Thursday, April 28, 2011


On May 3, 2011 the 108th birthday of Bing Crosby will be celebrated with "Classic Movies at the Bing." The celebration is put on by the Advocates for The Bing Crosby Theater. The great theater is located at the corner of Sprague and Lincoln in Spokane, Washington. (I sometimes hate being an Easterner!) A $5 donation is suggested with all proceeds go to supporting future movies:

Country Girl Screening & Bing’s Birthday Bash
Tuesday, May 3

-Free cake and punch starting at 6 p.m.
-Assortment of Bing Crosby short features on the screen.
-Feature starts at 7 p.m.

The Country Girl was unlike any movie Bing Crosby had made before -- a serious study of a man in crisis. For his performance as an alcoholic actor wilting under the pressure of trying to re-establish his career, Bing was nominated for an Oscar. His character is bolstered by a devoted wife with the strengths he does not have. Grace Kelly -- also playing counter-type as a doughty housewife -- won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance. She finds in William Holden the strengths Bing’s character does not have. Who wins her?


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Diablo magazine is reporting that something called a "gastropub" and a Parisian-style bakery chain will share the space south of Broadway Plaza that formerly housed Bing Crosby's Restaurant and Piano Lounge.

According to writer Ethan Fletcher, the Mill Valley-based Moana Hotel & Restaurant Group, which owns nine Piatti restaurants (including the one in Danville), will bring that gastropub concept to the former Bing Crosby's space.

Bing Crosby's closed suddenly at the end of last year.

The other half of the building will go to San Francisco-based La Boulange, which has also opened new locations in Lafayette and Danville.

So, what is a gastropub. Spokesperson Jennifer Tomaro told Diablo that the new restaurant will focus on serving "cult, local and craft beers on tap," as well as wine on tap. The food will be pub and brasserie-style, though Tomaro was quick to say that they won't be opening a sports bar. "There won't be any televisions," Tomaro told Fletcher.

Another specialty beer joint in Walnut Creek? Yet, another cuisine trend after Vietnamese food and frozen yogurt joints?

Chuck Stilphen, a co-owner of the popular Trappist Belgian-style beer café in Oakland, has proposed opening a shop, tentatively called St. Sixtus Specialty Beer Shop and Cafe, that would sell 300 to 500 varieties of specialty beer. The shop would open in a remodeled Giammona Drive space that housed an antique store.

When Bing Crosby's opened in 2004, it made a big splash on the East Bay dining scene. Jeff Dudum, a locally raised entertainment and real estate impresario, opened the retro bar and restaurant that paid homage to singer and actor Bing Crosby and all he supposedly represented in terms of style and mid-20th century cool.

As Walnut Creek last reported, the restaurant's owner, Dudum Sports and Entertainment, is facing a stack of lawsuits and had to close some of its other signature restaurants, including Joe DiMaggio’s Chophouse, named for the famed New York Yankees slugger, in San Francisco's North Beach.


Monday, April 25, 2011


It is often hard for children to compete with their older siblings. They are constantly compared to their older counterparts. That happens in all families. However, it is even worse when an older sibling is a major legendary star. Bob Crosby had to face this comparison all his life. He was ten years younger than his older brother Bing, but he faced a life of being in Bing's shadows. However, Bob emerged from those shadows at a young age and became one of the best bandleaders of the big band era.

Bob Crosby was born on August 23, 1913 in Spokane, Washington. He was the youngest of seven children: five boys, Larry (1895–1975), Everett (1896–1966), Ted (1900–1973), Harry (1903–1977, popularly known as Bing Crosby) and Bob; and two girls, Catherine (1905–1988) and Mary Rose (1907–1990). His parents were English-American bookkeeper Harry Lowe Crosby (1871–1950) and Irish-American Catherine Harrigan (1873–1964), (affectionately known as Kate), the daughter of a builder from County Mayo in Ireland.

Bob Crosby began singing in the early 1930s with the Delta Rhythm Boys which included vocalist Ray Hendricks and guitarist Bill Pollard also with Anson Weeks (1931–34) and the Dorsey Brothers (1934–35). He led his first band in 1935, when the former members of Ben Pollack's band elected him as titular leader. He recorded with the Clark Randall Orchestra in 1935, led by Gil Rodin and featuring singer Frank Tennille, whose pseudonym was Clark Randall. Glenn Miller was a member of that orchestra which recorded the Glenn Miller novelty composition "When Icky Morgan Plays the Organ" in 1935. His most famous band, the Bob-Cats, was a Dixieland jazz group with members from the Bob Crosby Orchestra. Both the Bob Crosby Orchestra and the smaller Bob-Cats group specialized in Dixieland jazz, presaging the traditional jazz revival of the 1940s. Crosby's singing voice was remarkably similar to that of his brother Bing, but without its range.

The Bob Crosby Orchestra and the Bob-Cats included (at various times) Yank Lawson, Billy Butterfield, Muggsy Spanier, Matty Matlock, Irving Fazola, Ward Silloway, Warren Smith, Eddie Miller, Joe Sullivan, Bob Zurke, Jess Stacy, Nappy Lamare, Bob Haggart, Walt Yoder, Jack Sperling, and Ray Bauduc. Arrangements for the orchestra were often done by a young trumpeter by the name of Gilbert Portmore who, during the time he was a decorated WWII fighter pilot in the South Pacific, started an Air Force swing band known as Cap'n Portmore's Hepcats.

Hits included "Summertime" (theme song), "In a Little Gypsy Tea Room", "Whispers in The Dark", "South Rampart Street Parade", "March of the Bob Cats", "Day In, Day Out", "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby", "Dolores" and "New San Antonio Rose" (last three with Bing Crosby). A bass and drums duet between Haggart and Bauduc, "Big Noise from Winnetka," became a hit in 1938-39.

The enduring popularity of the Bob Crosby Orchestra and the Bob Cats - whose biography was written by British jazz historian John Chilton, was evident during the frequent reunions in the 1950s and 1960s. Bob Haggart and Yank Lawson organized a band that kept the spirit alive, combining Dixieland and swing with a roster of top soloists. From the late 1960s until the mid-1970s, the group was known as The World's Greatest Jazzband. Since neither leader was happy with that name, they eventually reverted to The Lawson Haggart Jazzband. The Lawson-Haggart group was consistent in keeping the Bob Crosby tradition alive.

During World War II, Bob Crosby spent 18 months in the Marines, touring with bands in the Pacific. His radio variety series, The Bob Crosby Show, aired on NBC and CBS in different runs between the years 1943 to 1950, followed by Club Fifteen on CBS from 1947 through 1953 and a half-hour CBS daytime series, The Bob Crosby Show (1953–1957). He introduced the Canadian singer Gisele MacKenzie to American audiences and subsequently guest starred in 1957 on her NBC television series, The Gisele MacKenzie Show.

On September 14, 1952, Bob replaced Phil Harris as the bandleader on The Jack Benny Program, remaining until Benny retired the radio show in 1955 after 23 years. In joining the show, he became the leader of the same group of musicians who had played under Harris. According to Benny writer Milt Josefsberg, the issue was budget. Because radio had strong competition from TV, the program budget had to be reduced, so Bob replaced Phil. Prior to joining Benny on the radio, Crosby, who was based on the East Coast, would often play with Benny during Benny's live New York appearances, and he was seen frequently throughout the 1950s on Benny's television series.

As a performer, Crosby had tremendous charisma and wit combined with a laid back persona. He was able to swap jokes competently with Benny, including humorous references to his brother Bing's wealth and his string of losing racehorses. An exchange during one of the popular Christmas programs ran thus: Crosby muses to Jack that he's bought gifts for everyone but bandmember Frank Remley. When Jack suggests "a cordial, like a bottle of Drambuie," Crosby counters that Drambuie is an after-dinner drink and adds, alluding to Remley's penchant for alcohol, that "Remley never quite makes it to after dinner."

Bob Crosby guest starred in the television series The Gisele MacKenzie Show. He also starred in his own afternoon variety show, The Bob Crosby show, that aired between 1953 and 1957.

In later years Bob grew closer to Bing, and he discovered that although Bing refused to give Bob money when he was starting out, Bing did pull strings to get Bob some of his first jobs in entertainment. Bing never told Bob this until later in life. After Bing died in 1977 though, Bob became estranged from Bing's second wife Kathryn.

Bob Crosby died on March 9, 1993 at his home in La Jolla, California.

Friday, April 22, 2011


By Marsha Collock

There are some stars that earn the adjective "beloved." Either for their professional or personal contributions, or both, they are adopted by the audience and become a part of the "family." Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, separately, were two such stars.

Bob Hope was everywhere. He was a radio star, a movie star and a television star. Audiences from the 1930s through the 1990s (the decade his last television special aired) knew him and loved him. He was the host of Academy Awards shows before Carson and his dedication to the entertainment of American service men and women is legendary. Most people over 50 can't remember a time when he was not, in some way, a part of their lives.

Hope also had a very successful film career. He was the unashamed coward who just happened to be frightfully funny and sort of lovable (in a sneaky kind of way). He was best with a knowing partner who had his number, such as Jane Russell in The Paleface and Son of Paleface. Bob always wanted the pretty girl, but it was ever an uphill battle for him. The last thing he needed was competition from another man, especially a romantic crooner who had his number ever better than the woman.

It is impossible to imagine any star today having the multi-media success that Bing Crosby enjoyed in his long career. A wildly successful recording artist and radio star, he was also a mega movie star. From 1934 - 1954 he was in the top 10 box-office champions 15 times, coming in at number 1 for five of those years. Famous for his laid-back style, he was more than just a lazy crooner. His personality was casual and comfortable, but there was an edge to him. He was not above doing something a little underhanded to get that leading lady at the end of the film.

On his own Bing was a successful film actor, with such classics as Going My Way, Holiday Inn, The Country Girl, and so many more in his impressive repertoire. Like many singers, he was a very good actor. Light comedy was cake to him and he could also handle the heavier dramatic stuff with his customary ease. But it took the hook up with a wise-cracking golf buddy to create one of the most successful comedy teams in movie history.

Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were great friends in real life. When Paramount decided to cast them in a 1940 film called Road To Singapore, originally slated to star Fred MacMurray and Jack Oakie, the magic of their personal friendship came to life on the screen and spawned a series of "Road" pictures staring the two pals. The plots of all of the succeeding "Road" pictures were similar: Bing and Bob are con artists looking to cash in, with Bing being a slightly smarter bulb than Bob. Both are not above double crossing the other in order to get the money and the girl, trouble ensures, hilarity erupts and all is well at the end, with the boys narrowly escaping disaster. What makes these films so delicious is the seemingly add-libbed comments, the great drop-ins by other stars, lots of "inside" jokes, Hope's breaking of the fourth wall to address the audience, and the obvious affection the two stars have for one another. Both Hope and Crosby were very big stars at a time when those words meant something. They did not have to share the screen with anyone. Their fame and name above the title was more than enough to ensure a film's popularity. Yet there is Crosby, playing the straight man, and there is Hope, getting bested by his best friend almost every time (Hope did get the girl in Road to Rio and Road to Utopia).

Add Some Dorothy Lamour.....
Dorothy Lamour was a large part of the "Road" pictures' success. Not only was she beautiful and sexy, she was the perfect foil for those con men on the make. Her tolerance of their antics was endearing and her all-American exotica made their cut-throat competition for her charms understandable. The "Road" pictures were more than just tomfoolery. They also offered some very beautiful music. Crosby's romantic renditions of "But Beautiful" and "Moonlight Becomes You," and Dorothy's "Personality," gave the productions a first-class shimmer that made up for some of the plot silliness. It was all done in great, good fun. Bob and Bing at that moment in time were pure stardust. They cast a glow that can never be repeated. How wonderful of them to share such good times with us. Morocco, Singapore, Rio, Zanzibar, Utopia, Bali... if you're on the road with these boys, it can only lead to joy.

Are you smiling yet? I am, but there is also a little tug at my heart. Having grown up with them ever present in the entertainment world (and on my TV), I miss them. I just assumed they'd always be there. And they are, in a way, thanks to film...

Marsha Collock has been an avid fan - not scholar - of classic films since she saw the first flicker of black and white on the TV screen.

Check out her blog: A Person In The Dark


Wednesday, April 20, 2011


To hear Bing Crosby talk was almost as great as to hear him sing. He had such a command of the English language. Here are some quotes and sayings attributed to Bing. Whether or not he said them all may never be known, but his he had a way with words...

(his reported last words) "That was a great game of golf, fellas."

"Frank (Frank Sinatra) is a singer who comes along once in a lifetime, but why did he have to come in mine?"

"I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the 20th century that have made great strides in reverse."

"Everyone knows I`m just a big, good-natured slob."

"Honestly, I think I`ve stretched a talent which is so thin it`s almost transparent over a quite unbelievable term of years."

(his own epitaph) "He was an average guy who could carry a tune."

"Once or twice I`ve been described as a light comedian. I consider this the most accurate description of my abilities I`ve ever seen."

(in 1954) "I don`t sing anywhere as good as I used to, and I feel sincerely that it`s getting worse. I don`t see any purpose in trying to stretch something out that was once acceptable and that now is merely adequate, if that."

(on Bob Hope) "Hope? He`s got more money on him than most people have in banks"

(on Judy Garland) "The most talented woman I ever knew was Judy Garland. She was a great, great comedienne and she could do more things than any girl I ever knew. Act, sing, dance, make you laugh. She was everything. I had a great affection for her. Such a tragedy. Too much work, too much pressure, the wrong kind of people as husbands."

(on W.C. Fields) "His comedy routines appeared spontaneous and improvised, but he spent much time perfecting them. He knew exactly what he was doing every moment, and what each prop was supposed to do. That "my little chickadee" way of talking of his was natural."

(on Fred Astaire) "When you`re in a picture with Astaire, you`ve got rocks in your head if you do much dancing. He`s so quick-footed and so light that it`s impossible not to look like a hay-digger compared with him."

(on Grace Kelly) "She`s a great lady, with great talent and kind, considerate, friendly with everybody. She was great with the crew and they all loved her."

(on his phenomenally successful single "White Christmas") "A jackdaw with a cleft palate could have sung it successfully."

"My golf is woeful but I will never surrender."

"Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won`t make it white."

"There is nothing in the world I wouldn`t do for Hope, and there is nothing he wouldn`t do for me... We spend our lives doing nothing for each other."

"Aloha on the steel guitar"

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Bing Crosby first appeared in the wide world of entertainment in the mid 1920s. Fans are used to seeing Bing as the carefree crooner on the radio and movies or maybe in later years as the elder statesman of crooning. However, as hard as it is to believe, Bing at one time was a child. Before he became Bing Crosby entertainer - he was Harry Lillis Crosby from Washington State!

Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was born in Tacoma, Washington on May 3, 1903 in a house that his father built (1112 North J Street, Tacoma, Washington). His family later moved to Spokane, Washington in 1906 to find work. He was the fourth of seven children - five boys Larry (1895-1975), Everett (1896-1966), Ted (1900-1973) and Bob (1913-1993) and two girls Catherine (1904-1988) and Mary Rose (1906-90) - born to English-American Harry Lowe Crosby (1871-1950), a bookkeeper, and Irish-American Catherine Harrigan (1873-1964), the daughter of a builder from County Mayo in Ireland. For many years his date of birth was shrouded in mystery until his childhood Roman Catholic church in Tacoma, Washington, released his baptismal records.
In 1910 Crosby was forever renamed. The six-year-old Harry Lillis Crosby discovered a full page feature in the Sunday edition of Spokesman-Review, The Bingville Bugle. The Bugle, written by humorist Newton Newkirk, was a parody of a hillbilly newsletter complete with gossipy tidbits, minstrel quips, creative spelling and mock ads. A neighbor, 15-year-old Valentine Hobart, shared Crosby's enthusiasm for The Bugle. Noting Crosby's laugh, she took a liking to him and called him Bingo from Bingville. The last vowel was dropped and the name shortened to Bing, which stuck.
In 1917 Crosby took a summer job as property boy at Spokane's "Auditorium" where he witnessed some of the finest acts of the day, including a blackface performer named Al Jolson who spellbound Crosby with his ad-libbing and spoofs of Hawaiian songs that brought down the house. Crosby would later say that, "To me, he was the greatest entertainer who ever lived."

Bing enrolled in Gonzaga College in the fall of 1920 with the intent to become a lawyer. While in Gonzaga he sent away for a set of mail order drums. After much practice he soon became good enough and was invited to join a local band called the "Musicaladers" which was mostly made up of local high school kids. He made so much money doing this he decided to drop out of school during his final year, to pursue a career in show business...and as they say the rest is history!


Thursday, April 14, 2011


One of my favorite Bing Crosby musicals of the 1940s was BIRTH OF THE BLUES. It is a shame that the movie is so short on running time, but it is loaded with jazz! Guest reviewer Bruce Kogan is back to review it...

Birth of the Blues was a labor of love for Bing Crosby and it showed. Coming up with Paul Whiteman, Bing met and worked with some of the greatest musicians in history. He enjoyed their company, he enjoyed working with them, just couldn't get enough. The plot is a fictionalization of the creation of the first all white jazz combo, the Original Dixieland Band.

This is Mary Martin's second of two films she did with Crosby and at the same time this was being shot, she was doubling as the girl singer on his Kraft Music Hall. As in Rhythm on the River, for once he's given a leading lady who matches him vocally. Why movie audiences didn't take to her is still a mystery.

Brian Donlevy was at the height of his career where he usually played villains. He's no villain here, but he's Bing's rival for Mary Martin. He plays a hot cornet player named Memphis and I do love the scene where Crosby's band engages in an impromptu jam session on the street in front of the new Orleans Jail where Donlevy is residing and Crosby's trying to get him out. In a radio broadcast dramatization of this film, Phil Harris played Donlevy's part and Dinah Shore played the Mary Martin role.

Usually Crosby's films have original material written for them, this is an exception. A whole lot of old standards are used, the only original song for Birth of the Blues is The Waiter and The Porter and The Upstairs Maid, written by Bing's good pal Johnny Mercer. It's nice, catchy, novelty number with the waiter and upstairs maid done by Crosby and Martin. The porter is jazz trombone great Jack Teagarden who's really into the spirit of the thing.

One of the standards is Wait Till The Sun Shines Nellie, this time done with a jazz inflection. Crosby and Martin duet it and it became a big seller Decca recording.

J. Carroll Naish plays a good gangster villain assisted by henchmen Horace McMahon and Warren Hymer. Hymer had a specialty in playing schlemiel henchmen and this is a typical Warren Hymer part.

Eddie Anderson is in the film, playing a Rochester like part for Bing Crosby as he did for Jack Benny. In many ways he played the typical servile black person and some would say he does it here. Personally I found his Rochester character very good, he often got the best of Jack Benny. He acquits himself well here.

Ruby Elzy plays Anderson's wife and she gets a good vocal opportunity to sing St. Louis Blues as Anderson is unconscious and the band thinks he's checking out.

No one should pass on an opportunity to see Bing and Mary Martin together!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Bing Crosby is a member of the prestigous World Golf Hall of Fame. Aside from Bobby Jones and Arnold Palmer, Crosby may be the person most responsible for popularizing the game of golf. Since 1937 the ‘Crosby Clambake’ as it was popularly knownow the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Amas been a leading event in the world of professional golf.

Crosby first took up the game at 12 as a caddy, dropped it, and started again in 1930 with some fellow cast members in Hollywood during the filming of The King of Jazz. Although he made his name as a singer, vaudeville performer, and silver screen luminary, he would probably prefer to be remembered as a two handicap who competed in both the British and U.S. Amateur championships, a five-time club champion at Lakeside Golf Club in Hollywood, and as one of only a few players to have made a hole-in-one on the 16th at Cypress Point.
He conceived his tournament as a friendly little pro-am for his fellow members at Lakeside Golf Club and any stray touring pros who could use some pocket change. The first Clambake was played at Rancho Santa Fe C.C., in northern San Diego county, where Crosby was a member. He kicked in ,000 of his own money for the purse, which led inaugural champion Sam Snead to ask if he might get his 0 in cash instead of a check. Snead’s suspicions notwithstanding, the tournament was a rollicking success, thanks to the merry membership of Lakeside, an entertainment industry enclave in North Hollywood. That first tournament set the precedent for all that followed as it was as much about partying as it was about golf.

The tournament, revived on the Monterey Peninsula in 1947, has as of 2009 raised million for local charities.


Saturday, April 9, 2011


Often called "Mr. Nostalgia", broadcaster Joe Franklin (born 1926) is an authority on anything from the old days of entertainment. From New York City, Franklin is sometimes credited with hosting the first television talk show. The show began in 1951 on WJZ-TV (later WABC-TV) and moved to WOR-TV (later WWOR-TV) from 1962 to 1993.

Known as "the king of nostalgia" (he claims having invented the term), Franklin's highly-rated television and radio shows, especially a cult favorite to cable television viewers (WOR/WWOR was a superstation during the latter part of his tenure) and his long-running "Memory Lane" radio programs, focused on old-time show-business personalities. Franklin has an encyclopedic knowledge of the music, musicians and singers, the Broadway stage shows, the films and entertainment stars of the first half of the 20th Century.

Joe began his entertainment career at 16 as a record picker for Martin Block's popular "Make Believe Ballroom" radio program; he is an acknowledged authority on silent film; he has the largest private sheet music collection in the world; and he has counted among his friends many show business legends, from Tony Curtis (with whom he grew up) to old vaudevillians (on his television show, Franklin has described how as a very young boy playing in Central Park he even met George M. Cohan).

Joe Franklin is also a huge fan of Bing Crosby, and he had the crooner on his television show a few times in the 1970s. Luckily the interviews survived, because they are a great piece of entertainment nostalgia...

Friday, April 8, 2011


During Bing's 50 year career, he sang with great jazz artists, talented musicians, and accomplished fellow singers. Unlike Sinatra, Bing excelled in duets and could sing with nearly anyone. I collected a few photos that I thought would be interesting, showing Bing appearing with some of the truly great female songbirds...

This is my favorite picture of Bing with The Boswell Sisters. It is great he recorded with Connee Boswell often throughout his career, but it is a shame he did not record with the Boswell Sisters more:

Bing and Dinah Shore never recorded together, but they did do some USO tours together during World War II:

Bing and Judy Garland made a handful of recordings together while they both were at Decca, and Bing helped out Judy often when she was down by getting her to appear on his radio show. This picture shows both of them at the top of their game:

Another great duet pair was Bing and Peggy Lee. They had a long history of working together on radio, on records, and they even appeared together in the movie MR. MUSIC, which this picture is taken from:

This final picture is Bing and the great Dame Vera Lynn. It is from 1975 when he appeared on Vera's variety show. They sang the popular song of the time "Sing", and I wish they had recorded together:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Here is another vintage movie review from the New York Times addition of September 17, 1960...

Crosby Plays Student Again in 'High Time'
by Bosley Crowther

IT has been a long time since Bing Crosby was seen in a college comedy, sporting the customary beanie and crooning romantic melodies. But things haven't changed much in the colleges favored by Bing in all those years, to judge by the one he is attending in his latest picture, "High Time."

Bing is again attending college? Do you start in some amazement at the news? We don't wonder, considering the old groaner is a trifle worn for a college career. But, sure enough, he is back on the campus as a middle-aged student in this Twentieth Century-Fox color film, which opened yesterday at the Warner. And it's the same old Hollywood college, so far as we can see.

To be sure, the taste of the students in music has silghtly changed. The once-favored jazz of the redhot era has been replaced by rock 'n' roll. The co-eds are much more casual about visiting in boys' rooms. And Mr. Crosby's erstwhile beanie has been abandoned — for a sensible toupee.

But Pinehurst U., which he is attending as a middle-aged millionaire who thinks it high time that somebody in his family get a college degree, is in other respects the institution of higher learning that Dick Powell and Betty Grable used to roam. Their places are simply taken by the likes of Fabian and Tuesday Weld.
Football, basketball, picnicking and shooting-the-breeze are still the principal subjects taught, and much is still made of building the bonfire that precedes the big game. The major concern of the male students is still making the right fraternity, and outrageous pranks are still demanded of the fellows who get in.

For instance, Mr. Crosby, who is delighted when he makes Xi Delta Pi, is forced to attend a swanky party in a fine old mansion disguised as a southern belle. This, of course, creates much amusement among the fellows who are in on the prank, and let's Mr. Crosby, at long last, try his hand at a bit from "Charley's Aunt."

And although Pinehurst U. appears a huge place, as huge as the University of California at Los Angeles, it has but a president, an athletic director (who coaches football, basketball and the Phys. Ed. class), a chemistry professor and a teacher of French, so far as we could see. The last is fortunately female, pretty, widowed and amiable. Needless to say, she hooks up with our middle-aged student. She is played by Nicole Maurey.

Thus Mr. Crosby, still pretending to be youthful, goes to college again, but a few necessaries are lacking. One of them is a script. The other is youth. The screen play by Tom and Frank Waldman, based on a story by Garson Kanin, is awfully sad, awfully burdened with hackneyed situations. And Mr. Crosby, alas, is no kid.

He tries hard to be casual and boyish, to prove modestly that he's in the groove, to match the animal spirits of the swarming youngsters, such as Fabian and Miss Weld. But as much as director Blake Edwards has tried to help him with a lively beat that keeps the action thumping and gives an illusion of vitality, at least, there is a terrible gauntness and look of exhaustion about Mr. Crosby when the camera gets close and peers at his face.

We don't blame his children (in the film) for objecting to his going to college. He should have stayed at home with his feet to the fire...


Monday, April 4, 2011


Here is a short but interesting article on how Bing inspired Frank Sinatra...

Frank Sinatra said he heard “symphonies from the universe” in his head as a kid and thought about singing for a living as young as 11-years-old.

But it was a Bing Crosby concert in the summer of 1935 at Loew’s Journal Square in downtown New Jersey that changed Frank’s life.

‘He was the first troubadour that any of us had heard. After seeing him that night, I knew I had to be a singer,” he said. More than just a crooner, Bing told a story with each song. His style was relaxed and casual. He made the audience feel like he was singing directly to each one of them. Frank knew he could do that.

There were many musical influences on his voice. He spoke particularly about jazz singer Billy Holiday.

“What she did was take a song and make it hers,” he said. “She lived inside the song. It didn’t matter who wrote the words or the music.” All the heartache, disappointment and pain was right there in her voice.

Frank did the same.

On Dec. 3 & 4, Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif., featured a selection of Sinatra memorabilia in its Icons & Idols auction.

Frank’s infamous wide-brim Fedora sold in the auction for $25,000.