Monday, August 29, 2011


During Bing's long and fruitful career, he performed with some of the greatest musical geniuses of all time. In addition, Bing also appeared with some truly great funny men and funny ladies. Here are just a few pictures that were captured throughout the years:

BING with GARRY MOORE (1915-1993) and JIMMY DURANTE (1893-1981)


BING with JACK BENNY (1894-1974)


BING with BUD ABBOTT (1895-1974), LOU COSTELLO (1906-1959), and BOB HOPE (1903-2003)

BING with LUCILLE BALL (1911-1989)

BING with PHIL SILVERS (1911-1985) and DANNY KAYE (1913-1987)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Today in Bing Crosby related history, Bing's eldest son and tortured soul Gary Crosby passed away...

Gary Crosby, the eldest son of Bing Crosby, died on August 24, 1995 at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. He was 62.

The cause was lung cancer, said Mr. Crosby's manager, Paul Volpe.

Although Mr. Crosby tried to follow in his father's footsteps as a singer and actor, his career was largely confined to television parts. But he was part of the first double-sided gold record in history, joining his father on "Sam's Song" and "Play a Simple Melody" in 1950.

His greatest claim to fame came in 1983 with his autobiography, "Going My Own Way," in which he accused his father of abusing him. The younger Crosby had a weight problem and he wrote that his father would weigh him every week as a boy and whip him with a cane if he had gained weight.

Gary Crosby and his siblings, Lindsay and the twins, Philip and Dennis, formed their own singing group in the 1950's but had little success. The brothers, Crosby's sons from his first marriage to Dixie Lee Crosby, were better known as Hollywood "bad boys" who were constantly getting into trouble because of their drinking.

Gary Crosby made his acting debut when he was 9, playing himself in "Star-Spangled Banner" in 1942. The film starred his father and Betty Hutton. After several more acting parts, he concentrated on his education, graduating from Stanford University before returning to Hollywood to play in a series of films in the 1950's, never in starring roles. They included "Holiday for Lovers," "A Private's Affair" and "Mardi Gras." His most recent film was "The Night Stalker" in 1987.

On television, he was best known as Officer Ed Wells on "Adam 12," which ran from 1968 to 1975. He also played Eddie on "The Bill Dana Show" from 1963 to 1964 and had a regular role on "Hunter" in the mid-1980's. He made guest appearances on a number of shows, including "Twilight Zone," "Matlock" and "Murder, She Wrote."

He was survived by a son, Steve, of Santa Barbara, Calif., and his brother Philip...

Monday, August 22, 2011


Here is a pretty good tribute to Bing from a Bob Dylan related blog. The author obviously has a deep affection for Bing:

Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby, who has lent his melodious voice, underrated acting talents and devil-may-care attitude to the world for more than five decades, it turns on again the holiday season with its ubiquitous "White Christmas".

The man who "buzzed" his way into the hearts of millions of "Pennies From Heaven" in the middle of the '30s was "Swinging on a Star" from the '40s. His "White Christmas" inspired by soldiers on the battlefields of World War II and their loved ones at home.

But Crosby was not an ordinary singer – and it would be a shame if we allow his talent, should be to end up like Russ Columbo, Morton Downey, Rudy Vallee and Al Jolson.

"Der Bingle" – a nickname that has made the German soldiers who have collected its shipments to the allies – do not deserve.

Crosby has been recognized as the forerunner of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Mel Torme (who does his tribute to Bing and his music), among others. His style carefree hummingsometimes destroyed by the technical music, but the "Father O'Malley" from "The Bells of St. Mary" with almost united in singing "all those people" in his long and successful career.

Bing sang not only with all the great singers of his era, including the Andrews Sisters-sounding, but has been known for its extensive repertoire, his songs hit includes country and western, Hawaiian and jazz, as well as pop music . For over five decades, he has recorded (mostly) on the old DeccaLabel, more than 2,400 songs.

While "White Christmas", is generally regarded as his best-selling records, Bing once said that his recording of "Silent Night" was actually No. 1 in sales. Bing donated the proceeds (the) song for charity.

Perhaps one reason that music is not encouraged with Bing so much these days (like Sinatra) is that most of his best work was done in the days before high-fidelity and CD, even though (a lot), and technically advanced bands(CD) are available. Bing was also a modest man who thought he was nothing special, just a singer. Not unlike the character he played during his career, he was more interested in golf and fishing to promote his career.

Bing loved to sing, but his friends say that he was rarely happier than when he played golf (it was a low handicap), or casting a fishing line in a remote part of the world. For many years until the death of his death in 1977, Crosby was host of "Just do not be a millionaire", a pro-am tournament held every year at Pebble Beach.

Few people know that Bing played in nearly five dozen films, from a pair of Mack Sennett comedies, and ends with a character in one of the "Stagecoach" remake. He also had his own television show (and radio) shows, and for several years hosted a family Christmas special.

He is famous, of course, for the seven "Road" pictures he made ​​with a man named Bob Hope, but he reached his peak in 1944 with his Oscar-winning role in "Going My Way."

In addition to the fun roles he has played in many films, Bing has shown real talent as an actor in a series of serious roles, including "The Country Girl" with William Holden and Grace Kelly.

Unfortunately, the reputation of Bing took a beating after his death, mostly taken from a book by his son Gary, which was later shown to contain many falsehoods. Bing was described as a "fallen drunk" when he shot to prominence in the late 20's, when he (and the Boys Rhythm with split), the biggest band of the moment-leader Paul Whiteman.

Regardless of these accusations, Bing was loved by millions of people around the world. In my opinion, had no equal. I hope that after three decades of loud, cacophonous "music", the youth of today could be ready for a returnwith good reason – a return to good music.

And in my book, there is no music better left to us by Bing Crosby.

Thanks, Bing!

Chenille Bath Robe
Cd Rack


Thursday, August 18, 2011


Here is the NY Times review of a great Bing war era movie, "Here Comes The Waves". The reviews from the NY Times have always seemed tough. I think this one is overall positive. How can you not like a movie with Bing!

Here Come the Waves (1944)
December 28, 1944
Published: December 28, 1944

Paramount and its favored son, Bing Crosby aren't going precisely the same way that they went in Mr. Crosby's last picture—and everyone knows which way that was—but they are taking an agreeable turn together in "Here Come the Waves," which trooped into the Paramount yesterday. They are ambling along that vein of comedy, with vamped-in music, that Mr. Crosby used to rove, and they have Sonny Tufts and Betty Hutton as convivial companions this time. Sure, the traveling is nothing like as charming as it was on that last prize-winning tour, but it offers a few attractive vistas and several gaily amusing jolts.

In this one our old friend, the Bingle, doffs mufti for nautical attire and plays a swoon-throwing crooner who becomes a member of Uncle Sam's fleet. As a gob he runs into Miss Hutton playing twin sisters, both of them Waves—one a dignified lady and the other a jive-happy chick. He also becomes somewhat violently involved with Mr. Tufts, who is likewise a side-wheeling sailor with a strong luff toward one of the girls. And, what with confusion of identities and a Wave recruiting show to put on, a plot of comic sorts is concocted and the musical numbers are hauled in.

Mr. Crosby sings most of the latter, either solo or in company with his pals, and does very nicely by them, as he does by his droll and genial role. "Accentuate the Positive," which is sung with Mr. Tufts, is probably the best of the several Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer tunes. Miss Hutton, in her broader characterization—meaning that of the more rambunctious sis—is also terrific in a gag song called "Strictly on My Own Tonight." Regarding Miss Hutton's dual performance, it should not be mistaken for high art, but it certainly can be commended as very vigorous virtuosity. And Mr. Tufts is dry and diverting as a mildly disturbing element.

There are several scenes in the picture of Waves in training which are atmospherically good, and the settings contrived for the Wave show are well above regulation grade. Paramount, in short, has been generous to the service in every respect. But the humor is the best part of the picture—and the best part of the humor is that which has Bing crooning in travesty of a famous "swooner" who shall be nameless (just this once)...


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Produced by Sonny Burke, the album was released by Reprise Records in 1964 by Frank Sinatra who decided to bring in Bing Crosby as well as Fred Waring’s glee club.

The album was produced to honor the late president John F. Kennedy who was assassinated the year before. The list of arrangers and conductors are impressive with a variety of talents that include Nelson Riddle, Tom Scott, Roy Ringwald, Dick Reynolds, Jack Halloran, Harry Simeone and Hawley Ades.

With the mention of an album honoring the late President Kennedy, it should be noted that the Hollywood rumor regarding Sinatra removing the movie The Manchurian Candidate from distribution after the John F. Kennedy assassination on November 22, 1963 is just that a rumor and is not true. One can understand the correlation since the movie is about brainwashing and the assignation of a political leader.

Giving it to you straight, the film was not absolutely removed from distribution. There is plenty of evidence in the industry that proves otherwise. The truth of the matter is that film was hardly shown in the decades after the year of the assassination. The film just played out its distribution timeline, which coincidentally occurred during the unfaithful time in America’s history.

America, I Hear You Singing is not a major production or an engaging set of tracks by Sinatra’s standards, but more of a patriotic gesture. Some songs do stand out like “You Never Had it So Good” with Sinatra and Crosby singing about the greatness of America.

The Andrews Sisters join Sinatra in “You’re A Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith.” The upbeat song easily justifies a good reason to seek out the recording because the sisters swing with Sinatra in a joyous way.

He sounds alive and fresh like he’s having a great, and the brass sounds are good and tight. The fact that you get a chance to hear both Sinatra and Crosby together is nostalgic. Crosby bringing his style to the album with his solos sounds overpowering and sentimental, although mourning is something to hold on to and listen over and over again. The record was never reissued as an individual album on CD, but can be found as part of The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings. NOTE: I believe it is now available on an individual CD...


Sunday, August 14, 2011


Tiny Tim (1932-1996) was about as far away vocally from Bing Crosby as you could get. Tiny Tim was an odd performer to say the least. However, he rode to fame on the nostalgia craze of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He always was a great admirer of crooners like Bing and Rudy Vallee.

Here is an interesting clip where he talks about Bing and Rudy Vallee, and Tiny Tim even sings like them...

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Since Collector's Choice Music decided to change and "modernize" a few months ago, Bing Crosby fans were worried what would happen to the Bing Crosby Archive compact discs that were put out by CCM in conjunction with Bing Crosby Enterprises.

Now for the time being, all of those issues are available directly through the Bing Crosby website itself! This includes the Bing Crosby-Rosemary Clooney duets CD that was withdrawn from circulation and recently was selling for $5000 on Amazon!

Here is what the website says:

"Bing Crosby now has more than 50,000 fans on Facebook and to celebrate that milestone all Bing Crosby Archive CDs are on sale and available exclusively at !

For a limited time all single CDs in The Bing Crosby Archive series are priced at $9.99 and double CDs are $19.99. Order all 11 titles in the series for the bundle price of $109 – a $20 savings. Use the sale code “FACEBOOK” for a 10% discount on all orders during this sale. Shipping and handling charges apply."

This is great news for people who missed out on some of the issues in this excellent series. While the shipping is kind of steep, it is well worth it, because I think these archive issues will be disappearing quickly!

For more information, visit: The Official Bing Crosby Website.


Lindsay Crosby has the unfortunate distinction of being a child of a famous person. Well, he was more than a child of someone famous. He was the child of a legend...Bing Crosby. Whereas his older brothers had more traits of their father, Lindsay was much like his mother Dixie Lee. Lindsay not only was the youngest, but he was most sensitive and probably the most troubled.

Lindsay Crosby was born in California on January 5, 1938 and named for his father's closest friend and Thoroughbred horse racing partner, Lindsay Howard. He was educated with his three brothers at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California. He was remembered by his friends for having a special laid back clever wit like his father Bing. He performed with his brothers Gary, Dennis and Phillip Crosby as the Crosby Boys during the late 1950s in nightclubs and on The Ed Sullivan Show on American television.

The Crosby Boys had a promising start to life, but the pressures of show business and their own inability to cope blighted their lives. They were greatly affected by their mother's decline into alcoholism and a premature death from cancer in 1952. Heavy drinking and their emotional problems took their toll on all the boys but probably it affected Lindsay the most.

After his mother's death, Lindsay was distraught by her death. To help console him, Bing took him out of school in March 1953. They went on an extended tour of Europe, including an audience with Pope Pious XII.

Before their departure, Bing and Lindsay recorded several duets that were broadcast on Bing’s General Electric Show during their travels. Although the radio broadcasts announced that the recordings were made in France, they were actually recorded in Palm Springs. The series also spotlighted several Lindsay solos. The following year, Lindsay joined Bing and Gary for several nostalgic barbershop routines on the General Electric Show. Lindsay also contributed several solos and duets to The Bing Crosby Show (1954-56) where his radio banter with his father revealed a keen sense of comedy timing. In addition, Lindsay was a special guest on Bing’s legendary Edsel Show in 1957.

With Bing’s help, Lindsay got a recording contract with RCA in 1958, and enjoyed a modest hit with “Friendship Ring.” He went on to appear in a slew of B movies such as The Girls from Thunder Strip and Zebra Force.

Lindsay was married three times to: Barbara D. Fredrickson from 1960-1962, Janet Sue Schwartze from 1966-1967, and to Susan Marlin from 1968-1978. He also had four sons: David Crosby, Adam Crosby, Sean Crosby, and L. Chip Crosby.

On December 1, 1989 Lindsay and his three brothers had been told by attorneys that the oil investments their mother made for them had gone broke, said Marilyn Reiss, spokeswoman for Lindsay's older brother, Gary. For Lindsay, the news was the "last straw" after years of battling alcoholism, depression and the strain of living under the shadow of his famous father, Reiss said.

"Maybe if he had been a meaner person, he could have handled it," Reiss reported Gary Crosby saying after learning of his brother's death. "He was too sensitive."

Crosby, 51, was found dead on December 11, 1989. Crosby had been staying at the apartment on Bravo Lane while undergoing treatment for alcoholism in nearby Calabasas, Reiss said. He was due to return home to his third ex-wife, Susan, and two sons in Sherman Oaks this weekend, she said. Crosby had two other sons by previous marriages.

Since Lindsay's unfortunate death in 1989, the memory of Bing Crosby has suffered due to the tragedy. Many critics have blamed Bing and his parenting for attributing to Lindsay's death. That is just not true. While Bing might have been an absent father for most of Lindsay's life, in my opinion (which does not mean much) it was Lindsay that could not cope with life. It was unfortunate because all of the Crosby boys had talent - however, unlike their father, they did not have the drive or the determination to make something of their lives. That is the real tragedy...

Monday, August 8, 2011


Steve Fay is a huge authority on Bing Crosby. He runs an excellent Bing Crosby forum which you can visit here.

Here is Steve's excellent look at the Bing drama Little Boy Lost (1953)...

I am still a bit stunned, the film having concluded moments ago. I had read a bit about it a few times before, but did not realize how powerful of an effect it would have. In its dramatic weight it reminds me somewhat of "The Country Girl," this partly also because Bing's character is not altogether sympathetic at times.

I was born in the year before this movie was released, more or less during the present time of the second half of the action. It was a time when Europe's continuing recovery from WWII was not exactly center stage in the minds of average Americans, not enough that a youngster here would have noticed adults around him or her being very mindful of it. The war itself, in the decade following this movie's release, was mostly the subject of war-time adventure movies starring John Wayne, Van Johnson, Audie Murphy, and others, and the aftermath of the war in movies, with few exceptions, was more like "White Christmas." My uncles and my father, all in the service during the war, didn't talk much about it. A friend's father who served in the Marines in the Pacific pointedly refused to answer any of his son's questions about his time in the war, beyond that he found some lifelong friends who then lived in Austrailia. And we had no bombed out ruins in Illinois as reminders. What a surprise when I watched Winston Churchill's funeral on TV when I was in grade school to learn that some buildings in London had yet to be rebuilt as late as then.

When I was growing up, there must have been children around me who lost fathers in the war, but I don't recall this ever being spoken about. I recall families stricken by accidents and disease, divorce or even job loss, but not by the aftermath of WWII. Many unpleasant things were not spoken about, at least in front of children in those days -- "Little pitchers have big ears," my father would say and the subject of the adult conversation would change. Being rather confused, I thought he was talking about baseball. Of course, were I a child growing up in Europe or Britain at that very time, even if adults chose not to talk very much about the war, I still very likely might have seen some unignorable evidence of the war's violence to my town and the surrounding landscape. I might have known of war orphans in my town.
All of this makes me wonder what this kind reception this film might have had in American theaters, at a time when we here spoke little of that war anymore and called our involvement in Korea a "police action." Would movie-goers want to see our jaunty Bing Crosby living half in the past and half-tortured with the question of whether a somewhat odd and uncoordinated French orphan might actually be his son rather than someone elses? And, in the subsequent years, would such a movie be high on the list of those TV stations would replay in their program schedules (I don't remember seing it on TV)? While it is intensely the story of a war-broken family, representative of countless others, it might not have been regarded in 1950s and 60s America as "family entertainment." Perhaps others know much more than I about how well the film was greeted in the US and elsewhere.
Regarding the structure of the film, it is a story that spans several years, both for the characters involved and for international history. How to condense time and connect scenes scattered over a long period is a challenge for filmmakers. I wonder if there is any other film of Bing Crosby's in which he speaks anywhere near so many lines of narration. Could not action have been used to dramatize more, doing without so much exposition, one might certainly wonder as the film progresses. Yet, the pattern of Bing's character narrating makes it possible for him to speak his misgivings directly to the audience after his first meeting of the boy and the crusty Mother Superior who ran the orphanage in the film's second half. I'm not sure how we could have learned that so well otherwise.

Then, too, much of his misgivings are dramatized, as with his physical distance from the boy much of the time at the start of their first walk together, partly because he was counseled not to be too emotional by the old nun, but likely also the result of his doubts. The character of the old nun is quite fascinating, partly because she ultimately reveals two characters: the stern one administering the orphanage somewhat dispassionately, and then, toward the very end, a deeply caring protector of the children -- a war veteran certainly herself -- and a powerfully committed advocate for their having a future. What an interesting contrast this movie seems to make when compared with "Bells of St. Mary's," not only because the latter is more obviously a heart-warming movie throughout, but also because there is no Father O'Malley in this religious establishment ... unless there is a small touch of his street-wise insight and optimism in the old nun running the orphanage.
It was so, so long after the brief scene in which Bing sang at a party with Lisa, his wife-to-be whom he had just met, in the beginning of the film, before he sang again in this movie that I stopped expecting him to sing more. Then eventually I began to think, when a few more songs finally occurred rather naturally in later scenes, that these songs had to be there. What an intensely sad and troubling movie it might have been if not for those few songs slipping in during the second half.

That several people proceed (in inevitably conflicting ways) to try to help the boy and Bing unite as a family, and in doing so succeed more in complicating Bing's character's decision about whether he is his son and whether or not to take him in any case, certainly frustrates a viewer's expectations for how things might work out for the good. That near the end of the film, Bing and his old French friend from before the war reach what may be a breaking point in their friendship, because the friend insists Bing accept Lisa's violent death during the war, place's Bing's character in an even more troubled and psycologically ALONE position as he prepares to leave the town where the orphanage is located to return to Paris. He is saying this is to take time to come to a decision about the boy, but his secret agreement to travel with a blonde flusey promising to help him forget for a few days, creates another situation in which we not only must begin to agree with his old friend that he is self-delusional, but we also don't like him very much.

We don't like him (or is it his human frailty and self-doubt) until his own concience, triggered by a trainwhistle and a memory, makes him return to the orphanage, to discover that the boy (Jean /John) has recognized something from the past that no one could have prompted him about. I admit, I couldn't help misting up.
In one neighborhood where a I grew up a friend's mom, I learned, was a "war bride" from Italy. Maria was a very sweet lady, who my mother liked very much. If she had a sad tale to tell about her town during or after the war, I never heard of it. She was just Mickey's mom. In school, I read of the Marshall Plan, our helping Europe rebuild, but I don't think those paragraphs mentioned orphans or that the rebuilding was still going on. But in high school I had a teacher who had been about my age when his city of Stettin, Poland, was traded among armies during and just after WWII. His first library, in the basement of a bombed-out building, consisted of books he had collected from the rubble of his city at age fifteen. A college teacher I had years later, had grown up in utter poverty with her mother in a European town very slow to recover from that war.

Perhaps it is that "Little Boy Lost" is wholly set in France, and briefly Britain, without hardly any mention of life in the USA, that causes me to continually revisit what I knew (and when I knew it) about that setting, particularly Europe after the war. There is actually far less mention of life in America in this film than there is in "Casablanca." Mentionings of happy neighborhoods back in the old USA pepper nearly every war movie I can remember, but not this one. In this film, while we suspect Bing's character will return to his home country eventually, with his son if he determines he has found him, America is not held out as some dream place where they will live happily ever after, as is the case in more than a few American war movies. The film keeps us far too deeply worried about whether he will identify who he and his son are and what his true dream and future are, and whether that will include the boy. A peaceful and happy America isn't employed as shorthand for the solution in this film. As the old nun clarifies the question of whether Bing's character and the boy need each other in order to both find their futures is the key issue. And to her, the boy is one of many whose welfare and futures keep her awake at night. While the film lets this one family mend, we acknowlege gratefully, I don't think it means to let us forget that this orphan and his father are but representatives of many. That is a much more serious dose of reality than many people might expect from a Bing Crosby movie, or an American musical movie of its time.


Friday, August 5, 2011


Here is an interesting story from author Gary Giddins on how Bing met Louis Armstrong. It was a match made in musical heaven...

To hip musicians in Chicago, scat had been the rage for months. Bing and some of the other adventurous musicians in Whiteman's band heard it that very week from the master himself, Louis Armstrong. If mobster Al Capone ruled the city, Armstrong ruled its music. Whatever he played was instantly picked up by other musicians. The previous spring Okeh issued his Hot Five recording of "Heebie Jeebies," and it caused a sensation, selling some 40,000 copies thanks to his inspired vocal chorus - a torrent of bristling grunts and groans in no known language.

Pianist Earl Hines later claimed he knew musicians who tried to catch cold so they could growl like Louis; and Mezz Mezzrow, the marijuana-pushing clarinetist, recalled, "You would hear cats greeting each other with Louis's riffs when they met around town…scatting in each other's face." Before Louis, scat singing could be heard on records by Cliff Edwards (Ukelele Ike) and Red McKenzie (Mound City Blue Blowers); Bing and Al had admired and imitated them in Spokane. But the ad libs on those records were often disguised by kazoo or comb. They had little of Armstrong's rhythmic thrust and none of his melodic ingenuity.

At the time Whiteman pulled into town, Louis was fronting the Sunset Café band, with Hines as his musical director. The place was run by Joe Glaser, a Capone acolyte who several years later would become Armstrong's manager, building the powerful Associated Booking Agency in the process. In Chicago he billed his star in lights as "The World's Greatest Trumpet Player." The Sunset was located on the main stem of black Chicago but served an integrated audience. Because its band played a good two hours after most others retired, the club became a second home to many of the best white musicians in town, among them Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Tommy Dorsey, and Frank Trumbauer.

Whiteman introduced Bing and Al (Rinker) to the Sunset and other hot spots in Chicago. One can only imagine Bing's initial response to Louis's irrepressible genius, especially if Mildred Bailey had primed him for an experience bordering on the Second Coming. All his life Bing surrounded himself with people who made him laugh. In Armstrong, music and humor were inseparable. Bing was bowled over one evening when Louis revived a routine he had developed in New York in 1924, putting on a frock coat and dark glasses and preaching as the Reverend Satchelmouth. The Gonzagan found Armstrong's irreverence almost as revelatory as his music. He had a front-row pew and knew exactly what he was hearing. When asked in 1950 who had influenced him most, Bing replied, "I'm proud to acknowledge my debt to the Reverend Satchelmouth. He is the beginning and the end of music in America. And long may he reign."


Thursday, August 4, 2011


Here is a listing for Bing Crosby's estate at Rancho Mirage for anyone with extra money in their pocket...

Absolutely stunning! Indulge in this spacious ultra-luxe celebrity estate located in one of the most prestigious communities in the USA. The spectacular Bing Crosby Estate is a legendary home located in Thunderbird Heights, a private community in Rancho Mirage, Ca. This sprawling estate is well appointed for luxurious upscale living.

Bing Crosby himself enjoyed the Palm Springs lifestyle, including his love for golf, in this spectacular residence across from the Thunderbird Country Club that the actor-singer helped establish. Bing Crosby sold his golf course lot in 1952 and purchased the first house in what became Thunderbird Heights with his first wife Dixie Lee.

This luxury estate rests on the hillside in the center of Rancho Mirage in a luxury neighborhood filled with history, charm, and plenty of Hollywood celebrity intrigue.

Thunderbird Heights is and was the place to be for the rich and famous. Many infamous stories can be told about the playground of the Presidents and celebrities alike. (In fact, Rancho Mirage, where this home is located, is often referred to as the Playground of the Presidents).

This remarkable Rancho Mirage celebrity estate with approximately 7,000 square feet of luxurious living space is one of a kind. The home's elegant blend of custom-made furnishings and contemporary comforts and style along with every possible modern amenity ensure a relaxing visit.

The residence features accents from Asian influences starting with the foyer's 10 foot majestic front door to midcentury Hollywood film posters in the state-of-the-art movie theater with comfortable seating for six to eight people, and much more.

Pocket glass walls open the great room out to the lanai creating additional living space while enjoying the desert panoramic landscape in the distance. Sandstone flooring is laid throughout the entertainment and living areas to the pool including the billiards area and indoor wet bar. The pool table doubles as a ping-pong table as well.

The master suite includes approximately 1,400 square feet for pampered privacy and relaxation including a sitting area with fireplace and an ensuite spa-quality bathroom with a second outdoor shower surrounded by glass blocks for privacy.

Each bedroom has been thoughtfully and luxuriously appointed, each with an en suite bath. Two bedrooms share a second full size kitchen and a private entrance.

The kitchen and dining area feature modern Thermador appliances and all of the accoutrements for high style entertaining. Outdoor dining is also available with the BBQ kitchen island and patio dining area.

A spectacular pebble tech pool and spa with adjacent fire pits serve as a splendid centerpiece from nearly every room in this celebrity estate.

A putting green as the Crooner himself might have practiced on is also available. The home is updated with the latest technology and is the perfect celebrity estate to celebrate or to simply relax and indulge in this incredible home...


Monday, August 1, 2011


A Hollywood Haven
By Burl Burlingame

Seventy-five years ago, after several brief flirtations, Hollywood arrived in Hawaii in a big way.

Film crews for "Waikiki Wedding" showed up to film exteriors for the Bing Crosby musical. When it was released in early 1937, it became one of the most popular movies of the year, partly because of the swell hapa haole songs "In a Little Hula Heaven," "Blue Hawaii," "Okolehao," "Nani Ona Pua" and "Sweet Leilani," which won the Oscar for best song for bandleader Harry Owens, as well as becoming Crosby's first gold record.

"Waikiki Wedding" was also the first major Hollywood movie to feature modern Hawaii, highlighting Waikiki's touristy ambience, particularly the art deco charms of Matson's Royal Hawaiian Hotel. As a marketing tool, it couldn't be beat. As the age of the flying clippers and Matson's "white ships" brand of ocean liners deposited ever-increasing flocks of tourists, many were Hollywood stars.

It all seems like yesterday to Matson Navigation Co. archivist Lynn Krantz. As she sorts the mountains of material at the shipping company's archive, pictures literally fall out, images of a time past that holds a special glow for Krantz.

"I just love that time period, the '20s through the '40s. I'm so connected to it while I'm immersed in the research. And the stars stayed at the Royal Hawaiian during Hollywood's golden age. I just felt we had to get them back to the Royal somehow. It became a passion!"

This passion paid off. On Thursday the Royal Hawaiian Hotel opens "Hollywood's Golden Age in Waikiki," a free exhibit curated by Krantz that showcases Matson's collection of rarely seen photographs of Hollywood celebrities. Similar to last year's Amelia Earhart exhibit, it's open to the public in the hotel's Coronet Lounge and runs through the end of the year.

We're talking Shirley Temple, Bette Davis, Bing Crosby, Spencer Tracy, Edgar Bergen, Harry Owens and Mickey Rooney, among others. Most of them seem to have met Duke Kahanamoku as well.

Matson constructed the Royal Hawaiian in 1927 to pamper guests both afloat and ashore. Even though Matson later sold the hotel, the company maintains a cultural relationship.

"I had to narrow it down," said Krantz. "And also, a ton of research, because there wasn't much information attached to the pictures. This picture of Edgar Bergen, for example … When was it taken? I checked into Bergen's records and discovered he did a press tour to promote his movie with W.C. Fields, ‘You Can't Cheat an Honest Man,' which made it 1939.

"We keep finding new things. I love presenting this history. Such cool photos. I mean, there's Bette Davis with leis on in her Lurline stateroom, and she's got freckles! You never see her without makeup. The Charlie Chan movie ‘The Black Camel' showed the Royal Hawaiian in 1931.

"And Dorothy MacKaill. Have you heard of Dorothy MacKaill? She was a beautiful silent-film actress who made the transition to talkies. She even played a carnival hula dancer. Well, she came out to Hawaii, settled in the Royal and lived in the hotel for the next 35 years. She even played parts in ‘Hawaii Five-O.'"

Krantz is getting breathless over the cool glamour of it all, so we'd better let her go...