Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Here is a website from the United Kingdom which is selling a retro Bing Crosby cardigan. Interesting stuff... Christmas is coming and what could be more festive than the strains of Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing Little Drummer Boy? Well, we'll tell you - wearing this Slazenger Heritage 1970s 'Bing Crosby' lambswool cardigan while you listen to it. Yes, Slazenger has nipped into the archives and found the design for the cardigan Bing was wearing at that recording in 1977, a light blue number in extra fine lambswool with six-button fastening, a classic Slazenger logo on the chest and a slim fit. Perfect for the Christmas day wear, you can pick one up while stocks last for £75. SOURCE

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Here is a great clip from one of Bing's last great films. He is singing "I Love You Samantha" from the classic MGM musical HIGH SOCIETY(1956). If I ever have a daughter, I'd love to name her after this song and Grace Kelly's character. Bing was in fine form and fine voice throughout the whole movie...


Sunday, November 21, 2010


It never stops amazing me who many things Bing Crosby had a hand in during his career. Here is a PSA he did in 1969 for medical alert bracelets. Thank goodness Bing did not have to say "I've fallen and I can't get up". It is a short PSA, but very interesting...

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I have to admit that I love Carol Burnett's version of Bing's 1931 hit Sweet Georgia Brown". Carol, as always, makes it her own. This is taken from from Carol's second filmed appearance on "THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM" on October 8, 1963...


With the holidays quickly approaching, I found this insteresting remix of the song "SNOW" from WHITE CHRISTMAS(1954). I know I may sound anti holiday, but I never liked the song "SNOW", but I like it better with hearing this interesting version. What do you think...

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Some 73% of shoppers want the calendar to reach December before festive music plays in stores, a survey says. The survey of just over 2,000 people in October found that 61% of shoppers who heard Christmas tunes were not prompted to start buying gifts. When music starts, Bing Crosby's White Christmas is the most popular tune. Mood Media Corporation, which supplies in-store entertainment and commissioned the survey, said a good atmosphere was vital to keeping customers in a store. The poll, conducted towards the end of October, questioned various age groups about their attitudes. It found that, among those aged 18-44, 74% enjoyed hearing music in stores - but not necessarily the Christmas favourites. "The message is clear for retailers looking for ways to keep shoppers in-store for longer. Instead of using festive tunes just because the Christmas shopping season is about to begin, they can tailor their in-store music to the tastes of their particular customer demographic," said Vanessa Walmsley, of Mood Media Corporation. "If customers actually like the tracks played in stores, they will stay longer and the chances of making a sale increases." One way of avoiding in-store music entirely is by shopping online. Figures to be released on Friday through the IMRG Capgemini online shopping index are expected to show that gift buying picked up sharply in October as the internet shopper started buying Christmas presents. Official figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that UK retail sales rose by 0.5% in October compared with September, ending two months of declines.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


CHICAGO – Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye was the #1 film of 1954 and has become an annual favorite for millions of families all the way back to the days before VHS. Paramount has released the musical charmer on Blu-ray with new special features along with a snowy 2-disc holiday DVD edition for those still waiting for Santa to bring them a Blu-ray player. Dream of a “White Christmas” in HD. First, a little history. The film “White Christmas” is not the origin of the song that gave it a title. It was reportedly sung before “Holiday Inn,” a 1942 film with Crosby, but that’s the film that made it popular (and, actually, a better flick than “White Christmas,” which is something of a remake of “Holiday Inn”).

With its longing for home, the song took off during World War II and won the Oscar for Best Original Song. It became immensely popular in the ’40s and the success of the song actually helped propel the success of the film in 1954, the biggest of that year by some margin. I have to start with a little blasphemy that could mean coal in my stocking — I’m a huge musical fan and love a lot of the road movies of Crosby and Bob Hope but “White Christmas” is just okay. Some of the music is great and the stars, especially a luminous Rosemary Clooney, are at the top of their game, but the story is pretty lackluster and Crosby and Kaye don’t have the same chemistry with each other or with their romantic leads as the best of this kind of material. While hearing and seeing Bing in HD sing the gorgeous title track is something musical fans should do, the overall film is not one of the best musicals of its period.

I love the song “White Christmas” but you can keep “Sisters” and “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.” I recognize the cultural importance of “White Christmas” and, being a huge musical fan, can enjoy parts of it but I respect it more than actually like it. Having said that, the Blu-ray and DVD editions do a notable job for fans of the film. The HD 1080p picture is a bit over-polished at times, making Bing and Danny look more plastic than they should. What some people don’t realize about HD is that it’s a matter of balance. If you just turn up the colors and polish the grain, people start to look more unnatural than they did in the days of DVD and “White Christmas” has a few of those moments where it just doesn’t look right. And the audio has a few similarly frustrating issues. I suggest you switch over to the restored mono track, which sounds much clearer and more natural for the film. The special features on “White Christmas” are notable for a 55-year-old film and many on the Blu-ray disc are in HD.

The DVD edition comes in a larger-than-average box with fake snow in the front with lobby card reprints on the inside. Rosemary Clooney is the star of the special features on the Blu-ray disc and she’s a delight. The featurettes are all relatively-brief and focused on different elements of the production. Fans happy to open “White Christmas” on Blu-ray on the morning of December 25th will be happy to watch them later that afternoon. Special Features: o Commentary by Rosemary Clooney o Backstage Stories from White Christmas o Rosemary’s Old Kentucky Home o Bing Crosby: Christmas Crooner o Danny Kaye: Joy to the World o Irving Berlin’s White Christmas o White Christmas: From Page to Stage o White Christmas: A Look Back with Rosemary Clooney o 2 Theatrical Trailers “White Christmas” stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. It was written by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, and Melvin Frank and directed by Michael Curtiz. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 2nd, 2010. It is not rated and runs 120 minutes...


Monday, November 8, 2010


Bing Crosby's Service to Soldiers by Carolyn Schneider Note: Nevada resident Carolyn Schneider is author of the book “Bing: On the Road to Elko” about her uncle Bing Crosby and his 15 years as a Nevada cattle rancher... Bing Crosby was a great American and a great friend to the military. He was 37 years old when World War II started and was a well-known celebrity living in Hollywood. As a married man with children, he didn't qualify for the Selective Service, yet he was anxious to show his support for the war effort and even remarked in a news interview that he "felt foolish" for not being in uniform. So when the opportunity presented itself to contribute to the cause, he jumped at the chance. A request came out of Washington, D.C., for performers to entertain the troops and boost morale, Bing went into action, answering the call with his time and talent. Crosby teamed up with a USO Overseas Unit, and he soon received his notice to leave for Europe in August, 1944. Once the departure date was set, the USO unit sailed out of New York harbor on board the SS Ile de France, which had been converted into a troop transport, holding 10,000 men. Bing gave four shows a day to the servicemen on board during the five-day crossing to Scotland. He entertained 2,500 soldiers at a time on the voyage, until all the GIs had heard him sing and deliver some lighthearted banter, usually about his cohort, Bob Hope Traveling by train to London, Bing reported to the American Army Headquarters. One of his early military performances in England was for the 381st Bomb Group of the United States Air Force. This time, it was on a make-shift stage in a hangar, and he strolled out singing "Swinging on a Star." He was doing his show with a B-17 parked in the background and members of its air crew sitting on the wings of the plane -- plus any other space they could find. He entertained 4,000 soldiers that day, and it was the most successful concert the air base ever had. Soon thereafter, Bing was flown to France on a C-47 to Cherbourg where he entertained at an Army hospital and met up with Fred Astaire who joined his troupe. Later, the singer reported that during his extensive overseas tour, without fail, the GIs requested that he sing "White Christmas" because it reminded them of home. Of course he complied, but it was a tough performance for him, because half his audience would be in tears. He went anywhere and everywhere that American boys were fighting, at some of his shows the GIs would be sitting on the ground holding their rifles, at other times they would stand for the entire performance. Conditions for putting on a show were less than ideal, Bing and Dinah Shore sang to the troops from the bed of a truck. One show used a temporary stage, lit entirely with flashlights. No star treatment Bing always preferred to be thought of as a "regular guy," and during his European tour, he often joined in the chow line and ate with the men. He usually performed on stage wearing Army fatigues and a cap -- looking for all the world like the soldiers in his audience -- and with his hands in his pockets. He was very popular with the men and he sang for them in a bombed-out factory, field hospital and outdoor pasture. In England he dodged the buzz bombs, and in France, the German tanks, When their European tour was over, Bing and Fred Astaire returned home aboard the RMS Queen Mary, which also served as a troop carrier during wartime. The boat was crammed with servicemen, some were of the bomber group that was being transferred to the Pacific, and a few lucky ones were going home on leave. All of them were so tired they just dropped down anywhere on the deck to grab some sleep. Bing, Astaire and the others did a few shows for the boys during the crossing, including in the hospital wards for the many returning wounded. Upon his return stateside, Bing was questioned about his two months of being with the nation's fighting men: "It was the most satisfying and rewarding experience of my career," he said. SOURCE


Here is the rare movie soundtrack from the Bing Crosby flick ANYTHING GOES from 1936 This first cinematic version, filmed in black and white, was directed by Lewis Milestone with star Ethel Merman reprising her role as Reno Sweeney, and Bing Crosby in the renamed role of Billy Crockett. Charles Ruggles (replacing Victor Moore), Ida Lupino and Arthur Treacher headed the supporting cast. The film required lyrical revisions of Porter's saucy lyrics to pass Production Code censors. Only four of his songs remained; "Anything Goes", "I Get a Kick Out of You", "There'll Always Be a Lady Fair", and "You're the Top" — all substantially lyrically revised...


The Bing Crosby Show is a 28-episode television situation comedy starring crooner, film star, iconic phenomenon, and businessman Bing Crosby and actress Beverly Garland as a middle-aged couple, Bing and Ellie Collins, rearing two teenaged daughters during the early 1960s. In the format, Crosby portrayed an architectural designer with a penchant for singing, and each episode usually contained at least one song. Produced by Crosby's own company, affiliated with Desilu Studios and subsequently CBS Paramount Television, the series aired on ABC from September 14, 1964, to April 5, 1965. Rebroadcasts continued until June 14...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Here is a nice review of the new set of Bing Crosby movies coming out. I believe it it the issue of the year for Bing fans, and it is definitely on my Christmas gift list...

The Bing Crosby Collection – DVD Review By Jeff Swindoll One of the most popular entertainers of all-time, Bing Crosby was a superstar of movies, music, radio and television during a spectacular career that lasted over 50 years. He remains beloved around the world for his easygoing charm, mesmerizing voice ...more. Tis the season for Bing and Universal releases some of the singer’s films under their Studio Backlot banner (keep ‘em coming!).

It’s a cornucopia of performances, with some support from other famous faces, from the popular crooner that is sure to entertain. Bing Crosby (1903-1977) was one of the first multimedia stars. He appears on recordings, radio, and movies as well as appearing on television when that medium materialized. The chart-topper’s Christmas specials would become part of the yearly holidays as well as his iconic take on White Christmas. During it all he made it look incredibly easy with his laidback style and delivery. 

Universal collects several of his films in this fantastic collection for the follower of Bing or of cinema. Each of the three discs features two of the titles below. College Humor (1933): Professor Danvers (Bing Crosby) finds himself in a love triangle with star football player Mandrake (Richard Arlen) and Barbara (Mary Carlisle). Mandrake has eyes for Barbara, but she has eyes for the Professor. Hilarity ensues. We’re not Dressing (1934): High society gal Doris Worthington (Carole Lombard) is entertaining on her yacht when it sinks. She, Edith (Ethel Merman), Uncle Hubert (Leon Errol), and Princes Michael (Ray Milland) and Alexander (Jay Henry) Stofani make it to show with singing sailor Stephen Jones (Crosby). The wealthy folks do not want to take the survivalist sailor’s orders but that changes quickly. Here is my Heart (1934): J. Paul Jones (Crosby) is a wealthy singer interested in an antique dueling pistol. It’s in the possession of Russian princess Alexandria (Kitty Carlisile). Jones goes undercover to get a handle on the pistol and ends up romancing the princess. Mississippi (1934): Tom Grayson (Crosby) is down in the old south to be engaged to Elvira (Gail Patrick). That engagement is nullified when Tom is challenged to a duel to defend Elvira’s honor and he takes the pacifist’s way out. He’s kicked off the plantation in shame and gets a job as a singer on the boozy Commodore’s (W.C. Fields) steamboat. Sing You Sinners (1938): Brothers Joe (Crosby), David (Fred MacMurray), and Mike (Donald O’Connor) are a singing trio. Joe is the only one with a love of singing and the other brothers are pestered by their mother (Elizabeth Patterson) to get out of the crooning game. Joe has others plans, but those plans have a habit of getting him into debt. Welcome Stranger (1947): Dr. McRory (Barry Fitzgerald) wants to go on vacation and hires Dr. Pearson (Crosby) to watch the shop while he’s away. However, the two men’s styles cash them to clash, all while Pearson romances a school teacher (Joan Caulfield).

They’re all breezy fun. College Humor is a madcap romp set on the campus and a big Busby Berkley musical number “The Old Ox Road.” We’re not Dressing seems like a version of Gilligan’s Island but still has a fun cast and musical numbers. Both offer support from George Burns and Gracie Allen. Here is my Heart is also a nice romp with Crosby going from singer to waiter in disguise. Mississippi is a delight thanks to a boozy turn by W.C. Fields and old south charm. Sing You Sinners teams Crosby with MacMurray and O’Conner and even throws in some drama. There’s an attempt to recreate the dynamic of Crosby’s Oscar winner Going My Way by adding Fitzgerald to the mix. It may not rise to that occasion but it is great to see the two onscreen again. All the films are presented in fullscreen. Special features boil down to theatrical trailers for We’re not Dressing, Mississippi, Sing you Sinners, and Welcome Stranger (2 minutes each). The case does contain a text bio and a listing of Crosby’s awards and honors. Bing did it all and this collection offers some of the films (and he made many of them). None of them will win any Oscars, but Bing’s charm and songs certainly make them a pleasant experience...