Saturday, December 23, 2017


Made during the early years of the movie musical, this exuberant revue was one of the most extravagant, eclectic, and technically ambitious Hollywood productions of its day. 

Starring the bandleader Paul Whiteman, then widely celebrated as the King of Jazz, the film drew from Broadway variety shows of the time to present a spectacular array of sketches, performances by such acts as the Rhythm Boys (featuring a young Bing Crosby), and orchestral numbers overseen by Whiteman himself (including a larger-than-life rendition of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”)—all lavishly staged by veteran theater director John Murray Anderson and beautifully shot in early Technicolor.

Long available only in incomplete form, King of Jazz appears here newly restored to its original glory, offering a fascinating snapshot of the way mainstream American popular culture viewed itself at the dawn of the 1930s.

Disc Features:

-New 4K digital restoration by Universal Pictures, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
-New audio commentary featuring jazz and film critic Gary Giddins, music and cultural critic Gene Seymour, and musician and bandleader Vince Giordano
-New introduction by Giddins
-New interview with musician and pianist Michael Feinstein
-Four new video essays by authors and archivists James Layton and David Pierce on the development and making of King of Jazz
-Deleted scenes and alternate opening-title sequence
-All Americans, a 1929 short film featuring a version of the “Melting Pot” number that was restaged for the finale of King of Jazz
-I Know Everybody and Everybody’s Racket, a 1933 short film featuring Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra
-Two Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons from 1930, featuring music and animation from King of Jazz

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


This interesting story was originally published in 1995...

When Rosemary Clooney sang seasonal standards like "Let It Snow" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas" in her recent show at Feinstein's at the Regency Hotel here, it brought back happy memories of her in the classic 1954 movie "White Christmas." But her flawless rendition of the more sentimental "Count Your Blessings," which she sang with costar Bing Crosby in the film, is the heart and soul of her Christmas show (to be repeated in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles later this month) and her amazing career.

In an interview, the internationally famous star, who celebrated her 50th year singing professionally in 1995, called family her biggest blessing. "I'm so grateful for my family. My children. My 10 grandchildren and my husband, Dante. He's the love of my life," Ms. Clooney said. "But I've never quite forgiven Dante because he chose to be in the movie 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' over 'White Christmas,' " Ms. Clooney joked. "He has on occasion sung with me in nightclub acts, but he would prefer to sing by himself because he likes to sing all of his songs in Italian!"

Ms. Clooney and Mr. DiPaolo, a former dancer and singer, married three years ago after having been close friends for more than 20 years. Ms. Clooney was first married to the late stage and screen star José Ferrer, with whom she had five children. "I'll never forget one Christmas when Joe [Mr. Ferrer] was doing a play on Broadway. We had a suite at The Plaza; a Christmas tree from FAO Schwartz; a live tree that they had decorated. It was one of the nicest Christmases I ever had," she reminisces.

Ms. Clooney's career started when she sang duets with her sister Betty for WLW Radio in Cincinnati in 1945. Two years later, "The Clooney Sisters," as they were billed, made their debut at the famed Steel Pier in Atlantic City, N.J. Ms. Clooney became a star when she recorded her first single, "Come On-a My House" in 1951, and it became a huge hit.

Ms. Clooney, who sees her better-known nephew, TV and movie star George Clooney, at family gatherings ("he's very close to my oldest son," she said), applauds him for pursuing his career so vigorously even though it seems to have been at the expense of having a family.

"Let me tell you, I know that this is a time to focus on career, when you're young," Ms. Clooney said. "In my own case, I had the more portable career. As a singer I could take my work under my hat so if Joe [Ferrer] was doing a picture in Europe, I could go, too, and be there with the kids."

Having recorded more than 20 albums and sung in some of the world's most famous nightclubs, Ms. Clooney is perhaps best known for costarring in "White Christmas" opposite Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen.

Ms. Clooney intersperses her live Christmas show with banter about and film clips from "White Christmas," much the same as on her recent DVD album about the movie. She says costar Kaye was a much better singer and actor than he was a dancer; she couldn't dance very well, either; and costar Vera-Ellen could dance but not sing, and her songs were dubbed. So it's little wonder why there were plenty of laughs from the audience at Feinstein's when she wryly concluded before showing a film clip: "So here you have a singer who can't dance and a dancer who can't sing!"

"I have never understood the whole plot of 'White Christmas,' " Ms. Clooney continued at her live show. "It has many plot turns, but there was one that took the cake. I got mad at Bing, and I go racing off to New York and get a job - just like that was the easiest thing in the world! And I'm singing in this very beautiful nightclub, and Bing comes down from Vermont to get me."

Asked why Ms. Clooney didn't marry Bing Crosby, a great friend and screen costar but someone with whom Ms. Clooney says she was never romantically involved in real life, Mr. DiPaolo, who never misses a live performance of Ms. Clooney's, said with a laugh, "She liked me better!"


Friday, December 8, 2017


Tis the season for Bing at the holidays! Here is an ad that I found in 1950, and it talks about Bing and his co-star from his movie Mr. Music, decorating a friendship tree. Cute idea!

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Here is episode two of my You Tube series. This time around we take a look at my five favorite female singers - enjoy!

Monday, November 27, 2017


Frank McHugh is another one of those characters, where you know his face but maybe not his name. I remember him most from his role as another priest alongside Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way (1944).

Born in Homestead, Pennsylvania on May 23, 1898, McHugh came from a theatrical family. At age ten, Frank McHugh began performing in his parent's stock company, side by side with his siblings Matt and Kitty. Another brother, Ed, became a stage manager and agent in New York.

By age 17, McHugh was resident juvenile with the Marguerite Bryant stock company. Extensive vaudeville experience followed, and in 1925 McHugh made his first Broadway appearance in The Fall Guy; three years later, he made his movie debut in a Vitaphone short. Hired by Warner Bros. for the small role of a motorcycle driver in 1930's The Dawn Patrol, McHugh appeared in nearly 70 Warners films over the next decade. He was often cast as the hero's best pal or as drunken comedy relief; his peculiar trademark was a lightly braying laugh. Highlight performances during his Warners tenure included Jimmy Cagney's pessimistic choreographer in Footlight Parade (1933), "rude mechanical" Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), an erstwhile poet and horserace handicapper in Three Men on a Horse (1936) and a friendly pickpocket in One Way Passage (1932) — a role he'd repeat word-for-word in Till We Meet Again, 1940 remake of Passage. One of the biggest movies he was in was Roaring Twenties (1939) with Jimmy Cagney.

He appeared in over 150 films and television productions and worked with almost every star at Warner Bros. By the 1950s, his film career had begun to decline, as evinced by his smaller role in Career (1959). From 1964 to 1965, he played the role of Willie Walters, a live-in handyman on ABC's sitcom, The Bing Crosby Show. Reportedly Bing insisted he be cast alongside him. His last television appearance was as Charlie Wingate in the episode "The Fix-It Man" on CBS's Lancer western series. McHugh played a handyman in that role too.

McHugh was married to Dorothy Spencer. He had three children and two grandchildren.

Frank McHugh's last film role was in the Elvis Presley film Easy Come, Easy Go(1967). He basically left Hollywood for the next decade. He died on September 11, 1981...largely forgotten for the great supporting roles he starred in...

Friday, November 17, 2017


Bing Crosby guru Bruce Kogan is back with another review. This time it's the overlooked 1957 drama Man On Fire...

The movie opens with Bing Crosby singing the Sammy Fain-Paul Francis Webster title song over the opening credits. But that's all you hear from Crosby the singer. For the first time Bing starred in a film without any singing at all.

The story involves a pair of divorced parents who have fallen out of love and are contesting the custody of their son. Crosby the father has the kid and wife Mary Fickett and her new husband Richard Eastham want him.

It's a well acted film and Crosby proves he doesn't need to sing to carry a film. His Earl Carleton is a troubled man, a loving father wounded terribly by the divorce. Mary Fickett is a loving mother who's been denied custody of her son by a hastily signed agreement at the time of her's and Bing's divorce. Her new husband Richard Eastham wants a share of custody for his wife's sake.

The point is that this is a film without villains. These are just good people caught in a bad situation trying to do the right thing as they conceive it. And in probably the best performance of her long career, Judge Anne Seymour has to decide it. The custody hearing scene in her chambers is the best acted scene in the film.

This situation may have inspired some of the situations portrayed in the current series Judging Amy. The film has an honored place in the films of Bing Crosby. A must see.


Thursday, November 9, 2017


Welcome to my first episode of my You Tube show - titled as you guessed it A Trip Down Memory Lane. From time to time I will do a little 30 minute episode highlighting some of the great stars of our times. For this first episode I will count down my five favorite male singers. I hope you enjoy it, and I encourage comments and suggestions...

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


The decade of the 1940s was marked by the horrors of World War II. However, Bing owned the 1940s. He was the biggest star of that decade, the most widely beloved American, and was the most recorded human voice. Bing was at the height of his career in the 1940s as theses photos show...

with Dinah Shore 

with Bob Hope

with Joan Caulfield

Monday, October 30, 2017


On this day 42 years ago, Bing's long time orchestra leader John Scott Trotter passed away. He never fully got the recognition that he deserved. Here is the original NY Times article from October 31, 1975...

HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 30 (UPI) —John Scott Trotter, whose entertainment career spanning a half century took him from the side of Hal Kemp in the bigband era to Bing Crosby on radio and records and George Gobel on television, died yesterday of cancer at Mt. Sinai Hospital. He was 67 years old.

Mr. Trotter's most remembered musical achievement was that of arranger and conductor for Mr. Crosby, an association that lasted 17 years on radio and included recordings that encompassed some of the crooner's best‐known songs, such as “White Christmas” and “Swinging on a Star.”

Only last month, Mr. Trotter joined with the Bostorl Pops conductor, Arthur Fiedler, in recreating the big‐band sound on a public television fund‐raising broadcast.

He was the recipient of an Academy Award nomination in 1970 for his musical work on the Charles Shultz animated movie “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” and he received an Emmy nomination for the music of one of the peanuts television specials.

Mr. Trotter, who was born in Charlotte, N. C., June 14, 1908, began his musical career at the University of North Carolina, playing piano for a college band formed by Mr. Kemp in 1925.Continue reading the main story

Mr. Trotter was the orchestra's pianist and principal arranger for 11 years, creating the “fresh, happy sound” of Mr. Kemp that produced such music as “Got a Date With an Angel” and “You're the Tops.”.

In 1936, while vacationing in California, Mr. Trotter was signed to orchestrate five songs for the film “Pennies From Heaven,” starring Bing Crosby, and a year later he took over as musical director for Mr. Crosby's radio show.

Mr. Trotter was Mr. Crosby's arranger and conductor for 364 consecutive weeks on NBC radio shows.

In 1954, when the Crosby radio shows came to an end, Mr. Trotter began a 10‐year career as musical director for the “George Gobel Show.”

He is survived by his sister, Margaret Kinghorn, and three brothers, William, Thomas and Robert...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017


The year 1977 began poorly for Bing. In March 1977, during a televised concert to celebrate his fifty years in show business, he fell backwards into an orchestra pit headfirst. He ruptured a disc in his back, and was hospitalized for a month. After recovering, he made appearances all over the world, from Norway to England to tape a Christmas special, which featured David Bowie the famous Christmas duet. After taping the special, he recorded his final album, Seasons.

Bing’s next stop was the London Palladium for a two-week engagement. Then he and his band went to Brighton where they performed their final performance on October 10. The next day Bing was a guest on the Alan Dell radio show, where he sang eight songs with the Gordon Rose Orchestra. Later that day he posed for photos for the Seasons album. The next day Bing headed for Spain to play golf and die.

On the afternoon of October 14, 1977, Bing was playing at the La Morajela golf course near Madrid, Spain. He finished 18 holes with a score of 85, and with a partner, defeated two Spanish golf pros. After his last putt, Bing bowed to applause and said, "It was a great game." He was about 20 yards from the clubhouse, when he collapsed from a massive heart attack. His three golfing companions remarked that he did not look tired and was even singing around the course, though he seemed to be favoring his left arm near the end of the game. They thought he had slipped. They carried him to the clubhouse, where a physician attempted to revive him, to no avail. Bing Crosby was dead on arrival, at the Red Cross hospital. He was 74.

A few hours after learning of her husband’s death, Kathryn issued a statement, "I can’t think of any better way for a golfer who sings for a living to finish the round." Their son Harry, 19, and the family’s former butler, Alan Fisher, flew to Spain to accompany Bing’s body back to LA.

The most widely heard voice of the 20th Century and maybe all time was silenced on that fateful day on October 14, 1977...

Friday, October 13, 2017


After a seemingly desert of Bing Crosby recordings, there are now two new Bing Crosby CDs coming up on the horizon. Please support these issues so there will be more...

Two New Bing Crosby CD Releases From the Bing Crosby Archive & UMe

October 14 marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of Bing Crosby. HLC Properties, Ltd., the Crosby family company, announces the release of two new entries in the Bing Crosby Archive CD series. New Tricks: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition and Among My Souvenirs: More Treasures from the Crosby Archive will be released on December 8, 2017, through UMe. Kathryn Crosby, Bing's widow is the executive producer of the series. She notes, "It's gratifying that forty years after Bing left us we're still able to bring both familiar and unfamiliar recordings to new generations of listeners." Bing's son Harry added, "It's very satisfying to be able to keep my father's music available, and to bring him into the digital world with such an expansive catalog. He was a pioneer on the technical side of the music industry, so it's important to keep him current. The Crosby family is very pleased to partner with UMe on this project."

The original 1957 twelve-track New Tricks LP has been freshly mastered from the original session tapes and expanded with twelve bonus tracks, including nine that have never previously been released. Bing is accompanied by Buddy Cole and His Trio, and the small group setting is a wonderful showcase for his voice on such standards as "Georgia on My Mind," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," and "Chicago." New Tricks is the fourth and final 1950s Decca Crosby LP to be reissued in the deluxe format by the Bing Crosby Archive. In 2013 Bing's first LP, Le Bing: Song Hits of Paris (1953), received the deluxe treatment. Some Fine Old Chestnuts (1954) and Songs I Wish I'd Sung the First Time Around (1956) were released in deluxe editions in 2014.

New Tricks: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
(Original album, remastered)
1. Alabamy Bound
2. When I Take My Sugar to Tea
3. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
4. Georgia on My Mind
5. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
6. If I Could Be With You
7. Avalon
8. Chinatown, My Chinatown
9. You're Driving Me Crazy
10. On the Alamo
11. Chicago
12. Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise
Bonus Content:
13. Rain
14. Church Bells
15. I'll Remember Today
16. My How the Time Goes By
17. Chee Chee-oo Chee (Sang the Little Bird)
18. Surprise
19. All the Time
20. Gigi
21. Tammy
22. Big D (with Lindsay Crosby) Take 2
23. Allegheny Moon (with Lindsay Crosby)
24. More Than You Know

Among My Souvenirs: More Treasures from the Crosby Archive is a 2-CD collection of 35 previously unissued recordings spanning Bing Crosby's entire career. The set, newly compiled by Crosby archivist Robert S. Bader, is comprised of recordings made between 1932 and 1977, and includes outtakes, live recordings, and radio and television performances, many featuring songs not previously part of the voluminous Crosby discography. Among the rarities: a 1968 recording with Diana Ross and the Supremes; some recently discovered concert recordings from 1956, and a track from Bing's final American concert in 1977. Among My Souvenirs is a companion volume to the 2010 Bing Crosby Archive release, So Rare: Treasures from the Crosby Archive.

Among My Souvenirs: More Treasures from the Crosby Archive
Disc 1:
1. Please
2. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
3. The Day You Came Along
4. Bing & Jack Oakie at Paramount
5. Boo Boo Boo
6. Roll Along Prairie Moon
7. I've Been Floating Down the Old Green River
8. Hello Hawaii
9. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
10. You Forgot Your Gloves
11. A Horse That Knows the Way Back Home
12. She Is the Sunshine of Virginia
13. What Do You Do in the Infantry?
14. Good Morning Mr. Zip Zip Zip
15. I've Told Every Little Star
16. Oh, But I Do
17. Minute Maid Radio Jingle (Extended Version)
18. Alabamy Bound (with Lindsay Crosby)

Disc 2:
1. Be My Life's Companion
2. Undecided
3. Please Mr. Sun
4. Moonlight and Roses (with Bob Crosby)
5. Tell Me Why
6. Dream a Little Dream of Me
7. Eternally
8. True Love (Live at Fall River)
9. In a Little Spanish Town (Live at Fall River)
10. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You) (Live at Fall River)
11. Big D (with Lindsay Crosby) Take 1
12. Old Cape Cod
13. The NATO Song
14. Among My Souvenirs
15. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
16. Paint Your Wagon Medley: I'm on My Way/I Talk to the Trees/I Still See Elissa/They Call the Wind Maria (with Diana Ross and the Supremes)
17. Send in the Clowns (Live at Concord Pavilion)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017


Today marks 22 years since Bing's oldest son Gary Crosby died. Here is what the NY Times was saying about it in August of 1995...

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 25— Gary Crosby, the eldest son of Bing Crosby, died on Thursday 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. He later recanted much of what he wrote.

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 acknowledged that he was an alcoholic in 1967. Lindsay committed suicide in 1989 and Dennis in 1991.

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

Monday, August 7, 2017


One of my favorite albums that Bing did in later years was this album. It is hard to believe it is 41 years old now!

Feels Good, Feels Right is a 1976 vinyl album recorded by Bing Crosby for Decca Records during four morning sessions in 1976 at Decca Studio No.3, Broadhurst Gardens, London. He was accompanied by Alan Cohen and his Orchestra. Cohen also did all the orchestral arrangements.  All of the tracks recorded in July were issued on the LP with the addition of "What’s New?" recorded on August 17. The other three tracks recorded on August 17 were issued for the first time on a Decca double album called “Bing – 1931” and “Bing – 1975-76”. The expanded album was first issued on CD by London Records in 1988 as No. 820 586-2.

Billboard was not impressed saying: “The spirit’s willing, but Bing’s tired pipes aren’t what they once were despite his choice of nine splendid standards and three more recent tunes recorded last summer in London. One must overlook faulty intonation, an inability to sustain notes and an overall feeling of fatigue in this program produced by Kevin Daly and with orchestra conducted by Alan Cohen. For Crosby filberts, however, the LP will hit the mark."

Bert Bishop, writing for BING magazine felt that the album was "...a superb surprise bonus that keeps us reeling in amazement at the resurgence of our new, top-form, Bing. Yes, let's not lose sight of the fact that Bing is singing better than he was, and this LP is as good an example as any to prove the point". Bishop described the orchestrations as "...mostly traditional without losing sight of the contemporary big band sound and there’s no doubt that the modern recording techniques do full justice to every member of the orchestra", and concluded by writing that "In several recent recordings Bing has given us verses which must be quite new to many listeners and happily, that’s a prominent feature of the presentation of the ballads to which Bing brings his unique vocal nuances on this LP."

Track Listing:
1. "Feels Good, Feels Right"
2. "Once in a While"
3. "As Time Goes By" 
4. "Old Fashioned Love"
5. "Time on My Hands"
6. "The Way We Were"
7. "There's Nothing That I Haven't Sung About"
8. "The Night Is Young and You're So Beautiful"
9. "Nevertheless"
11. "What’s New?"
12. "When I Leave the World Behind"

Additional tracks on Decca double album
13. "That Old Black Magic"
14. "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" 
15. "At Last"

Reportedly, as song writer Johnny Mercer laid dying in 1976, the last record he listened to was Bing's version of "When I Leave The World Behind"...

Friday, July 28, 2017


Writing about movie director Alfred Hitchcock, Ruth Prigozy once noted, “He gets to the heart of human experience.”

Prigozy, a longtime Hofstra University film and literature professor — who died July 16 at the age of 87 — did the same through the enthusiasm she exuded for her subjects, say former students and colleagues.

At barely 5 feet tall, Prigozy was nevertheless an outsized presence in her field. Over 41 years at Hofstra, she published books or led academic conferences on numerous titans of the arts, including Hitchcock, singer-actor Bing Crosby and, her prime focus, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“ ‘Spitfire’ is kind of cliché, but her stature was small and her personality certainly made up for it,” said Michelle Jonas Sroka, 37, a Los Angeles public relations and marketing consultant who first took Prigozy’s class in 1998 and would form a 20-year friendship with her.

“She was passionate about what she taught and . . . wanted us to see its relevance to everyday life,” Jonas Sroka said.

Prigozy died in her sleep after a series of recent mini-strokes, said daughter Susan Prigozy-Duffy, of Sound Beach. She had lived with her daughter for the last three years, after some time in Florida and many years in Manhattan.

Before that, Prigozy raised her family in Great Neck, not far from Fitzgerald’s inspiration for “The Great Gatsby.”

“She took people on tours of the Gatsby sites,” said Prigozy-Duffy, 57. “She’d do it for free. They didn’t have to pay her.”

Ruth Prigozy was born and raised in Brooklyn, graduating from James Madison High School and Brooklyn College. She worked in advertising in the 1950s, before obtaining her master’s from New York University in 1962 and doctorate from the City College of New York in 1969.

That year, she began teaching at Hofstra, where she gravitated toward Fitzgerald’s work. Prigozy was considered a leading scholar on the author when she helped found the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society in 1992.

In a 2012 interview with Hofstra, Prigozy said it was “the language” that drew her to Fitzgerald: “There are passages that make you stop. You feel you have to read them over again.”

The society allowed her to travel across the world, including Cuba and Nice, France, for conferences and symposiums. At home, Prigozy was also a tireless organizer of events that brought scholars together.

“She was a dynamo, never sat still,” said Natalie Datlof, the former executive director of the Hofstra Cultural Center. “And always inclusive with students. She wanted everyone to be excited about the things she was excited about.”

That extended to friends and family. A film and theater buff, Prigozy loaded her daughter’s DVR with classic films and urged people to see the Broadway play “The Boy from Oz” starring Hugh Jackman, which she attended 22 times during its run in 2003-2004.

Jonas Sroka, who worked as Prigozy’s assistant at the Fitzgerald Society, said she had a “motherly” quality.

“She was really invested in what we wanted to become, making sure we became these perfect human beings with intellect and morality,” she said.

Prigozy retired from teaching in 2009 and from the Fitzgerald Society in 2013. She was predeceased by her husband, Hofstra professor and Mark Twain scholar Stanley Brodwin.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, Ted Prigozy, of Fort Myers, Florida; sister, Florence Kerstein, of Las Vegas; and a granddaughter.

A private funeral service will be held and a public memorial is being planned for the fall...

Monday, July 17, 2017


This is the 11,000 sqft, 40-room French chateau, where Bing Crosby lived with his wife (at the time), Kathryn and their three children. Kathryn still owns the home through an estate trust, although she does not live there.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


On this 241st Independence Day, let's sing a song of freedom with Bing! This excellent screen shot if from Bing's 1942 epic musical Holiday Inn. Happy Independence day one and all...

Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017


Sometime in 1955, Omer Westendorf (founder of World Library of Sacred Music) wrote to several famous Catholics to find a narrator for a recording project. Among those names were Loretta Young, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Rocky Marciano, and Bing Crosby. Bishop Sheen replied that he was too busy, and there were no replies from Ms. Young and Mr. Marciano. Bing Crosby made inquiries about World Library of Sacred Music through the Los Angeles Chancery Office. He made no formal reply and just sent a tape of the narration. Bing made the recording on August 6, 1956, and sent it to Omer Westendorf in Cincinnati. Where the narration was recorded is unknown.

The organ background was provided by Betty Zins Reiber, a longtime editor at WLP. According to Bing Enterprises/HLC Properties LLC, Bing donated his services and did not accept any payment. The music on the album was arranged by Han Van Koert (1913–1976). The complete score of the album was published by WLP in 1958.The recording of Bing Crosby reading the Gospel of Luke 2:4 has not been used in any other project and is exclusive to World Library Publications.

“It’s truly a wonderful thing to have an American icon in your vault, and after all this time we get to share it with the world. Bing Crosby and Christmas have always been synonymous.”
—Ron Rendek, Senior Music Editor, World Library Publications

“At the time the recording of the carols was taking place, Omer, the choir, and all involved in the project were honored that Bing Crosby had accepted Omer's invitation to narrate the Christmas gospel between the carols. I am delighted to hear that the recording is being re-issued so that it will be made available to a new audience.”
—Betty Zins Reiber, accompanist for the Bonaventure Choir

“When my Dad bought World Library Publications in 1972, he knew he was getting the best in church music, but I don’t think he realized this gem between Omer Westendorf and Bing Crosby! We are excited to celebrate sixty years of Omer’s vision and to share this treasure of his work with Bing Crosby.”
—Mary Lou Paluch Rafferty, Owner and Publisher of J.S. Paluch Company/World Library Publications

Questions can be directed to Larry VanMersbergen, 1-847-233-2806 or

Available on CD and LP.

Ordering information:
007403 The Bible Story of Christmas narrated by Bing Crosby CD $10.00 (USD)
007405 The Bible Story of Christmas narrated by Bing Crosby Limited Edition LP $25.00 (USD) or call 1-800-566-6150
also available at

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


One hundred and fourteen years ago...

Friday, March 10, 2017


Here is a new issue from Sepia Records.This is not from Bing's greatest period, but there has not been a new Bing Crosby CD issue for awhile so let's support this one!



1. Shine On Harvest Moon / That's Where My Money Goes / Harrigan / Listen To The Mocking Bird
2. Flow Gently, Sweet Afton / Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms / Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes
3. Sweet Rosie O'grady / My Sweetheart's The Man In The Moon / Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway / Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye
4. When The Saints Go Marching In / Little David, Play On Your Harp / Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho / Hand Me Down My Walking Cane / Ezekiel Saw The Wheel
5. While Strolling Through The Park One Day / Today Is Monday / Big Rock Candy Mountain / Oh Dear! What Can The Matter Be? / Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
6. Annie Laurie / Loch Lomond / Bluebells Of Scotland / Comin' Thro' The Rye
7. Hello, Ma Baby / The Girl I Left Behind Me / Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey? / Wait For The Wagon / Row, Row, Row Your Boat
8. Sweet Adeline / On Top Of Old Smokey / Down In The Valley / In The Good Old Summer Time
9. This Old Man / Schnitzelbank / Pop Goes The Weasel / Careless Love
10. Li'l Liza Jane / Cindy / Where Did You Get That Hat? / So Long Mary / Three Blind Mice
11. Anchors Aweigh / Tramp, Tramp, Tramp / Blow The Man Down / For He's A Jolly Good Fellow
12. Love's Old Sweet Song / Kathleen Mavourneen / Juanita
13. My Wild Irish Rose / Come Back To Erin / Killarney / The Minstrel Boy
14. In The Gloaming / Stars Of The Summer Night / Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming
15. Little Annie Rooney / Du, Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen / Ach Du Lieber Augustine / Lovely Evening / Goodnight To You All
16. She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain / Our Boys Will Shine Tonight / The Gospel Train / Walk Together Children / The Nut-Brown Maid
17. Casey Jones / Polly Wolly Doodle / The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo / I've Been Working On The Railroad / Asleep In The Deep
18. Battle Hymn Of The Republic / America / When Johnny Comes Marching Home / America The Beautiful
19. There Is A Tavern In The Town / Oh! Susanna/ Maryland, My Maryland / Carry Me Back To Old Virginny / The Bear Went Over The Mountain
20. Gumtree Canoe / Dear Evelina / Sweet And Low
21. My Gal Sal / I Don't Want To Play In Your Yard / School Days / Abdul Abulbul Amir
22. Heaven, Heaven / Mary, Don't You Weep / Jacob's Ladder / Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen / Roll, Jordan, Roll
23. O Sole Mio / Funicul�, Funicul� / My Grandfather's Clock / Keemo Kimo


1. Sweet Genevieve / Santa Lucia / In The Evening By The Moonlight / Goodnight Ladies
2. Singin' In The Rain / The Darktown Strutters' Ball
3. My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii / Around Her Neck She Wore A Yellow Ribbon
4. Me And My Shadow
5. Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue / Marching Along Together
6. Should I? / Blue Moon
7. Cecilia
8. Gimme A Little Kiss / When The Red, Red Robin
9. The Loveliest Night Of The Year
10. Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree / My Pony Boy
11. The Man On The Flying Trapeze
12. A-Tisket, A-Tasket / Billy Boy
13. Forever And Ever
14. A Bicycle Built For Two / The Bowery / After The Ball
15. Long, Long Ago / The Quilting Party
16. Polly Wolly Doodle / Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me! / Oh, Dem Golden Slippers 
17. Old Macdonald Had A Farm / Today Is Monday
18. On Top Of Old Smokey / Down In The Valley / In The Good Old Summer Time
19. This Old Man / Blow The Man Down / For He's A Jolly Good Fellow
20. Maryland, My Maryland / Love's Old Sweet Song / Goodnight Ladies
21. Little Annie Rooney / Did You Ever See A Lassie? / Lovely Evening
22. She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain / Our Boys Will Shine Tonight / The Gospel Train's A-Comin'
23. I've Been Working On The Railroad / Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? / Oh! Susanna
24. The Music Of Home
25. It's A Good Day
26. Aloha Means I Love You


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Here is the original review of the 1935 film Mississippi which paired Bing up with WC Fields. This was written by Andrew Sennwald and published in the New York Times on April 18, 1935...

THE SCREEN; W.C. Fields Joins Hands With Bing Crosby in the Paramount's Easter Attraction "Mississippi."..,

Amid an atmosphere of magnolia, crinoline and Kentucky whisky, the boozy genius of Mr. Fields and the subterranean croon of Mr. Crosby strike a happy compromise in "Mississippi," the new film at the Paramount Theatre. Having its money on Mr. Fields, this column considered the photo play only pleasant when he wasn't around, preferring during those interludes to remember how the Commodore of the River Queen shuddered with ecstasy in the grip of a mint julep or how he looked when he drew the five aces. But that, as Jimmy Durante would say, is ingratitood "Mississippi" is a tuneful and diverting show even when it isn't being particularly hilarious, and it is madly funny at sufficient length to satisfy us Fields idolaters. The Paramount has served its Easter Week clientele generously.

Naturally, it is Bill Fields, the beery aristocrat of the river, the bogus Indian fighter, the prodigious quaffer of rum, the greatest liar afloat, who provides the entertainment with its memorable moments. You ought to be told about that marvelous poker game in which the Commodore, surrounded by Southern gentlemen and primed pistols, deals himself five aces and then makes desperate and fruitless efforts to reduce his holding to the more orthodox four. Then there are some hoary but reliable monkeyshines about the cigar-store Indians who invade the dazed vision of the Commodore like a tribe of authentic redskins in quest of scalps, causing him to seek a hasty refuge in a bottle of bourbon, which he dilutes with two timid spurts of soda.

A good-natured burlesque of the old Mississippi dueling code, freely adapted from Booth Tarkmgton's "Magnolia," the film tells about the soft-spoken lad from Philadelphia who is about to marry into a Kentucky family. When he declines to fight a duel for his lady's honor he is sent off scornfully into the night, despite his sensible plea that the proposed affair of honor is somewhat lacking in motivation. So he joins Commodore Jackson's showboat troupe on the River Queen. Under that gentleman's tutelage he acquires a considerable paper reputation as a dead shot and soon is being billed as The Notorious Colonel Blake, the Singing Killer. Then he falls in love with Miss Joan Bennett, the sympathetic younger sister of his former fiancee, and finally bullies the Kentucky aristocracy into a cocked hat.

Mr. Crosby, who is a personable light comedian as well as a husky-voiced master of the croon, makes an excellent partner for Mr. Fields. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart have composed some appropriate romantic numbers for him. Miss Bennett, modest and charming in her pantalettes, is admirably suited to the demure requirements of her part Queenie Smith appears rather too briefly as one of the belles of the River Queen. Concealed behind goatees, ten-gallon hats, stogies and itching pistols, you will find such reliable performers as Claude Gillingwater, Fred Kohler, John Miljan and Ed Pawley. But the spot news in Forty-third Street concerns Mr. Fields. "Women," he proclaims in one of his numerous oratorical flights, "are like elephants to me. They are all right to look at, but I wouldn't like to own one."

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


My wife laughs at me because I defend Bing Crosby like I would for one of my children. It frustrates me that almost 40 years after Bing's death the rumors seem to get worse. Recently I was on facebook, commenting in a group, and someone posted a Bing exhibit they were going to. I thought wow, this would be a great post for a change. About an hour later the first posts appeared proclaiming Bing to be an "alcoholic", "a child abuser", and "a miser" - and those were the posts that were able to be written again! When I posted that I have written about Bing, and I have come to know some people associated with Bing, I was accused of being a "name dropper" and "wanting my own fame". Really? I love Bing Crosby, but if I wanted my own fame - latching on to a crooner that has been dead for 40 years is not how to do it!

Anyways, it just frustrates me that one book - "Going My Own Way" by Gary Crosby has changed how the public views Bing. In the 1930s and 1940s, Bing was the most widely admired person in the world, and now a smutty book took down his legendary status. It is a shame. I wonder where all this hatred from Bing really comes from? I mean there have been other books about stars that taint their reputation but they seemingly rebound. I always tell people that Bing was not a great father to his first family - but he was not the monster that people think he is. Bing was a human - capable of making mistakes. He was not perfect other than in his singing.

I had to get this off my chest. So far all of the people out there that now think that his children were hospitalized because he beat them up or Bing and Bob Hope used to trade young starlets back and forth or that his sons could not get any of his money until they were 85 - please expand your horizon and at least learn more about the man who gave millions of people enjoyment through decades of entertaining...