U.S. being released by the Library of Congress also found many historical recordings already have been lost or can't be accessed by the public. That includes most of radio's first decade from 1925 to 1935. Shows by singers Duke Ellington and Bing Crosby, as well as the earliest sports broadcasts, are already gone. There was little financial incentive for such broadcasters as CBS to save early sound files, Brylawski said. Digital files are a blessing and a curse. Sounds can be easily recorded and transferred and the files require less and less space. But the problem, Brylawski said, is they must be constantly maintained and backed up by audio experts as technology changes. That requires active preservation, rather than simply placing files on a shelf, he said. The study co-authored by Rob Bamberger was mandated by Congress in a 2000 preservation law. Those old analog formats that remain are more physically stable and can survive about 150 years longer than contemporary digital recordings, the study warns. Still, the rapid change in technology to play back the recordings can make them obsolete. Recordings saved by historical societies and family oral histories also are at risk, Brylawski said. "Those audio cassettes are just time bombs," Brylawski said. "They're just not going to be playable." There are few if any programs to train professional audio archivists, the study found. No universities currently offer degrees in audio preservation, though several offer related courses. A hodgepodge of 20th century state anti-piracy laws also has kept most sound files out of the public domain before U.S. copyright law was extended to sound recordings in 1972. The study found only 14 percent of commercially released recordings are available from rights holders. That limits how much preservation can be accomplished, Brylawski said. The study calls for changes in the law to help preservation. As it stands now, Brylawski said, copyright restrictions would make most audio preservation initiatives illegal, the authors wrote.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Grace Bradley has passed away, and although her name will not be known to many, she was a Paramount contract player, starred with Bing Crosby in TOO MUCH HARMONY(1933), and was the widow of Hopalong Cassidy. She was 97. She was born on September 21, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York. On December 22, 1930 Bradley made her Broadway debut at New York's Hammerstein Theatre in Ballyhoo. Her next stage appearance came one year later at The Music Box Theatre in The Third Little Show. Soon Bradley found herself working in various New York nightclubs and theatres. In March 1933, she apperared in Strike Me Pink at the Majestic Theatre. Soon Bradley decided to give Hollywood a try. After she left Broadway her role in Strike Me Pink was taken over by Dorothy Dare, who would later become a musical film star. Although she actually made one film in 1932 her real film career did not begin until 1933 when she starred in a lead role in the film Too Much Harmony (1933).

In Too Much Harmony, Grace played Verne La Mond and sang "Cradle Me with a Hotcha Lullaby". She also had a lesser role in Bing's Anything Goes (1936). During her career she co-starred opposite such notable figures as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Alice Faye, Bruce Cabot, William Bendix, Fred MacMurray, Harold Lloyd and W.C. Fields.In May 1937, Bradley submitted to a blind date and met Hopalong Cassidy star William Boyd and the two of them hit it off so well that they were wed in June 1937. In the 1940s Bradley's star began to wain and in 1943 she starred in her last big role in Taxi, Mister. Following this Bradley had officially played out her Paramount contract and she spent the remainder of the 1940s alongside her beloved husband William Boyd and traveled around the country with him helping to promote his cowboy image. She did come out of her publicty trips with Boyd to make one more film appearance; an uncredited cameo role in Tournament of Roses (1954).

On September 12, 1972, just nine days before her 59th birthday, William Boyd died and Bradley became a widow. Following his death she retired from the entertainment world; however, since she shared such a strong union with her husband she still continued to do things to help keep Boyd's memory alive. Although she never bore children she considered all the children who enjoyed her husbands work as Hopalong Cassidy to be like her children. She also endured years of fighting for the legal rights to her late husbands sixty-six "Hopalong Cassidy" features. With her acting career behind her she devoted her time to a lot of volunteer work at the Laguna Beach Hospital where her husband had spent his final days. Grace Bradley Boyd died on her 97th birthday; Tuesday, September 21, 2010. She left no survivors. On Thursday, September 23, 2010 private services were held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA. She was interred with her husband there...

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Nice to see Bing Crosby still making the news... A FIND IN BING CROSBY'S BASEMENT by Associated Press Bing Crosby often found himself dreaming of the Pittsburgh Pirates, too, even while on vacation in Paris during the 1960 World Series. His zealous support and superstition wound up being a good thing for baseball fans: Found in his wine cellar was film of the deciding Game 7, in which Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit a game-ending homer to beat the Yankees, that was thought to be lost forever. A published report says the complete NBC broadcast had been discovered in Crosby’s longtime home near San Francisco. The silver-tongued crooner, whose recording of “White Christmas” has sold millions of copies worldwide, was part owner of the baseball team from 1946 until his death in 1977. But the avid sportsman was such a nervous wreck watching the Pirates that when they played the Yankees in the World Series, he went on a European vacation with his wife, Kathryn. “He said, ’I can’t stay in the country. I’ll jinx everybody,’” Crosby’s widow said. It was thought that one of the greatest games ever played had survived only through radio broadcasts, grainy photographs and the written word. Then in December, while Robert Bader was combing through tapes and reels of Crosby’s old TV specials, the vice president of Bing Crosby Entertainment stumbled across two gray canisters in a pile stretching to the ceiling. They were labeled “1960 World Series” and looked as though they hadn’t been touched in years. An hour of searching revealed three more reels. Bader screened the 16-millimeter film and realized it was the complete broadcast of Game 7, with the Yankees’ Mel Allen and Pirates’ Bob Prince calling the action. The conditions of the wine cellar — cool and dry — meant that the film had survived in pristine condition. “I had to be the only person to have seen it in 50 years,” Bader said. “It was pure luck.” Crosby couldn’t bear to watch the game live, although he did listen by radio while in Paris, so he had hired a company to record the broadcast by kinescope. The early relative of DVR meant that he could go back and watch the 2-hour, 36-minute game later if the Pirates won. The five reels have since been transferred to DVD, and fans will get a chance to view the game during the offseason on the MLB Network. Bob Costas is set to host the special, which will include interviews with former players and other additional programming. “Bing Crosby was away ahead of his time,” said Nick Trotta, senior library and licensing manager of Major League Baseball Productions, the sport’s archivists. “It’s a time capsule.” The game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh that October day was filled with high drama. The Pirates scored four runs in the first two innings off Bob Turley, then watched the Yankees score a run in the fifth and four more in the sixth, when Yogi Berra’s home run gave the Yankees the lead. Two more runs in the eighth made it 7-4. Pittsburgh rebounded with five runs in the bottom half, pulling ahead on Hal Smith’s three-run homer, before the Yankees tied the game in the ninth on a heads-up baserunning play by Mickey Mantle that allowed Gil McDougald to cross the plate. Minutes later, Mazeroski stepped into the batter’s box leading off the ninth inning. With one ball and no strikes, he connected with Ralph Terry’s pitch and drove the ball over the left field wall. The Pirates poured out of the dugout, the Yankees stood in disbelief, and Mazeroski rounded the bases after the first game-ending home run to win a World Series. Only later did Crosby get to see the spectacle unfold, in the comforts of his own home. “It was such a unique game to begin with,” said the Pirates’ Dick Groat, the 1960 league MVP who will turn 80 in November but remembers the game as if it happened yesterday. “It was back and forth, back and forth. It was unbelievable.”


Here is the Mount Rushmore of crooning...Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. They don't make entertainers like this anymore! This is from a Frank Sinatra variety show in 1957...

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Groucho Marx appeared with Bing in one screen appearance...MR MUSIC in 1950. Bing and Groucho duet on the song "Life Is So Peculiar". It is a cute number, but Bing ended up commercially recording it with the Andrew Sisters...

Friday, September 17, 2010


Here is Der Bingle singing a song from his first "official" tv special in 1954. He is singing the popular 1950s hit "Changing Partners". This was never my favorite song, and Patti Page had the biggest hit with the song, but it is enjoyable enough...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


DIXIE(1943) has become one of the rarest movies of Bing's to get a copy of. Due the the blackface scenes, the movie is sadly forgotten. The movie is not about blackface but about a time in history. A young songwriter leaves his Kentucky home to try to make it in New Orleans. The film is based on the life of Daniel Decatur Emmett, who wrote the classic song "Dixie." Joining Bing in the cast are Marjorie Reynolds, Dorothy Lamour, and Billy DeWolfe...

Monday, September 6, 2010


Here is an interesting phone interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins. He talks about the early days of Bing's fan in the 1920s with the Rhythm Boys and Paul Whiteman...

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I have never heard of Jack Harris before reading the article, but it is interesting: THE FORGOTTEN JACK HARRIS by Associated Press "Even in the late 1950s and early 1960s it was unusual for a radio station to have it's own studio orchestra and "radio singer". WJR in Detroit was one of the exception. A young vocalist named Jack Harris had a daily radio show. He also cut a few singles. Here is one of them. From the Broadway musical "Ankles Aweigh", here is Jack and the Dick Jacobs orchestra and chorus singing "His and Hers". Jack eventually left Detroit and moved to Los Angeles where he did some commercial work. He was sued by Bing Crosby Enterprises and ordered to cease and desist imitating Bing. It wasn't an imitation, it was his own voice. He countersued for depriving him of his right to a livlihood. Jack Harris faded away, and it is unsure where he is now."