Sunday, December 22, 2019


"White Christmas" was Bing's biggest holiday recording, but it was not his only one. Bing recorded more than 70 songs that fit in with the Christmas holiday season beginning in 1935 when Jack Kapp, the head of Decca, suggested that Bing record "Adeste Fidelis" and "Silent Night," Bing was reluctant, saying he did not want to record sacred tunes for commercial gain. Eventually Bing consented to recording them, after arrangements were made to donate the profits to charities.

Here is a list of Bing's winter holiday recordings. Der Bingle was definitely the king of Christmas...

1 9 3 5
Silent Night (recorded for private charitable distribution)
Adeste Fidelis
Silent Night

1 9 4 2
Happy Holiday
I've Got Plenty to be Thankful for
White Christmas
Adeste Fidelis
Faith of our Fathers
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Let's Start the New Year Right

1 9 4 3
Jingle Bells (with the Andrews Sisters)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town (with the Andrews Sisters)
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Going My Way

1 9 4 5
Ave Maria from The Bells of Saint Mary’s
The Happy Prince (narrative)
The Sweetest Story Ever Told

1 9 4 7
White Christmas
Silent Night
The Christmas Song
Oh Fir Tree Dark
The Small One (narrative)

1 9 4 9
Twelve Days of Christmas (w Andrews Sisters)
Here Comes Santa Claus (w Andrews Sisters)
The First Noel
You're All I Want for Christmas
Deck the Halls / Away in a Manger / I Saw Three Ships
Good King Wenceslas / We Three Kings / Angels We Have Heard on High 

1 9 5 0
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
A Crosby Family Christmas -- Parts 1 and 2
That Christmas Feeling
Poppa Santa Claus (w Andrews Sisters)
Mele Kalikimaka (w Andrews Sisters)
Silver Bells (w Carole Richards)
Marshmallow World
Looks Like a Cold, Cold Winter

1 9 5 1
Christmas in Killarney
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

1 9 5 2
Sleigh Ride
Little Jack Frost Get Lost (w Peggy Lee)
Sleigh Bell Serenade (

1 9 5 4
White Christmas (w Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee, Trudy Stevens)
Snow (w Danny Kaye, Peggy Lee, Trudy Stevens)

1 9 5 5
Christmas is a Comin'
Is Christmas Only a Tree?
The First Snowfall
A Christmas Sing with Bing [CBS radio broadcast released on LP]

1 9 5 6
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

1 9 5 7
How Lovely is Christmas

1 9 5 8
Say One For Me
The Secret of Christmas
Just What I Wanted for Christmas

1 9 6 2
Winter Wonderland
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
What Child is This?
The Holly and the Ivy
The Little Drummer Boy
Holy Night
The Littlest Angel
Let it Snow!
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Frosty the Snowman 
I Wish You a Merry Christmas 
While Shepherds Watched their Sheep

1 9 6 3
Christmas Dinner Country Style
Do You Hear What I Hear?

1 9 6 4
It's Christmas Time Again (w Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians)
Go Tell It On the Mountain (w Frank Sinatra and Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians)
The Secret of Christmas (w Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians)
Christmas Candles (w Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians)
We Wish You the Merriest (w Frank Sinatra and Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians)

1 9 6 5
The White World of Winter

1 9 7 0
A Time to Be Jolly
I Sing Noel
Round and Round the Christmas Tree
The First Family of Christmas
The Song of Christmas
A Christmas Toast
And the Bells Rang
Christmas Is
When You Trim Your Christmas Tree
Christmas is Here to Stay

1 9 7 3
Christmas Star

1 9 7 7
Peace on Earth / The Little Drummer Boy (w David Bowie)
On the Very First Day of the Year
Sleigh Ride

Sunday, December 15, 2019


It took Hollywood nearly 15 years to craft the cheerful and unabashedly sentimental musical White Christmas out of Irving Berlin’s hit song. But the 1954 movie starring two of America’s most popular stars—Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye—was worth the wait, becoming the biggest box office hit of 1954 and to this day consistently ranking on lists of classic holiday movies.

Bing Crosby first performed the song “White Christmas” on his CBS radio show on Christmas Day in 1941. He reprised it in the 1942 film Holiday Inn, in which he starred with Fred Astaire, when his character impresses a love interest by crooning a new song he’d just written called “White Christmas.” It impressed the Academy too, winning the Oscar for Best Song. The song hit the charts and became the all-time best-selling single for over 50 years. (Until Elton John’s tribute to the late Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind,” finally took that honor.)

So it seemed a no-brainer to build another movie around the hit song. Irving Berlin wrote new songs and repurposed some earlier ones, and a story was strung together featuring a male song-and-dance act and singing sisters on their way to a Vermont inn run by a general the men knew from the war. The set for the Vermont Inn appears in both Holiday Inn and White Christmas. By the time principal photography began, Paramount had acquired the new wide-screen Technicolor and VistaVision technologies, which would show off the song and dance numbers in vibrant color.

White Christmas was supposed to reunite Bing Crosby with Fred Astaire, who’d appeared together in both Holiday Inn and Blue Skies (1946). But there was a snag: Fred Astaire didn’t like the script and refused to participate. Paramount replaced him with Donald O’Connor (who’d later gain acclaim as Cosmo the piano player in Singin’ in the Rain), but when O’Connor fell ill right before production was to begin, he had to pull out. Desperate for a replacement, Paramount contacted Danny Kaye, who asked for, and received, a then unheard-of fee: $200,000 plus 10 percent of the gross.

“It is the first movie that I’ve been connected with since Holiday Inn that has the feel of a Broadway musical,” an excited Berlin wrote to his friend Irving Hoffman as production began.

As the song-and-dance team, Crosby and Kaye had fun together, improvising on set, as did the singing sisters played by Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney (yes, the cousin of George). The classic number “Sisters,” in which Crosby and Kaye vamp around waving blue-feathered fans, wasn’t even in the original story. But the actors were goofing around on set, and director Michael Curtiz found their capers so funny, he wrote them in. The actors kept cracking up during the take, but everyone loved the authenticity of the moment, so the laughter stayed. The scene where Crosby’s character tells Clooney’s his theory of what foods cause which dreams before launching into “Count Your Blessings” was almost completely improvised. Crosby even made up words like “weirdsmobile.”

Rosemary Clooney, a trained vocalist, sang her own songs in the movie, and sometimes those of her co-star Vera-Ellen. (The other vocalist covering Vera-Ellen’s songs was Trudy Stevens). Vera-Ellen came to White Christmas an accomplished dancer—at 18 she’d been one of the youngest Radio City Rockettes. Danny Kaye could cut the rug, but wasn’t nearly as nimble on his feet as Vera-Ellen, and toward the end of “The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing,” he accidentally tripped her. (Luckily he caught her gracefully, saving the take.) Though he wasn’t the principal choreographer, Bob Fosse, who would go on to create the distinctive dance moves in Chicago, Cabaret, and All That Jazz, staged some of the dance numbers.

While the public adored the sweetly good-natured musical, some critics felt it was too saccharine. Bowley Crowther wrote a harsh review in The New York Times on October 15, 1954, saying, “The confection is not so tasty as one might suppose. The flavoring is largely in the line-up and not in the output of the cooks. Everyone works hard at the business of singing, dancing and cracking jokes, but the stuff that they work with is minor.”

But audiences didn’t care. White Christmas took in $12 million, the biggest box office hit of the year. And it endures as a heart-warming Christmas classic to revisit at this time of year. Even the New York Times admitted it was a good-looking film, saying, “The colors on the big screen are rich and luminous, the images are clear and sharp, and rapid movements are got without blurring.”

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Here is a really nice article that was featured in the British newspaper Express. It was written by Deborah Collcutt...

Christmas Day is planned to ­perfection. Preparations don’t start too early – traditionally in mid-December – but no detail is too small to be considered. From the meticulously-selected Christmas tree decorations to the lunch menu of baked ham, everything is just right.

The highlight of the day is a rendition of Christmas songs, performed live by the ­children for assembled friends and family. All hardly surprising, perhaps, given the household in question is that of Bing Crosby’s son Harry, whose late father’s name encapsulates the magic of Christmas as much as Santa Claus himself. Bing’s grandchildren even perform their grandpa’s world-famous song White Christmas every year in tribute to the master crooner. “My son, Nicholas, and daughter, Thea, sing and play White Christmas on the piano for everyone,” says Harry, who lives in New York.

Harry, 61, continues: “It’s funny, I used to cringe at the idea of playing my father’s music but not now. People really love it – it’s a sustainable thing.”

Nearly 80 years after its 1942 release, White Christmas remains the world’s ­biggest-selling single – a whopping 50 million copies globally. Unsurprisingly, it remains a staple of radio and in-store music playlists over the festive season.

Now it is back in the Top 10 after 40 years and on course for a Christmas Number One after a new album, Bing at Christmas, a remastered recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, was released last month.

And the family is making a concerted effort to keep Bing’s memory alive and ­introduce him to new audiences. To that end, they are in talks about a dramatization of his life, along the lines of hit series The Crown on Netflix.

Harry was just 19 when his famous father died aged 74 on a golf course in Spain. At the time, Harry had been performing with Bing and singer Rosemary Clooney, aunt of movie star George, on an international tour, which had started in Britain.

“We had played several shows at the Palladium in London and were due to tour Japan and Australia but Dad wasn’t feeling well,” recalls Harry, who had classical ­training in piano, composition and orchestration.

“He terminated the tour because he wasn’t feeling up for stuff, travelling for six months over the world.”

Father and son closed the tour in Brighton on October 10, 1977 – Dame Gracie Fields was there to see the show – then went their separate ways. It was the last time Harry would see his father alive.

“I had just turned 19 and I decided to go back to school. I applied to Rada (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and Lamda (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) to major in theatre and music but they were full up. The school year had started.

“I invited the dean of Lamda to come and see me perform at the Palladium with my dad. I sang a duet with Rosemary and I sang alone. Afterwards he said, ‘Start Monday!’

So I went to school during the day and ­performed with dad at night. I didn’t go out of my way to tell people who my dad was.

My objective was to ­assimilate as part of the group. But, of course, I couldn’t join them for a pint in the pub in the evenings because I was performing, plus Dad and I were living in an apartment in Mayfair.”

So Bing, who had been in generally good health according to his son, went to Spain on his own to play golf. Harry believes his father never ­recovered after falling off the stage seven months earlier at his 50th anniversary ­concert in California.

Having toppled 30 feet into the orchestra pit and ruptured a disc in his back, he spent a month in the hospital. In Spain, four days after their last concert, Bing collapsed and died of a massive heart attack at the end of his first day’s game of golf.

Harry, the only family member in Europe, had to fly home to California with his father’s body.

There his mother, Bing’s second wife, actress Kathryn Grant, now 86, his actress sister, Mary, and young brother Nathaniel, an amateur golfer, were waiting. After the funeral, Harry returned to Britain to ­continue his studies.

Harry Crosby says his father never pushed him into the music business.

“Certainly at that time I didn’t feel guilty that I wasn’t with him – you can’t change the outcome of things – but you grow up quickly when you lose a parent that young,” he says.

“Dad and I had a really strong ­relationship, both professionally and personally. As a father and a son, we were exceptionally close.”

Harry remains deeply saddened by ­comments made by his late half-brother, Gary – Bing’s eldest son from his first ­marriage to actress and nightclub singer, Dixie Lee – after their father’s death.

In a highly critical memoir, Going My Own Way, Gary depicted Bing as cruel, cold, remote, and physically and psychologically abusive.

But it is a description that Harry does not recognise. “I don’t know where it came from. I only know my own experience with my dad which was one of love, ­support, friendship and respect,” he says.

“My dad never pushed us into music or entertainment – we were exposed to it and I loved working together.

“We went fishing together and golfing and he was able to impart on us not just that we were loved but also the rules of the road – the way to behave. So I was sad to read those things.”

But there have been disputes between Bing’s two families dating back to Dixie’s death from cancer in 1952 when she left her share of their estate in trust to her sons.

Bing left his estate to Kathryn, and HLC Properties, Ltd was formed to manage his interests. In 1999, the families settled a ­dispute over the estates for a reported £1.2million. Now Harry and descendants of his half-siblings no longer see each other.

“It’s sad. I wish we did but we were raised in a different town and we never did see much of each other because of the age difference.

While Bing dedicated his life to singing –he didn’t play an instrument, apart from drums early on in his career – he also helped develop recording equipment so artists didn’t always have to perform live to ­preserve their voices.

After Bing’s death, Harry went into banking.

He studied business after a spell writing jingles for commercials but he maintains a passionate interest in music and he and his Croatian wife, Mihaela, support the performing arts Lincoln Center in New York.

These days, Harry plays at home for ­pleasure with Nicholas, 15, and Thea, 11, and loves the anonymity living in New York affords him.

“Mihaela is from Zagreb and her background is in microbiology,” he says.

“It was a joy she didn’t know who my father was,” laughs Harry.

“When we met, she said, ‘I love the fact your dad likes music, like you. Can I meet him?’”

The Crosby and Clooney families remain close although Harry hasn’t seen George for some time.

Now Harry is preparing to start his Christmas shopping, always a ­poignant moment because it means going into a mall where a certain song is always playing.

But while his younger sister Mary, says she found White Christmas heartbreaking to listen to after their father’s death, it’s always been a pleasure for Harry.

“It’s always wonderful to hear, it makes me feel good,” he says. “Mind you Little Drummer Boy is great, too.”

Bing recorded the latter as a duet with David Bowie in London a month before he died for a television ­special, Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas, which was to be his last. It was broadcast posthumously on Christmas Eve 1977.

“They just banged it out. They were going to cover it as a duet and then it turned into a single,” says Harry.

“They barely rehearsed but they were both such pros and of course they had a lot of respect for each other.”

But if he had to choose one festive single to save from the waves on a desert island? “White Christmas. Absolutely. Game over"...

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sunday, December 1, 2019


Bruce Krogan is back to kick off our Christmas season with a review of the popular 1942 Bing flick Holiday Inn...

Finally Paramount gave Crosby a big budget musical and didn't rely on his charm and personality to carry the film. The budget went to hire such outside talent as Fred Astaire and Irving Berlin. And none of them disappoint.

In the first of two films Astaire and Crosby did together the characters are remarkably the same. Astaire is the elegant and charming show business professional who's ambitious for success. Crosby is the talented, but lazy partner who just wants a life of ease and comfort and not to work more than he has to. Small wonder that their double act broke up. But now enter a complication. They both get interested in the same girl who in this film is Marjorie Reynolds.

Crosby dreams up the idea of a nightclub/hotel called Holiday Inn where they only work on holidays. He wants Reynolds to help with the shows there. Astaire wants her for his act after his other girl partner Virginia Dale runs off with a millionaire. And the fun starts. Now since this was Crosby's home studio and he's first billed, just who do you think gets Reynolds in the end? As maid Louise Beavers put it, don't sit and mope because some slicker stole your gal.

Irving Berlin writes a majority of new songs to supplement a couple from his vast trunk of songs mostly about our holidays. By that time Berlin had extracted an agreement which became standard for all the films he wrote for. Not one note of non-Berlin music is ever heard in a score he writes. Just listen to this and just about any other film Berlin is associated with. Even music in the background is his.

The hit song in this was supposed to be Be Careful It's My Heart, the Valentine's Day song, sung by Crosby and danced to by Astaire and Reynolds. It did have a good deal of success. But the success of White Christmas was exponentially phenomenal. It netted Irving Berlin his one and only Academy Award and for Bing Crosby his number one item on vinyl. In fact everyone's number one item on vinyl.

I don't know if Bing Crosby ever set out to become the voice of Christmas, but if he did he was a marketing genius. If he's known and appreciated for anything with today's audience, it's for that. White Christmas became the first Yule song he was identified with although he had recorded some Christmas material before that. After this he started doing the holiday music in serious. Just think, along around Columbus Day, record companies even now reissue his Christmas stuff every year and his totals as largest selling recording artist in history grow once again. That's why the Beatles and Elvis, etc. don't have a prayer of overtaking him.

In fact White Christmas's initial success was so great that Decca wore out the original master putting out records to meet the demand. So in 1945, Decca got Bing, the Ken Darby Singers and John Scott Trotter to re-record it almost note for note. The original 78 had White Christmas with the flipside of Let's Start the New Year Right also from Holiday Inn. The newer version which most people hear has as it's flipside God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

I don't want to ignore Fred Astaire's contribution here. He does a nice comic turn with I Can't Tell a Lie, the Washington's birthday number where Crosby keeps changing the tempo to upset him and Reynolds. The Fourth of July yields a number for each. Reynolds is kept from the show by Bing's machinations and Astaire has to "improvise" something. He "improvises" Firecrackers and anyone who knows anything about Astaire knows how hard he worked to get that spontaneous feeling in his dancing. Bing sings The Song of Freedom, reminiscent of James Cagney's Grand Old Flag number from Yankee Doodle Dandy also out in 1942 and Song of Freedom is also reminiscent of what Paramount could have given Bing in the 1930s had they hired someone like Busby Berkeley to give Bing some of the production numbers that Dick Powell had at Warner Brothers.

So what more is there to say, but sit back and enjoy the fun...


Thursday, November 28, 2019


Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote a very favorable review of Here Comes The Waves on 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)”

A Variety review from December 20, 1944 was favorable as well:

"A kinda corny title, “Here Come the Waves” manages to surmount the handle and emerges as a tiptop film. Interspersed in Crosby’s nifty song logy, Johnny Mercer-Harold Arlen have supplied a set of excellent songs, including a dandy novelty in “Accent-Tchu-ate the Positive”; two corking ballads in “Let’s Take the Long Way Home” and “I Promise You,” the latter as a duet with Betty Hutton playing the alter ego...‘Old Black Magic’ is reprised in a delicious rib on Frank Sinatra. Crosby is cast as the new pash crooner, and his mike-clutching stance, accented by the whinnying dames, leaves no secret as to whom Der Bingle refers. It’s a dandy take-off on The Voice, but it’s not harsh; in fact, it’s a sympathetic salve for all out-of-service crooners..."

Like I said earlier I am not sure about the pairing of Bing and Betty Hutton, but they were two very popular stars in 1944. Hutton does a good job playing twins, and when I was younger and first saw the film I thought they were two separate people. Sonny Tufts was a good foil for Bing, but in his other movies I have always found Sonny to be a bit wooden. However, I don’t want to dwell on the negative, because this is really a great Bing Crosby movie. I enjoy it for Bing and the music, and I also enjoy it for how it shows how life was like during the war years. Yes, this is not a war movie on the lines of Back To Bataan or Destination Toyko, but Here Comes The Waves could be considered a little biographical in a way. It shows the emergence of the bobby soxer crazy, and it also shows a famous people who wants to do his part for the war effort, which is what Bing wanted to do. The film admittedly contains more than its share of enthusiastic flag waving, but it is a clever spoof of what life was supposed to be like for a popular crooning idol.

I have been starting to show my two younger children Bing Crosby movies, and I was going to show them this film, but my son said to me “I’m just not ready to see a black and white movie yet”, so I showed them High Society to them. This movie is on my list of Bing films I want to show them though. Like I said, Here Comes The Waves is not a 100% accurate portrayal of the war, but it is accurate at showing the amount of patriotism the country and the war had in 1944 as it fought the evil powers that were threatening the world. If you have not seen this movie in awhile, do yourself a favor and give the film a viewing. You may find yourself humming and dancing to songs that are over 70 years old, or it may just inspire you to join the navy...

MY RATING: 10 out of 10

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Filmed in Hollywood from May to August of 1944, it was the first and only time that Bing was paired with musical dynamite Betty Hutton. It was an odd pairing since Bing was so laid back, and Hutton was a nervous ball of energy. Hutton at the time was the musical queen at Paramount Studios so it would be natural to pair them together. Bing by this time had approval of his leading ladies, but I had the opportunity to interview actress Marjorie Reynolds’ daughter Linda in the mid 1990s, and she says that Bing had wanted Marjorie for the role of the twins, but the studio insisted on Hutton. Suprisingly Bing and Betty had a good bit of chemistry in the movie. However, Betty Hutton was one of those stars that had good things to say about Bing in the 1970s, but as the years went by she changed her mind. It was also reported that Bing dated Hutton in the 1950s after Dixie Lee died, but I find that hard to believe with all the personal problems that Betty Hutton had.

Like so many musicals of the time, the music makes the movie. Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen usually wrote the songs for Bing’s movies, and they won an Oscar for their song “Swingin On A Star” for Bing’s last movie Going My Way. However, for Here Comes The Waves, Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen were brought in to write the score. The song “That Old Black Magic” was featured in the movie, but Mercer and Arlen had written the song in 1942. The song was first recorded by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra, and Mercer wrote the lyrics with Judy Garland in mind. Bing sings the song and makes it his own as he croons in a style of a young Frank Sinatra. I do not understand why Bing did not record this song in 1944, because it was the musical highlight for me in the film, but he did record it late in his career in 1976.

There are also two really underrated love songs in the movie that Bing sang with Betty Hutton, but he recorded them as solos for Decca-“Let’s Take The Long Way Home” and “I Promise You”. Probably the most notable song in the film was “Accentuate The Positive”. In the film Bing and Sonny Tufts sings the song in a blackface number (this would be the last movie in which Bing would appear in blackface), but Bing recorded the number commercially with the Andrews Sisters. The song would be nominated for Best Song in 1945, but lost to the ballad “It Might As Well Be Spring” from State Fair. Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer also wrote a song that was not used for the film called “My Mama Thinks I’m A Star”. I have never heard the song, but I am guessing it was written for Betty Hutton....



This is a huge loss to the world of Bing Crosby fandom...

Frontis Burbank (Wig) Wiggins, Jr., retired Foreign Service Officer and internationally recognized Bing Crosby expert, died on October 29, 2019, at his home in Arlington, Virginia at the age of 90.

He was born in Thomasville, Georgia, on April 7, 1929 to Frontis Burbank and Emma Louise (King) Wiggins and grew up in Albany, Georgia, where his father owned a small business. After earning an Industrial Engineering degree from Georgia Tech (1950), he attended the University of Birmingham, England, on a Rotary Club scholarship, leaving in 1951 with a Graduate Commerce (MBA) degree plus lifelong friendships with fellow students and a permanent disgust for Brussels sprouts. While working for Standard Oil in Baton Rouge in 1952, he was called to naval service. After the Korean War he entered the University of California at Berkeley on the GI Bill, earning a 1956 Master of Political Science for his thesis on the election dispute that in 1946 briefly left Georgia with 3 simultaneous governors.

He entered the Foreign Service in 1956 and served his country at home and abroad for nearly 35 years. His first posts were Kenya and Guatemala, followed by Indonesia, where in 1960 he married an Embassy colleague, Laura Ponnone of Farmington, Connecticut, and where their daughter Joanne was born. His next post, Italy, was the birthplace of his son, Frontis Burbank III. His next overseas appointment was Deputy Chief of Mission (and frequent ChargĂ© d’Affaires) for Malta. After serving on, then heading, the Board of Examiners (which selects new Foreign Service officers), his final post was U.S. Consul for Brisbane, Australia. He retired in 1991.

He loved music of all kinds, from Hot Jazz and the Weavers to opera and Broadway, but his favorite by far was Bing Crosby. He was a serious collector, serving for decades as the American Representative for the International Club Crosby. He developed enduring friendships with Bing enthusiasts all over the world and contributed to the preservation of Crosby’s musical legacy. His encouragement sustained John McNicholas’ mission to issue all Bing’s recordings via the Chronological Bing Crosby, AKA the Jonzo Series. In 2015, he and co-author Jim Reilly published “The Definitive Bing Crosby Discography: From 78s to CDs.” He was invited by MCA records to edit a series of re-issues of Bing’ recordings, and he selected the music for over a dozen CDs featuring Bing’s wide range, including 21 gold records, Hawaiian, Irish, and Western songs, and of course Christmas music, the genre Bing pioneered. He was also closely involved with Hofstra University’s 2002 “Bing! Crosby and American Culture” conference.

He lost his wife Laura in 2007 after 47 years of devoted partnership. He is survived by his brother, James Marvin (Adele Cooke), of Glen Eden Beach, Oregon, his daughter, Joanne (Shelley Platt), of Richmond, and his son, Frontis Burbank III, and grandson, Frontis Burbank (Primo) IV, of Fairfax...

Thursday, November 14, 2019


When World War II broke out, Hollywood did its part for the war effort. Many Hollywood stars from Jimmy Stewart to Tony Martin served bravely in the war. Other stars like Bob Hope and Der Bingle performed countless times for the soldiers and raised money for war bonds. Reportedly, Bing tried desperately to enlist. However, due to his age (Bing was 38 when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941) and color blindness, Bing was not accepted into the military. Unfortunately, Bing never really made an official “war” movie but I would say 1944’s Here Comes The Waves was probably the closest Bing ever came to making one.

The first thirteen minutes devotes itself to the Allison twins, Susan and Rosemary (Betty Hutton), sisters of very different personalities entertaining at New York City's Cabanna Club. Susan, a happy-go-lucky twin born 12 minutes after her dignified older sister, Rosemary, worships Johnny Cabot, a singing idol of millions. In spite of their popularity, Rosemary enlists in the Navy, with Susan following suit, each becoming members of the WAVES. Both girls going through their five month training process with other female recruits at the Naval Training School in the Bronx. While on liberty leave, Susan takes Rosemary to a movie theater, seated seated thousands of swooning teenage bobby soxers, attending the personal appearance of Johnny Cabot (Bing Crosby) following the release of his latest motion picture.

After the performance, Windy Windhurst (Sonny Tufts), Johnny's Navy pal, introduces him to his girlfriends from back home, who happen to be Susan and Rosemary. While Susan is overly excited seated next to her living legend, Rosemary snubs him. Because Johnny is tired of being chased by female fans, disguising himself to avoid being attacked, finds the serious-minded Rosemary a welcome change of pace, a girl who actually dislikes him. Initially rejected from Navy enlistment because of his color-blindness, Johnny gets his wish enlisting after the Navy requirements become less strict, stationed at a Navy Base in San Diego, California, leaving his thousands of swooning females fans behind him. With Johnny attempting to be a good a sailor as his father was during World War I, thanks to one of the Allison twins, also stationed in San Diego, does Johnny get himself involved in some theatrical project rather than fulfilling a personal obligation he's long wanted to do. Other members of the cast are: Ann Doran (Ruth); Gwen Crawford (Tex); Noel Neill (Dorothy); Mae Clarke (Ensign Kern); Harry Barris (The Bandleader), and in bit parts, Mona Freeman and Yvonne DeCarlo, among others...


Monday, November 11, 2019


HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Wilma Winifred Wyatt was born on November 4, 1909 in Harriman, Tennessee.

In 1928, she kicked off her stage career after winning a Chicago singing contest and changed her name to Dixie Lee after she joined Fox Film Corp. in 1929.

On November 8, 2019, more than 100 years later, the City of Harriman held a Dixie Lee Day to celebrate their most famous hometown girl.

The day featured a discussion of Lee's film career with radio host Bradley Reeves and Chris Hammond. Afterwards, attendees were treated to "Love in Bloom," arguably Lee's most famous film.

In 1930, Lee married Bing Crosby, and retired from acting in 1935.

She later died in 1952 of ovarian cancer.

Photo courtesy of Chris Hammond

Friday, November 1, 2019


American singer and actor Bing Crosby was a devoted husband and father. However, despite his fame and success he never got over the death of his first wife, Dixie Lee. She died 67 years ago today on November 1, 1952. Despite almost divorcing twice, they were together until her death.

When the two first met Bing was immediately smitten. The couple met again at a party in Hollywood and this time, Dixie couldn’t resist Bing’s charm. They got married when the actress was 18 years old at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood.

Dixie died from ovarian cancer a week after Bing’s returned home from filming Little Boy Lost and three days before her 41st birthday. The actor and his wife were married for more than two decades. The couple had four children — Gary, Phillip, Dennis, and Lindsay.

Bing traveled a lot during their marriage and during that time, Dixie looked lost without him. The actress wrote letters frequently to let him know how much she had missed him. That’s so sweet and romantic! Whenever Bing returned home from travel, he and Dixie were inseparable. They enjoyed taking care of the horses at their home in Del Mar or Santa Anita. The actress on her part loved the Christmas holidays, as she used to spend months preparing for gift giving in advance.

Neither of them was of the opinion that marriage was a trap. Bing and Dixie got married because they were so in love and would not have allowed family and homes cage their love. He loved Dixie even after her death. His children and friends noted that the actor was really devastated by his wife's death, despite being close to getting divorced. Though he eventually remarried, others close to him say he never recovered from the death of Dixie.

When asked about coping with the loss of Dixie, he said:

"I will never talk about my grief at losing her. But in the years ahead I’m going to sorely miss her love, steadfast and constructive support."

Dixie Lee was definitely the woman behind the man....

Sunday, October 27, 2019


This is taken from the linear notes to the excellent Bing collection: Bing Crosby the Crooner The Columbia Years 1928-1934. The linear notes was by Michael Brooks, who was a very objective fan...

God, he must have been a complex personality. Here was a man who remained at the top of his profession for nearly half a century, with a vast fortune amassed by intelligence, guile and a hard-nosed awareness of his own talents, and still the public swallowed the whole lazy, 'call me lucky' routine. It must have amused him to project that image, yet I suppose there was enough of the mythical Crosby in the real Crosby to make it all believable.

"Then there are the stories of his extreme frugality, of his riding buses and subways when he could have hired a fleet of limosines. And the coldness he often showed towards his friends. Louis Armstrong once stated that in all the years he knew Bing, he was never once invited to his home, and it's almost mandatory to draw racial implications from that.

"But I believe that Crosby, unlike many people of his generation, was lacking in the more virulent forms of racial prejudice. Certainly he wouldn't have loved jazz the way he did and hold extreme views, yet he was an intensely private person. Cork O'Keefe, his former manager, and friend up to the time of his death, has a story to tell.

"Cork O'Keefe..'I was in Hollywood on business in the late 1930's and Bing invited me to his home. People couldn't believe it, because no one got to see him there. So I asked him about it and he said, 'You know, Cork, quite early on I made it a rule never to entertain friends at home. I work damned hard during the day and I want to rest and relax when I get home at night. Out here, all people want to do is party and socialize. It got so that I'd meet someone on the set for the first time and the next thing they'd be standing on my doorstep with a bunch of friends expecting to be invited in and entertained. So, my home's off limits to everyone. You're an exception because you're from New York and I know you won't abuse the privilege. But that's my general rule, and I'm sticking to it.' '

"Likewise, stories of his meanness are just that... stories! Bing never spent money for money's sake, on himself or on anyone else. He had more money than most people could ever hope to attain in the way of worldly goods, and he didn't see the point of adding to them just for the sake of acquisitiveness. But he did help a lot of people when they were in need: Mildred Bailey [Al Rinker's sister]; Jack Teagarden; Joe Venuti; Fud Livingston. And he contributed vast sums of money to deserving charities on the strict understanding that his actions receive no publicity.

"My own personal involvement with the great man was minuscule. I met him for the first and only time about a year before his death, and I was as nervous and excited as a kid chosen to present a trophy to a sports superstar. He was staying in New York just across from the Metropolitan Museum and as I waited for him in the lobby of his apartment building, I saw him come through the door. He was smaller than I expected and his face, though deeply lined, was instantly recognizable, right down to those icy-blue eyes. And, typically Crosby, he was carrying a bundle of dry-cleaning under his arm when the place was full of flunkies to execute such menial tasks.

"It was awful! I got the fish-eye treatment in spades.First of all, he denied knowing about the appointment though it had been set up in advance through his agent. Then he was utterly intransigent, blocking every one of my questions skillfully with 'No, I don't remember singing that song at all,' 'No, that was too long ago,' and 'No, I don't recall such a musician,' until my carefully planned interview lay in ruins and I cursed the day I went into a record store and vouth my first Crosby 78.

"It took me months to get over the experience and come to the conclusion that Bing Crosby was a man, very human, and probably, when I saw him, very tired. But we elevate people of stature to the levels of gods, and while we fawn on them we demand total obedience, ordering them to smile and be gracious while we claw at them and bellow inanities in their ears. If they slip and allow themselves the luxury of telling some cretin to go f--k himself, we immediately howl that they have forgotten the public who made them. And I understand the sound common sense of his 'private person' philosophy, which probably extended his career and his life by decades."

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


Yesterday, on the anniversary of the untimely death of the world’s first ‘multimedia’ star Bing Crosby, his longtime record label, Decca, together with his widow Kathryn and their children, Harry, Mary and Nathaniel Crosby, announced the brand new album Bing At Christmas, will be released on November 22nd.

Bing’s is The voice that is completely synonymous with Christmas. Now, Bing Crosby’s utterly distinctive original vocals are set to newly-recorded orchestral arrangements, performed by the UK’s most prestigious orchestra, The London Symphony Orchestra, on an album that breathes new life into the best Christmas songs in existence.

This album gives the world the chance to hear these beloved tracks totally transformed, with today’s technical advances. Bing At Christmas has a unique sound and warmth that sets it apart from past Bing Crosby releases and was produced by Nick Patrick, who was behind the hugely successful Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly orchestral albums.

Kathryn Crosby explained, “Hearing Bing’s voice with these completely new, beautifully recorded, orchestral accompaniments makes it seem as though he’s back after all these years. It’s magic.”

Bing At Christmas features fourteen classic Bing Crosby Christmas songs including his biggest hit, the 1942 Decca recording of ‘White Christmas’. This track is not only the epitome of Christmas in song, but the world’s best-selling single, with sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide and, more recently, achieving over 1.8 billion streams. It is also the most-recorded song of all time. Despite these staggering sales figures, the song has never been No.1 in the UK. This year, the Crosby family wants to change that and, in Bing’s memory, get this newly-orchestrated version to the top of the charts.

The song resonated especially strongly with listeners during World War II. It had a huge impact on their lives, both young soldiers serving in the forces as well as their families back home. Just after the attack on Pearl Harbour, Bing Crosby introduced a broadcast of the single on Christmas Day 1941, which led to The Armed Forces Network being flooded with requests for the song. At a time when people needed it the most, this simple song was extremely powerful in its healing qualities – and has continued to provide comfort to people all over the world for nearly 80 years.

Joining Bing on an additional, special version of ‘White Christmas’ is the multi-Grammy Award winning a cappella group Pentatonix, whose voices fit perfectly with Crosby’s.

Bing At Christmas also features exquisite arrangements of ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’, ‘The Christmas Song’ and ‘Little Drummer Boy’, on which David Bowie joins in a duet recorded in September 1977, just a month before Bing died.

No-one has dominated the music scene for so many decades and touched so many people’s lives –and with the release of this record, which combines the authenticity of Bing Crosby’s original tracks with state-of-the-art recordings transforming his best-loved songs and bringing them back to the charts, no-one ever will.

The full tracklisting for Bing At Christmas is:
1. ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’
2. ‘Sleigh Ride’
3. ‘Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!’
4. ‘White Christmas’ (feat. Pentatonix)
5. ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’
6. ‘Jingle Bells’ (with The Andrew Sisters feat. The Puppini Sisters)
7. ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’
8. ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’
9. ‘The Christmas Song’
10. ‘Little Drummer Boy’ (with David Bowie)
11. ‘Twelve Days Of Christmas’ (feat. The Puppini Sisters)
12. ‘Winter Wonderland’
13. ‘The Christmas Song’ (feat. The Tenors)
14. ‘White Christmas’ (Bing solo)

You can buy the CD HERE

Monday, October 14, 2019


Bing's recording output began diminishing dramatically in the late 1960s. From 1969 through 1974 he recorded only two albums. One was a Christmas album ("A Time to be Jolly") and the other was with Count Basie and his orchestra ("Bing 'n' Basie"). Moreover, by the end of 1973 Bing was not well. He suffered from chest pains and fever. On New Year's Eve he felt so ill that he consented to be hospitalized. Both Bing and Kathryn thought he had lung cancer. On Jan. 13 a tumor the size of a small orange was removed from Bing's left lung. But the tumor was not cancerous. It was the result of a rare fungal infection that Bing had probably picked up on an overseas safari the previous year.

Bing's recovery was slow, but when he did recover he returned with a renewed vigor. He recorded 10 albums the last three years of his life and began performing live concerts again, which he had not done since World War II. During one of these concerts, a nationally-televised celebration of his 50th anniversary in show business in March 1977, Bing fell backwards into an orchestra pit and ruptured a disc in his back. He was hospitalized for a month, but in August resumed a hectic schedule. He flew to Oslo, Norway, to do a concert, and then to England to tape his Christmas special, "Bing Crosby's Merry Olde Christmas," which included Twiggy and David Bowie as guests. On Sept. 12-14 he recorded his final album, "Seasons," with the Pete Moore Orchestra.

Bing's next stop was a two-week engagement at the London Palladium with his family, comedian Ted Rogers and Rosemary Clooney. Then he and his troup moved on to Brighton where they performed their final concert on Oct. 10 to a sold-out theatre. The next day he dropped by the BBC studios as a guest on the Alan Dell radio show. Here he sang 8 songs with the Gordon Rose Orchestra. His last song was the nostalgic "Once in a While." BBC Records later released these recordings on disc, "Bing: The Final Chapter" (BBC-22398). Later that day Bing posed for pictures for his "Seasons" album, including the photo shown here. The next day Bing flew to Spain to play golf...

Monday, October 7, 2019


When people of a certain age hear the name Bing Crosby, what comes to mind is the multi-talented singer and actor with the greasy slicked back blond hair and an uncanny ability to land roles in movies between 1930 and 1960, especially the so-called “road pictures” with comedian and lifelong foil Bob Hope.

Bing Crosby had two families which gave him countless grandchildren, including another Bing Crosby who was bestowed with his grandfather’s name but never fell to the perils of addiction. However, he is a Crosby who decided to tackle the issue that caused his family and millions of other families a tremendous amount of pain.

“Alcoholism has run in my family for as long as I can recall,” he says. “Being the grandson of Bing Crosby, I’ve heard stories of how Bing, in his earlier years, drank a lot, which led into his wife Dixie. I heard she became an alcoholic because of him which led to her ovarian cancer.”

The younger Bing Crosby also recalls having friendships that were affected by addiction and talks about how many people he grew up with had substance abuse problems. One friend became addicted to pills for 10 years and spent a lot of his life in and out of jail. Crosby says another friend shot himself.

Yet, it was someone else who has been sober for 30 years that ultimately drove Crosby to South County’s New Method Wellness Center.

“It was my wife,” he says. “It was her dream to always own a rehab center. I kind of just tagged along for the ride, but now that I’ve got into it, it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. The feeling you get helping others; there’s no better feeling than hearing the story of someone who lost everything and is back on track, back with their kids, back with their wives. It’s an unbelievable feeling. Once you feel that, it gets you.”

Ed and Susie Hopsom-Blum opened the clinic in 2006, and Crosby’s wife Deanna became the clinical director there. After her hiring, an opportunity arose for Crosby to become a New Method Wellness Center business partner, and he says he couldn’t turn his back on it considering his family’s and friends’ histories as substance abusers.

The facility began operating in the big Chase building in Mission Viejo, where about eight patients a month were served, but it later relocated to San Juan Capistrano, where 40 to 50 patients a month are being treated. Various communal homes house patients in the rehab so that their environment maintains the same atmosphere and doesn’t waver from the goal that everyone has toward recovery. From the live-in homes, where patients are separated by gender, they are dropped off every morning at the Wellness Center, where they spend days doing activities, building relationships and learn to live sober lives.

Center activities revolve around therapy: not only traditional, one-on-one talk therapy but various forms of cognitive, emotional, psychological, holistic, art-based and environmental therapies.

New Method also provides physical therapy such as yoga or, in the great outdoors, surfing, horseback riding, which is referred to equine therapy, and wilderness therapy. These types of activities aim to produce natural endorphins that are vital to recovery because they bring the same joy that getting high brings, except in a natural and safe way.

The center is still expanding as another building adjacent to the one they’re using now was acquired. They plan on moving the clinical part of the center to the new building and keeping the administrative functions in the one being used now.

“We’re just going to keep rolling and see what comes next,” Crosby says. “Our next event we have is an alumni picnic in December. All of our alumni will come, we’ll get a taco truck, we’ll play games and have fun at the beach.”

Sunday, September 29, 2019


In 1962 President Kennedy planned a weekend trip to Palm Springs, California, where he would stay at the residence of Frank Sinatra from March 24-26. As the weekend approached, Bobby Kennedy, the President's brother and attorney general, became concerned about Sinatra's extensive links to organized crime. He persuaded the President to cancel his stay with Sinatra, and Peter Lawford was given the assignment of informing Sinatra. Lawford  was both a member of Sinatra's Rat Pack and a Kennedy relative by marriage. When Bobby asked Lawford to inform Sinatra of the President's change in plans, Peter pleaded with Bobby to reconsider. The attorney general was adamant, however, that the President could not stay at the house of a man who also played host to hoodlums.

Lawford told Sinatra biographer Kitty Kelley: "It fell to me to break the news to Frank, and I was frankly scared. When I rang the President I said that Frank expected him to stay at the Sinatra compound, and anything less than his presence there was going to be tough to explain. It had been kind of a running joke with all of us in the family that Frank was building up his Palm Springs house for just such a trip by the President, adding cottages for Jack and the Secret Service, putting in 25 extra phone lines, installing enough cable to accommodate teletype facilities, plus a switchboard and building a heliport. He even erected a flagpole for the Presidential flag after he saw the one flying over the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport. No one asked Frank to do any of this, but he really expected his place to be the President's Western White House."

"When Jack called me, he said that as President he just couldn't stay at Frank's and sleep in the same bed that [Sam] Giancana or any other hood had slept in. 'You can handle it, Petah,' he said to me."

Lawford continued, "I made a few calls but in the end it was Chris Dumphy, a big Republican from Florida, who arranged everything at Bing Crosby's house for him. The Secret Service stayed next door at Jimmy Van Heusen's, and Frank didn't speak to him for weeks over that one, but I was the one who really took the brunt of it. He felt that I was responsible for setting Jack up to stay at Bing's -- Bing Crosby, of all people -- the other singer and a Republican to boot. Well, Frank never forgave me. He cut me off like that -- just like that."

Frank could not believe what Lawford told him: that the President was coming to Palm Springs but would stay at Bing Crosby's Rancho Mirage residence near Palm Springs because Bobby didn't want him to stay with Frank. Frank called the attorney general in Washington. Bob explained it was impossible for the President to stay at his house because of the disreputable people who had been his houseguests.

"Frank was livid," said Peter. "He called Bobby every name in the book, and then rang me up and reamed me out again. He was quite unreasonable, irrational, really. George Jacobs told me later that when he got off the phone, he went outside with a sledgehammer and started chopping up the concrete landing pad of his heliport. He was in a frenzy."

When the President arrived at the Crosby home, he called Sinatra to smooth things out and to invite him for a visit to Bing's place. Sinatra declined, saying he had to leave for Los Angeles. After the conversation, the President told Lawford, "He's pretty upset, but I told him not to blame you because you didn't have anything to do with it. It was simply a matter of security. The Secret Service thought Crosby's place afforded better security."

Lawford told Kelley: "That's the excuse we used -- security -- and we blamed it all on the Secret Service. We'd worked it out beforehand, but Frank didn't buy that for a minute, and, with a couple of exceptions, he never spoke to me again. He cut me out of all the movies we were set to make together -- Robin and the 7 Hoods, 4 for Texas -- and turned Dean [Martin] and Sammy [Davis] and Joey [Bishop] against me as well."

Not only did Sinatra cut Lawford from his upcoming Rat Pack movies, he rubbed salt in his wounds by persuading Bing Crosby to play the role of Alan A. Dale intended for Lawford in Robin and the 7 Hoods!

The President used his stay at Bing's home to party with Hollywood celebrities. Bing was not present. Mimi Alford, a White House "intern" and presidential playmate, recalled the events in her 2012 book:
"The next day, we headed out to Bing Crosby's house in Palm Springs, where a large festive crowd -- many from the entertainment industry -- had gathered to greet President Kennedy. I felt like I'd been admitted into some wonderful, secret club.

But then the evening turned into a nightmare.

Crosby's house was a modern, sprawling single-story ranch in the desert, and the party was raucous. Compared to what I'd seen in Washington, this was another planet. There was a large group of people, a fast Hollywood crowd, hovering around the President, who was, as always, the center of attention. I was sitting next to him in the living room when a handful of yellow capsules -- most likely amyl nitrite, commonly known then as poppers -- was offered up by one of the guests. The President asked me if I wanted to try the drug, which stimulated the heart but also purportedly enhanced sex. I said no, but he just went ahead and popped the capsule and held it under my nose. (The President, with all his ailments, was accustomed to taking many medications and was reported to rely on amphetamines for energy. But he didn't use the drug himself that evening: I was the guinea pig.) Within minutes of inhaling the powder, my heart started racing and my hands began to tremble. This was a new sensation, and it frightened me. I panicked and ran crying from the room, praying that it would end soon, that I wasn't about to have a heart attack. Dave Powers, bless him, ran after me and escorted me to a quiet corner in the back of the house, where he sat with me for more than an hour until the effects of the drug wore off.

I didn't spend that night with President Kennedy. He was staying in a suite, now known as the Kennedy Wing, with its own private entrance on one side of the Crosby property. Was he alone? I do not know. For the first and only time since I met him, I was relieved not to see him -- and fell asleep in one of the guest rooms." (Alford, pages 80-81)JFK did not use Alford to satisfy his sexual needs at the Crosby mansion because he had a bigger conquest in mind -- Marilyn Monroe, who was an overnight guest. According to Monroe's biographer Donald Spoto, Monroe called her personal masseur, the actor Ralph Roberts, from the same bedroom where JFK was staying at Crosby's house. Roberts, JFK and Monroe then had a brief conversation about the President's back problems. Spoto later interviewed the masseur, who said Monroe told him that weekend at the Crosby home was her only sexual contact with the president. (Spoto, pages 487-505)

President Kennedy stayed one more time, Sept. 28-29, 1963, at Bing's Palm Springs home, after which he phoned Bing to thank him for the use of his home. Less than 2 months later the President was murdered in Dallas, Texas...