Chapter 7

                                                                       

 

Transcription and Transformation, 1946–1949

 

 

The period began with headlines on the front page of Variety magazine’s first issue of 1946 illustrating the extent of Bing’s success.

 

Bing’s Bangup Box Office in ’45

400G from Decca Records alone

No other figure on the show business horizon has managed to parlay his multiple pix-radio-music talents into the gross yearly earnings wrapped up by Bing Crosby during 1945. That he’s the hottest guy in show biz today is reflected in the unprecedented royalties (more than $400,000) from the 1945 sale of Decca records. Add to that the current jockeying among every top advertising agency in the business and the top bankrollers in radio to latch on to Der Bingle’s radio services in the wake of his Kraft Music Hall divorce, plus the record four-week grosses racked up by the Radio City Music Hall, N.Y., for his current starrer, “Bells of St. Mary’s” (those 7:30 a.m. lines of customers circling the Rockefeller Center theater building have been one of the top attractions for New York holiday oglers) and you can credit El Bingo with copping, hands down, all laurels for emerging the one-man industry in show biz today.

As Decca’s all-time disk grosser, the Groaner has recorded during the year virtually every pop song that struck the public’s fancy. It’s by far the top royalty slice to any disk performer in modern times, and maybe of all time, with the current Crosby fan wave making him even potentially bigger in ‘46. . . .

Crosby is said to have a royalty deal with Decca which gives him 10% of the retail price of every record sold (his disks retail at 50c). On that basis, the 400G royalty total indicates that some 8,000,000 of Der Bingle’s needlings went across the counter and into jukeboxes in 1945. That’s considerably in excess of the number he must sell in order to earn the $300,000 he’s said to be guaranteed annually by Decca.

(Variety, January 2, 1946)

 

Philco.JPG

While this sounded marvelous, it was also true to say that Bing was increasingly beset by difficulties all around him. The issues at home with Dixie’s drinking were continuing, he may well have been engaged in an extramarital relationship with Joan Caulfield, his health was affected by his kidney stone problems, he was locked into a legal dispute with Kraft, his singing was reflecting the uncertainties in his life and, incredibly bearing in mind his income, he had cash flow considerations to worry about too.

The long-running Kraft contract duly ended after the legal battle as Bing fought to have the right to record (or “transcribe” to use the jargon of the times) his radio show in the same way that he had previously recorded broadcasts for the armed forces. He moved to Philco in 1946 and problems emerged not only with the recorded show, but also with Bing’s voice which had fallen from its previous high standards. However, Bing came back strongly in 1947 after his troubles and he regained his vocal prowess, albeit with a narrower range in a lower key. His record sales were aided considerably by Decca issuing 36 albums of his songs during the years 1946-49. Many were repackages of earlier releases although some contained new recordings. Initally issued as 78rpm albums they were also released as 10" long-playing vinyl records when that format was introduced during the late 1940s. 

The Philco show achieved good ratings although the impact of television was becoming apparent. A switch to Chesterfield in 1949 kept Bing in the forefront as a radio star, but the medium was undoubtedly starting to lose out to television as the decade ended.

Although Bing’s income had indeed been enormous during the 1940s, his net income had not been well managed by his brother Everett and on his attorney’s recommendation, he recruited an accountant called Basil Grillo from Arthur Andersen to restructure his financial situation and find more tax effective ways of earning money. During the war, the special income tax levied on American citizens to fund war production and mobilization had taken over 90 percent of Bing’s income and although tax levels reduced, they were never to return to prewar levels. He sold his interest in the Del Mar Turf Club and rolled the funds over into a share of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. His home at Rancho Santa Fe was sold and he increased the size of his working cattle ranch in Nevada. In 1949, he raised a large sum of money when changing radio company from ABC to CBS and he went on to invest lucratively in oil wells.

Bing spent a considerable amount of his time away from his Holmby Hills home and he and Dixie were infrequently seen together although the myth of the happy marriage was maintained. He tried to spend periods with his sons whenever possible and each summer he took them to his ranch at Elko, Nevada, and then on to a holiday home at Hayden Lake, Idaho.

After being suspended during the war, his annual golf tournament was relaunched at Pebble Beach in 1947.

Commercially the 1940s belonged to Bing but, after the war, it was apparent that the huge pressures on him from various sources had transformed him into a more introverted personality and he started to avoid live appearances and social events. A trip to Vancouver in 1948 brought him back into contact with a large unruly crowd again and the local press carried a perceptive article which was probably fairly close to the truth. The article is reprinted courtesy of The Vancouver Sun.

 

Bing Puzzled Over Mass Hero–Worship

Man Forced into Limelight Glare Prefers Shadows of Private Life

Bing loves ‘em individually; but collectively people are perhaps his greatest problem. His life, say those who know Harry Lillis Crosby, is one long pursuit to “get away by himself and be natural.”

Semi-retiring, genuinely friendly, taken aback by crowds, “a man of more depth than most people give him credit for”—that’s Bing, say his friends. And yet few personalities on the Canadian-American scene are so surely calculated to draw crowds wherever they go. That’s Bing’s quandary. The whole show company traveling with him are well aware of his allergy for crowds, though few admit it. Hence the public find this company, constantly “running interference” for him.

Bing, meanwhile, keeps as few formal appointments as possible, although he is always punctual when committed, sings and jokes his programs, then runs “to get away from it all.” Then he is likely to show up a few minutes later at a boys’ club, or on a sandlot pitching the ball with the kids.

“He realizes the responsibility grown-ups have to youth. That’s why he’s here,” said one of his company.        

“People love Crosby. But when they show it in such large numbers he seems actually a little frightened. Bing likes people too. But he doesn’t like crowds.”

But crowd conscious or not, he is still the day-to-day quarry of a relentless horde of idolizing youngsters who want his autograph, wide-eyed women who want to “just pinch him,” men who tell him they think they have a voice, etc. In Vancouver, something new has been added. An English inventor traveled all the way here from the Old Country to see Bing. He wants the crooner to sponsor the manufacture of a new-type auto trailer. Life’s like that for Bing “a little guy who likes people, but not crowds.”

(Bill Ryan, The Vancouver Sun, Wednesday, September 22, 1948)

 

However, despite all of his problems, Bing generally managed to continue to maintain his public image of the easygoing crooner, and as a film star, he was the top box office performer for a record five years. This, allied to his vast record sales, his highly-rated radio shows and the constant publicity made him, arguably, still the most famous man in the world for most of the period.

In 1949, $100 was equivalent to $721 in the year 2000.

 

1946

 

January 2, Wednesday. John O'Melveny and Everett Crosby join Bing in New York. Bing sends a telegram to J. Walter Thompson stating that he will not return to the Kraft program on January 3 as requested. In the early afternoon, he goes for a brisk walk amd meets the Barsa girls (two young fans) and takes them for a frankfurter at Howard Johnson's.

January 3, Thursday. Kraft files suit against Bing as he will not complete his Kraft Music Hall commitments. The process server hands Bing the summons as he opens the door to his New York hotel suite. It is revealed that Bing has been receiving $5,000 a show since 1939.

January 5, Saturday. Bing attends the opening night of the revival of Show Boat at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York.

January 7, Monday. Dixie’s mother, Nora Matilda Scarbrough Wyatt, dies from a heart attack in Santa Monica at the age of 63. She is buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Los Angeles on January 10.

January 9, Wednesday. Rumours about Bing's relationship with Joan Caulfield are starting to circulate and in an effort to calm these, he writes to Hedda Hopper stating that he and Joan have a very firm friendship and that there is nothing clandestine about the relationship. However around this time he goes to see Archbishop Spellman and tells him of his marital unhappiness. Spelllman makes it clear that divorce is out of the question and recommends that Dixie is put into a sanitarium as soon as possible.

January 12, Saturday. After indications that the dispute between Bing and Kraft was to be settled amicably, John Kraft changes his mind and decides to go to court.

 

Round And ‘Round Kraft And Crosby

Dispute between Bing Crosby and Kraft Foods over former’s desire to ease out of his Kraft Music Hall contract which seemed likely to be settled amicably, last week, after several huddles between representatives of both principals will now go to court due to a reported, last minute, change of heart on Saturday (12th) by John Kraft. As a result, Crosby’s attorneys are now preparing an answer to Kraft’s application for an injunction.

      Kraft claimed Crosby has reneged on a 1937 contract which it states runs on until 1950. The Groaner, however, maintains that last summer when he gave notice to quit, he was merely taking advantageof California’s seven-year employee law which says an employee can’t make a contract beyond seven years. In its application for injunction, Kraft acknowledges the Crosby statute but maintains that Crosby was not an employee but an independent contractor. This claim is based on the fact that Crosby himself picked the four songs which he sang on the Music Hall program each week. Crosby denies he’s a contractor, pointing out that he hired no one for the program, merely presented himself and used Kraft scripts handed to him. He also maintains that his weekly Kraft pay check had US Withholding Tax deducted from it, proving that he was an employee.

      Furthermore, according to Crosby, Kraft Foods promised that they wouldn’t go to court over the matter but would sit down and discuss it first. Crosby or his manager brother, Everett were in constant touch with Kraft or their agency, J. Walter Thompson. They came East, three weeks ago, after John Kraft, in Chicago, phoned them to do so, to thrash the matter out, then the injunction application was filed. Despite this, according to Crosby, the two sides met amicably. Crosby offered to do two broadcasts while Kraft countered with a request for twenty-six broadcasts before they would release him. Crosby came up to six, Kraft replying it would take the six now, with five more guest shots, next Fall. Crosby countered with an offer to do thirteen broadcasts and two guest shots, next Fall; whereupon, according to Crosby, Kraft reps asked for thirteen now and four guest shots in the Fall. This was the situation last Thursday.

      On Friday, after consultation with John Kraft, in Chicago, according to Crosby, their offer was withdrawn. Kraft reverting to their original for twenty-six broadcasts, whereupon Crosby decided to go to court.

(Variety, January 16, 1946)

 

January 14, Monday. The annual Photoplay Gold Medal Awards formal banquet takes place in the Palm Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Bing has won the Gold Medal for the most popular actor of 1945 as determined by the Gallup Poll of America's moviegoers. As he is still in New York, his mother accepts the award on his behalf.

January 15, Tuesday. Bing attends a party at Eddie Condon’s apartment in Washington Square which goes on until the early hours.

January 16, Wednesday. (10:00 a.m.) The Eddie Condon band meets to rehearse with Bing at Condon’s apartment in New York. At 3:15 p.m., Bing arrives at the Decca’s Studio A in New York and between 3:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. he records three songs with Eddie Condon, including “After You’ve Gone.” A different pianist is used for each song with Joe Bushkin accompanying Bing on “Personality.” The latter song enters the Billboard best-sellers chart for three weeks and peaks at No. 9.

 

The old studio clock had just struck 3 p.m. Condon’s barefoot-boys-with-shoes-on were on hand but showing visible signs of strain at the early hour. Decca types hustled—keeping a sharp eye on the door. At about 3:15 p.m. the Crosby arrived. Stripped of his bright yellow scarf, tweed coat, and inner-lined battle jacket, he was left naked in a brown felt hat, bright red checked shirt, brown slacks, and the sort of shoes ordinarily seen in the Alps at this time of year. Came 3:45, and in rushed Condon. No taxis, he said.

      “Blue and Broken-Hearted,” the first number to be waxed, didn’t go so well. A large blue screen-like sound absorber stood between Bing and the boys. Kicking it aside, he commented: “Got to see if anybody’s alive out there.” Another run-through or two and, at his question: “Will this be the deathless disk? Shall we, men?” the side joined history.

      “After You’ve Gone,” went rather quickly. Although trouble loomed when Jack Kapp, president of Decca and Crosby-adviser-extraordinary on record policy, walked in and asked if “Wild Bill” Davison’s trumpet ought to stay so dirty. “You go back to the board of directors if you make one more remark,” Crosby said. “I’ve flown these boys in at great expense. Eddie flew in without a plane.”

      The clock was falling away from 5 when the group assailed “Personality,” a sock potential from “Road to Utopia.” Since Dorothy Lamour sings it in the picture, Bing had never seen the music. But no matter. He smoked his pipe (“the kinda singing I do, you can’t hurt your voice”), achieved one of his rare grimaces at what he called Newsweek’s “nostril shots”, and the side was done. Exit the Crosby—fast.

(Newsweek, January 28, 1946)

 

January 21, Monday. Bing records “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie” with Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra. Hampton subsequently announces that he will give half of his royalties from the recordings to the Sister Kenny Foundation in which Bing is heavily involved. Bing goes to see the New York opening of Nellie Bly at the Adelphi, Broadway. Marilyn Maxwell has been replaced by Joy Hodges and the play has been extensively revised. The reviews are again poor and a “notice to close” is posted after the first week. The show closes after sixteen performances on February 2.

 

On the Sunny Side of the Street

It’s only because of the combination of the Groaner and the Hamp that the side is bound to attract undue attention, both in coin boxes and across the counter at the retail marts. And while Crosby’s chant may not be in the groove, Hampton’s music definitely is. Moreover, the vibe pounding maestro provides some of the lyrical joshing that Crosby fails to deliver. Flipover is a solid eight-beat rider in the classic “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie,” which features Hampton’s flash knuckling of one or two fingers on the keyboard while Crosby staggers thru a prepared script with stop-and-go boogie woogie exhortations.

(Billboard, June 14, 1947)

 

NELLIE BLY

Story Synopsis

Frank Jordan, managing editor of the New York Herald, is excited by the threat of a promotional beat staged by the New York World. The World assigns a reporter, Nellie Bly, to circle the globe in an attempt to beat the eighty-day record of Jules Verne. Jordan of the Herald engages Phineas T. Fogarty, who has been working as a “stable boy for the Hoboken Ferry,” to race Nellie. To be sure Phineas doesn’t loaf on the job, Jordan goes along and manages to fall in love with Miss Bly before the evening is well started.

 

Review

It is reliably reported that the musical show, Spring in Brazil, which failed on the road to the tune of 300,000 dollars and was not brought to New York, suffered from so much rewriting that by the time it reached Chicago the only line remaining from the original book was properly enough, “Good God, what an awful mess!” The insistence of the grimly vengeful leading comedian, Milton Berle, is said to have been responsible for its retention, a compromise having being effected with the show’s understandably obdurate producer in the elimination of the qualifying adjective “awful.”

      It is also reliably reported that this Nellie Bly, which was nevertheless brought into New York and failed to the same 300,000 dollar tune, underwent so much outside rewriting that the original authors, the Messrs. Ryskind and Herzig, wrathfully severed all connection with it on the road when the management declined to permit them to incorporate the line from Spring in Brazil. Just what the natal shape of the show was, I have no direct means of knowing, but it may be allowed from first-hand observation that one of the two dozen or so final troubles with it was that most of the people connected with it did not seem to know in the least what they were talking about. . .  . Mr. Cantor, co-producer of the show, who supplied the major portion of the 300,000 dollars wasted on it, is further said to have been infected to the point of inserting into it divers additional humors which he esteemed as irresistible novelties and which amplified Mr. Moore’s notion of sumptuous belly-laughs. As examples of their unsurpassed novelty may be cited a scene in which Mr. Moore was disguised as a harem siren and was made love to by an actor who believed that he was a female; another in which Mr. Moore stuffed his laundry into his bosom and observed that if he was going to drown in the sea he might as well get it washed free; still another in which Mr. Moore proclaimed that if he was lying to his female companion might St. Patrick send down a bolt of lightning and strike him, with the bolt promptly serving as a blackout; another still in which the desperately seasick and undone Mr. Moore was told “You give up too easily,” with his retort, “I’ll say I do!”; another yet in which Mr. Moore, carrying a pail of beer, was apprised that “It has a head on it” and his inquiry, “Is it anybody I know?” and such jocosities as “There’s a south south-easter blowing from the north-west.” . . . Nellie Bly found itself in the unfortunate predicament of going around the world backwards.

(George Jean Nathan, from The Theatre Book of the Year, 1945-1946)

 

January 22, Tuesday. Records with the Jay Blackton Orchestra in New York including the songs from Nellie Bly. Bing is in poor voice but his version of “They Say It’s Wonderful” reaches the Billboard Best-Sellers lists and spends four weeks in the charts with a peak position of No. 12.

January 24, Thursday. Everett Crosby announces that a settlement has been reached with Kraft Foods Co. following out-of-court negotiations. Bing leaves by train for the West Coast.

January 25, Friday. Bing tops the list of nominees for the “Best Actor” Oscar for his role in the film The Bells of St. Mary’s. The results are to be announced on March 7.

January (undated). A 9-minute short - Screen Snapshots - is released by Columbia and features a charity golf match with Bing, Linda Darnell, Ray Bolger, John Carroll, Danny Kaye, Leo Gorcey, Ken Murray and Bonita Granville.

January 30, Wednesday. Variety reports that Bing is back in Hollywood. On his return, Bing tells Dixie that unless she stops drinking, he will seek a legal separation and her partial custody of the children will depend on her ability to take care of them properly.

 

…a field day in Pasadena, with Bing Crosby, Spike Jones, Gloria and Joan Blondell and Johnny Burke getting off the rattler. Their arrival in Pasadena ended a 19-hour gin rummy game for Bing and Spike. They started playing when the train pulled out of Chicago, and when they totted up the score Bing had won $1.25. Six cents an hour…

(Daily Variety, January 30, 1946)

 

February 1, Friday. Bing attends a meeting with Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett regarding the forthcoming Emperor Waltz film. Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke are also present. Wilder indicates that he thought that some of the songs written for recent Crosby films were weak. A problem arises with the proposed inclusion of “I Kiss Your Hand, Madam” but eventually agreement is reached.

February 4, Monday. Bing and Bob Hope are featured on the cover of Life magazine.


February 5, Tuesday. Bing replies to his friend Father Corkery's letter about the situation with Dixie. Corkery had also ruled out divorce and suggested that Dixie had treatment. Bing indicates that he is reluctant to place Dixie into a sanitarium.

February (undated). He receives the Picturegoer Gold Medal Award from David Niven in Hollywood.

 

Bing, at least 20lbs lighter from the combined effects of arthritis and worry – he has been going through troubles apart from professional ones, and these are all his own business – couldn’t take his eyes off the Gold Cup as it rested on the luncheon table ready for the various guests…He is, however, a buoyant personality and a great natural wit, and it is all the more regrettable to find him a bit off beam. His health is improving, however. There is nothing seriously wrong, and everyone hopes that other conditions around him may soon clear up so that he can feel his own happy, carefree self again.

(W. H. Mooring, Picturegoer, February, 1946)

 

February–April. Films Welcome Stranger with Barry Fitzgerald and Joan Caulfield. The director is Elliot Nugent. Robert Emmett Dolan handles the musical score and Joseph J. Lilley looks after the vocal arrangements. Location shots are filmed at Munz Lakes in the northern Sierra Pelona Mountains in Los Angeles County.

February 7, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show in NBC Studio B in Hollywood. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing returns to the Kraft Music Hall radio program for thirteen shows under a compromise to break the contract. Ken Carpenter, the Charioteers, Eddy Duchin, Frank Morgan, and John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra continue as regulars on the show. Audience share for the season overall for the Kraft Music Hall is 17.5 pushing the show down to twentieth position in the ratings. Bing’s absence for several months had obviously had an impact. The top evening show for the season is Fibber McGee & Molly with 30.8.

 

THE MAN WHO WALKS ALONE

Bing Crosby, a man who walks alone, walked back into his radio program in characteristic style this week. After months of arguments and a law suit, Bing came back to his old stand at the Music Hall. More than the usual number of songpluggers–about 45–were at NBC studios to press their tunes on him. He walked right through then, tossing a nonchalant greeting to those he knew.

      He sauntered into studio B, waved a casual “Hi kids” as though he had been gone 15 minutes and sat down on a stool by his microphone. The rehearsal began and things looked normal in the Music Hall again. Bing had his regular loud sports shirt hanging over his slacks and the pencil was tucked under his hat. John Scott Trotter supplied a downbeat and the world’s most famous voice began to wave its charm.

(Bob Thomas, Hollywood Citizen News, February 9, 1946)

 

Bing Crosby slid back into his old, Thursday night NBC slot, last week (7th) and once more everything’s as it should be on Kraft Music Hall. His belated entry into the ’46 programming sweepstakes automatically provided nighttime radio with a hypo. A half-hour with El Bingo and it’s easy to understand why his sponsor made a super production and a federal court case out of his exit threat.

      The Crosby style provides for a final thirteen week, smash semester for the Groaner on Kraft Music Hall, after which he’s privileged to talk terms with anybody but latest reports have it, that it is strictly within the realm of possibility that Crosby will be back again on the Kraft bandwagon, next season with the sponsor taking a cue from Texaco, willing to toss in a couple of cheese factories or anything his heart desires which would appear to be to Kraft’s advantage. Make no mistake about it, Crosby’s still got what it takes. It was demonstrated, last Thursday, when he moved in on Kraft with a naturalness that belied the months-old, bitter entanglements. Introduced as a guy just back from vacation, he bantered and sang his way through the Kraft session with the same casualness, ease and showmanship that have trademarked his picture-radio career, in recent years. “Aren’t You Glad You’re You”; “I Can’t Begin To Tell You”; “Personality” (from the Crosby/Bob Hope/Dorothy Lamour Road to Utopia pic) and “These Foolish Things.” With his knack for keeping the palaver rolling, here were the sock ingredients for a “boff” Crosby turn. As presently set up, however, the Kraft showcase is top heavy with talent and not without its imperfections. For instance, there is Frank Morgan who’s been holding down the spot since the start of the season; he’s committed to Kraft until June which takes him right through the thirteen week period with Crosby. It’s strictly a clash in personalities, there’s a discordant note about his brashness that isn’t attuned to the Crosby tempo. Fortunately, the scriptwriters were not over-sensitive in minimising his contribution. On the other hand, Eddy Duchin, also a regular on the show, since his recent return to civvies, blended harmoniously into the stanza. In fact, the Crosby/Duchin parlay shapes up as a natural, this season, next season, with or without the Kraft auspices. His pianistics on ‘Where Or When’ and ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’ was top drawer and complemented the Crosby mood. The Charioteers and John Scott Trotter’s Orchestra gave an assist that was all in the show’s favour and Ken Carpenter is still turning over those Kraft commercials, smoothly.

(Variety, February 13, 1946)

 

February 9, Saturday. Bing is listed as the host of a function on behalf of The Masquer’s Servicemen’s Morale Corps (an organisation similar to the USO) in honor of returnees of the Birmingham and Pasadena Regional & Mitchell Hospitals and men of the U.S. Shore Patrol. It appears that he did not actually attend the event.

February 14, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show in NBC Studio B in Hollywood. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. Guests include Les Paul. A song from the rehearsal is issued on V-Disc.

February (undated). Appears on The Hedda Hopper Show and, with Leo McCarey and Hedda, enacts scenes from the film The Bells of St. Mary’s.

February 19, Tuesday. Press reports state that Gary Crosby (age twelve) is taking off some weight at Terry Hunt’s.

February 21, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC.

February 27, Wednesday. Transcribes a special Command Performance Show for Army Day with Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis and the Andrews Sisters. Harry Von Zell in the announcer and the show is broadcast on April 6. Elsewhere, Bing’s film Road to Utopia has its New York premiere at the Paramount and goes on to take $4.5 million in rental income in its initial release period.

 

Not since Charlie Chaplin was prospecting for gold in a Hollywood-made Alaska many long years ago has so much howling humor been swirled with so much artificial snow as it is in “Road to Utopia,” which came to the Paramount yesterday. And not since “Road to Morocco” have Bing (Damon) Crosby and Bob (Pythias) Hope been so crazily mixed up in madness as they are in this current vagrancy. For the latest of Paramount’s “Road” shows, in which the Messrs. Crosby and Hope again have as fellow-traveler the indestructible Dorothy Lamour, is a blizzard of fractious sport and clowning, a whirlwind of gags and travesty, a snowdrift of suffocating nonsense—and that is said without consulting a press book.

There is no point in telling anybody what sort of humor to expect when the Messrs. Hope and Crosby are turned loose together in a show. Their style of slugging each other with verbal discourtesies is quite as familiar as ice cream—at least to the patrons of films. And their can-you-top-this vein of jesting runs straight through our national attitude. The only difference, in this case, is that their style seems more refined, their timing a little more expert, their insults a little more acute. Bing and Bob have apparently been needling each other for so long that they naturally stitch along a pattern which shapes the personalities of both.

And the personalities of the rascals—Bing the debonair blade and Bob the bumbling show-off—are fully defined in this tale of a couple of vaudeville grifters caught in a race for an Alaskan gold mine. Mr. Hope is the chicken-hearted partner who wants to go back to New York; Mr. Crosby is the adventurer who wants to woo fortune in the mining camps. And that’s why (despite Bob’s demurrers) they find themselves in roaring Skagway, holding a secret map to a gold mine which is really Miss Lamour’s by rights, mistaken for two desperadoes and caught blindly between two villainous gangs.

Out of this lurid situation the Messrs. Crosby and Hope—with the help of the boys at Paramount—have ripped a titanic burlesque of brawny adventure pictures and of movies in general, indeed. A “Road” show is always an occasion for the cut-ups to have a marvelous time and in this case the comic inventors (stars and writers and director) ran wild. The late Robert Benchley is employed as a sort of commentator on the film, who pops in the frame at odd moments to give a goofy explanation of the cinema craft. Actors from other pictures walk across the sets and the Messrs. Hope and Crosby several times address the audience. And, of course, the whole nature of the action is in the grand style of ha-ha ridicule.

But where this sort of clowning might be juvenile and monotonous in other hands it has rich comic quality in the smooth paws of the gentlemen involved. To catalogue gags is boring, so we reluctantly won’t do so—other than to say the flow of same in this picture is abundant and sustaining to the end. Also the boys manage neatly to clean up a few poolroom jokes which have a particular subtlety, at least for the wise guys in the back. Several songs are also brought into the picture by the Messrs. Crosby and Hope and Miss Lamour in one or another combination, all of them handled pleasantly.

We understand this picture was made a few years ago and is just now released. The reason? They were waiting till the laugh-ceiling was off. Now look out for inflation. It will skyrocket laughter throughout the land.

(Bosley Crowther, New York Times, February 28, 1946)

 

The highly successful Crosby-Hope-Lamour “Road” series under the Paramount banner comes to attention once again in “Road to Utopia,” a zany laugh-getter which digresses somewhat from pattern by gently kidding the picture business and throwing in unique little touches, all with a view to tickling the risibilities. Very big boxoffice results assured . . .

      Though this one is rich in laughs and fast, the songs turned out for it are not of heavy caliber. Crosby and Hope’s “Put It There Pal” is on the novelty side and cute. Crosby single, “Welcome to My Dreams” and Miss Lamour’s number in a saloon setting, “My Personality” is nothing to get excited over. Quite good, however, is her “Would You.”

(Variety, December 5, 1945)

 

Gorgeous fun is provided by the famous two of the former “Road” films. This one takes them to the frozen wastes of Alaska, and is told in a flashback as the film opens with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour an old married couple enjoying a visit from dashing old bachelor Bing Crosby. Bob and Bing are entertainers who have to make a quick exit from the port where they are performing, and pose as a pair of tough bad men, with plenty of trouble resulting from their theft of a map. It is packed with bright lines, comic situations, and unexpected laughs. Don’t miss it.

(Picture Show, December 29, 1945)

 

Mel Frank was responsible for a “Utopia” line which became a movie classic. In ‘Road to Utopia’, Hope and Crosby have to act tough to impress the local bad guys. They saunter up to a bar in the mining town, and the local heavy asks, “What’ll you have?”

“Oh, a couple of fingers of rotgut,” growls Crosby.

“What’s yours?” asks Douglas Dumbrille.

“I’ll take a lemonade,” squeaks Hope in a high pitched voice before responding to a nudge by Crosby and snarling, “in a dirty glass.”

(Randall G. Mielke, Road to Box Office)

 

February 28, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. Guests include Martha Tilton and Jerry Colonna. A song from the rehearsal is issued on V-Disc.

March 3, Sunday. (3:00–3:30 p.m.) Thought to have made a surprise guest appearance on the Philco Radio Hall of Fame which is hosted by Paul Whiteman on ABC. Bob Hope is the main guest.

March 7, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. Guests include Lina Romay. Later, having been nominated again for the Oscar as “Best Actor” for The Bells of St. Mary’s, Bing loses out to Ray Milland (for his performance in The Lost Weekend) at the Academy Awards ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The Bells of St. Mary’s has also been nominated as “Best Picture” but The Lost Weekend is the winner. Similarly, Leo McCarey, who had been nominated for “Best Director” for The Bells of St. Mary’s, loses to Billy Wilder for The Lost Weekend. Ingrid Bergman is nominated as “Best Actress” for The Bells of St. Mary’s but she is beaten by Joan Crawford for Mildred Pierce. Robert Emmett Dolan’s nomination for “Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture” is unsuccessful too as Miklos Rozsa wins for Spellbound. Two of Bing’s songs (“Ac-cent-chu-ate the Positive” and “Aren’t You Glad You’re You”) are nominated as “Best Film Song” of 1945, but the winner is “It Might As Well Be Spring” from State Fair. Bing is supposed to sing his two songs at the ceremony but he pulls out at the last moment.

March 8, Friday. The Crosby Investment Corporation obtains a court injunction against Bing's brother Ted claiming that he had failed to live up to a contract agreement.

 

BING ENJOINS HIS BROTHER FROM SELLING STOCK

Washington, March 10. - Bing Crosby got a temporary injunction in Federal District Court here Friday to prevent his brother Ted from selling 100 shares of stock in Bing’s Del Mar Turf Club

(Daily Variety, March 11, 1946)

 

March 9, Saturday. Bing is at Santa Anita to see War Knight win the Santa Anita Handicap in a photo-finish.

March 10, Sunday. Starting at 1 p.m., Bing and Bob Hope tee off  on the new Long Beach Naval Hospital pitch and putt course. Jerry Colonna and Tony Romano are also in the foursome whilst Frances Langford keeps the score. A crowd of 3,000 watches the event.

March 13, Wednesday. Ted Crosby says that he has been damaged to the extent of $10,000 by the suit brought against him by the Crosby Investment Corporation. He states that it is "an unfortunate family affair which has no place in court."

March 14, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. A song from the rehearsal is issued on V-Disc.

March 21, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. Guests include Cully Richards and the Slim Gaillard Trio. A song from the rehearsal is issued on V-Disc.

 

“I would stand in line only to see Bing Crosby,” an out-of-town woman back of us was overheard to say as we waited for NBC’s Studio B’s doors to open for Music Hall. I wonder if she thought the same after the miserable performance he gave. Crosby didn’t seem to be putting anything into his songs–not even good tonal quality at times. He should keep two things in mind–the debt he owes the public for its loyalty and the fact that one comes down hill much faster than one goes up. The perfect spot on Music Hall was the song by the Charioteers. Eddy Duchin’s piano playing was smooth, the comedy, mediocre. The Slim Gaillard Trio probably was more interesting to see in action than it was to hear over the air. Its number was novel, at any rate. There was a lack of warmth, a feeling of something being missing from the Music Hall.

(Zuma Palmer, Hollywood Citizen News, March 25, 1946)

 

March 22, Friday. (6:00–9:00 p.m.) Bing records two songs in Hollywood with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra but both are unsatisfactory and are not issued.

March 28, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. Guests include Georgia Gibbs.

March 30, Saturday. Bing and Dixie attend a party at the Clover Club on Hollywood Boulevard which is hosted by Cary Grant, James Stewart, Eddy Duchin and John MacClain.

 

The four hosts, all dressed in tails, formed a receiving line. Mike Romanoff’s food ranged from green turtle soup to oysters, crab, shrimp, trout, chicken, stuffed turkey, roast ribs of beef, ham, coq au vin, boned squab, vegetables and salads, and numerous desserts. At five in the morning, 250 guests were still there, sitting on the floor and listening to Bing Crosby sing every song he ever knew, to the accompaniment of Hoagy Carmichael.

(Peter Duchin, writing in his book, A Ghost of a Chance)

 

April 4, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. Guests include Georgia Gibbs. During the day, Bing and other stars send a telegram to Washington objecting to a new bill intended to curb the activities of James C. Petrillo, president of the American Federation of Musicians. They felt that it covered too much other ground and would restrict the labor rights of all radio workers.

April 6, Saturday. Dixie is reported to be in hospital with the flu. Earlier press reports had suggested that she was entering hospital for a major operation.

April 11, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. Guests include Marilyn Maxwell and the Les Paul Trio.

April 12, Friday. Bing and Leo McCarey help out at the Garden Charity Bazaar given by Mrs. Bob Hope. They are put in charge of the religious booth.

April (undated). Bing and Barry Fitzgerald are photographed receiving smallpox vaccinations folowing reports of increasing cases of the disease in Hollywood.

April 15, Monday. Filming of Abie’s Irish Rose commences. This is the second film made by Bing Crosby Productions and it stars Joanne Dru and Richard Norris. Edward Sutherland is the director and John Scott Trotter is in charge of the music. Everett Crosby has not put proper financing in place for the film and at the outset they cannot meet the payroll costs. Faced with this crisis, Bing hires Basil Grillo to run Bing Crosby Productions. Grillo subsequently reorganizes all the Crosby business activities and Bing Crosby Enterprises is formed. Everett Crosby’s influence on his brother’s business matters recedes.

 

Everett was just about persona non-grata over the “Abie’s Irish Rose” fiasco but he took Grillo to Paramount and faced his brother down, the last of many significant things he did for Bing Crosby.

      The two argued heatedly, during a break in filming, and enough of the conversation was audible for Grillo to realize Crosby regarded him as merely the latest in a long line of “geniuses” supposed to “fix everything.” As Grillo remembered the scene, Crosby seemed abruptly to give in. He walked off the set and over to where Grillo stood, extending his hand and offering an apology for the broken appointments.

      “He turned on that friggin’ Irish charm and I was his forever,” Grillo said. The brief meeting began a 30-year relationship and when it was over, Grillo would describe Crosby as:

      “The finest human being I have ever known.”

      “Abie’s Irish Rose” became Grillo’s first priority. Crosby was worried about the situation finding its way into the newspapers and asked him to talk with Sutherland whom he had known since his days at the Cocoanut Grove. Sutherland also had directed him in “Mississippi” in 1935. The director agreed to proceed without pay until financing could be put in place. Grillo then made the same plea to Joanne Dru who also agreed. He telephoned the news to The Singer, pointing out Sutherland and Dru’s cooperation did no more than win a little time. He suggested the simplest solution might be for Crosby to personally finance the picture. Crosby exploded and banged the phone in his ear.

     Ultimately, Grillo was able to negotiate a loan for $370,000 from Society First National Bank of Los Angeles and the film about a Jewish boy and a Catholic girl was released amid mild controversy in 1946.

(Norman Wolfe, Troubadour: Bing Crosby and the Birth of Pop Singing)

 

April 17, Wednesday. Completes the sale of his 35 percent interest in the Del Mar track for a reported $481,000 and soon sells the home at Rancho Santa Fe and his stables. His brother Ted sues him over the Del Mar sale.

April 18, Thursday. (11:00–2:00, 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. Guests include Trudy Erwin and the Kraft Choral Club.

 

Kraft Music Hall (review), NBC, Thursdays, 9 PM, EST.

Well, Crosby’s back and Kraft has got him--at least until May. After getting off to a somewhat dispirited start, Bing has swung back into his free and easy method of entertaining, with informality the keynote. He heckles the orchestra, the announcer, the guests, and even makes fun of himself with well-timed ad libs that require more than casual listening to catch all of the fun that goes on. His singing on the air has improved since his vacation, even as it has on records; his backing from John Scott Trotter and band isn’t as good as the Haggart, Heywood, etc. he’s had on records, but he sounds as though he’s enjoying it and that produces fine Crosby singing.

      Regulars are the Charioteers who sing spirituals inoffensively, Eddy Duchin who makes with a bit of comedy and some strictly unhep piano solos, Ken Carpenter who plays straight man to Bing plus doing the commercials (accompanied by remarks from Bing), and the fancy work of Les Paul, who occasionally rounds up his trio for some really find plucking.

      It’s too bad if Bing is unhappy, as rumours riot, about a live show; it doesn’t seem as though this spontaneity could be carried into a transcription studio and come out equally merry. It’s anybody’s guess as to Bing’s sponsor for next fall, but with Crosby at his best it should be mellow stuff.

(Metronome, May 1946)

 

April 19, Friday. Takes part in the radio “Cancer Drive Program” with Bob Hope, Ginny Simms, Frank Sinatra, and Perry Como.

April 20, Saturday. Decca has issued a 6-disc 78rpm album set by Bing called Don't Fence Me In and it reaches the No. 2 spot in Billboard's best-selling popular albums chart on this day.

April 21, Easter Sunday. Dixie Lee and her four sons are in Carson City, Nevada during the morning on their way to Bing’s Elko ranch. Mrs. Crosby and the quartet of hearty youngsters had breakfast at the Senator and did some shopping. (12:00 noon–1:00 p.m.) Bing is on Can You Tie That, a radio program over station KLAC which is emceed by Al Jarvis and comes from Earl Carroll’s Theater/Restaurant in Hollywood. This is a record grading contest. Bob Hope grades “Who’s Sorry Now” by Bing while Bing grades Hope’s record of “Two Sleepy People” amongst several other records by other artistes. The other members of the panel are Ella Logan and Dave Dexter. The event is designed to generate funds for underprivileged people of the world and $14,000 is raised.


The occasion was a clothing drive for Catholic Charities, and the seven tons collected just about measure up to the amount of hilarity served up on the discs. Hope and Crosby jitterbugged their way through the first record played, Les Brown's "Good Blues Tonight," and each gave it 95. Ella Logan judged it at 67, and Dave Dexter granted it a tepid 59. At this announcement, Hope and Crosby got up to leave. "You can tell we're from the country," commented Bob sadly. Second record played was "Who's Sorry Now?" by a singer named Bing Crosby. Crosby leaned back and listened in rapt attention with occasional murmurings of "Beautiful—beautiful. Turn it up." Hope's first comment was, "Well, I don't follow the singers much!" But he thought it was nice that Eddie Heywood let his father sing with the band. "After careful consideration, I give it six and one half points!" he decided. From singer Shirley Ross, Jarvis borrowed an old record on which she and Hope shared the vocal, "Two Sleepy People" (now scheduled for release). A stunned Hope recovered to find that on nostalgia value alone even hard-to-get Dexter had given him a satisfactory score. One of the highlights of the show was the presentation to Crosby of a gigantic picture of Frank Sinatra. Bing countered by giving Bob an even greater enlargement of Red Skelton. Jarvis admits that throughout the program, the boys kept him laughing so hard that he forgot about emceeing. "It should have been television," he sighed. "I've never had so much fun in all my life!"

(Joan Buchanan, Radio Life, June 23, 1946, pages 7-8)


April 22, Monday. Bing attends Bob Murphy’s annual Sportsmen’s dinner with his brother Larry, Bob Hope and Joe E. Brown.

April 23, Thursday. Dixie Lee is named “Hollywood’s Ideal Mother” by the advisory committee of the United Home Finding Service.

April 24, Wednesday. Bing is part of a syndicate which files an application for a 1946–47 franchise in the National Hockey League.

April 25, Thursday. Does not appear on the Kraft Music Hall broadcast and is said to have gone to San Francisco for a benefit performance. Frank Morgan deputizes for him.

May (undated). The book Bing by his brothers Ted and Larry, which was originally published in 1937, is brought up-to-date and republished as The Story of Bing Crosby with a foreword by Bob Hope. Ted Crosby is now shown as sole author. It sells 24,936 copies in the six months after publication, producing $450 in royalites on top of a $2,000 advance.

May 2, Thursday. (10:00–2:00, 3:30–5:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing returns to the Kraft Music Hall show on NBC. Guests include Joe Frisco and Peggy Lee. Also Bing is thought to have appeared in the radio show To the Rear, March.

 

Bing Crosby, celebrating his birthday on the Kraft Music Hall over NBC on Thursday night (2nd), came up with one of the most hilarious shows in the soon to be concluded series. Evidently, ad-libbing most of the way, Crosby broke up the show several times with aside remarks to the studio audience and his guest stars, Peggy Lee and Joe Frisco. The hilarity was topped during the last five minutes when Bob Hope appeared unexpectedly with Bing’s birthday cake and the two let go with some unmatched witticisms. Sore spot to some listeners occurred however, when the crooner went off the deep end with a gag line to Eddy Duchin—“Fan your fanny over to the pianny and waft some music this way.” It might have been better if Crosby, heretofore, lauded for the cleanness of his shows and for “priest” roles he’s portrayed in pictures had remembered that some parents object to their kids listening to such stuff on the radio.

(Variety, May 8, 1946)

 

Selling records was only half of the equation for a popular singer in Peggy Lee’s early days. In postwar America, it was radio that dictated the success of records. No artist could be declared major until she or he appeared on a network radio show. And no one had a network radio show to rival the Kraft Music Hall. On May 12, 1946, (sic) Peggy Lee took to the NBC airwaves and sang I Don’t Know Enough About You,” not only for an immense audiencea few years earlier, the Kraft show had boasted a staggering fifty million listenersbut for the show’s host, the most beloved performer in the history of American popular culture.

When Peggy stepped in front of the microphone that night, it was with the introduction and imprimatur of Bing Crosby, the reigning god of song. It was the first of some fifty appearances she would make on Crosby’s shows over the next decade, a time during which Crosby would become a close friend and ally. Crosby’s love for Peggy Lee’s music, and for Peggy Lee the woman, was perhaps the single most important factor in the blossoming of her careerand how could it have been otherwise? As an artist, she was following a trail into pop-jazz that no woman had trod, but that Bing Crosby had not only discovered, but mapped. It was with Bing Crosby’s sensibilities that Peggy Lee truly identified, on every band of the spectrum.

(Fever – The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee, pages 146-7)

 

Bing was always so protective and so sensitive during my early days of nerves and self-consciousness. Just before air time on one of my first Kraft programs, he found me standing rigid outside the studio at NBC and asked me what he could do to help. I managed to say, “When you introduce me, would you please not leave me out there on the stage alone? Would you stand where I can see your feet?” From then on he always casually leant on a speaker or piano to give me the support I needed to learn about being at ease on stage.

  You have to love a man like that. He offered everything—money, cars, his own blood, and even volunteered to babysit with our little daughter, Nicki, while David was so sick in hospital.

(Miss Peggy Lee—An Autobiography, pages 105–106)

 

May 7, Tuesday. (6:15–8:50 p.m.) Records four songs with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra in Hollywood, including “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “A Gal in Calico”. The latter song reaches the No. 8 position in the Billboard Best-Seller lists, spending six weeks in the charts.

 

A GAL IN CALICO. Bing Crosby, with the Calico Kids and John Scott Trailer’s Orchestra Decca 23739. A bright and breezy rhythm ditty from the movie “The Time, the Place and the Girl,” contagion is added to the chant in the dittying design of Der Bingle who sings it free and easy, with vocal assist from the Calico Kids to heighten the appeal of the spin. Flipover is also from the same screen score, with Crosby chanting it alone and with persuasion from the slow ballad “Oh, But I Do.”

(Billboard, December 7, 1946)

 

May 9, Thursday. (10:00–2:30, 3:30–5:00 p.m.) Rehearses for his Kraft show. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Bing’s final broadcast as host on the Kraft Music Hall. The guests are Dorothy Claire and Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

 

The last airing (May 9) was a surprisingly subdued, if not to say mild, offering. No fanfares, no frills, no balloons going up, no bells. After all those hundreds of others, the listener might have expected something more appropriate than (Ken): “Well, Bing, this is getaway night on the old Kraft Music Hall”: (Bing): “That’s what it is, Ken.”

A bit later, Duchin tells Bing, “I want to wish you a happy vacation and - no kidding - thanks for everything.” At the moment before the close, Bing speaks directly to his audience. “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your tolerance and loyalty for this show.” This time, the applause runs on and on, then under Ken’s sign-off. Trotter’s orchestra carries all of it into yesterday with a few bars of the swing arrangement of HAIL KMH!

(Vernon Wesley Taylor, Hail KMH! The Crosby Voice, February 1986)

 

May 10, Friday. (5:00–9:00 p.m.) Records “Route 66” and “South America Take It Away” with the Andrews Sisters and Vic Schoen and his Orchestra.

May (undated). The Woman’s Home Companion poll names Bing as the leading male film star. He is similarly named for the next four years.

May 15, Wednesday. (6:00–9:30 p.m.) Records “Pretending” and “Gotta Get Me Somebody to Love” with Les Paul and his Trio.

 

It is a sad, thankless, and sometimes presumptuous task to have to report that a champion has slipped up. If the champ happens to be a great one—personally as well as professionally—the task becomes inordinately difficult.

Bing Crosby has become that kind of champ.   He has been the non-pareil, the unprocessed cheese kid. From the days of “Just One More Chance,” down through the abundantly talented years, he has been wonderful, with a special kind of purity in his appeal. Of late, though, his seeming disinterest has become more and more apparent, until now it can no longer be ignored.

In the entertainment business, though, you think twice before you criticize an idol, for if it is kind of amusing to say that so-and-so has a clothespin on his nose, it is almost lese majeste to suggest that a Crosby is not what he used to be.  But be that as it may, the evidence is too stark. The Groaner, although his manner still has that incomparable kind of relaxation, no longer imparts the verve, the dash of his early disking, and if you think otherwise, listen to his newest releases.

Crosby’s “Pretending” and “Gotta Get Me Somebody to Love” (Decca 23661) are so inferior that you are apt to mistrust your own judgment when you hear them for the first time. You are apt to suspect that something is wrong with your phonograph. But you find out it isn’t your phonograph at all.  Bing is accompanied by Les Paul and his trio (an effective background) and the faces should have been good.  Five years ago, they might have been magnificent. Both tunes (“Gotta Get Me” is from Duel in the Sun) are the lazy sort of thing which Bing used to do better than anyone else.  But he sings them so indifferently that you cannot ignore the gloomy conclusion that Bing has slipped. Sinatra, Haymes, Como, Buddy Clark and a few others are cutting him.   If it sounds unduly harsh on him to say this, it would be harsher on the others to keep it quiet.

(George Frazier, Variety, October 2, 1946)

 

…Sheer routine are Pretending and Gotta get me somebody to love from the film “ Duel in the Sun “ (03800).

(The Gramophone, December 1947)

 

Bing Crosby Named in Composer’s Suit on Song “Pretending”

Don A. Marion, composer, today asked for return of the song “Pretending,” claiming it had earned $250,000 since it was illegally appropriated by two other song writers. Mario’s suit for an accounting and an injunction, filed yesterday, also naming Bing Crosby and Andy Russell, Kate Smith and recording and radio companies for singing and selling the song without his permission. He said the song he composed in 1930 was stolen from him by Al Sherman, listed on the published version as composer of the melody, and Al Synes, credited with writing the lyrics.

(Hollywood Citizen News, January 7, 1947)

 

May 17, Friday. Finishes prerecording songs for The Emperor Waltz. 

 

May 17…The morning was devoted to sets. Lunched at the commissary and went to the sound stage where Bing recorded “The Kiss in Your Eyes” magnificently. He made eleven takes of it, which is unusual for him. Usually he gets a song in three…

(From the diaries of Charles Brackett, as reproduced in It’s the Pictures That Got Small, page 289)

 

May 21, Tuesday. Bing had planned to stay with Spike Spackman in Ketchum, Idaho for the opening day of the fishing season on the Wood River but he is held up in Hollywood by business and says he will not be able to get to Idaho until June 1. Dixie and Mr. & Mrs. Eacret have been staying with Mr. Spackman and they return to Elko.

May 31, Friday. Joan Fontaine and Roland Culver arrive at Jasper Park to join the crew filming The Emperor Waltz. Bing is still on holiday.

June 1, Saturday. Decca has issued a 4-disc 78rpm album set called Bing Crosby - Stephen Foster and Billboard reviews it on this day.


It was expected that sooner or later Bing Crosby would make an album of Stephen Foster tunes. Crosby does full justice to the popular composer’s music.


June 3, Monday. Bing is at Hugh Bradford’s Alturas Lake Ranch at Hailey, Idaho and he writes to Bill Morrow.

 

Dear Bill,

We leave here today for Spokane and then on up to the location at Jasper Park. Had a great time here with Spike & Dolly, the Eacrets, Ralph Smith and Vic Hunter. Quite a bit of ad-lib drinking went on and yesterday, by noon, Spike was leaning back quite a bit. We caught 80 red-fish yesterday morning and spent the afternoon dredging the bottom with some choice ??? trying to shake up a big one, but no luck. Too early I guess. I hope your plans have developed so you can come up to Nevada and on up here about mid-June. Johnny has several places cased for you and the Wild Horse Dam and the lake fishing will be available. Just phone or wire him at Tuscarora where and when to meet you.

      I should hear something from Kapp by the time I reach Jasper and I hope, for the benefit of all concerned, it is something favorable. If not we can apply some pressure in the rite spot. The General Motors transcribed show is very hot rite now for about September opening. I propose the following lineup.

Glen Wheaton - Producer

Bill Morrow - Writer

Trotter - Band & choir

Les Paul - guitar accompaniment, occasional specialties.

Skitch Henderson - Piano solo and accompaniment.

Charioteers, Specialties, accompanist Peggy Lee, or some ?? with a similar delivery.

Crosby

      This will be a package arrangement with possibly first four shows live and maybe one or two others during the year, at our option. It should be an easy show for you to write - with Wheaton doing documentary material - and such guests as we use, being of a type suitable for humor.

      Jack tells me he is going to Mammoth on the 15th., so you got yourself a nice parley, Mammoth to Nevada to Sun Valley. I’ll see you probably around July 1st and we can discuss the foregoing at that time.

      Take care of all the local grummet (?) in my absence.

Bing

 

  June 4, Tuesday. Bing arrives in Spokane by car from Sun Valley, Idaho and complains about the poor road conditions, having had four tire blowouts. He then calls in at the Athletic Round Table before playing a friendly game of golf at the Country Club with Roy Moe (local pro), Bud Ward, and Vic Hunter (a Hollywood advertising executive who is traveling with Bing). Subsequently, Bing is persuaded by the Athletic Round Table to stay on and play in a benefit golf match with Bob Hope later in the week as Hope will be putting on a show in the Gonzaga stadium on Thursday.

June 5, Wednesday. Bob Hope flies into Spokane during the evening and gets together with Bing straightaway. They go into the Desert Hotel and entertain the Athletic Round Table before Bob leaves to rehearse his show planned for the next night.

 

Bob Hope and Bing Crosby nearly put the Athletic Round Table out of business last night—or at least they tried.

      The famed twosome showed up at the Desert Hotel club unexpectedly about 9, donned waiters’ uniforms and went to work behind the bar.

      “Anybody want a drink?” yelled Hope.

      And customers immediately swamped the bar. Crosby and Hope promptly started handing away the club’s bottled goods—until the stock, at least all that was handy, was exhausted. The two then took off the jackets, autographed anything from blank checks to membership cards, and left.

(Spokane Daily Chronicle, June 6, 1946)

 

June 6, Thursday. Bing calls in at Gonzaga University and at the Athletic Round Table he joins in briefly with the Gonzaga Quartet who are rehearsing. At noon, Bing is the guest at a Gonzaga High School class of 1920 reunion at the Spokane Hotel. Starting at 1:00 p.m., Bing and Bud Ward play Bob Hope and Neil Christian (the local professional) at the Downriver golf course, Spokane, before a crowd of 2,500. The match, which is designed to raise money for the PGA rehabilitation fund, ends all-square and Bing has a seventy-six. Bing’s approach shot to the ninth green strikes a spectator breaking his binoculars but otherwise not causing any damage. Press reports indicate that Bing is suffering from a touch of arthritis in his shoulders and has played golf just three times in the last five months due to filming commitments. He is also said to be suffering from laryngitis and is unable to sing. He goes on to dine that night at the Desert Hotel with Mr. and Mrs. Bud Ward and others where he is photographed with the Gonzaga Quartet.


June 7, Friday. Bing lands a 16lb Rainbow trout while fishing at Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho with Vic Hunter and then leaves for Jasper Park, Alberta.

Emperor Waltz.JPGJune 8, Saturday. Arrives in Jasper Park over the Banff-Jasper highway to film The Emperor Waltz with Joan Fontaine, Roland Culver, and Richard Haydn. The director is Billy Wilder with Victor Young in charge of the musical score and Joseph J. Lilley handling the vocal arrangements. Young is subsequently nominated for an Oscar for “Best Scoring of a Musical Picture” in 1948 but loses to Brian Easdale for The Red Shoes. Bing is paid $125,000 for the picture. The location scenes are filmed at Jasper Park in five weeks during May / June. The weather is often too poor for filming and this gives Bing the opportunity to play plenty of golf on the Jasper Park Lodge course. In addition he fishes at Maligne Lake during the period in question. Bing stays in the cabin called Squirrel’s Cage at the Jasper Park Lodge during the filming. The studio work is completed in Hollywood by September 20, with Bing working until 1:00 a.m. some nights because of a threatened studio shutdown. The movie costs $4 million, some $1.2 million over budget. Because of a backlog at the studio, the film is not released until May 1948.

 

In the book Nobody’s Perfect: Billy Wilder: A Personal Biography, Joan Fontaine is quoted as saying:

“Crosby wasn’t very courteous to me. I remember he didn’t stand up when we were introduced.  I thought “Poor Dorothy Lamour!” This man didn’t have respect. Maybe he treated her better. There was never the usual costar rapport. I never enjoyed his songs after working with him. I was a star at that time, but he treated me like he’d never heard of me. I should have brought my sarong. Crosby’s personality was what you might have expected from the Emperor Francis Joseph. He was the Emperor of Paramount.  Bing Crosby had the power over Billy Wilder. Paramount would certainly have replaced Mr. Wilder, and Mr. Brackett, too, any day if Crosby had wanted it.  It wasn’t that he had anything against Mr. Wilder. He just didn’t pay much attention to him. He told me once that he had some trouble understanding his funny accent…Crosby was directing himself, and he had writers working on what he said, and sometimes he didn’t pay any attention to the Wilder - Brackett words, or even the words of his own writers.   He said it as he felt it at the moment.”

…“Bing Crosby operated for himself, not for the group or the film,” Wilder said. “He was a big star, the biggest, and he thought he knew what was good for him. He did. He sensed what his audience expected and he knew how to deliver that. The picture didn’t come out what I wanted, but that wasn’t Crosby’s fault. It was mine.”

(Nobody’s Perfect: Billy Wilder: A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler pp. 134-135)

 

June 9, Sunday. Bing plays on the Jasper Park Lodge golf course.

June 15, Saturday. At a colorful ceremony on the verandah of Jasper Park Lodge, Bing is made an honorary member of the Edmonton Highland Games Association, one of the largest Scottish organizations in Canada.

June 17, Monday. Bing is at the practice tee at the Jasper Park Lodge course when he is interrupted by eight-year-old Linda Wightman, the daughter of the local bakery owner, and presented with a picture of two bears taking a bath in Lac Beauvert. That evening Bing calls at the girl’s home and chats with the family, leaving a parcel for Linda containing a large picture of himself, which is inscribed “With love to my little pal, Linda, from Bing Crosby.”

June 24, Monday.  The tired old bus carrying the Spokane Indians baseball club across Snoqualmie Pass around 8 p.m. on a rain-slickened highway in Western Washington crashes and nine players are killed.

June 30, Sunday. The crew filming The Emperor Waltz leaves Jasper Park to return to Hollywood.

July 3, Wednesday. Bing is in Boise, Idaho and he calls in to see Sib Kleffner, an operator of a sporting goods store, and pays him $11.04 which he has owed him since college days in 1924.

July 5, Friday. Bing is in Spokane and purchases $2,500 worth of tickets for a benefit baseball game in aid of the families of the nine Spokane Indians players killed in the bus crash on June 24. He specifies that his tickets should be given to convalescent and other servicemen. The Oakland Oaks play the Seattle Rainiers in the exhibition game in Spokane and 6,000 fans attend.

July (undated). Bing fishes at Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho (near Spokane). During his visit he stays at the Hotel Hope.

July (undated). At his Elko, Nevada, ranch.

July 8, Monday. Filming of The Emperor Waltz continues at Paramount Studios. Billy Wilder is in constant pain with kidney stones.

July 10, Wednesday. Bing is back in Hollywood. During his absence, the Rosary Confraternity of Greece has appealed to Bing for help in providing rosaries for 50,000 Greek Catholics following his Family Rosary broadcast. He arranges for 10,000 rosaries to be sent to Greece.

July 13, Saturday. (8:00–10:50 a.m.) Bing records “Lullaby” and “Where My Caravan Has Rested” with Jascha Heifetz (violin) and the Victor Young Orchestra. Later in the day, a birthday party is held at Bing’s Malibu home for all four of his children in accordance with their usual custom. In all 33 children attend.

 

Crosby’s other disk this week is in the nature of a stunt. Jack Kapp, Decca’s wily boss, long ago conceived the novelty value of coupling The Groaner with other Decca contractees e.g. the merry Andrews, Louis Jordan, Eddie (“I Hate Publicity”) Condon, etc. Now Kapp has Jascha Heifetz fiddling obbligatos to Bing’s renditions of “Where My Caravan Has Rested” and “Lullaby” (from “Jocelyn”) on Decca 40012. It is not disclosing any military secret to say that Heifetz—even if, on this, he’s no Heifetz—takes the honors.  Crosby sounds tired, disinterested, and, incidentally, badly advised not to rest his caravan.

(George Frazier, Variety, October 2, 1946)

 

The groaner goes concert with this cutting. And with no less a Strad scratcher than Jascha Heifetz tearing off the obbligatos as well as stringing in a bit of the theme himself, Bing Crosby gives with some real lullabying for both of these standard songs. “Lullaby” from Godard’s “Jocelyn” and “Where My Caravan Has Rested” is the classic chant of Herman Lohr and Edward Teschemacher. Victor Young brings up the orchestral background for the desired effect. Crosby crowds will like these better for home spinning.

(Billboard, October 12, 1946)

           

July 14, Sunday. Plays in Frank Borzage’s Invitational Motion Picture Golf Tournament at the California Country Club and cards an eighty-two which places him at fifth in the Actors’ Division. A crowd of 3000 watches the event, which is in aid of the AWVS. Other stars taking part include Don Ameche, Randolph Scott, Bob Hope, Nigel Bruce, Ken Murray, Mickey Rooney, Bob Crosby and Johnny Weissmuller. Some of the action is included in a novelty newsreel called Rough But Hopeful produced by Courneya-Hyde Productions.

July 18, Thursday. (8:00 a.m.–12 noon) Records six songs from the film Blue Skies with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra. Decca issues them on a 78rpm album set and the album reaches the No. 2 spot in Billboard's best-selling popular record albums chart.

 

Don’t miss this show album. Any of the complete score albums that Decca turns out have rotten tunes thrown in with the good. This one is no exception - but it does have Crosby, and Astaire in what may very well be his last wax appearance. Astaire may be no singer, but even on wax, his personality comes through. (Decca A481)

(Downbeat, November 4, 1946)

 

Another winner is Bing Crosby’s “I’ve Got My Captain Working for Me Now,” a good revue number on the subject of every G.I.’s dream. The smart lyric is set to appropriate music, and Crosby once again recalls the great days of the Rhythm Boys before the crooner swept all before him. You can see what happened by turning over and hearing how “Blue Skies,” which calls for a nice easy relaxed rhythm is dragged by the singer, who twenty years ago might have done it to perfection.

(The Gramophone, May, 1947)

 

July (undated). Films a cameo role in Bob Hope’s film My Favorite Brunette. Bing arranges for the fee of $25,000 to be paid directly to Gonzaga University.

July 24, Wednesday. (6:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing records three more songs from the film Blue Skies with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra. Fred Astaire duets “A Couple of Song and Dance Men” and Trudy Erwin joins Bing in “I’ll See You in C-U-B-A.”

July 26, Friday. Bing takes delivery of his new Dodge 6 car registration number AB 4662.

July 31, Wednesday. Bob Hope and Bing are photographed sending off 15-year old caddy Roger Dunn to the National Caddy Tournament to be held at Columbus, Ohio. The two men have sponsored Roger who will be representing Southern California.

August 1, Thursday. (4:00–7:05 p.m.) Records “The Things We Did Last Summer” with Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra in Hollywood. Goes on to the premiere of Night and Day at Warners Hollywood Theatre and is photographed with Alan Ladd.

August (undated). At Bel-Air Country Club, Bing gets his first hole-in-one at the par 3 fifth hole.

August 8, Thursday. The Dreyfuss family sells the Pittsburgh Pirates National League baseball team to a group headed by Frank McKinney and John Galbraith for a reported $2,250,000. Bing has a 25 percent interest in the syndicate. Also, it is announced that Bing will again head the National Executive Committee of the Sister Elizabeth Kenny Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. The fund-raising drive is to begin on November 3 with a target of $2 million.

August 9, Friday. (7:00–8:40 p.m.) Bing records “When You Make Love to Me” and “So Much in Love” with Victor Young and his Orchestra in Hollywood.

 

When You Make Love to Me—FT; V. It Could Happen to You—FT; V.

September Song—FT; V. Temptation—FT; V.

Mine—FT; V. Connecticut—FT; V.

The groaner gives out on a batch of ballads for these six sides bringing on Judy Garland for one set. (23804). And while the song selections, for the most part, are not out of the top drawer, Bing Crosby’s dittying leaves little to be desired of the lyrics. His piping plenty listenable and the spinning smoothsome, Victor Young’s music provides the lush musical background for “When You Make Love to Me” while John Scott Trotter commands the music stand for the companion “It Could Happen to you.” Trotter still on deck, Crosby spins most soothingly for “Temptation,” the scoring set to a bolero beat while mixed voices blend with the band to make for richer background color. Flipover finds lush lyricizing for “September Song,” making the lovely song sound as lovely as ever. Joined by Judy Garland, with Joseph Lilley laying down the musical background, it’s a lively pace set for “Connecticut,” dipping back to the slow ballad tempo as they share the wordage for George Gershwin’s “Mine.” While neither voice lets loose on either set of lyrics, their chanting is in good style and taste. The Crosby fans will listen to these at home.

(Billboard, February 8, 1947)

 

August 15, Thursday. (5:00–7:30 p.m.) Records a reading of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Old Ironsides” with Victor Young and his Orchestra. The records are included on a Decca 78 rpm album called "Our Common Heritage".

 

The Star Spangled Banner—FT; V.

…Instead of singing the national anthem, he recites a meaningful poem while Victor Young provides the incidental background music that weaves around the anthem theme. It all makes for an impressive and dramatic spin.

(Billboard, September 20, 1947)

 

With considerable beating of the drums, Decca has issued an album called “Our Common Heritage” (eight 10 inch records). It contains sixteen poems commemorating “milestones in the history of America.” Jack Kapp, president of Decca is keynoting the campaign for this album [and writes] “Who else but Bing Crosby, who symbolises America to the world, should read The Star-Spangled Banner? And who else should make it a living experience, read as we believe Francis Scott Key felt it?” Who else, indeed? Unless of course, it should occur to you that you could read it for yourself....If it makes American ideals shine more brightly for them to hear Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien and the others dramatize them, only a bounder would disagree with Mr. Kapp.

(Howard Taubman, New York Times, April 27, 1947)

 

Later, Bing signs a contract with Philco Radio Corporation to perform his radio show as a transcribed program. Bing is said to be paid a minimum of $24,000 and a maximum of $30,000 per show depending how many stations take it. Out of this he receives $7,500 as a salary with the remainder going to Bing Crosby Enterprises Inc. to meet the other expenses of the show. This arrangement is tax advantageous to Bing.

 

Everett Crosby, who handled the negotiations for his brother Bing, said last night that the contract covers a three-year period and that it would be a straight transcription show. It was learned that Philco wanted a five-year contract and Bing a one-year deal and that Everett Crosby negotiated the compromise three-year agreement.

(Daily Variety, August 16, 1946)

 

Primary change was the absence of Carroll Carroll who had not been invited to work on the new program. Vernon Taylor felt the reason may have been that Carroll’s writing had turned inward in the final seasons of The Kraft Music Hall, and Crosby wanted something fresher. There did not seem to be any animosity between the two and Carroll made the point he had never worked for NBC or Kraft in any case. He had always been on the J. Walter Thompson payroll and remained there.

     The new writer and coproducer was Bill Morrow, a loosely knit bachelor who played the field with Hollywood ladies. He had written for Jack Benny and was brought on to impart some of the brisker pacing of the Benny program. Better writer than producer or businessman, Morrow tended to overpay for guest stars and musicians. The program consistently ran over budget until Grillo was placed in charge of all contracts.

(Norman Wolfe, Troubadour: Bing Crosby and the Birth of Pop Singing)

 

So everything was daisy until I launched my battle for a transcribed radio hour. At the time that warfare was practically front-page news. There was great opposition to the notion, not only from Kraft, with whom I’d been for ten years, but from the whole radio industry.

I had confidence that a show on tape would be just as satisfactory entertainment-wise as a live show, better in many ways. There were two reasons why I wanted to transcribe my radio shows. The first, and most important one, was that it gave me a chance to do a better show. By using tape, I could do a thirty-five or forty-minute show, then edit it down to the twenty-six or twenty-seven minutes the program ran. In that way, we could take out jokes, gags, or situations that didn’t play well and finish with only the prime meat of the show; the solid stuff that played big.

We could also take out songs that didn’t sound good. It gave us a chance to first try a recording of the songs in the afternoon without an audience, then another one in front of a studio audience. Wed dub the one that came off best into the final transcription. .

It gave us a chance to ad lib as much as we wanted, knowing that excess ad libbing could be sliced from the final product. If I made a mistake in singing a song or in the script, I could have some fun with it, then retain any of the fun that sounded amusing.

A second consideration—and a mighty important one to me personally—was that it would give me a chance to get around the country more if I could tape in advance. If I had to go to New York, I could do two or three shows ahead, which eliminated the necessity of transporting a cast and musicians across the continent. If I wanted to go fishing or hunting or play in a golf tournament, that too could be arranged.

Then, too, once when we knew a musicians’ strike was coming off, we taped ten or twelve weeks’ shows in advance. We knocked them off in about two weeks, working every day and every night. This gave us a chance to stay on the air with good shows while the strike was being settled.    

But everybody was against the idea—the networks, the sponsors of other shows, the advertising agencies. They thought it might hurt the network financially. They felt that if entertainers were allowed to tape, they could sell to individual stations instead of having to use the network. Then at the psychological moment when the issue seemed in the balance, Philco said that it would be okay with them if I taped a certain number of shows. The way it worked out, it didn’t seem to hurt the networks. To my mind, the only things which lose impact on tape are sports events, or important news events.

(Call Me Lucky, pages 151-152)

 

August 20, Tuesday. Rags Ragland, who had toured army camps with Bing, dies at the age of forty.

August 21, Wednesday. Variety magazine reports that Bing and Tommy Dorsey have fallen out following the breakdown of negotiations for Bing to take part in the film The Fabulous Dorseys. Dorsey retaliates by saying that he will not perform songs published by the Edwin H. Morris and Burke-Van Heusen publishing firm as Bing has an interest in this.

August 22, Thursday. (3:30–7:35 p.m.) Bing records four songs with Russ Morgan and his Orchestra, including “Among My Souvenirs” and “Does Your Heart Beat For Me?”.

 

Bing Crosby’s newest Decca cut couples “My Heart Goes Crazy” with “So Would I” (both from My Heart Goes Crazy). If not top flight Crosby, they are unquestionably superior to most of his recent stuff. He sings carefully, feelingly, and, on the whole, rather as if he were concerned about his sponsors renewing. Better side is “So Would I” and you’ll be hearing it everywhere.  Russ Morgan batons the accomp on both sides.

(Variety, January 22, 1947)

 

Sweet Lorraine / The Things We Did Last Summer / Among My Souvenirs / Does Your Heart Beat For Me / September Song / Temptation

If you have any doubts that Bing is both losing his voice and getting increasingly sloppy  about his singing listen to these six sides and come away a little sick at the residue (relatively speaking) of a good binger. “Lorraine” is extremely nasal in its opening chorus of phrasing, “Things” is dead and unimaginative. “Souvenirs” is better though the top tones wobble (“rest” for example). The tenor sax solo (Russ Morgan accompanying) is for the books, “Me”, written by Morgan has long been identified with him. “Song,” a reissue, is the one that will really stop the stoutest Crosby fan in his tracks. He just has no tone in it, is consistently off pitch, and fades to nothing on high tones. Bing is a comparatively young man—losing his voice at his age is a result of either incorrect over use or complete sloppiness while making these records.

(DownBeat, January 29, 1947)

 

“So Would I” - “My Heart Goes Crazy”

Russ Morgan accompanies Crosby on Decca—Dave Barbour accompanies Peggy Lee on Capitol—now you know why Capitol’s vocal discs, by and large, are better. Why saddle Bing with this sort of thing rather than giving him the best possible background—certainly the way he’s been singing lately he needs it. (Decca 2374)

(DownBeat, March 12, 1947)

 

Bing Crosby has done “Among My Souvenirs” on Bruns. 03779 with the sinister “Temptation,” a contrasted record to interest the fans, but frankly not otherwise anything to write about.

(The Gramophone, August, 1947)
 

August 26, Monday. (7:00–7:30 p.m.) Bing stars in the Lady Esther Screen Guild Players radio version of The Bells of St. Mary’s on CBS with Ingrid Bergman and Joan Carroll. Wilbur Hatch leads the orchestra. Later, Bing is thought to have appeared in the “Music for the Wounded” show at the Hollywood Bowl.

 

Spotting of the Bing Crosby Show for Philco was finally cleared up, yesterday (Tuesday). Once Philco executives completed negotiations with ABC, the Crosby ‘wax in your ears’ half-hour production goes into the Wednesday night at ten segment on all stations, in the East, with the Central, Mountain and Coast zones, carrying the show at 9 o’clock on the same evening. Crosby show tees off on October 16th on 211 basic ABC Stations. In addition, 400 other Stations, around the country, are being pacted separately to carry the program. These, of course, would include affiliates of other webs in cities not carrying the show. Spotting of Crosby at ten o’clock in the East and not at nine as was anticipated, is believed to have been motivated by the Groaner’s feeling that it would be labelled as ‘spite’ work, in view of the fact that Frank Sinatra’s Old Gold Show is also heard at 9 pm on CBS.

(Variety, August 28, 1946)

 

August 31,  Saturday. Louella Parsons returns to the air after her summer absence with Bing as her guest.

 

…improvement in her diction, delivery and relaxed manner of conducting the interview with Bing Crosby. Not a line was fluffed and the excited inflections toned down. Gone, too, was the gushy treacle that formerly dripped from her gabby sessions with guestars if we can excuse her “Bing, dear” as a slight reversion…

(Daily Variety, September 3, 1946)

 


September 11, Wednesday. Whilst completing the filming of Emperor Waltz at Paramount, Bing pays a surprise visit to Ingrid Bergman’s set on Arch of Triumph and toasts the box office queen on her twelfth role in U.S. pictures.

September 18, Wednesday. Using the NBC Studio B in Hollywood, Bing rehearses for his first Philco show.

 

Bing Crosby will be a busy little bee this weekend and the hive will be a mass of honey by the time he oils up his shoot in’ irons for a go at the deer and pheasant in the general vicinity of his Elko, Nevada, ranch.

(Daily Variety, September 18, 1946)

 

September 19, Thursday. During the morning, Bing continues to rehearse for his first show for Philco using NBC Studio B. (1:07–3:07 p.m.). Transcribes his first Philco Show with Bob Hope which is broadcast on October 16. (3:40–5:10 p.m.). Rehearses for his second Philco show. (5:10–7:25 p.m.). Transcribes his second Philco show and this is transmitted on October 23.


Downey Did It First

It all depends upon who does a thing. While there’s a great fuss about Bing Crosby going network via transcriptions (October 16), it’s been ignored that Morton Downey has been going over the Mutual network via e. t’s for some time without the network falling apart or the Downey rating doing any fIipflops. Nevertheless what happens to the Philco-Crosby show will determine in part just what Bob Hope and a number of other stars will want to do, come the end of their present contracts. The subject of transcriptions is a touchy one at both NBC and CBS. What happens to the show will have a bearing on what ABC will be in the future also. The Burl Ives show on Mutual for Philco is also transcribed. That fact hasn’t even raised a ripple.

(Sponsor magazine, November 1946, page 2)


September 20, Friday. (8:30–10:10 a.m.) Rehearses for another Philco Show. (10:10 a.m.–12:10 p.m.) Records a Philco show for broadcast on October 30.

September 22, Sunday. (8:30–10:10 p.m.) Rehearses for a Philco show. (10:10 a.m.–12:10 p.m.) Records a Philco show which airs November 6.


September 30, Monday. Bing plays in a qualifying round for the California State Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach with Bruce McCormick. A radio program “End of the Oregon Trail” commissioned by Olympia Beer in celebration of its 50th Anniversary is broadcast on 26 western radio stations at various times. Bing plays the part of his great grandfather, Captain Nathaniel Crosby, part operator of Crosby Flour Co., Tumwater, Washington. He briefly sings a couple lines of “She Had Pearls in Her Hair”.

October 1, Tuesday. (4:00–7:00 p.m.) In San Francisco, Bing rehearses for his evening broadcast with Bob Hope. (7:00–7:30 p.m.) Bing guests on the Bob Hope radio show on NBC with Carole Richards. Jerry Colonna and Vera Vague are also in attendance with Desi Arnaz leading the orchestra. The show is broadcast from the American League Convention in Marine Memorial Park, San Francisco.


October 7, Monday. For the second time in the year, Bing appears on the cover of Life magazine, this time with Joan Caulfield with whom he is said to have a very close relationship.

October 8, Tuesday. (12:00 noon –2:00 p.m.) In KFWB Studio 4, Bing and Ezio Pinza rehearse for a Philco show. (2:14–4:15 p.m.) Records the Philco show with Ezio Pinza which is broadcast on November 13. (6:00–7:45 p.m.) Rehearses for his next Philco show with Burl Ives. (8:05–10:05 p.m.). Transcribes the show for transmission on November 20.

October 10, Thursday. The film “The Jolson Story” premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

October 13, Sunday. (5:00–5:30 p.m.) Thought to have made a guest appearance on Paul Whiteman’s radio show on ABC.

October 16, Wednesday. Bing’s film Blue Skies is released and in many cities the first day’s receipts go to the Sister Kenny Foundation. In its initial release period in the USA, the movie takes $5.7 million in rental income making it one of the box office successes of the year.

 

Blue Skies” is another in the show biz cavalcade cycle and it’ll spell beaucoup blue skies and black ink for any exhibitor. With Crosby, Astaire and Joan Caulfield on the marquee, a wealth of Irving Berlin songs and lush Technicolor production values, this filmusical can’t miss for terrific grosses.

      The cue sheet on “Blue Skies” lists 42 different song items but some of it has been excised and the rest so skillfully arranged, orchestrated and presented that the nostalgic musical cavalcade doesn’t pall. The songs are pleasantly familiar to the World War I generation and, for the youngsters, they are refreshing and solid, especially as Berlin has modernized them.

      …the dialog is inclusive of such tongue-in-cheek cracks as “I like kids even better than horses” (Crosby), along with other topical innuendos on Bing’s bangtails [racing] penchant. It’s in a rather corny scene with the baby that one of the three new Berlin numbers, “Running Around in Circles (And Getting Nowhere)” is done by Crosby to Karolyn Grimes, a rather self-conscious five-year-old. (Incidentally, of the other two new Berlin numbers, “You Keep Coming Back Like a Song” and “A Serenade to an Old-Fashioned Girl,” the former is the most promising of all three new tunes).

      …Certainly, for Astaire, it’s perhaps a new triumph. If he ever seriously thought of retiring, ‘Skies’ should postpone any such ideas.

      …Crosby is Crosby although a slightly heftier Bing. He’s the same troubadour, chirping the ditties as only Crosby does even though his waistline is somewhat more generous than behooves a juve.

(Variety, September 25, 1946)

 

So many screen exercises in the music-album line have been so cluttered up with “biography” that it is a pleasure at last to see one in which a tune-vender’s life and his music are not mutually and mawkishly abused. Such a one is the Paramount’s current and cheerfully diverting “Blue Skies,” which catalogues some songs of Irving Berlin without catalyzing that gentleman’s career. And with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby as its bright particular stars, everyone’s probity is honored by it—especially Mr. Berlin’s.

There’s a lot to be said for any picture in the musical comedy groove which adheres to the oft-forgotten dictum that a film should be seen as well as heard, that variety and vitality in the visual are the stuff of which musicals are made. And when the evidence of that adherence is so enthusiastically displayed as it is by Messrs. Astaire and Crosby in “Blue Skies,” you may depend upon being entertained.

The story? Let’s not argue about it. It’s a standard and harmless little thing about the casual and genial competition between two song-and-dance men for a girl. One of them very soon gets her, but as he is a rolling stone, his interest is slightly sporadic. On that track, it ambles along. As a plot, it is no more elusive than the peg for “Holiday Inn,” in which the two above-mentioned performers and Mr. Berlin’s tunes were also combined. And the worst—or the best—to be said for it (you can tolerably take your pick) is that it does have a few soggy moments which are quickly and obligingly dismissed.

But it does serve as adequate hanger for some sparkling and stimulating turns of song, dance and general fancifying to Mr. Berlin’s familiar tunes. Best of the lot, for our wampum, is Mr. Astaire’s electrifying dance to that ancient and honorable folk-song, “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Turned out in striped pants and top hat, Mr. A. makes his educated feet talk a persuasive language that is thrilling to conjugate. The number ends with some process-screen trickery in which a dozen or so midget Astaires back up the tapping soloist in a beautiful surge of clickety-clicks. If this film is Mr. A.’s swan song, as he has heartlessly announced it will be, then he has climaxed his many years of hoofing with a properly superlative must-see.

And that’s not his only contribution. In company with the redoubtable Bing, he doubles in song while that nipper doubles in dance in a comedy gem, written especially for the occasion, entitled “Two Song-and-Dance Men.” He also kicks his heels glibly in a fancy production of the torrid “Heat Wave,” and trips through the plot and other numbers with the elasticity of a happy rubberman.

Naturally, Mr. Crosby, as the rolling-stone character, has his share of the spotlight and holds it with aggressive modesty. He makes something lively, slick and novel of “Cuba,” along with Olga San Juan, and groans with his customary competence a new hit “You Keep Coming Back Like a Song.” Joan Caulfield, the “you” of this ditty, is most lovely and passive as the girl who stands none too seriously or firmly between Crosby and Astaire. And Billy De Wolfe, an obnoxious sort of person, is allowed only once to get too much in the way.

For the rest, there are no less than twenty of Mr. Berlin’s melodious tunes jammed here and there onto the sound-track, either as production numbers or incidental bits. And we must say that Robert Emmett Dolan has directed the music as distinctively as Stuart Heisler has directed the actors—or maybe more so. That’s why they sound so good. Or maybe it’s because they’re used as music and not as milestones in somebody’s awesome “life.”

(Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, October 17, 1946)

 

(9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing commences his first season for Philco Radio Time on ABC which continues at weekly intervals until June 18, 1947. This is the first major transcribed radio series and most of the shows are recorded in Hollywood. The scripts for the shows are mainly written by Bill Morrow who also acts as coproducer with Murdo MacKenzie. The program has an audience rating of 16.1 during the season which makes it one of the ABC network’s top shows but leaves it outside the top twenty shows nationally. Fibber McGee & Molly again top the Hooper ratings with 30.2 but they have to share the position with Bob Hope. In addition to the 211 stations on the ABC network, up to another 400 independent radio stations also take the show. Bob Hope appears on the first broadcast with regulars Lina Romay, the Charioteers, Skitch Henderson, Ken Carpenter, and John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra.

 

Crosby’s Clicko Wax Radio Network - Debut For Philco History Making (Front Page Headline)

The Bing Crosby disc show for Philco, probably the most publicised debut on record, hit the air lanes via ABC and a flock of Indie Stations last Wednesday (16th) and make no mistake about it, it’ll go down in industry annals as a precedent shattering event. The long awaited ‘wax in your ears’ debut is fraught with significant undertones and overtones. The implications from a standpoint of radio entertainment are as far reaching as anything to hit show business since the advent of talking pictures. The boys who have long contended that it would take no less a personality than the Groaner (and Philco and the dealers backed them up with one of the top coin investments in radio sponsorship) to cue a whole new pattern in broadcasting which would invite a mass exodus of radio’s top headliners from live broadcasting to transcribed shows have even a more solid base for argument, today. For on the basis of Crosby’s initial show and it was a honey, you can’t minimise the importance of that argument and what it might well do to bring about an entire new change in NBC and CBS policy, regarding their present ban on transcriptions.

      Once the switch-over of top names from live to transcribed shows gets under way and that’s inevitable, the NBC/CBS brass, rather than risk the loss of their star-studded rosters will have no other recourse but to let down the bars. Today, they still say it won’t happen but get a flock of wax shows under their belt that will pitch in the same high register as last week’s opener and they’ll be singing a different tune. Crosby proved it can be done. It was argued that wrapping up the transcribed show would strip it of the spontaneity that an on the spot performance before a live studio audience invites. Also, the ad-lib quality and the off the cuff bantering that made Crosby’s Kraft Music Hall semester one of radio’s real boffs would be lost forever. Through the simple expedient of waxing his shows before an audience, Crosby has invalidated these claims and you can match Philco’s Number One on the Crosby Disc parade with any of the live shows he’s done in the past and that goes for the spontaneity and the ad-libbing and the overall free play on the banter which only leaves us a possible pitfall, the element of timeliness and topical slant. A sufficient reserve of substitute transcriptions could be the obvious solution.

      The pay off on the Philco premiere was that without the tag-line revealing the transcription auspices, this might just as well have been done live, thus accenting the Groaner’s own claims as to the multiple advantages of “going platter” i.e. you can eliminate ‘muffs’ via re-takes similar to pix, you could spot your show at the most advantageous time and it virtually solves the problem of wrapping up guest talent. As one of radio’s top coin packages, the Philco half-hour is solid showmanship but that not only goes for Crosby but in the permanent cast line-up, including Lina Romay, The Charioteers, Skitch Henderson and John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra, as well as the overall production under the strict ‘pro wand’ of Bill Morrow and Murdo McKenzie and the scripting contribution of Morrow, Jack Benny’s ex-writer Al Lewis and Larry Clemens. Show business, in general had its ear tuned to this new Crosby show, in view of distributing reports that the Groaner’s voice ain’t what it used to be, however the Crosby three-way vocalising of, “Sun In The Morning”, “Moonlight Bay” with The Charioteers and Orchestra and “Cynthia’s In Love” with Skitch Henderson and the band should put a quietus on the rumour mill. If there is any deterioration in the groaning department, it wasn’t audible.

      Last Wednesday’s show format adhered pretty closely to the Kraft Music Hall lay-out where principal emphasis on the vocal, with the glib Crosby cross-firing. The Trotter Orchestra and The Charioteers have moved over from KMH along with Der Bingle. Spotting of Bob Hope as the guest star on the getaway show was a natural with the two ‘B’s’ slugging it out in their now, standard needling routine and chirping a novelty tune, “Put It There Pal” to accent their Pittsburgh Pirates versus Cleveland Indians baseball ownership rivalry. Ken Carpenter does the announcer chores - he’s as smooth as ever, both on script, continuity and the sales pitch. The Philco commercials weren’t commercials as such. The plugs were so inoffensively integrated, so sparsely used, as to make them an innovation. The Jimmy Carmine welcome of Crosby to the World’s largest radio audience on behalf of Philco was a blending of commercial copy with showmanship. The rating on the new Crosby show will be watched closely. It will have a lot to do with charting radio’s new pattern.

(Variety, October 23, 1946)

 

October 23, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

October 30, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are the Les Paul Trio. Bing is in Boise, Idaho, having come from Weiser where he had been pheasant shooting. He meets up with some old Gonzaga friends in the office of T. Matt Hally (class of ‘26), state highway commissioner. The other schoolmates are Sib Kleffner and Dr. Jack Garrity.

October (undated). Dixie throws a birthday party and baby shower for Sue Carol, who is now married to Alan Ladd.

November 1, Friday, Bing gives an impromptu concert for schoolchildren at a small school near Weiser, Idaho. He then leaves for Elko.

November 6, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Ralph Mendez.

 

Crosby Distress Signals Up - Wax Future Hinges On Hypo (Headline)

Bing Crosby’s troubles apparently are just beginning. That initial 24 rating on his Philco transcribed show is now down to 12.2. Latter rating based on last Wednesdays’ (6th) Show and it is understood that word has gone out to The Groaner from his Philco sponsors to get busy and do something in a hurry. Everett Crosby, brother and business manager for the crooner, who has been in New York for the past few weeks, getting agency/sponsor/trade reaction on the Philco Time Show, admitted before leaving for the Coast, Sunday 10th, that the platter show is due for some drastic re-vamping. Just who goes off the show and what hypos are contemplated hasn’t been determined yet. There are only two shows left in the advanced wax works (with Ezio Pinza and Burl Ives as guest stars) and The Groaner is due at the Hollywood recording studios, this week, when the boys will sit down and thrash out the whole advanced pattern of the show. Meanwhile, the rating nose-dive plus the unfavorable reaction to Crosby’s last few shows have contributed to putting a quietus on the ‘live to transcription’ flurry of trade excitement that followed in the wake of Crosby’s premiere and Philco’s super promotion job. In view of the original contract stipulation which calls for Crosby to go ‘live’ in the event that his ratings slip under 12 on four consecutive broadcasts, some of the boys are wagering that The Groaner segues back to live programs. The fault, they say, doesn’t lie in the transcriptions as such but in the quality of the show. While others say let Bergen go into the same spot on NBC and you will get a more accurate appraisal of transcription potentialities. The new musician’s contract is also raising havoc with the show, with Everett Crosby tipping off that the 31 piece John Scott Trotter Orchestra will be reduced to 18 men, to bring the show in under the talent cost budget.

(Variety, November 13, 1946)

 

November 8, Friday. Records a Philco show in Hollywood with Burl Ives. The show is broadcast on November 20.

November 13, Wednesday. (10:00–11:00 a.m.). In the NBC Studios, rehearses for a Philco show with Judy Garland. (12:15–2:15 p.m.). Records the Philco show which is broadcast on November 27. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Ezio Pinza.

 

Crosby show’s face lifting.

Philco switch adopts name guestar policy.

Hollywood, Nov. 16— Breathing now is a little easier in the Bing Crosby crowd since the Philco show’s 12.2 Hooper dive straightened out last week (13) to a 15.8. However, show will still get a P.D.Q. hypo to avoid another rating dip. Bill Morrow, Groaner’s producer-writer, says the airer will use “good, solid names,” listing among future guesters, Judy Garland for Thanksgiving week broadcast, Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny, Jascha Heifitz, Edgar Berger and a return engagement for Bob Hope. Show for the most part will be plattered only two weeks prior to airing with Morrow feeling that any weaknesses in the first six programs can be blamed on too many cuttings crammed into a short period of time. Der Bingle is of the opinion that the advance recording should in no way impair the program’s listener appeal and in the future he will avoid doing too many shows in a short span of time. Lina Romay, who appears on the first six platters, will  now “occasionally” drop in on the show, as will other fem chirps. Miss Romay was not included in the Thanksgiving program cut last week. Morrow, however, stressed that changes now being made in the show are not to be mistaken as “panic or emergency moves resulting from the 12.2 rating.” According to Morrow, some of these changes were planned after the first platter was aired, with others to have evolved naturally as the show progressed. He denied that Miss Romay is being eased out, saying the Latin lass was not intended as a cast regular originally and that the only reason she is on the first six shows is because the platters were cut within the same period of time. Morrow pointed out that if the show were live, gradual changes would have been made during the six weeks it had been on the air, brushing up certain weak spots. By waxing all six at one shot, nothing could be done until this time.

(Billboard, November 23, 1946)

 

November 14, Thursday. (9:00–11:50 a.m.) Records songs from his film Welcome Stranger with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra.

November 16, Saturday. (6:00 p.m.) Bing, Kate Smith, and Rosalind Russell broadcast on behalf of the Sister Kenny Foundation.

November 18, Monday. (3:30–5:00 p.m.). In the NBC Studios, rehearses for a Philco show with Jimmy Durante. (6:45–8:45 p.m.). The Philco show recording takes place and the show is broadcast on December 4.

November 19, Tuesday. (8:30–10:15 a.m.) Bing records “Country Style” and “My Heart is a Hobo” with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra. Later he checks in to St. John’s Hospital for what is said to be a minor surgical operation at first but is later corrected to “x-rays and a routine check–up.”

 

Album Reviews

Welcome Stranger – (Decca A-531)

Bing Crosby covers four songs from his Welcome Stranger movie in this set of two records. And with John Scott Trotter’s music, emphasises the hit quality of the score’s ballad song, As Long as I’m Dreaming. Other songs have only production value, Crosby singing it in easy and rhythmic style for Smile Right Back at the Sun and My Heart Is a Hobo. And with the Calico Kids on the chant, Crosby is also the caller for the country style square dance ditty. Picture of the singer graces the album cover. Accompanying is a booklet more ambitious than the recordings, giving the screen story, Bing’s bio and the song lyrics. Screen showings will hypo interest in this set.

(Billboard, May 24, 1947)

 

Country Style / My Heart Is a Hobo / As Long As I’m Dreaming / Smile Right Back at the Sun

Better sides than Bing has made in a long while.  Sounds if he actually felt like singing. In Style it’s mostly his engaging half-singing manner that sneaks him through the by now apparent faults in his upper tones - and it’s a square dance too (Decca A531)

(DownBeat, June 4, 1947)

 

You’ve probably heard this in all the juke boxes by now but we’d still like to recommend ‘Country Style’ as the best Crosby disc of the season. Crosby’s easy-going humorous arrangement takes you for a rural hayride and he does a bang-up job calling the turns at the village barn dance. Farmer Crosby certainly didn’t lay an egg with this one.

(Song Hits Magazine, October 1947, p14)

 

For the more sophisticated there are no less than six new records by Bing Crosby. Everybody will enjoy Country Style from the film “ Welcome Stranger,” though the reverse may be confined to the fans As Long as I’m Dreaming (Bruns. 03801). From the same film are Smile Right Back at the Sun and My Heart Is a Hobo, both with a comfortable lilt on 03802.

(The Gramophone, December 1947)

 

November 20, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Burl Ives. Lina Romay drops out of the show after this program.

November 21, Thursday. Bing checks out of St. John’s Hospital.

 

Bing Crosby back home over the weekend after three days in St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica, where he underwent minor surgery.

(Daily Variety, November 25, 1946)

 

November 23, Saturday. June Crosby, Bob’s wife, gives birth to a son, Stephen Ross.

November 24, Sunday. (3:00–4:00 p.m.). In the NBC Studios, rehearses for a Philco show with Peggy Lee and Jerry Colonna. (6:25 –8:30 p.m.) The Philco show is recorded and airs on December 11.

November 27, Wednesday. A test screening of The Emperor Waltz is held at Long Beach and Wilder and Brackett decide to cut the song “Get Yourself a Phonograph” from the film.  (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Judy Garland and the Les Paul Trio.

 

Nov.27…Drove to Long Beach for the preview of The Emperor Waltz. It was the right kind of a first preview, not breath-takingly enthusiastic but proving that we have a solid fairy-tale kind of a picture if the terms be not contradictory, a mousse with a reliable skeleton, which will be infinitely improved when the minutes are cut from it. One song “Get Yourself a Phonograph” laid a complete egg and must go. The violin concerto is too long, the style of writing the titles is appalling—illegible. Some official jokes don't warrant their laugh, but the whole thing is going to be all right. Everyone from the studios seemed pleased with it, Frank Butler having a couple of excellent suggests.

(From the diaries of Charles Brackett, as reproduced in It’s the Pictures That Got Small, page 296)

 

December 1, Sunday. Press comment states that after a brilliant start on the ABC network, Bing’s transcribed radio show is now “the season’s major disappointment.” The transcribed discs are felt not to be satisfactory and appear metallic and fuzzy. Bing is said to be too casual, with even his singing not tidy and sure and sometimes off-key. His relaxed charm seems to be missing and there is an apparent preoccupation to get each program done. Major revisions are planned for the future of the show with top performers such as Al Jolson being engaged.

December 2, Monday. (2:45–3:30 p.m.). In the NBC Studios, Bing rehearses a Philco show with Peggy Lee. (6:30–8:23 p.m.) Records the Philco show for transmission on December 18.

December 4, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Jimmy Durante.

 

Jimmy Durante hypoed the Bing Crosby-Philco Show into easily the best since the debut program when Bob Hope guested. Crosby needs a sprightly comic to give the proceedings that bounce which is so necessary.

(Variety, December 11, 1946)

 

Bing Crosby always had a great love for Jimmy Durante and enjoyed doing vaudeville routines with him. Durante appeared as a guest on Crosby’s Philco Radio Time five times from 1946 to 1949 on ABC. The funniest of those guest appearances was Crosby’s show of December 4, 1946. Durante tried to sing Bing’s theme song, “Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day),” and “I Surrender Dear” as a duet. Bing, for his part, tackles Durante’s theme song, “You Gotta Start Off Each Day with a Song,” as part of a duet, and bravely sings without help Durante’s “I’m Jimmy, the Well Dressed Man,” changing it to “Crosby, the Well Dressed Man.” The show closes with both singing “Blue Skies.”

(Jimmy Durante - His Show Business Career, page 125)

 

December 5, Thursday. Bing attends a baseball banquet at the Biltmore Bowl. He sings “My Old Kentucky Home” with Bob Hope, George Jessel and Baseball Commissioner A. B. ‘Happy’ Chandler.

December 9, Monday. (2:00–3:30 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for his Christmas show for Philco. (5:45–7:45 p.m.) Records the Philco show and it is broadcast on December 25.

December 7, Saturday. Bing’s recording of “White Christmas” enters the charts and eventually reaches number one again during its six-week stay.

December (undated). Bing and Bob Hope perform a golfing sketch and sing “Harmony” for the film Variety Girl, a Paramount extravaganza packed with guest stars performing cameo roles. Among those taking part in the final section of “Harmony” are Gary Cooper, Barry Fitzgerald, Dorothy Lamour, Ray Milland, William Holden, Burt Lancaster, William Bendix and Cass Daley.

December 9, Monday. Leo Lynn, Bing's stand-in is admitted to hospital with a heart ailment.

December 10, Tuesday. Bing and Bob Hope take part in the International Blind Golf and Shooting Tournament at Inglewood Golf Club, California. Bing plays with Clinton J. Russell and Bob has Charles Boswell as his partner.

December 11, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee and Jerry Colonna.

December 16, Monday. (12:30–2:15 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show with Peggy Lee and Joe Frisco. (3:50–5:50 p.m.) Records the Philco show and it is broadcast on January 1, 1947.

December 17, Tuesday. (9:30–11:45 a.m.) Bing records “That’s How Much I Love You” and “Rose of Santa Rosa” songs with his brother Bob’s Bobcats and The Chickadees in Hollywood. “That’s How Much I Love You” briefly charts in the No. 17 spot.

 

At first, Nelson served as a ghostwriter for Trotter. Over a three-year period, he wrote about two dozen charts for Crosby, one of which, “That’s How Much I Love You,” reached #17 on the Billboard pop chart in April 1947.

Finally, Nelson got his chance to actually conduct a recording date with Bing. Bob Bain, who played on that date, recalled calling Doreen as soon as they had finished recording. “Nelson wasn’t nervous but Doreen sure was,” Bain recalled. “I had promised her that I would call her to let her know that everything went okay, which it did.”

(Peter J. Levinson, September in the Rain: The Life of Nelson Riddle, page 74)

 

December 18, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Peggy Lee.

December 21, Saturday. Decca has issued a 4-disc 78rpm album set called Bing Crosby - Jerome Kern and Billboard magazine reviews it on this day.


With the forthcoming of the new movie keyed to the music of Jerome Kern, there is more than casual interest in this packaging of eight melodies by the master, some of which had been issued earlier as singing sides. Attention is also directed to two of the eight sides Bing Crosby had the missus, Dixie Lee, joining him vocally. Mr. and Mrs. Crosby share the lyrics for the ballads A Fine Romance and The Way You Look Tonight with Victor Young providing the musical background. Album plays down Mrs. Crosby, which is easy to understand once the sides spin out. Much more effective are the other six sides that has the groaner giving out in his usual easy and relaxed style, bearing out all the expression and understanding of the Kern songs… Booklet included with the package includes copious notes on the singer and the composer…Movie association will heighten the merchandising appeal of this slap-together set.



December 22, Sunday. (10:00–11:30 a.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show with Mickey Rooney and Peggy Lee. (1:38–3:38 p.m.) Records the Philco show and it is broadcast on January 8, 1947.

 December 23, Monday. (11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m., 1:30–2:45 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show with Al Jolson. (5:40–7:38 p.m.) The Philco show is transcribed. One of the duets with Jolson is issued on V-Disc. The show is broadcast on January 15, 1947.


I watched a theatrical history-making event the other evening. I watched Al Jolson and Bing Crosby do a broadcast, that is to make a recording for a “Bingsday” show, which was really something! It was a thrill and something unique to watch these two masters of two entirely different techniques work together. It was the first time that Al and Bing had ever performed together. This recording, which the public will be able to hear on the Jan. 15 broadcast, will be a collector’s item.

Jolson represents a definite type of singing, of selling a song, and Crosby represents an entirely different type of singing and selling a song. Yet both Jolson and Crosby are a distinct part of Americana, both leaders who set styles that had many imitators, both are permanent representatives of American theatricals.

It was fascinating to watch these men perform together. When they did the broadcast at NBC before a regular studio audience, you could feel that the audience knew that they were watching something entirely out of the ordinary. In fact, practically every performer and musician who was at the broadcasting station left their job to crowd into this studio to watch Jolson and Crosby.

Both Jolson and Crosby, you could tell while you watched them go through their routines, had great admiration and respect for each other. They kidded each other, but it was not the usual type of radio kidding and insulting. You felt that these two men were admiring each other and inspecting each other. And when they sang together, they do three different types of songs together, you were aware that you were listening to the best in the manner of popular singers that this nation had produced during our time.

There was Jolson, who pushes a song, who sells it somewhat in the manner of a fighter in the ring, who punches from the shoulders and gives it everything he has. There was Crosby, who almost listlessly croons a song, and who does it with almost a studied indifference. Jolson appeared concerned about putting the song over, and Crosby appeared unconcerned about putting the song over. Yet together they put over songs as they have never been put over before.

Crosby wasn’t really fooling when he said, “Al, you were my idol when I started in the business. I went to hear you sing and admired you.” Jolson wasn’t really fooling when he said, “Bing, I didn’t believe you’d get anywhere with that slow and easy manner of singing.” Yet they both realized that they were the leaders in their distinctive styles for their different generations of admirers.

Yet, as Crosby commented, “It is remarkable that the Jolson technique is still favored and again a vogue by a generation who had never seen him but his technique in The Jolson Story.”

During the broadcast, Bing sang and played strictly to the microphone, and not to the actual audience watching. Jolson, who was popular before the day of the microphone, played mainly to the gathered audience, regardless of the microphone. Like the theme of the picture about him, Jolson was singing so he could watch the faces of his audience.

I could go on–but wait until you hear the broadcast. It’s a hunk of theatrical history.

(Sidney Skolsky, Hollywood Citizen News, January 2, 1947)


December 24, Tuesday. (3:00–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses with Bob Hope for an evening broadcast. (7:00–7:30 p.m.) Bing guests on Bob Hope’s radio show on NBC with Desi Arnaz, Jerry Colonna, and Vera Vague. The show comes from Sawtelle Veterans’ Hospital. (9:00 –10:30 p.m) Bing appears at the conclusion of the radio show Paul Whiteman’s ABC Christmas Party on ABC. He reads the Nativity story from St. Luke’s gospel and then sings “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.

December 25, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC.

December 27, Friday. The Bing Crosby Productions film Abie’s Irish Rose is released by United Artists and creates Jewish-Irish controversy which upsets Bing. The film is based on a very successful stage play from the 1920s about an Irish girl marrying a Jewish boy but it fails badly at the box office. Some of the material is now regarded as offensive to religious and racial groups and Jewish observers attribute the change in feeling about the story to the heightened awareness of religious and racial tensions which the intervening years since the stage play was shown have produced. Several cuts to the film were made following complaints before release.

 

...It still is a source of intermittent laughter; laughter which stems from the exaggerated racial and religious prejudices of Solomon Levy and Patrick Murphy, whose youngsters, Abie and Rosemary, are married first by a minister, secondly by a rabbi and lastly by a Catholic priest. But somehow in this day, one does not relish this sort of humor. In fact, it is downright embarrassing to see characters upon the screen insulting each other because one happens to be a Jew and the other an Irish Catholic. Of course, it is all intended as innocent joshing and the principals come to love and respect one another before the fadeout, but this does not quite remove the distaste of what has gone before.

(New York Times, December 23, 1946)

 

The essence of film fare is obviously to entertain. This one doesn’t. It can’t, when the fundamentals are as meretricious as unwind in these hokey 96 minutes. Nor does it suffice to dismiss it as merely hokum. There is commercial hoke and there is spurious buncombe [sic]. This celluloid concoction, for all its elementary plot development, is untimely. . . Fundamentally, the story has become a topical misfit.

(Variety, November 27, 1946)

 

Rosemary is the daughter of Patrick Murphy, an American-Irish Catholic; Abie is the son of Solomon Levy, an American orthodox Jew. The two young people meet in London on VE Day, when Rosemary is entertaining American troops, and Abie, a wounded soldier, is one of the troops. They fall in love at first sight and are married by a Protestant Army chaplain. Back in America the problem arises how to break the news to their respective parents. . . .

(Picture Show, March 6, 1948)

 

December 31, Tuesday. Bing hosts the Illinois grid team to lunch.

December (undated). Plans are being made for Bing to go to England in February 1948 to make a film for Alexander Korda. While there he will record some Philco shows with British talent and make some records. British comedian Sid Field is thought likely to be in the film which is being written by Damon Runyon. However Runyon dies and the project does not proceed.

 

Bing Crosby has canceled his British picture. “I wanted to go there but they didn’t have a script for me,” Bing tells me at Paramount on the Road to Rio set. I guess they haven’t yet heard in England that Bing is the three times winner at the box office in this country. And when I ask Bing his reaction to this he replies, “Now I believe it, three times makes it official.” And you can bet that Bing won’t be doing any more pictures featuring a minority race. He is really upset with the Jewish-Irish controversy over Abie’s Irish Rose.

(Sheilah Graham, Hollywood Citizen News, January 1, 1947)

 

Bing’s 1946 income is put at $867,500. He is named the top movie box office star in the U.S.A. for 1946. In the annual poll by Down Beat, Frank Sinatra is voted top male singer of 1946. Bing is second with Perry Como third. During the year, Bing has had thirteen records that have become chart hits and also Decca has issued ten 78rpm albums of his recordings in the twelve-month period. A scholarly book Bing Crosby and the Bing Crosby Style by Dr. J. T. H. Mize has been published by Who Is Who in Music Inc. and this commences as follows:

 

The best-liked, best known, and best-paid singer in the world is Bing Crosby. He is the person most deserving of the appelative “a truly typical American,” or “Uncle Sam without the Whiskers,” or “Mister America.” Comparable to the late Will Rogers, Bing has truly captured the hearts of America’s millions, for his unique and flexible manner of musical utterances possesses unparalleled mass appeal, and his appeal is not confined to any class nor age. Indeed, his popularity is not confined to America, for it is validly stated that his voice has been heard by, and is readily recognized and enjoyed by, more people than any other voice in the history of the human race. Because his musical, social and cultural contributions are immeasurable, because he has achieved an unprecedented and deserved popularity in the world’s musical scene, because he has achieved this ascendancy in so many media of expression, and because his manner and style of singing, has exerted such a distinct and string influence on practically all style of singing, this Biographical Bookette is devoted to him alone: Bing Crosby and the Bing Crosby Style.

 

1947

 

January 1, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee and Joe Frisco.

January 2–March. Films Road to Rio (the fifth of the series) financed this time by Bing, Bob Hope, and Paramount. Bing, Bob, and Dorothy Lamour star as usual with Gale Sondergaard in a featured role. The Andrews Sisters appear in the film to sing “You Don’t Have to Know the Language” with Bing. The director is Norman McLeod with the regular team of Robert Emmett Dolan and Joseph J. Lilley being responsible for musical direction and vocal arrangements respectively. Dolan’s work on Road to Rio is unsuccessfully nominated for an Oscar for “Best Scoring of a Musical Picture” for 1947 but he loses out to Alfred Newman for Mother Wore Tights.

 

The Road To Rio was an entirely different ball game for Bing and me. This time his company and mine each owned one third of the picture, and Paramount owned the other third.

Bing and I were partners in other businesses as well.

We had both invested in a Texas oil venture that had brought us money by the gusher. We found another promising investment, a soft drink called Lime Cola. A promoter from Montgomery, Alabama, convinced us to invest $25,000 apiece with the promise that he was going to put Coca-Cola out of business.

The thought occurred to us: why not use The Road to Rio to help sell Lime Cola?

Why not indeed? We ordered a large sign to be displayed prominently in one of the scenes.      

“You can’t do that!” argued the Paramount attorney, Jack Karp. “That’s advertising!”

“We can’t do that, huh?” I said. “Say, Bing - who owns this picture?”

“Why, you own a third, and I own a third,” Bing replied.

“Let’s see - one third and one third makes two thirds, right? I guess Paramount is outvoted.”

The Lime Cola ad remained in The Road to Rio.

Unfortunately, Lime Cola didn’t put Coca-Cola out of business: Lime Cola went out of business itself. Bing’s and my 25 Gs were gone with the wind.

There was no way to remove the Lime Cola ad from the picture. When the sign came on the screen at the preview, the only thing Bing and I could do was slump down in our seats and crawl up the aisle on our hands and knees.

(Bob Hope, writing in The Road to Hollywood)

 

Following the 1946 release of “Road To Utopia,” described by Crowther as the funniest film about prospecting since Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush,” Paramount announced it would be the last in the series.

The studio said coordinating shooting schedules for the three stars had become all but impossible. Billboard quoted a Paramount spokesman saying the radio schedules of Crosby and Hope cost the studio $250,000 in delays and rescheduling during shooting of the last one. Media and the public rose up in protest and some 75,000 irate letters were received by Paramount before the studio waived a white flag, which read “Road To Rio.”

Hollywood was changing once more, listing back in the direction of Little Mary’s glorious legacy of control by inmate whim. Stars of the sound era were learning to “talk” money as their silent predecessors had. More of them were retaining financial advisers and the need for advantageous income tax positioning was bringing about a restructuring in the wage-slave relationship with studios.

Hope and Crosby incorporated themselves and demanded the right to have their companies invest in their films and share in the profits. They put $350,000 into “Road To Rio,” each getting one-third ownership which made them equal partners with Paramount. Dorothy Lamour did not have a company and was not given a chance to participate although Hope and Crosby did make certain she received a small percentage of the profits, apart from her base salary. She was unhappy but no enduring breach resulted.

For The Singer, “Road To Rio” produced the last of the memorable songs from the series, “But Beautiful,” in the top ten four weeks.

(Troubadour, page 302)

 

Early in 1947, Bing picked up the Los Angeles papers and read some unpleasant news about an old friend, a trombonist and singer whom he’d known for almost twenty years and whom he’d used in several of his pictures. The musician had become a band leader, but times were bad for band leaders, and he was stranded in Los Angeles without enough money to pay off his band. In addition, his wife was suing him for divorce in an unsavory court action, which was bringing him just that more ugly publicity. Bing, working on “The Road to Rio” at Paramount asked the musician to come out to the studio. He greeted him warmly and then made an abrupt about-face.

“You know”, he told the troubled bandsman, “I’m getting sick and tired of seeing your face around here. When can you get out of here, and how much will you need to get back to New York? Answer one at a time.”

“Immediately” was the answer to the first. “Four hundred dollars,” answered the second. Bing turned to his stand-in, Leo Lynn and directed his next movements. “Get him $600 and put him on the next train out of here.” He turned to the musician.  “Now git! And don’t let me see you around here until you’re persona grata with everybody. Honestly, every time my back is turned…” He winked and went back to work whistling.

When he got back to New York, the musician told friends, “All he did was to save my life and career. That’s all.”

(The Incredible Crosby, page 289)

 

In the spring of 1947, Jack Teagarden was unemployed and in debt, when he received a message from Bing Crosby to call at his office the following day. Bing was well aware of Jack’s troubles and when Jack said he could not make a fresh start in California, Bing suggested that he should pick up where he had left off in New York. He then had a cheque made out to Jack for six hundred dollars for, as he put it, some fares and some snacks. When Teagarden assured him that the loan would not be for long, he was told with a smile, “I know, you’ll pay me back. Make sure that you do. I need the dough, son.”

(From Jack Teagarden: The Story of a Jazz Maverick by Jay Smith and Len Guttridge)

 

January 7, Tuesday. (12:30–2:00 p.m., 4:00–4:15 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (4:20–6:12 p.m.) Transcribes his Philco show with George Jessel and Lina Romay. The show is broadcast on January 22.

January 8, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee and Mickey Rooney.

 

Since it is Wednesday and since this is Bing Crosby’s night to howl, I feel that it is about time to fly in the face of those malcontents who have expressed their disapproval of this particular program.

      There is, naturally, no accounting for tastes and if you don’t like Crosby’s show, yours is the perfect right to level the finger of scorn. As far as I am concerned, and I have said this before, he has one of the happiest musical half-hours in broadcasting.

      So perhaps some of his gags do fall flat; who, among radio performers, is immune from that recurrent fever? He can still out sing any popular baritone currently airing his pipes before the public . . . .

(Paul Speegle, San Francisco Chronicle, January 8, 1947)

 

January 10–12, Friday–Sunday. The Bing Crosby Pro-Am Tournament resumes at the new location of Pebble Beach on the Monterey peninsula as a fifty-four-hole competition. For the first time it is known as the National Pro-Am and Bing puts up $10,000 in prize money. All of the gate proceeds go to charity. The format is that the first round is played at Cypress Point, the second at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club and the final round at Pebble Beach. Bing’s own play is praised after the first round when he and Cam Puget, the home professional, are in second place in the pro-am competition. However, they do not win. Bing’s handicap is quoted as five. The professional tournament is tied between George Fazio and Ed Furgol with Sam Snead and Roger Kelly winning the pro-am. Bing and Jimmy Demaret sing a duet at the stag dinner following the tournament.

January 13, Monday. Attends the Photoplay Awards star-studded black-tie ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel and picks up the Gold Medal for Most Popular Actor for the third successive year. Bing sings and entertains, accompanied by Skitch Henderson. ABC radio broadcasts the event between 10:30 and 11.30 p.m. Part of the proceedings are captured by newsreels.


Hollywood had an award party last night where nobody stroked a long whisker or pointed with pride, and everyone loved it. For a while I thought some of the editors of Photoplay were a bit alarmed with Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby and others started to gallop off with Gallup, but they fell into the spirit of it and realized presently that it was the best prize-giving soiree we’ve ever had in these parts. Some fun.

Danny was master of ceremonies. He put the gang in his pocket at the outset and kept ‘em there. He sang gobbledegook in the inimitable Danny Kaye manner, he kidded Gallup, he grew sentimental about his new baby, Dana, and sang a new specially composed sandman song dedicated to her, and he couldn’t do anything people weren’t crazy about. Too bad Sylvia Fine wasn’t there to hear him.

Any Hollywood crowd is a pushover for Crosby. It’s so unheard of for Bing to get up and start adlibbing like he did last night that people couldn’t believe their ears, but he really gave. Some fun. Not a long whisker anywhere. I remember Bing ambling up to get his Oscar a couple of years ago, a solemn guy feeling the importance of the occasion. Last night was important too but it wasn’t so weighted with dignity....Skitch Henderson and Anita Colby at the David O. Selznick table and Skitch played Bing’s piano accompaniment.

(Florabel Muir, Hollywood Citizen News, January 14, 1947)

 

January 15, Wednesday. (2:30–3:30 p.m., 4:00–4:30 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. (4:30–6:00 p.m., 8:00–8:30 p.m.) Transcribes the Philco show. The show is broadcast on January 29. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Al Jolson.

 

Crosby and Jolson read like a good combination and sounded as well, spinning on Philco’s half-hour platter, last week (15th). No question that it was among the top and best shows Crosby has done for his new sponsor. The program was good, principally because the crossfire between the pair, stood up. For it was a cinch that with these two guys there wasn’t going to be much wrong with the singing. The comedy premise was a switch back to a dressing room with neophyte, Crosby, calling on the star, Jolson to ‘try out’. Of course, they had to be a little careful about just how early they keyed the sequence, in order to skip having to blow out the footlights. But the comedy writing job stood up and had a good ‘tag’ of Jolson telling Crosby that if Paramount does “The Crosby Story” he will be glad to do for him what he did for Larry Parks.

      Previously, they had teamed on “April Showers”; “Rosie” (sic); “The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else” and Jolson had whipped across “Swanee” alone, in Hit Parade tempo with a dynamic orchestra which guarantees to get him out of any jam and does. He was in no difficulty here, although the repeat on his very familiar standard tunes was sufficient to hint that Jolson might shuffle the deck and thumb through it in search of a couple of not so familiar songs. For instance, what’s become of “Rum-Tum-Tiddle” and there are surely, others. Perhaps the surprise part of the broadcast was when Crosby and Jolson were taking turns splitting a chorus. It wasn’t always easy to distinguish who was singing, especially in the lower registers. A singing commercial by both, also was, inevitably, funnier in the studio than over the air, as it came through not as the pause that refreshes. Yet the combination can obviously stand a repeat, anytime. Most everybody thought this would be a good one - ‘Twas!

(Variety, January 22, 1947)

 

I’ve heard a lot of talk from people about what a break it was for Al Jolson when I gave him two or three radio spots. There was talk that it revitalized the old boy and gave him a second birth in show business.

Al did as much for me as I did for him. Signing him was a lucky stroke for me. Some of the best radio shows I’ve ever had involved Al. If they helped Al make a comeback—that is, if he needed a comeback—they helped me as much. Al happened to me at a time when I needed good shows, and getting him to go on with me gave me a big boost.

He was indefatigable. If you’d let him, he’d sing all night. Some people had trouble controlling Jolson on the radio because he wanted to do the things that had been successful for him for so many years on the stage, in vaudeville, and in pictures. Al loved to do things for a studio audience which were strictly visual. His gestures and his mugging would make the audience in the radio studio laugh, but the people listening at home were baffled. They figured they weren’t in on the gag and that they were being left out of things. It steamed them. Radio producers didnt think those things were good radio fare, and for that reason Al was in Coventry. But Bill Morrow, my writer, had the knack of handling Jolson. He would talk Al out of those things so reasonably that Al would think he was getting his own way.

(Call Me Lucky, page 153)

 

    January 17, Friday. (8:30–9:50 a.m.) Bing records songs from the film The Emperor Waltz in Hollywood with Victor Young and his Orchestra. Decca later issue the songs as 2-disc 78rpm album and this reaches the No. 2 spot in the Billboard best-selling popular record albums chart on August 7, 1948. It is 9th in the year’s top-selling popular record albums listing.

January 18, Saturday. Larry Crosby’s son, John, marries Beatrice Turner.

January 21, Tuesday. (2:15–2:45 p.m., 6:00–6:53 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (2:45–4:15 p.m., 6:53–7:29 p.m.) Bing transcribes the Philco show with Peggy Lee and Beatrice Lillie which airs on February 5.

 

Crosby ET Show in Steady Climb: Hooper Hits 20.6

New York, Jan. 25. Bing Crosby’s transcribed Philco show continues to climb, rating-wise, and is nearing the socko 24.0 Hooper registered by the opening show on October 16 which had Bob Hope as guest. Wednesday’s (22) session with Al Jolson guesting, registered a 20.6—giving ABC and Philco cause for rejoicing. Next Wednesday’s show (29) is also expected to hit a high mark, the groaner having lined up Hope again, with the added attraction of Dorothy Lamour. Ratings since show opened reveal an initial high rating followed by a sharp drop, in turn followed by a steady climb. Figures are as follows and include special Hooper studies made in addition to the regular Hooper taken at two-week intervals.

October 16, 24.0; November 6, 12.2; November 13, 15.8; November 20, 15.6; December 4, 13.4; December 18, 15.8; January 8, 16.1 and January 15, 20.6.

      This pattern of diving and climbing bears out thinking of ABC execs who predicted such a course. Show opened on the wave of socko promotion. Weak guestars, plus a fade in the initially strong promotion helped account for the dive; and a return to a stronger guest policy plus Crosby’s strong personal draw is held accountable for the upward swing. Proponents of the transcribed feature of the Crosby-Philco operation also point out that the boost in listening audience is a strong indication that it matters little to listeners whether a program is live or disked.

(Billboard, February 1, 1947)

 

By common consent [Crosby] is the head man of American entertainment in just about every branch but sidewalk magic. But none of the other achievements measures up to the magnitude of his assault on the established framework of radio. For two decades the tycoons of the ether have snuffed out rebellions like so many cigarettes; it took Crosby to bring them to heel ( . . . ) That he had his way is the clearest testimony that he is the No. 1 man in entertainment—certainly, as Variety called him, ‘Mr. Radio himself.’ Radio is a tough business, and characteristically merciless to nonconformists. That the whole roster of radio stars is planning to follow Crosby’s lead next year [in transcribing their programs for broadcast on later dates] is plain enough tribute to his leadership.

(Fortune Magazine, January 1947)

 

January 22, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Jack McVea and his All Stars, Lina Romay, and George Jessel.

January 28, Tuesday. Bing's stand-in. Leo Lynn, is discharged from St. John's Hospital following a heart attack and told to have 6-month's rest. (2:25–2:45 p.m., 6:20–6:47 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show with Groucho Marx and Peggy Lee. (2:45–4:15 p.m., 6:47–7:17 p.m.) Transcribes the Philco show which is broadcast on February 12.

January 29, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.

 

Never did Bill (Morrow) put me in worse jeopardy than the time when I had Dorothy Lamour on our broadcast as a guest. She did a song on the show and it was very good, too, but we had Hope on the show. He ad libbed all over the place, up and down the aisles, milking laughs until unconscious. The result was that the show ran over-long and something had to be edited out. Bill Morrow did the cutting and the axe fell on Dotty’s song. The night the show went on the air she had a dinner party. Included among the guests were a couple of people she’d been talking to about a night club tour and whom she wanted to hear the song. Dorothy is very easy to get along with but I must say that on this occasion she was really steamed and justifiably so.

We were shooting The Road to Rio at the time and I stayed away from the set until well after lunch time, until she had had a chance to cool out a little. Although it was Morrow’s doing, she still jumps me out about it every once in a while.

(Call Me Lucky, page 273)

 

February 4, Tuesday. (2:25–2:45 p.m., 6:05–6:52 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (2:45–4:15 p.m., 6:52–7:22 p.m.) Bing transcribes the Philco show with Judy Garland and William Frawley. The show is broadcast on February 19.

February 5, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee and Beatrice Lillie.

February 9, Sunday. The Bob Hope film My Favorite Brunette is shown at a New York trade show. (10:15–10:30 p.m.) Bing is thought to have been featured in the Here’s to Veterans radio show. This was a fifteen-minute NBC program which was broadcast on Sundays.

February 11, Tuesday. (2:15–2:54 p.m., 4:12–4:18 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (2:54–4:12 p.m., 5:50–7:30 p.m.) Transcribes the Philco show which is broadcast on February 26. The guests are the Andrews Sisters and Les Paul.

February 12, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee and Groucho Marx. The transcribed Philco disks are being sent to the various radio stations along with instructions as shown below.


INSTRUCTION AND CUE SHEET – ATTENTION STATION MANAGER

 

PHILCO RADIO TIME STARRING – BING CROSBY - PROGRAM NO. 18

This sheet will give your play-back Engineers and local Announcers information about their part in the production of “PHILCO RADIO TIME” STARRING Bing Crosby. Program No. 18. The recordings are to be played continuously from beginning to end.  The pick-up is not to be lifted from the records until their conclusion since the show has been timed out to approximately 29:30.  At points where the local Announcer cuts into the program, the record should be cut out, but it should continue to play and the local Announcer should match his reading time with the recording, in accordance with the Cue List set forth below.

 

IMPORTANT

PART 2 OF THIS PROGRAM STARTS INSIDE!  PLEASE MAKE CERTAIN YOUR PLAYBACK ENGINEER UNDERSTANDS PART 2 STARTS INSIDE:

This recording should be played at the orthacoustic or (equivalent) setting on your play-back and at a constant level.  There is no necessity to ride gain.

It is not necessary for the local Announcer or the Station to identify these recordings as transcriptions, on the air, since this is already done in the program at both the beginning and end.

 

CUE SHEET  

1.  At approximately 3:57 after the beginning of the program Crosby finishes singing “RAINY NIGHT IN RIO”.  At approximately 4:21 Carpenter says “CERTAINLY THAT APPLIES TO PHILCO RADIOS AND RADIO-PHONOGRAPHS”.  This is the cue line for the first Commercial. (Note: Since Crosby talks immediately, it will be necessary to make a fast fade-out as soon as Carpenter gives the cue line.)

2.   First cut-in Commercial as read by the Local Announcer should run not longer than 1:06.

3.   At approximately 5:27 the play-back engineer should cut back to the record with a fast fade picking up the music which immediately follows the Commercial, which ends with Crosby saying “YOU’RE BRAVE MAN, KEN” and Ken saying, “I THANK YOU”.

4.  At approximately 14:28 in the middle of the Groucho Marx spot, Marx says “WHEN SHE FINALLY GETS HIM CORNERED YOU SPLASH MUD ON HER AND HE JILTS HER”  This is the cue to switch over instantaneously to Part 2, Program 18, picking up with Crosby’s line “OH! I’M A BEAST”.

5.   At approximately 23:15 after the beginning of the program, Crosby and Peggy Lee finish singing their duet “THE BEST MAN”.  At approximately 23:23 Crosby says “NOW WE SHALL HEAR FROM PHILCO’S BEST MAN”…This is the cue for the second cut-in Commercial.

6.   Second cut-in Commercial as read by the Local Announcer should run not longer than 1:08.

7.   At approximately 24:31 after the beginning of the program the playback engineer should cut back to the record with a fast fade picking up the music which follows the commercial.

8.    Carpenter’s closing begins at approximately 28:54 after the beginning of the program and concludes at approximately 29:19.  Closing theme “BLUE OF THE NIGHT” fills to approximately 29:58.

 

A stroboscope is affixed to the back of both transcriptions – Part 1 and 2.  It is requested that you check your turn-tables with this stroboscope to see that they are running at exactly 33 1/3 RPM’s.  Any slight variation in the speed of your tables will alter the length of the program and put the cue times in error.  It is requested that when checking your tables with this stroboscope you place your pick-up in the blank grooves provided on the transcriptions and play the record since the weight of the record and the pick-up drag will noticeably slow down the speed of your table.

We are most anxious that local station production of Philco Radio Time be top-notch in quality.  We’re certain you also want that.  We, therefore, request that if it is not already your practice, you have your Engineer and local Announcer run a dress rehearsal of the program before it goes on the air. As is stated on the records these transcriptions must be returned within 7 days to Philco.  A return label is enclosed for your convenience in making this shipment.  TO INSURE THAT YOU ARE CREDITED WITH RETURNING THESE RECORDS PLEASE INSERT YOUR CALL LETTERS IN THE SPACE PROVIDED ON THE LABEL.

Thank you very much for your effort and co-operation in helping us make Philco Radio Time a success.

 

HUTCHINS ADVERTISING COMPANY

8619 Sunset Boulevard

Los Angeles 46, California

 

CAUTION: THE TRANSCRIPTION FOR THE BING CROSBY PHILCO RADIO TIME PROGRAM IS NOT TO BE PLAYED PRIOR TO BROADCAST FOR OR WITHIN THE HEARING OF ANYONE EXCEPT THE NECESSARY STATION PERSONNEL FOR REHEARSAL AND CUEING PURPOSES.

 

February 13, Thursday. (8:00–10:05 a.m.) Bing records three songs with Les Paul and his Trio in Hollywood.

February 16, Sunday. (10:15–10:30 p.m.) Again thought to have been featured on the Here’s to Veterans radio program on NBC.

February 18, Tuesday. (1:30–3:30 p.m., 5:15–5:26 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (5:26–7:33 p.m.) Bing records the Philco show with Al Jolson and it is broadcast on March 5.

 

Bing Crosby and Al Jolson made another record for a broadcast which will be heard on March 5th. I thought after their recent great show that Bing and Al shouldn’t try it again. Why not leave superb alone? However, I went to watch them make the record and I take it all back! They should continue doing broadcasts together. The records would be best sellers and also collectors’ items. Bing Crosby and Al Jolson are the greatest combination I’ve ever seen in show business. It was interesting and thrilling watching them work together. Bill Morrow, who wrote the show and put it together, rates plenty of credit. I came in at the start of the rehearsal. There was Bing, nonchalantly drinking a bottle of milk and eating a chicken sandwich. Al was already at work, running through a song with the orchestra. ‘I haven’t sung much since I was here last,’ said Al, ‘so don’t expect much’. Crosby smiled.

      These two performers of entirely different styles and generations have great admiration and respect for each other. There is absolutely no display of temperament. I did notice a slight difference from the initial broadcast. Crosby acted more like a fan entranced by Jolson, which is really something coming from the great Crosby. When Al did his solo, ‘Rockabye’, Bing went into the control booth and listened to him. After Jolson finished, Bing said, ‘I wish I could sing like that guy.’ Later, to a group, Al said, ‘I never met anyone like Bingie. He’s in a league by himself.’

      After they had done the broadcast, Bing couldn’t contain himself any longer. He leaned over and kissed Al.  Jolson never looked so pleased. They are a mutual admiration society in themselves which may be why they are so great together. If you thought the original broadcast was great and thrilling, well, in the words of a fellow I know, you ain’t heard nothing yet!

(Sidney Skolsky, Hollywood Citizen News, February 25, 1947)

 

February 19, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Leo McCarey, William Frawley, and Judy Garland.

February 21, Friday. Bing is reported to have boosted his contribution to a new engineering building fund at Gonzaga to $75,000. The Rev. Francis Corkery, S.J., president of the university, announces receipt of a $50,000 check. Bing earlier had given $25,000 to the fund, which now totals $223,500. (6:30–7:00 p.m.) Bing guests on the Jimmy DuranteGarry Moore Show on CBS. Suzanne Ellers and Candy Candido are also on the show and the music is provided by Roy Bargy’s Orchestra. The announcer is Howard Petrie and the sponsor is Rexall Drug Products.

February 25, Tuesday. (1:30–3:15 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (5:20–7:30 p.m.) Bing transcribes the Philco show with Peggy Lee and the Ernie Felice Quartet. The show is broadcast on March 12. Peggy Lee’s husband, Dave Barbour, is seriously ill in hospital at the time.

 

A surgeon cut away a portion his stomach. Barbour survived, but stayed in critical condition for days. Lee drew comfort from her girlhood idol Bing Crosby, who had hosted her numerous times on his radio show and in turn became her friend. Crosby called her each morning to check that Barbour had made it through the night. He offered money, blood, even his babysitting services.

(James Gavin, Is That All There Is? The Strange Life of Peggy Lee, page 96)

 

February 26, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Another transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast and Bing’s guests are Les Paul, Joe Frisco, and the Andrews Sisters.

February 27, Thursday. Bing takes part in a Family Theater radio production of J. Smith and Wife on the Mutual Network with Irene Dunne. The host is Dana Andrews and music is provided by Meredith Willson and his Orchestra. The Family Theater productions started on February 13, 1947, and ran until 1969 with Father Peyton heavily involved.

 

Bing Crosby went straight Friday (sic) night on Mutual’s Family Theater in a warm captivating dramatic vignette tabbed J. Smith and Wife with Irene Dunne playing opposite him. The story of a married couple (who die in a boat sinking) outside the gates of the Elysian fields was full of tenderness and beauty key to the thematic purpose of the Family series.

(Variety, March 5, 1947)

 

March 1, Saturday. The Paramount newsreel issued today includes film of Bing and Bob Hope discussing baseball.

March 3, Monday. (1:30–2:56 p.m., 6:05–6:27 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (2:56–4:56 p.m., 6:27–7:03 p.m.) Bing transcribes the Philco show with Al Jolson and John Charles Thomas. The show is broadcast on April 2.

March 4, Tuesday. (2:15–4:15 p.m., 6:59–7:34 p.m.) Bing transcribes a Philco show in NBC Studio B with Danny Kaye and Peggy Lee. The show is broadcast on March 19.

March 5, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Al Jolson.

March 8, Saturday. Decca has issued a 5-disc 78rpm set called St. Patrick's Day and it is reviewed on this day by Billboard magazine. The album quickly reaches No. 4 in Billboard's best-selling popular record albums chart on March 22, 1947 and is still selling well the following year when it reaches No. 1 in the same chart on March 20, 1948.


Aiming at maximum holiday sales, this package of five platters brings together 10 Erin faves cut at varying times by Bing Crosby, getting vocal assist on some of the sides from the Jesters and the King’s Men, while the music making belongs to Bob Haggart, Victor Young and John Scott Trotter. Der Bingle in good Erin form for each of the sides and song selections are tops ... Photo of the smiling Bing on the album cover, with notes on the singer and the songs in the accompanying booklet.

(Billboard, March 8, 1947)


Bing’s album, despite his usual graceful ease of interpretation, lacks his old fullness of voice. If Crosby is going to keep on making records with his evident sloppiness and lack of interest, it would be better if he would stop now and let his millions of fans remember him by his older and far better discs.

(Down Beat, March 26, 1947)


On the same day, Billboard reviews another two 5-disc 78rpm album sets called Favorite Hawaiian Songs.


This is an over-ambitious attempt to coin extra-added out of Bing Crosby’s early recordings. In this instance the label is packaging Der Bingle’s Hawaiian diskings, putting 10 sides in a set. And there’s enough here for two such sets, using the same cover design of smiling Bing against a geographical picture of the islands with a descriptive booklet accompanying each set. For the first set, they are all slow and dreamy spinners, with instrumental and vocal support from Dick McIntire, Lani McIntire and the Paradise Island trio. Top faves in the first volume include Song of the Islands and Sweet Leilani…Both McIntire strumming ensembles are included in the second album, also of 10 sides, with two sides cut with Harry Owens’s full band. Second set includes several selections at a livelier beat, with Trade Winds the top song favorite…For Der Bingle and hula fans, there’s enough in these two packages to last a lifetime.

(Billboard, March 8, 1947)


March 11, Tuesday. (1:30–2:00 p.m., 6:10–6:40 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (2:00–4:00 p.m., 6:40–7:15 p.m.) Transcribes a Philco show with Jack Benny which airs on March 26.

March 12, Wednesday. Bing is interviewed by telephone by Australian sports writer Hugh Dash and the interview is broadcast on March 14 on the Telegraph Sports Parade radio program on station 2AW, Sydney, Australia. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Another transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast and Bing’s guests are Peggy Lee and the Ernie Felice Quartet.

March 13, Thursday. The 1946 Academy Awards show takes place at the Shrine Auditorium. Bing’s “You Keep Coming Back Like a Song” has been nominated as best film song but the winner is “On the Atcheson, Topeka, and the Santa Fe” from the Judy Garland movie The Harvey Girls. Bing has been asked to sing at the event but is said to have declined indicating that it had been so long since he sang in front of an audience he would feel uncomfortable. Robert Emmett Dolan’s nomination for “Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture” for Blue Skies is unsuccessful as Morris Stoloff wins for The Jolson Story. Norman Panama and Melvin Frank are nominated for “Best Original Screenplay” for Road to Utopia but the winners are Muriel and Sydney Box for The Seventh Veil.

March 16, Sunday. The FBI files indicate that a police raid on Dancara Stock Farm, Burbank, during the early hours of the morning finds illegal gambling. About one hundred patrons, including Bing and Bob Hope, are allowed to leave without being charged. (4:00–4:30 p.m.) Bing guests on the Jack Benny radio show on NBC with Dick Haymes, Andy Russell, and Dennis Day. Forgetting it was a live show, Bing says “hell” on the air when reaching for a high note while singing “Always” and causes a mild upset in the press. The event is subsequently captured on a V-Disc.

 

with Jack Benny.jpgThe next season, though the Sportsmen Quartet was still on the program, I began trying out other vocal groups. I was going to prove to Mr. Riggio I could find a better quartet. On one show, the quartet consisted of Bing Crosby, Dick Haymes, Andy Russell and our own Dennis Day. Now to appreciate the next story you have to realize that in those days there was no such thing as taping shows in advance and editing out fluffs and profanities. You did your broadcasts live and what was said in the studio, spontaneously and otherwise, went out over the four winds.

      During the quartet spot, Crosby had to sing a note that was much higher than his normal baritone range. Instead of the usual sweet Crosby sound, he sang a hideous squeal. This upset him and when his voice cracked on the high note, he forgot about the quartet and snarled into the microphone, “Who in the hell picked this key—Dennis Day?”

      I have to explain two more things. In 1947 you did not say words like “hell,” “damn,” “syphilis,” “bastard” or “pregnant” on the air. Secondly, in several recent pictures, most notably in the Academy Award winner, Going My Way, Crosby had been playing priests. In those sweet innocent old days, all performers, network executives and sponsors walked in fear and trembling of a vague indefinable monster known as “public opinion.”

      As soon as Crosby said the magic word “hell,” all heck broke loose on every member station of the NBC network and all the switchboards began lighting up and buzzing as thousands of irate listeners telephoned to register their shock at “Father” Crosby’s blasphemy.

      After the show ended, an NBC vice president was waiting for me in the dressing room. He was shaking his head. He was fretting and fussing and fuming. He was sure one of my writers had purposely written in this line for Crosby and had given it to him just before the show so it had not been on the mimeographed script and the NBC censors had not been able to censor it. He did not believe me when I told him it was one of those little improvised sayings that a person utters in the heat of a tense broadcast.

      He blamed me for the whole business. “You did an awful thing,” he said. “An awful thing. What an awful thing you did. You’ll have to apologize, Jack, for the awful thing you did. Your writers will have to issue some sort of a statement justifying themselves for the awful thing they did. Your producer, Hilliard Marks, will have to apologize for the awful thing. Lucky Strikes will have to apologize. NBC will have to apologize. Bing Crosby will have to apologize.” I waited and waited while he, like my imaginary Mr. Riggio, finished blowing off every molecule of steam. He was full of steam. Finally, he was out of breath.

      “You listen to me,” I said. “Nobody is going to apologize.” He started to scream again. I raised my hand to silence him.

      “The only thing that is going to happen is that in his next movie, Crosby will wear his collar frontwards, that’s all.”

      He didn’t think I was very funny.

(Jack Benny, Sunday Nights at Seven)

 

March 17, Monday. (9:00–11:50 a.m.) Records with Victor Young and his Orchestra in Hollywood. Lee Wiley joins him on “I Still Suits Me.” (1:30–1:45 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (1:45–3:45 p.m., 5:45–6:45 p.m.) Bing transcribes the Philco show with Alec Templeton and Peggy Lee which is broadcast on April 9.

 

Joined by songbird Lee Wiley and Victor Young’s music, both sell it strong for the specialty show lyrics of Jerome Kern’s “I Still Suits Me” song sophistication.

(Billboard, August 16, 1947)

 

March 19, Wednesday. (9:00–11:40 a.m.) Bing rerecords “White Christmas” and “Silent Night” as well as cutting other tracks with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra plus the Ken Darby Singers. This version of “White Christmas” becomes the world’s best-selling record. (5:00–7:45 p.m.) Bing goes on to record two tracks with Dick Haymes and the Andrews Sisters. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee and Danny Kaye. This is The Charioteers last appearance as regulars on the show. Press reports state that Bing and Claude Binyon have bought stock in Variety Records, a local odd-label record concern founded in the previous fall.

 

There’s No Business Like Show Business - Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Take two Irving Berlin favorites from an “Annie, Get Your Gun” legiter, give them to Bing Crosby to record, or Dick Haymes or Andrews Sisters—or, hey, wait a minute, give’m to all three and don’t you wish you could buy shares of Decca stock. It’s a buck platter, we know, but triple talent such as this on one black biscuit won’t do until the next thing comes along. Great material…Great recording…should go over solid.

(Billboard, June 28, 1947)

 

 ...Crosby is joined by Dick Haymes and the Andrews Sisters with Vic Schoen in those two lively numbers from Annie Get Your Gun, “Anything You Can Do” and “Show Business.” This last is undoubtedly a wow, and any gramophonic glossary would distinguish between a wow and a nap. I would stress the fact that Crosby often makes records that appeal to those who despise common crooning, and both the first and last records in this recital are in this category and should have universal appeal.

(The Gramophone, December, 1947)

 

Although they had no personal problems working with Crosby and Haymes—both on records and on radio—the girls were not accustomed to Haymes style of song arranging. He insisted on dividing segments of the song equally between himself and the sisters. According to Maxene, the trio was more concerned with the quality of the finished product rather than who sang how many lines, so they usually let the crooner have his way. One session proved troublesome, however, when the trio and Haymes joined Bing Crosby in March of 1947. Maxene recalled,

The only artist we had problems with was Dick Haymes. I guess maybe they figured we were a strange act to work with because we didn’t read music. So, when we would come into the recording session, we would have the secretary type out all of the lyrics and type out the direction of how it would go. And nobody ever disagreed. Crosby said, Anything the girls want to do.Dick counted lines, so he ruined a wonderful recording session that we could have had with Theres No Business like Show Businessbecause he made everybody change things in it.

(John Sforza, Swing It! page 113)

 

March 20, Thursday. (5:45–8:55 p.m.) Records the Christmas story “The Small One” with Victor Young and his Orchestra.

March 21, Friday. (2:00–4:00 p.m., 6:20–7:20 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing transcribes a Philco show with Burl Ives which is broadcast on April 23.

March 22, Saturday. Another 78 album of Bing's records - Cowboy Songs, Vol. 1 - has been released and Billboard reviews it.


Another anthology of Bing Crosby, this time packaging eight of his cuttings of western songs of early vintage but still standing up for the most part to the test of time. Supported by the music of Victor Young, John Scott Trotter and Jimmy Dorsey, plus Eddie Dunstedter at the organ for There’s a Gold Mine in the Sky, the Crosby chanting is heard again for Home on the Range, When the Bloom Is on the Sage (the Foursomes on the vocal assist), I’m an Old Cowhand, Mexicali Rose, Silver on the Sage, Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle and My Little Buckaroo. Bing in 10-gallon hat and riding a broncho makes for the album cover design with an accompanying booklet for the folk music.

(Billboard, March 22, 1947, page 110)


March 24, Monday. (2:30–1:15 p.m., 5:40–5:55 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for another Philco show. (1:15–3:15 p.m., 5:55–6:55 p.m.) Bing records the Philco show with Jimmy Durante for transmission on April 16.

March 25, Tuesday. (10:00 p.m.–12:30 a.m. on the 26th.) Makes his only two records with Al Jolson, “The Spaniard That Blighted My Life” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Morris Stoloff and his Orchestra furnish support. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” spends two weeks in the Billboard Best-Seller charts in the No. 20 spot.

 

Good natured joshing by two great show business figures. Get Jolson’s mimicking an aria on Life. (Decca 40038)

(DownBeat, June 4, 1947)

 

ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND - THE SPANIARD THAT BLIGHTED MY LIFE Bing Crosby and Al Jolson with Morris Stoloff’s Ork Decca 40038 It takes no genius to tout the “greatest.” But if this pairing by Crosby-Jolson doesn’t plough little aisles all over the country for people to lay in, then there are no prophets. Casey didn’t strike out and the atom bomb won’t work. Without boring you with details, it’s simply colossal. Crosby and Jolson (in the same easy informality that has Hooperocketed Bing’s Philco show) do two American favorites with charm, humor, grace and, leave us face it, class. With “Alexander” benefitting from exploitation of the same-titled Fox pic revival; with “The Spaniard” a natural for the mass audience that loves it when Bing and Al clown it up, there’s no more question. Decca’s Jack Kapp can take a fast bow and run for cover before the orders swamp him under.

(Billboard, April 26, 1947)

Decca cashed in on the situation. Both artists were under contract to the label and they issued a new version of one of the numbers Al and Bing had sung on the Philco show—“Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and backed it with a novel version of “The Spaniard That Blighted My Life.” Stoloff did the orchestrations for this. It was Jolson’s way of showing how much he appreciated the value of the balding musician who had begun his professional life as a violinist. However it was to be the only commercial recording Jolson and Crosby made together.

(Al Jolson, page 234)

 

March 26, Wednesday. (5:00–7:25 p.m.) Bing records “Go West, Young Man” and “Tallahassee” with the Andrews Sisters and Vic Schoen and his Orchestra. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone, and Peggy Lee. This is Skitch Henderson’s last appearance as a regular on the show.

 

Tallahassee – Go West, Young Man

Strong material, a solid record-selling name combination—maybe not at their very best, yet good enough to be better than most—and this twosome certainly stacks up a sure-fire two-sided juke attraction. Newly hatched Decca promotion activities will be employed much in the same, and a successful manner that was applied to the Jolson-Crosby “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” on this disking and should cull for it added retail attraction. But “Tallahassee” with its very clever second-chorus Crosby-Patti Andrews duet and its strength as song material, and “Go West,” with its light-hearted lyrical ribbing of the California Chamber of Commerce given the Crosby and Andrews touch, should hardly require a fanfare to make the hit grade. Both tunes are from films, “Go West” from “Copacabana” and the other from “Variety Girl.”

(Billboard, May 17, 1947)

 

March 28, Friday. (9:00 –11:10 a.m.) Records three songs with Victor Young and his Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers.

 

The Chistmas Song—FT; V. O Fir Tree Dark—W; V.

Of greater merchandising import are the lovely “Christmas Song” ballad and the caroling for the hymnal “O Fir Tree Dark.” For the seasonal songs, vocal gloss is added to Crosby’s soulful chanting by the Ken Darby Singers with John Scott Trotter (sic) providing an effective musical base. “The Christmas Song” will catch the holiday coins.

(Billboard, November 8, 1947)

 

March 29, Saturday. A Certificate of Merit signed by President Truman is issued to Bing in recognition of his service to the United States. It is awarded for "Outstanding fidelity and meritorious conduct in aid of the war effort against the common enemies of the United States and its allies in World War II."

March 31, Monday. (12:30–1:15 p.m., 4:30–4:40 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing rehearses for a Philco show. (1:15–2:15 p.m., 4:40–6:40 p.m.) Transcribes a Philco show in Hollywood with Al Jolson and Irving Berlin which is broadcast on May 7. During the day, Bing and Bob Hope are at Paramount looking at a rough cut of Road to Rio. (9:30 p.m.) Bing, Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, and Bob Hope appear on the baseball preview radio show on station KLAC.

April 2, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Al Jolson, John Charles Thomas, and the Ken Darby Choir. The program recreates an old-time minstrel show. During the day, Dixie arrives home from a trip to the east coast.

 

Revival of the burnt cork era on the Bing Crosby Show (2nd) on ABC with Al Jolson and John Charles Thomas as guests was one of the stronger packages delivered by Der Bingle since he espoused the cause of transcriptions. The informality, knowing humour and sophisticated and yet respectful ribbing of minstrelsy by a set of experts, created a mood that warmed old-timers who have memories of Dockstader, Primrose et al and gave the youngsters a look see into a theatrical form that’s long since gone. Mixture of old-time tunes and ‘Who was that lady you wuz with last night?’ cracks hit constant bullseyes as far as laughs and sentiment were concerned. The duets, trios and solos by the participants produced the essential nostalgic atmosphere and even Ken Carpenter’s commercials took on the mood of the rest of the show.

(Variety, April 4, 1947)

 

AI Jolson, by now an old hand at hypoing the Hooper wherever he guests, took Bing Crosby’s Philco series for a sky ride last week and sent the show soaring to its highest rating since the first disc was spun. Checkers caught the show at 25.8.

(Daily Variety, April 9, 1947)

 

April 3, Thursday. Bing leaves for the east coast. A special presentation titled “Going His Way” by Catholic Charities with appearances by Bing, Barry Fitzgerald, Ruth Hussey, and Jimmy Durante among others is heard on NBC.

April 4, Friday. (8:00–8:15 p.m.) Bing guests on Burl Ives’ radio show on ABC. This was a transcribed program. Bing sings “Red River Valley” and duets with Ives on “Three Green Bottles”.

April 6, Sunday. (3:00–3:30 p.m.) In Chicago, Bing is said to have appeared on The Quiz Kids radio program on NBC. While in Chicago, Bing attends Easter services at St. Ita’s Church, Catalpa Avenue and stays at the Edgewater Beach Hotel (suite 471-71A).

April 8, Tuesday. Bing sends a hand-written letter to a Mrs. Frances Sullivan of Chicago.


Dear Mrs. Sullivan

I’m agreeably surprised that you and your husband should consider me well-dressed. Even tho I was in my finest for Easter – don’t you know I’m notorious as the worst dressed man in show business? And I have been for years. I must be slipping.

Warmest regards, your friend, Bing Crosby


April 9, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee and Alec Templeton. During the evening, Bing transcribes his Philco show at the Hines Hospital for Veterans in Chicago. Groucho Marx guests with Dorothy Shay on the show which is broadcast on April 30.

April 10, Thursday. Plays in the Twelfth Annual Midwest Amateur Golf Tournament at the Hill Course, French Lick Springs, Indiana. Whilst staying at the French Lick Springs Hotel, he despatches a hand-written letter to Bill Morrow at the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago.

 

Dear Bill,

That was quite a hassle last eve, but I guess we’ll get away with it. You know I told that ass, Banks, to kick the P.A. way up to overcome the size and volume of the band in that small room and playing from that shell - I think he turned it off altogether. It was a tough audience, but suitable. We should pre-cut songs downtown again as we’re using Hank, show at base can be later. Any home the hospital authorities approve. And I think we should definitely go to the base. Also all shows in New York area should be from hospitals, with pre-cuts made at studio unless inordinately expensive. We should have more time at the hospital for dialogue rehearsal and piano rehearsal on songs, and for a suitable warm-up, and this last named (?). I don’t think they heard half of what was said or sung. It seems to me, when we’re working from a hospital, announce it as such, no one is going to be so captious as to criticize quality. We have the pre-cuts on the songs in any case. On this show we should use pre cuts of all numbers save Shay’s solo and possibly Albuquerque. These may have been best at the hospital. I want to use Shay for a solo and some small talk next week or some dame equally should be set.

      I left a large brown envelope containing some mail in Charlie Crane’s apt at the Churchill. Have Ja(y)ne pick it up. It has a letter in it for you. Be sure and use the Edgewater clippings. You can work better there, and be free from interruption whether engaged in social activity or literary endeavor. Don’t use Shay if you’re going to be short and cut her anyhow. I heard show last nite but we used wrong take on Glocca. Otherwise it (illegible).

      Weather balmy here - nice trip down - hope phones go in soon and we can discuss these things more in detail.

      Tell Sam they’re running at ???? and I may ease a few heats (?).

Regards, Bing

      Have Ja(y)ne call Bennat at Hines and ask for some photos taken at show and before.

 

April (undated). Universal releases a film called Smash-Up, The Story of a Woman about a lady alcoholic which is said to be based on Dixie Lee. The film stars Susan Hayward, Lee Bowman, and Eddie Albert and is directed by Stuart Heisler. Susan Hayward is unsuccessfully nominated for an Oscar as “Best Actress.” It is rumored that Bing makes a point of not working with anyone who had anything to do with the film.

 

There isn’t much doubt that Smash-Up -- the Story of a Woman will be tagged as “the ‘Lost Week-end’ of a lady,” since it has so fortuitously to do with a female alcoholic, synonymous to the gentleman lush in that previous film. But don’t let this flattering parallel fool you. The Lost Week-end was a hard and plausible binge, while the current booze drama at the Capitol is soggy and full of (figurative) corn...All it lacks to make it outright melodrama is a pair of swinging doors.

(Bosley Crowther, New York Times, April 11, 1947)

 

 Sordid story of a night-club singer who takes to drink before shows to fortify her nerves. She marries a radio crooner who becomes famous, surrounds her with luxuries, but takes away from her all feeling of independence. This eventually drives her to drink, to separation and, when he takes away her child, nearly to death.

(Picturegoer, May 10, 1947)

 

April 12, Saturday. The Paramount newsreel copyrighted today includes footage of Bing at the Paramount studios greeting actress Corinne Calvet.

April 13, Sunday. Bing arrives in Columbus, Ohio, to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates lose to Columbus two to one in an exhibition game at Red Bird Stadium. The attendance is 10,234.

April 14, Monday. (starting at 11:30 a.m.) Bing plays golf at Scioto Country Club, Columbus, with Bud Trautman and Carroll Widdoes. Bing cards an even par seventy-two. He goes on to see the last hour of the Ohio State football squad’s spring drill before returning to Chicago and the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Bill Morrow has been allowed to occupy Bing’s suite during his absence.

April 15, Tuesday. Bing and Groucho Marx watch the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Cubs at Wrigley Field in freezing temperatures. Star First Baseman Hank Greenberg makes his debut for Pittsburgh and helps the Pirates to a one to nil win. The attendance is 29,427.

 

In 1948 Groucho was doing a show with me in Chicago when our radio troupe was touring in that area. It happened to be opening day of the National League baseball season. It was a cold and blustery spring-afternoon, with the wind whipping off Lake Michigan. But the Pittsburgh Pirates were engaging the Cubs just the same and we were determined to see the game. With a view to the threatening temperature, all members of our gang put on plenty of extra warm clothing except Groucho. He turned down my offer of a suit of long-handle underwear. He gave a five-minute monologue covering his reasons for doing this, although at the time he didnt even sport a mustache for added warmth.

He soon regretted declining the woolies because it was really cold at the ball park, and he was even more vociferous in bemoaning his congealed condition than he’d been in turning down my offer of clothing. His body was cold but his jokes were sizzling. A big fellow sat in front of us wearing one of those luxuriously thick, cashmere-soft, three-hundred-dollar camels-hair overcoats, or maybe it was a vicuna. Groucho tapped this fellow on the shoulder and said, ‘Would you mind removing your overcoat? I can’t see the game.

He really broke up the box with his sallies, his observations about Chicago, the weather, and the Pirates. He even made a bonfire of our programs to keep warm. Finally, he gave up, shivered his way to a taxi and went back to the Ambassador East to catch the rest of the ball game on the radio.

(Call Me Lucky, page 277-8)

 

April 16, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Jimmy Durante and Peggy Lee. Bing records another Philco show at Ross Auditorium, Great Lakes Naval Training Center with Groucho Marx and Hank Greenberg. The show is broadcast on May 14.

April 17, Thursday. The Pirates beat the Cubs seven to one at Wrigley Field and Bing was probably there.

April 18, Friday. Bing is in Pittsburgh for the Pirates opening home game in the National League and sees his team win twelve to eleven against the Cincinnati Reds in front of a record crowd of 38,216 at Forbes Field. He also takes a turn at broadcasting the play-by-play commentary with Rosey Rowswell. Later he attends a Baseball Banquet at the William Penn Hotel when the Chamber Of Commerce honors the new owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bing sings “Goodbye Mr. Ball, Goodbye” and “The Anniversary Song.” The after-dinner proceedings are captured by radio station WWSW.

April 19, Saturday. The Pirates beat the Reds six to one at Forbes Field to complete their fourth straight triumph and they reach the top of the National League.

April 20, Sunday. (starting at 3:00 p.m.) A double-header at Forbes Field sees the Reds win thirteen to five in the first game while the Pirates win the second seven to five.

April 23, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Burl Ives, Peggy Lee, and Les Paul.

April 25, Friday. Bing is one of several stars who entertain 150 wounded veterans in the ballroom at the Delmonico Hotel in New York. Others advertised to appear are Mary Pickford, Ethel Smith and Ralph Bellamy.

April 27, Sunday. Bing is thought to have been at Yankee Stadium for “Babe Ruth Day”. A ceremony is held during which Babe Ruth gives a short Goodbye speech over the microphone to the crowd of 58,339 (the highest of the season).

April 28, Monday. Bing makes a non-singing guest appearance on a radio program called Vox Pop.

April (late in month). Bing commences transcribing Philco shows in New York which are broadcast from May 21 onwards. During his time in New York, Bing stays at the Hotel Drake at 440 Park Avenue.

April 30, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Dorothy Shay and Groucho Marx. Bob Murphy is the announcer.

 

The West is benefiting from Daylight Saving on the radio, even if the East isn’t. The shows that are being transcribed are being released at a time when Westerners are home to hear them. The quality of the platters is excellent, except, of course, the Bing Crosby e.t. which still sounds as if Bing and cast were doing their broadcasting from a barrel. What’s the reason for that?

The explanation is easy. Crosby platters are not cut continuously, then simply played back. A Bing Crosby recording session produces a whole bunch of records. The best of these records are then dubbed on to the platter which is finally broadcast. Some records are dubbed and even re-dubbed, and with each dubbing there is a loss in tone quality. The question now is this: The sponsor is paying $3,000,000 a year for Bing’s show with Bing getting $35,000 a week, so when is he going to conclude he’s entitled to the original Bing, not a carbon copy.

(William Moyes, The Oregonian, May 6, 1947)

 

May 7, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Another transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast and Bing’s guests are Irving Berlin and Al Jolson.

 

Bing Crosby and Al Jolson in their now familiar act with an assist from Irving Berlin, really wrapped it up last Wednesday (7th) on Der Bingle’s ABC platter show; parlaying nostalgia and sock showmanship for a bang up half hour session. Take off on the Ralph Edwards “Mr. Hush” give-away with “492 huge prizes”, including a herd of sheep, a kit of burglar tools, a case of Chevrolets and a town in Indiana, gave the program an added comedy fillip. Jolson and Crosby sweetened their harmony with every duo and they really got together on the Berlin medley. It’s radio’s top parlay today, bar none and if Philco has that kind of dough to kick around next season, a Bing/Joly permanent team-up could be a sure bet for Number One spot in the 1947/48 Hooper sweepstakes.

(Variety, May 14, 1947)

 

May (undated). Transcribes a Philco show at Radio City, New York, with Fred Allen and Connee Boswell which is subsequently broadcast on June 4.

May 8, Thursday. Records “Feudin’ and Fightin’” and “Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye” with Bob Haggart and his Orchestra and the Jesters in New York. “Feudin’ and Fightin’” reaches the No. 9 position in the Billboard charts and spends four weeks in the lists.

 

Feudin’ and Fightin’—FT; V. Whiffenpoof Song—V/; V. Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye—FT; V.  Kentucky Babe—FT; V.

Bing Crosby, surrounding himself with good vocal company and fine musical assist, brings a full measure of enjoyment in his singing for each of these four sides. In high order in striking rhythmic style is his vocal fancying for the catchy mountain novelty “Feudin’ and Fightin’,” bringing out all the mountain humor of the lively ditty. The Jesters join their voices with Crosby on the chant with Bob Haggart’s music providing pert rhythmic beats. In the same lively fashion, with Bob Haggart’s music in support, Crosby and the Jesters make it just as tasty for “Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye.” For the second set Crosby calls in Fred Waring’s glee club, and in a capella style sings it most expressively and with beautiful vocal harmonies for the “Whiffenpoof Song” and “Kentucky Babe.”

      “Feudin’ and Fightin’” will find its way into jukes.

(Billboard, July 26, 1947)

 

May 11, Sunday. Has a short spot in the Family Rosary Crusade radio program The World’s Greatest Mother on the Mutual Network. (8:30–9:00 p.m.) Guests on Fred Allen’s radio show on NBC. The show is titled “The Hollywood Mikado.”

May 12, Monday. (3:00 p.m.) Bing appears on the Barbara Welles show on the Mutual Broadcasting system radio station WOR. The show is hosted by former model Florence Pritchett calling herself Barbara Welles. During the day, Bing has a recording session with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra plus the Skylarks in New York at which three songs are recorded.

 

…an auspicious launching Monday (12) of her daily halfhour gab spot which was formerly occupied by Martha Deane. Bing Crosby was her guest and he pushed the program off at a pace that’ll be difficult to match in future sessions.

(Variety, May 14, 1947)

 

I Do, Do, Do Like You—FT; V. The Old Chaperone—W; V.

Senor Bing dips down below the border. And on him, it looks good. Assuming a calypso pose, with the fem voices of the Skylarks adding vocal assist and John Scott Trotter’s music making the rhythmic background toes-teasing, Crosby chants it with full calypso fancy for “I Do, Do, Do Like You.” And just as potent is his piping the comedy wordage for “The Old Chaperone,” a lilting Mexicali waltz melody about thwarted lovers. Crosby rings the bell with both sides for coins.

(Billboard, July 12, 1947)

 

…“Kokomo, Indiana,” a folksie specialty song from the “Mother Wore Tights” movie which Bing Crosby chants in breezy style with the assist of the harmonizing Skylarks and John Scott Trotter’s music…

(Billboard, August 16, 1947)

 

May 14, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Hank Greenberg, Groucho Marx, and the George Barnes Octet. Bob Murphy is the announcer.

May 16, Friday. Bing plays eighteen holes of golf at the Pine Valley club in Philadelphia. A compilation film Road to Hollywood is released by Astor Pictures which features the first four of Bing’s film shorts for Mack Sennett.

 

. . .this picture proves, at least, how terrific [Crosby] was when he first hit the Coast.

(Variety, May 21, 1947)

 

May 17, Saturday. Plays in the National Celebrities Golf Tournament at the Columbia Golf and Country Club, Washington, D.C. Bing tees off at 2:40 p.m. with Senator Robert Taft, A. B. (Happy) Chandler, Hildegarde and Arthur Godfrey. A crowd of over 7,000 is in attendance.

May 18, Sunday. Bing takes part in the second day of the National Celebrities Golf Tournament playing with Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones, and General Omar Bradley. Bing comes second with 158 in the special division excluding established golfers. Film of the event is included in the Paramount newsreel of May 24.

May 21, Wednesday. (6:00–7:00 p.m.) Bing sings three songs outside a house in Columbus Circle, 59th Street, New York, which is the HQ of the Damon Runyon-Winchell Fund for Cancer Research. A crowd of 5,000 help raise money for the Fund. Ken Roberts acts as MC and others appearing are Henny Youngman and Monica Lewis. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Maurice Chevalier. Bob Murphy is again the announcer.

May (undated). Bing and Bill Morrow are in Quebec en route to The Laurentians, north of Montreal. Bing is interviewed at the railway station by Station CKVL.

May 27, Tuesday. Bing has been in St. Johns, Quebec and he and Bill Morrow travel on the Canadian National Railways “Washingtonian” train in car 82 (Room A) to Boston.

May 28, Wednesday. (2:30 p.m.) Bing plays in the Goodall Round Robin pro-am for the Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campaign at Charles River Country Club, Newton, near Boston. He and Jimmy Demaret play Elmar Ward and Frank Craven in front of a crowd of 5,000. Bing has an eighty. After the golf, Bing entertains the crowd with a few songs whilst standing on a table.


Sixteen of golf's top professionals teed off with relief today in the Goodall round robinfor Bing Crosby and his stampeding bobby sox fans were gone from the again-pleasant acres.

Pressure is one thing and the shrill squeals and screams which rolled over the hills and echoed through the dales at Charles River country club yesterday are another. Golf etiquette was fractured beyond recognition as several thousand fans followed Bing down the road to par oblivion.

Surrounded by 17 protecting local gendarmes, Bing played 18 holes in the pro-amateur kickoff to the Goodall tournament. With him were Jimmy Demaret, host Elmer Ward and Frank Craven. Suffice it to say that Craven is club champion and shot somewhere in the neighbourhood of an 80

Nobody in the foursome got close to par but it was a neck and neck race between Demaret and Crosby for “best dressed” honors with Bing off his recaing record again, no doubt, winding up in the place spot. The crooner's ensemble was a brown hat with blue polka-dot ribbon; blue-green shirt; gold sweater; mustard slacks and brown shoes. Demaret upheld his sartorial prestige with a white cap of the gay nineties auto duster type; yellow shirt. Nile green slacks and honest-honestgreen and grey alligator shoes.

“The sunlight glaring off those shoes is ruining my game,” Crosby complained as they jostled their way through a tough road show.

It was a new experience for such stars as Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Lloyd Mangrum. Accustomed to large galleries, they played practically in private.  It was so upsetting that Hogan, out in five under par 31, slipped off his game and came in with a 36.

“The silence got me,” he grinned.

But there was little silence between Crosby and Demaret, who must have been substituting for Bob Hope. They heckled, sang and whistled all the way until tee shots looked like five iron pokes and three putts were the rule. And when they putted out on the 18th the crowd closed in tight.

Standing on a table, Crosby sang several songs and then told his adoring public that he was sorry he couldn’t stay.

“I’ve got to get a plane to Pittsburgh and give Hank Greenberg a rubdown.” said Bing….

(Oscar Fraley. (UP), May 29, 1947)


(9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Margaret O’Brien and the Charlie Magnante Quartet. Bob Murphy makes his final appearance as announcer.

May 29, Thursday. (9.30 to 11:00 a.m.) Back in New York, records “The Freedom Train” with the Andrews Sisters and Vic Schoen and his Orchestra. Later, stars in the transcribed fifth anniversary Command Performance radio show with Jack Benny, Fred Allen, and Judy Garland.

 

…Hardly had the ink dried on Berlin’s manuscript when Jack Kapp, Decca’s prexy, decided the tune would be recorded by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. Crosby came down out of the Canadian woods, where he was vacationing, and within one week after the tune was written Decca had it on a master. Decca is also cooking up special promotional plans in connection with its record.

(Billboard, August 30, 1947)

 

…While The Billboard does not necessarily believe that “Freedom Train” will be a great nickel-grabber, the song, nevertheless, is a jingly melodious tune which was written with the patriotic theme in mind, but Irving Berlin also had one eye cocked on the general public and with Der Bingle and the Andrews Sisters doing it, the potential is indeed great. The Decca version of the tune is selected for possibilities because public-spirited Jack Kapp was the first to hop on the rattler, and paired off Crosby and the Andrews Sisters to assure the widest possible coverage.

(Billboard, August 30, 1947)

 

In early June (sic), the Andrews Sisters joined Bing Crosby again, this time to record “The Freedom Train” by Irving Berlin—a red, white, and blue recording session that lacked only Kate Smith and apple pie for completion. Irving Berlin happened to be at Decca Studios the day Crosby and the sisters recorded his song.  Maxene remembered: “We didn’t get to know him too well…We talked about the song with him. Then we listened to an hour of him talking about himself.” Sponsored by the American Heritage Foundation, the Freedom Train was a museum on wheels of the most important documents of the United States. The train was scheduled to visit all forty-eight states and give Americans the chance to view “about 100 documents of American history upon which the development of democracy and civil rights is based” and to rededicate themselves to the importance of freedom and the principles of the Constitution. It was partly a reaction to the threat of post-war communism and other “isms” perceived as threats to the United States. Berlin assigned all his rights to the song to the American Heritage Foundation. Other recordings of the song were made, but the Andrews-Crosby version was the only one to chart, albeit for only a week, and was used in the soundtracks of the major newsreels promoting the Freedom Train.

(Harry Nimmo, The Andrews Sisters: A Biography and Career Record, pages 239-240)

 

June 2, Monday. Bing is voted favorite male popular vocalist by Billboard in its annual poll of radio editors.

June 3, Tuesday. Bing plays in a pro-am at Meadow Brook Golf Club, Long Island with Cary Middlecoff. Bing has a 75 (which is better than some of the professionals playing) and he and Middlecoff score 70 as a team but are not placed.

June 4, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Connee Boswell, Fred Allen, and Skitch Henderson. Glenn Riggs is the announcer. During the day, Bing records “You Do” and “How Soon” with Carmen Cavallaro in New York. He may then have gone on to see the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Pirates again, this time nine to four. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. “You Do” reaches the No. 8 spot in the Billboard Best-Seller lists and spends eight weeks in the charts. “How Soon” enjoys 14 weeks in the charts with a peak reached of No. 6.

 

You Do—FT; V. How Soon?—FT; V.

Singing in his usual easy and relaxed ballad style, and with Carmen Cavallaro’s piano sparking the accompanying rhythm instruments to create a background of lyrical intimacy, Bing Crosby chants it in simple and forthright fashion for an effective “You Do” movie ballad from “Mother Wore Tights,” and a pleasant plattering of sentimentality in “How Soon.”

(Billboard, August 30, 1947)

 

With Bing at Work - Preparing Recorded Show Is Different (Headlines)

With all the jocularity of a clambake getting started in barefeet and shallow water, a crew of performers skylarked through a robust performance, borrowing, impartially, from vaudeville, burlesque and back porch conversation, last week before a Radio City audience. Broadcasting was the vehicle. If you could have been there, the guard to the outer door of Studio 6b would have told you in an unnecessary whisper that ‘Bing Crosby is cutting’. Inside, radio was taking its longest and liveliest joshing since some of its vice-presidents began doubling as comedians, with Bing and Fred Allen, heavily buttering a script being recorded for delivery on June 5th. Whether all the gags that came to life without benefit of the script, ultimately will reach the air on the appointed date is problematical, for, as you probably know, Mr. Crosby’s habit now, is to record a show from five to twelve minutes overlong and then edit it into a master disc, running the allotted time for his audience. Fairly certain of reproduction however, would be Mr. Allen’s insistence that, ‘This had better be a good show’. He explained that he might find it disquieting a month later, ‘To be in the position of tuning myself out!’

      Although a number of potential sponsors demonstrated their shyness last fall to Bing’s insistence on a recorded broadcast, the performance of his troupe, last week, indicated that the procedure induces spontaneity and freshness at the microphone. Lacking were the tenseness, split second timing and the awed hush in the audience as a ‘live broadcast’ prepares to go on the air. For instance, the performance for this recording began at the absurd hour for radio of 7.37 pm. It ended almost forty minutes later. The recording process, apparently, stimulates more relaxed performance and freer ad-libbing. According to Bing’s reasoning, whatever is to be gained thereby can be retained while flat spots can be easily eliminated, in addition to which portions of the show can be repeated until the desired delivery is achieved. Yet, perfection isn’t always sought, the delight of the audience over a garbled line has been proved too frequently, an amusing ‘blow-up’ stays in. Thus, the final recording for broadcast is prepared from a series of ‘takes’. The uninterrupted performance for the studio audience is not entirely the version put on the air. As a matter of fact, a fair proportion of the program usually is ‘canned’ during the rehearsal before the studio show. If it weren’t for the microphone, to a casual passer-by, Mr. Crosby’s show, last week, might have been going on in one of the theatres that once advertised eight acts for a quarter, a Second Avenue tavern or a tent. Certainly there was nothing more nonchalant or leisurely in radio. Connee Boswell and Fred Allen who shared the guest spot and Bing bantered generally more times than not volunteering a line along with each one assigned them in the script. Presumably, the only dissident to the proceedings, in view of the audience’s reception of them, might have been a conscientious control engineer trying to carry out the show on a schedule.

      Strikingly unusual was the spendthrift generosity with which commercials were handed out to outfits other than the sponsor, out-hawking even those relatively impecunious stations which find it necessary to cram as many spot announcements as possible into their broadcasting days. This single performance grandly gave mention to ‘Tums’; ‘Alka-Seltzer’; ‘Hotel Drake’; ‘Harvard University’; ‘Toots Shor’s’; ‘Paramount Pictures’; ‘Nino & Nella’s’; ‘Tenderleaf Tea’ and ‘the Pittsburgh Pirates’ - Bing’s sponsor is ‘Philco’. Only the rehearsal followed conventional form, simultaneously scripts were scanned and lines were mumbled. The suitable tempo for a song was fixed; a telephone bell was kept ringing until it registered properly for the microphone. Except for those parts of the script which were recorded as suitable for the master disc, none of the program took life until the show for the studio audience. Rehearsal faded into a lull during which the studio audience was seated. The show and Fred Allen, almost immediately took up the cudgels against certain of radio’s other set, commenting, obliquely on the situation through Bing’s easygoing broadcasting ways, he admonished, ‘You stay relaxed like this and your blood pressure will never get any higher than your Hooper rating!’ If there were principle at all involved in the exhumation of the situation, in view of ABC’s sage aloofness to it, it would appear to be whether the now, attenuated gag, retains enough vigor for one more chuckle but that may very well be another Hooper story. As for Mr. Crosby’s style of broadcasting, perhaps Mr. Allen summed it up best of all when, as a line fell flat, he flipped. ‘OK folks, we can wait four weeks for the laughs.’

(New York Times, May 11, 1947)

 

June 5, Thursday. Another recording session in New York, this time with Fred Waring and the Glee Club and they perform the “Whiffenpoof Song” and “Kentucky Babe” together. “Whiffenpoof Song” spends seven weeks in the Billboard charts reaching a peak position of #7. Bing leaves early to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers versus Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game at Ebbets Field starting at 2:00 p.m. The Pirates are beaten three to nil and Bing leaves before the end of the game.

June 6, Friday. Travels to Cincinnati, Ohio.

June 7, Saturday. Bing has stayed overnight in Cincinnati and is mobbed by a huge crowd as he leaves his hotel. Goes on to golf in a National Cancer Fund Rally at Hyde Park Country Club, Cincinnati, before a crowd of 5,000. At around 6:30 p.m., Bing takes part in a radio program from the course over station WKRC and sings several songs including “How Are Things in Glocca Morra” and a duet of “Home on the Range” with Jimmy Demaret. Later goes to the Turf and Fields Restaurant at Sixth and Walnut where Bing is able to place some illicit bets on his horses. Bing also visits the Beverly Hills Country Club in Southgate, Kentucky (just two miles from Cincinnati) where illegal gambling was available. It is believed that the club was run by the Cleveland Crime Syndicate.

 

Bing Swells Cancer Fund with Clowning

CINCINNATI, June 7—(AP)—Bing Crosby and four “name” golfers performed for a sell-out crowd of 5,000 in the Cincinnati cancer fund exhibition tournament today and Johnny Dell, fund chairman, said receipts were in excess of $10,000.

The radio-motion picture star “clowned” his way around the Hyde Park Country club course but managed to card a five-overpar 37-39-76. Tony Penna of Cincinnati, and Jimmy Demaret turned in 67’s, four under par, to lead the field of eight shot makers. Penna had a 36-33-67 and Demaret a 34-33-67.

‘Red” Strauss, Cincinnati pro, who was the fourth member of the Crosby - Penna - Demaret foursome shot a 39-40-79. Ben Hogan was best of the other foursome, which included  Byron Nelson, with a two-under-par 33-36-69. Nelson had 36-36-72.

...Crosby told newsmen he was in the midst of a series of golf benefits for the National Cancer Foundation and Chicago was his next stop.

(Associated Press, June 7, 1947)

 

June 11, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Alec Templeton and Ethel Merman.

June 12, Thursday. (9:00–12noon) Back in Hollywood, Bing has a recording session with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra. One song— “Suspense”—has been written by Al Rinker. Bing’s version of “You Took Advantage of Me” is rejected as the performance is substandard. Buddy Cole is a member of the Orchestra. Press reports indicate that Bing has agreed to act as Honorary Chairman for the Louis Jordan Testimonial Dinner to be held on June 30 at the Hotel Pierre.

 

Suspense (03967) sounds like the old Bing, and the famous Anniversary Song which is the coupling is also up to standard.

(The Gramophone, October 1948)

 

June 13, Friday. (7:00–10:30 p.m.) Records the drama “The Man Without a Country” with Frank Lovejoy. Victor Young and his Orchestra provide support.

June 15, Sunday. Bing and Bob Hope have a featured spot in the transcribed Guest Star program #12 with Denes Agay. Guest Star programs were instigated by the Treasury Department for the promotion of US Savings Bonds and were produced and transcribed in New York. Material was frequently beamed in from Hollywood and other cities.

June 18, Wednesday. Bing records a plug for the 20th Century Fox film Mother Wore Tights. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. This is the final Philco show of the season. The guests are Bob Hope and Jimmy Demaret.

 

Bing Crosby-Bob Hope shenanigans on the former’s program, last Wednesday (18th), were of the usual high grade for some of the most amusing banter of the season. The program was smartly varied with the two quipsters gagging, Crosby crooning, then permitting golfer, Jimmy Demaret to sing a tune (and not badly!). It was a gay show - with one serious flaw. Studio audience laughter was so heavy and constant (as much, apparently, at the comics’ antics, as for their gags) that it marred the reception. Several times, Crosby or Hope were indistinct because of the laughter while at other times, home listeners might have wondered what brought on the frenzied guffaws. Smarter production on this disked show would have cut out or toned down a good deal of this studio audience hilarity to the program’s distinct benefit.

(Variety, June 25, 1947)

 

June (undated). Bing golfs with British film producer, J. Arthur Rank, at the Cypress Point golf course, near Pebble Beach. Publicity releases state that he signs with Rank to make a film in England during the summer of 1948. Similar publicity had been seen earlier in the year but the project does not come to fruition.

June 20, Friday. Bing sets off for the ranch at Elko with his four sons. Dixie remains in Hollywood.

June 22, Sunday. En route to Elko, Bing sends a postcard to Bill Morrow from Bijou, California (on the shores of Lake Tahoe) stating:

 

Just checking on various California fishing grounds. Think you could dunk your cuttyhunk (?) in these waters with some hope. Having lots of laffs with my companions.

Bing.

 

From Elko, it is likely that Bing and his sons go to Hayden Lake, Idaho, for a vacation. During his stay at Elko, Bing sends another hand-written letter to Morrow.

 

Dear Bill,

I had your note (?) the other day relative to Philco starting dates and length of contract. The way I feel now with the tax cut losing out and one thing and another, I’d just as soon chuck the whole deal and concentrate on pictures. The money isn’t enough to compensate for the work everybody puts into it. And if we can’t work at convenient times, what good is it? I think you better tell them we want 36 weeks. First show to be on October 1st. or we retire. Furthermore I hear nothing from ABC regarding their promise to give our corporation some stock - a substantial block. They apparently think I’m thinking about switching network, but I’ll either do that or quit. I wish you and Jack could get up here around July 4 from Mammoth and we can discuss this at greater length.

      It’s nice up here now. Warm days - cold nites. The boys, of course, are having a whale of a time. But it’s quite a chore looking after them. Joe Knowles is up for a couple days with his two kids and the six of them keep things jumping pretty good. Lots of laughs with them too, of course. Went fishing the other day up above the ranch and did good. Nice size but the water is low I don’t know how long it will last. We’re going on a 2 day trip this weekend with Oldham over on the ??? river. He rode guns up this week, so it’s virgin water, and very good, by all reports. Wild Horse is good and Smith caught a 10lb Rainbow in Ruby Valley. Alas the mountain lakes are contracted. Say hello to Jack.

Bing

 

July 31, Thursday. Bing sells his ranch at Independence Valley and buys several ranches including the PX ranch near North Fork, sixty miles north of Elko, Nevada, from Newt Crumley (owner of the Commercial Hotel, Elko) for $221,000 cash, cattle at market, and ten dollars a ton for the hay. The ranches contain 25,000 acres and an unknown expanse of national forest. They are at an elevation of 6,400 feet and Bing runs 3,500 head of cattle there.

August 3, Sunday. Bing is thought to have taken part in the Third Annual Frank Borzage Motion Picture Golf Tournament at the California Country Club. All proceeds go to the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund.

August 5, Tuesday. Bing informally “adopts” an eleven-year-old Belgian girl, Zulma Scheinowitz, whose father was killed by the Germans and whose mother and sister are ill in a Belgian sanitarium. Bing has agreed to care for the girl as a sponsor through a children’s agency in New York.

August 6, Wednesday. The New York premiere of Bing’s film Welcome Stranger takes place. In its initial release period in the USA, the film takes in $6.1 million in rentals.

 

Welcome Stranger should find the boxoffice path easy treading. It’s crammed with all the ingredients that make for popular entertainment. . . Crosby and Fitzgerald take obvious pleasure in their friendly antagonist roles as young and old doctors, trouping parts to a fare-thee-well for audience response.. . . .

      Dialog has a flip flavor that pleases, punching over gags that are laugh-getters. Tag of many smart cracks will be lost in audience roars. Songs by Johnny Burke and James Van Heusen are well spotted and given the Crosby treatment vocally to pay off. Numbers are “Smile Right Back at the Sun,” “My Heart Is a Hobo,” “Country Style” and the ballad “As Long as I’m Dreaming.” Square dance sequence gives “Country Style” best production display to court audience favor.

(Variety, April 30, 1947, following the Los Angeles tradeshow)

 

The news most moviegoers must be waiting to hear about the new Bing Crosby-Barry Fitzgerald picture at the Paramount Theatre is, “How does it compare with ‘Going My Way’?”

Well, it can be said that “Welcome Stranger” is as genial as the day is long—just the kind of picture that is nice to have around, even though it may not prompt one to shout huzzas. While it is not the intention to sell short this amiable comedy-drama about a pair of smalltown medical practitioners, the fact is that “Welcome Stranger” misses by a considerable margin the high mark in entertainment established by its distinguished predecessor.

Comparisons are, at best, invidious, but sometimes they are unavoidable. And certainly Paramount invited such when it consciously determined to capitalize on the phenomenal success of “Going My Way” by reuniting Crosby and Fitzgerald under circumstances not too dissimilar in “Welcome Stranger.” This time the boys are joined by Hippocratic allegiance rather than ecclesiastical bonds, but the film still tells the story of a young man and his relationship with a crotchety elder.

It is an amusingly contrived story for the most part and gets off to a humorous start through a series of engaging misunderstandings between old Doc McRory, planning his first vacation from the good people of Fallbridge in thirty-five years, and his flashily dressed, tune-humming replacement. Jim Pearson’s breezy mannerisms and the obvious play he makes for the pretty school teacher at a barn dance going-away party for Doc McRory cause the townsfolk to turn on their New England acerbity. And it is not until circumstances cause him to save the old Doc’s life by performing an appendectomy with only the “teach” to assist that his medical ability is recognized.

Despite this blatantly melodramatic device and the sentimental circumstance wherein Pearson helps McRory to outwit the Chamber of Commerce president, who would deny him the office of superintendent of the town’s first hospital, the light bantering spirit of the film is never lost. Credit for this, no doubt, can be shared by Arthur Sheekman, who wrote the script, and Elliott Nugent, who directed, but we are inclined to give the lion’s share to the Messrs. Crosby and Fitzgerald.

Both tower over the script through sheer personality, and especially is this true in Mr. Crosby’s case, for Mr. Sheekman has not invested the character of Jim Pearson with much substance. Mr. Fitzgerald’s Doc McRory is a more rounded individual, and he does have some quaintly flavorsome dialogue—“blatherskite” is one of his less endearing terms for the young assistant. Joan Caulfield is lovely and competent as the teacher and several lesser roles are well turned out, notably Percy Kilbride’s taxi driver and Elizabeth Patterson’s housekeeper.

 (New York Times, August 7, 1947)

 

This is certainly not Bing Crosby at his best but he nevertheless puts over an attractive performance as a young doctor addicted to crooning, who acts as a locum tenens for a grouchy but kind-hearted old medico. He succeeds in the end in saving him from being deprived of an important hospital appointment by jealous rivals. The formula is much the same as Going My Way, but it lacks that picture’s “heart” and appeal.

(Picturegoer, May 10, 1947)

 

August 10, Sunday. (3:35–5:35 p.m., 6:12–6:46 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Hollywood, Bing transcribes his first Philco show of the season with Gary Cooper and Peggy Lee. Buddy Cole is now a permanent part of the Orchestra. The show is broadcast on October 1. John T. Mullin of the W. A. Palmer Co. tapes the shows on two German Magnetophone recorders as an experiment and the results impress Murdo McKenzie, the producer of the Philco shows. Mullin is asked to arrange to tape the shows in future. The shows are taped and edited with the results being transferred to disc for distribution. Although Mullin can use the Magnetophone machines and the supply of magnetic tape he had brought back from Germany, he knows that these will quickly wear out and he contacts the Ampex Company to produce new tape recorders. Tape is ordered from 3M.

 

In June 1947, before Ampex really got involved, I was invited to give another demonstration — this time for Bing Crosby. He had been with NBC until 1946 doing the live Kraft Music Hall. He’s a very casual person, and he resented the regimentation imposed by live broadcasts. Some weeks he wasn’t in the mood and hated doing a broadcast. At other times he was ready to do two or three at a crack. He didn’t like having to keep an eye on the clock and being directed to speed things up or draw them out.

The obvious solution was to record the shows. But NBC had told Crosby flatly that it wouldn’t air a recorded show on the network: It never had, and it wasn’t about to start. So Crosby took a year off, and when he returned it was with Philco Radio Time. ABC and Philco had agreed to let him record. But because the process involved recording and re-recording on discs, quality did suffer — at times to the point where the sponsor threatened to cancel the show because, during that first year at ABC, the audience rating was falling off. Philco blamed the poor audio. Crosby’s voice didn’t always sound very good after two or three transfers.

During the 1946-47 season ABC’s engineers recorded each show in its entirety on 16-inch transcription discs at 33 rpm. If everything went perfectly, there was no problem — they simply would air it as transcribed — but that seldom happened. Almost invariably, there was editing to be done. That meant copying some discs onto new ones, making adjustments as they went, maybe substituting a song that had gone better in rehearsal for the final take. Since they recorded everything in rehearsal as well as what took place before the audience, there were plenty of bits and pieces to work with.

Sometimes it was necessary to make what were called predubs. Say they wanted to use three cuts from three different discs, all within a matter of a few seconds. That didn’t allow enough time to get each one cued up during re-recording. So they would make little pre-transfers, or predubs, making copies until all the cuts were added. The final record, therefore, might be two or three generations removed from the original.

W. A. Palmer and I had been using tape for soundtrack work (he already had a going business in the film industry before we joined forces), where magnetic recordings were far better in quality and more easily edited than the optical tracks that were standard for films at that time. We were introduced to Murdo McKenzie, the technical producer of the Crosby show, through our Hollywood contacts. And after our demonstration we were invited back to record the first show of the Philco Radio Time season. Crosby’s people didn’t say, “You have the job.” They only wanted to see how tape would compete with the disc system they had been using.

When I taped that first broadcast, they asked me to stay right there after the show and edit the tape, to see if I could make a program out of it. I did, and they seemed to like what they heard.

Once the Crosby people bought the idea, they had to find a place for me to work. The American Broadcasting Company had been the Blue Network of NBC until, a short time before this, the government ordered NBC to sell it. NBC and ABC were still in the same building at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood.

Crosby broadcast from what had been one of the major NBC studios. Prior to the breakup, there had been what they called a standby studio, scarcely larger than a hotel room, with two little control rooms at one end. One was the Blue control room, the other was for the NBC Red Network. There was nothing in this studio but a piano, a table, and two microphones. If one of the networks lost its feed from the East, as they did once in a while, somebody could dash into the standby studio to play the piano. An engineer would run into the control room for whichever network was out, and it was on the air again with local programming.

Once the networks split and ABC had adopted the principle of using recordings on the air, there was no need for the standby studio. So that’s where they set me up. I installed my machines, moved in a sofa and a couple of chairs, and it became a little living room. It was a delightful place to work.

Crosby’s taping schedule was determined by two factors: when he was available, and when Bill Morrow, the writer, could come up with the material. Sometimes we went right up to the wire. At other times we would be two months in advance. We might do three shows in a row — one a day particularly if we were in San Francisco, where Crosby liked to work because of the audiences.

Murdo McKenzie was a very meticulous man. It was his responsibility to make sure that a studio was available, that the musicians would be there, and that Morrow would have the script. After the show was recorded, it was Murdo’s responsibility to satisfy Bill that his script had been handled properly. And if there was anything at all that indicated where I had made a cut, I would have to rework it until it was inaudible — either that or abandon it. Sometimes it would take me a whole week to put a show together after Bing had performed it.

I had two recorders and fifty rolls of tape to work with — just what I had sent home from Paris. With those fifty rolls I was able to do twenty-six Crosby shows—splicing, erasing, and recording over the splices.

There were no textbooks on tape editing in 1947, so I had to develop my own techniques. There was no such thing as actual splicing tape, as we have it now. I began with a cement very similar to that used in film editing. The problem with it was that you could hear the splice — a sort of thump — if there wasn’t complete silence where it occurred. I then switched to ordinary Scotch mending tape, along with a pair of scissors and a can of talcum powder.

Mending tape was fine for the first day or so, but before long the adhesive would begin to bleed, sticking one turn of tape to the next. Then the tape would break, and we would have a real mess. Before I used a roll, I always went through it and rubbed powder on the back of every one of those splices. That would get me by for a while, but soon they would be sticky again. When the show was finally assembled on tape, it had to be transferred to disc because nobody — including me — had confidence that this newfangled thing could be relied on to feed the full network. When someone asked me what would happen if the tape were to break, I didn’t have an answer. Since each roll ran for twenty-two minutes (at 30 ips), a half-hour show took two rolls and required the use of both machines. I would have no backup if the machine that was on the air failed.

We continued to record all of the material from the afternoon rehearsals. Crosby didn’t always know his songs very well, and he might start one and blow it. John Scott Trotter, the music director, would play the tune on the piano. When Bing got it, we would record two or three takes. In the evening, Crosby did the whole show before an audience. If he muffed a song then, the audience loved it — thought it was very funny — but we would have to take out the show version and put in one of the rehearsal takes. Sometimes, if Crosby was having fun with a song and not really working at it, we had to make it up out of two or three parts. This ad-lib way of working is commonplace in recording studios today, but it was all new to us.

(John T. Mullin, writing in High Fidelity, April, 1976)

 

August 14, Thursday. (7:00 –7:30 p.m.) Bing acts as host on the Family Theater radio presentation “The Windbag.”

August 15, Friday. (1:53–2:53 p.m., 4:40–5:17 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing transcribes another Philco show with guests Jimmy Durante and Peggy Lee.

August 17, Sunday. Bing has an afternoon round of golf at Hayden Lake Golf Course, near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

August 21-22, Thursday-Friday. Bing and Dixie are reported to be in Walla Walla, Washington with Bing’s “press agent.”.

August 23, Saturday. Bing and Bill Morrow visit Bing’s boyhood home at E508 Sharp, Spokane.

August 27, Wednesday. Bing golfs on the Jasper Park golf course in Alberta, Canada. Playing with a Mr. Herron, they are defeated three up by Leroy Goldsworthy (the local pro) and Mrs. Herron. Bing has a 75.

August 28, Thursday. Bing and Bill Morrow fish for rainbow trout in Tonquin valley in Jasper National Park.

August 31, Sunday. Bing has a practice round on the Jasper Park golf course. He has a birdie at the eighteenth hole and tells his caddy that he will buy him a new suit for each birdie he achieves at that hole in the Totem Pole golf tournament starting the next day.

 

I first spied Bing Crosby on the sun-lit steps of a small Roman Catholic church in the Canadian Rocky Mountain resort town of Jasper, Alberta. He was in the company of two attractive young ladies, summer waitresses at Jasper Park Lodge where he was staying while preparing to play in the Totem Pole Tournament, one of his favorite golfing events. It was Sunday morning, August 31, 1947. The qualifying round of the six-day tournament would begin next day.

I tried to catch his attention as he and the girls descended the steps, but they disappeared from sight when mobbed by a small group of locals, all vying to get close to the great crooner and say something to him, like “hello..Bing, how are you?,” to which he reciprocated in his cheerful, carefree manner. After chatting briefly with a few in the crowd, Bing moved towards an empty black auto parked on the street before the church. The girls and, of course, the crowd followed. As for me, I was still attempting to catch his attention.  

Bing Crosby had reached the driver’s side and was opening the door when I shouted something or other of identification. He spotted me. “Get in,” he called out across the roof of the car. The waitress in the back seat opened the door and in I climbed. I peered out the windows at the envious faces peering in and tried to act as nonchalant as was possible under the circumstance, considering that there was a pretty young thing in the back seat with me, another up front, and the great groaner himself, at the wheel. He turned the key, the motor purred, and we moved off.

“Glad you could make it,” he said to me and reached back over the seat to shake my hand. Then he introduced me to the two girls. He suggested I conduct my interview over lunch and on the putting green where he wanted to sharpen his putting strokes for the tournament. Then, like a scene out of one of his movies, he started to sing and urged the girls and me to join him.

“Who wants to do the harmony?” he asked. The girl up front volunteered. The famous voice, deep and resonant, and carrying a twinkle, began to fill the automobile. I can still see the back and side of his head, his hat characteristically perched at a jaunty angle on his thinning head of hair, and his trademark ears thrust out defiantly. There we were, two waitresses and one green reporter warbling our hearts out with the great man. Me, singing with Bing Crosby! But it was such a natural thing; not contrived or obligatory to please, but a delightful sharing of friendship among the four of us. And lustily we sang and chattered all the way to the Lodge, a trip of about half an eternity.

Bing dropped the girls in the main area of the Lodge, then drove to his cabin where he ordered in lunch for the three of us — himself, his manager and me. I was of course enthralled by what was happening to me — a junior league reporter getting the royal treatment by his idol. Lunch over, Bing and I casually walked to the putting green where, between his putts, I completed my questioning, such as it was for a kid of 17. He straightened up to hail the Lodge’s official photographer strolling by, camera in hand.

“How about a shot?” Bing asked me. It was something I should have thought of. “How would you like to set it up?”

“Oh,” I said, “I think a shot of you putting.” The photographer arrived with his press camera. “How would you like it Mr. Crosby?”

“Oh, a shot of me putting,” he said, winking at me, “and one of Mr. Sims and me together.”

I was touched no end, a true fan. So the photographer shot Bing as he putted and suggested I move in for a shot of both of us. Along the way I lost the treasured photo, not that I minded losing it that much, but that my folks lost the opportunity to brag, with the evidence in their hands, about their son and Bing Crosby! In about half an hour the interview was over. We shook hands, he kidded me about something or other, then returned to putting. Walking off, I wheeled to have another look at the great man. He was hunched over the putter, the pipe clenched between his teeth, the hat shading his balding noggin. He caught me glancing over his way, waved and resumed what he was up to.

(John Sims, writing in BING magazine, spring 2004)

     

September 1, Monday. Bing has a seventy-four in the qualifying round of the Jasper Park Totem Pole golf tournament and passes through to the competition proper.

September 2, Tuesday. In his first round match of the Totem Pole golf tournament, Bing wins easily.

September 3, Wednesday. Bing beats Matt Berry of Vancouver in his second round match, shooting a sixty-nine. His caddy gets another new suit!

September 4, Thursday. In the next round of the Totem Pole golf tournament, Bing beats Norman Wilkinson of Vancouver.

September 5, Friday. Bing wins his semi-final match at the Totem Pole golf tournament against Carl Haymond of

two and one.

September 6, Saturday. In the final of the Totem Pole golf tournament, Bing is matched against Gordon Verley, and they are all square as they play the thirty-sixth hole in front of a crowd of 1,000:

 

Verley was only about a foot from the pin on his third while Bing’s second lay beyond the green, at least 30 feet astray of the mark. From this position Bing couldn’t see the pin. He was under the shade of a massive Douglas fir. To make matters more despairing a youngster maintained constant squirming just behind him. The Hollywood ace took his stance then broke it with a good-humored offer to change places with the lad. This little act cut the tension for the big gallery, and Bing followed up by almost nonchalantly chipping the ball into the cup.

(Jasper Tourist News 1965, as reprinted in Jasper Park Lodge by Cyndi Smith)

 

Bing later apologizes to Verley for being so lucky. Also he had promised his caddy a new suit for every birdie on the eighteenth and has to pay up on three occasions! Bing then goes off for two weeks moosehunting in Alberta and is later photographed with his trophies.

September 13, Saturday. Decca has issued a 4-disc 78rpm set called El Bingo and it is reviewed by Billboard magazine on this date.


Packaging eight Latin lullabies which Bing Crosby cut in an earlier day, it all adds up to a likely El Bingo binge for the fans. A romantic ranchero, Crosby sings to Xavier Cugat's music for Siboney, Hasta Manana, You Belong to My Heart and Baia. For the other two records in the set, it’s the single spirited spin for Alla En El Rancho Grande with the Foursome adding their vocal harmonies and John Scott Trotter making the music just as spirited. Trotter frames the musical back for the pash Amor piping to complete the platter. For the fourth side, Crosby sings it in Spanish, with Victor Young conducting the orchestra, for No Te Importe Saber, recognized as Let Me Love You Tonight, and adds the English lyric for Flores Negras, best remembered as You’re the Moment of a Lifetime. Color photo of the singer wearing a sombrero makes for an attractive cover page, with personal notes on the piper for the inside page.


September 24, Wednesday. Staying at Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, Bing sends a postcard to Bill Morrow.

 

Boiling out here after big Jasper post hunt celebration. ??? ??? ???, tho lots of snow. See you soon. Bing

 

September 25, Thursday. En route to Elko, Bing stays at the Davenport Hotel, Spokane, after three weeks at Jasper where he has been hunting with Bill Morrow, Newt Crumley, John Oldham (Bing’s Elko real estate broker), and Dr. Arnold Stevens. He sends another postcard to Bill Morrow.

 

Dear Bill,

Sorry I can’t make the program on October 3rd but this seems much more important to me and I’m sure you’ll agree. I’ve made arrangements with John M?? of TWA to fly parties in to case the collection. Having big time in Spokane. Rutherford and McGrath (?) are sure as hell to ensure Jon Chadst(?) come along. Bill, see you soon.

Bing.

 

September (undated). Gary Crosby (age fourteen) becomes a boarder at Bellarmine Academy, San Jose as does Bill Gargan's son, Leslie.

with Gary Cooper.jpgOctober 1, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee and Gary Cooper. The Rhythmaires become the resident vocal group. Ken Carpenter and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra continue in their usual roles. This is the first Philco show of the season and the new recording method is welcomed because of the better quality. The shows are broadcast on Wednesday nights until June 2, 1948, and the audience share for the season is 16.8 which enables the program to scrape into twentieth place in the Hooper ratings. Fred Allen’s show is in top place with 28.7 and the Kraft Music Hall (with Al Jolson as host) reaches eleventh position with 21.4.

 

When Der Bingle returns to the air each fall it seems that radio programming takes a jump forward. This year, too, the Groaner’s show promises a half-hour of lush melody, rhythm and bright chatter, all delivered in that facile, show manly manner inescapably coupled with Crosby.

The debut show Wednesday was essentially the same package that made network program history last year, although one difference was notable—the quality of the initial recordings of last year’s Philco series was much inferior to the 1947 debut program. The improvement is attributed to the use of the tape recording technique, which provides greater fidelity. Wednesday’s show had no noticeable mechanical defects.

Entertainment-wise, Crosby delivered with the old charm, scoring with a medley of such top pop as Mam’selle, Chi-Baba and Peg O’ My Heart— tunes which Crosby does as no one else can...

(Paul Ackerman, Billboard, October 11, 1947)

 

The new method of recording the Bing Crosby Show is far superior to that used previously. The program came over sharper, clearer and truer than last year. The singer had a more enjoyable program for another reason—he didn’t give the impression that he was bored and wishing he were somewhere other than before the microphone.

(Hollywood Citizen News, October 6, 1947)

 

October 2, Thursday. (6:006:30 p.m.) Al Jolson returns as host of the Kraft Music Hall show on NBC after thirteen years. Bing is thought to have returned to Hollywood today.

October 3, Friday. (3:00–5:00 p.m., 6:45–7:20 p.m.) Bing records a Philco show with Dinah Shore which is broadcast on October 15.

October 6, Monday. (2:30–6:30 p.m.) Bing rehearses for a Screen Guild Players broadcast. (7:30–8:00 p.m.) Bing stars in another Screen Guild Players radio version of The Bells of St. Mary’s on CBS with Ingrid Bergman and Joan Carroll. It appears that the same script as the August 26, 1946 broadcast is used. This is the opening Screen Guild theater program of the season and is sponsored by Camel Cigarettes for the first time. Wilbur Hatch leads the orchestra.

October 8, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Jimmy Durante and Peggy Lee. Bing is thought to have made an appearance at a benefit event staged at the Paramount, downtown Los Angeles in aid of an East Side Boys’ Club center. The film Variety Girl is premiered.

October–December 20. Bing films A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court with Rhonda Fleming, William Bendix, and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. The director is Tay Garnett with Victor Young as musical conductor and Joseph J. Lilley in charge of vocal arrangements. The songs written by Rodgers and Hart for the original stage show cannot be used as royalties would have to be paid to Warner Brothers. Burke and Van Heusen write new songs for the film. The picture has a shooting schedule of only forty-eight days.

 

I have so many happy memories of having the chance to work with Bing in “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” - not only co-starring for the first time with him, but starring above the title since he never wanted to star alone! What a break for a relative newcomer. Bing and Tay Garnett, our director, chose me over many girls who had tested for the role of Princess Alisande - and it began a whole new chapter in my career - going from black and white character roles to starring in many Technicolor films.

Bing was a delight to work with and did everything he could to upstage himself and make sure I was being treated well - and to be able to sing with him was such a thrill, although he had me sing down one whole octave from my trained soprano voice to be able to sing with him in his key - that was a challenge.

When I’m asked about my favorite films I always say “working with Bing Crosby was one of the highlights of my life and my career.”

(Rhonda Fleming, in a letter dated February 4, 2003 addressed to Kathryn Crosby in connection with Bing’s centenary)

 

…A sideline musician is the fellow you see in the movie who looks as if he’s making music, but all the music has been pre-recorded. On the set there would be a grand piano with no strings in it. Violinists covered the strings with cellophane, so the bow slid across the strings making no sound. I played a guitar. I played the proper chords, but my picking hand was swinging about an inch away from the strings.

Who did this kind of work? Usually the studio musicians couldn’t be bothered with it, for they made more money recording the origina1 sound track. Sideline musicians were usually fellows who played in nightclubs, just as I was doing on Vine Street. …

So here it was Monday morning, and I was in the makeup room. A couple of other musicians were sitting on little stools with people putting makeup on them. They gave me a costume and a wig that was fashioned like the hair people wore in King Arthur’s time. Right away I knew this was going to be a problem because makeup and wigs are hot, and the Technicolor lights made it even hotter on the set. Bing always said he hated to wear a wig. He was always trying to talk a director into working out a scene so he could wear a hat instead.

There were about six of us “court musicians” in the scene that I was in. They handed each of a strange-looking instrument. A couple of them resembled square ukuleles. One had the appearance of an ancient viola, and my buddy played an instrument that looked like a zither with little hammers on it. I can’t say whether these instruments were authentic.

Sir   Cedric Hardwicke, the eminent English actor, played the part of King Arthur. In this scene he was made with a pale complexion and a red nose and was seated at a large round table. King Arthur had a perpetual allergy and was sniffling all the time. Around him were court attendants bowing and scraping, dancing and juggling. There were big bowls of grapes on the table which the cast and crew kept stealing when nobody was looking. One day all work ceased when the head property man grabbed a microphone and intoned, “Now hear this! Everybody stop eating the grapes! They are on the table for decorative purposes only. The commissary tells me they’re running out of them.” Two days later I saw Bing furtively grab a few grapes as he walked by…

The pre-recorded music started, and I began my fake strumming. Then Bing entered with William Bendix. Bing was dressed in a maroon suit and a pair of tights. The first thing I noticed was that he had athletic-looking legs. I was 5’10” tall, and Bing must have been an inch or two shorter than I…

In the film Bing notices the orchestra of court musicians sitting up on a balcony. The music we were “playing” was a kind of fifth century madrigal with moving parts 1ike a fugue. They faked that a little, because the music sounded more like 15th century than 5th century. In fact, musical historians don’t know what music sounded like in the 5th century, but they had to come up with something credible.

In the picture Bing stops the band and gives each of us a little part to play, and then we put it all together. It was pre-recorded and very musical—even had a little jazzy swing. Bing laid a few lines on my buddies, such as “Do you have your guild cards paid up?” but these were cut from the finished film. He was always tossing off a funny line. When a knight walked by wearing something that looked like a long gown, Bing looked down the full length of his attire and said, “Tell me, Buster, who’s your dressmaker?”

The scene I was in took about two weeks to do. Most people do not realize how long it takes to make a picture. A scene is started, and if it lasts a minute and goes well, that’s considered a take. Later on they splice all the pieces together. Making a film is a dreary, slow business. Most of the time you have no idea of the meaning of the scene you’re in; you just do a little bit at a time. When you finally see the movie, you say, “So that’s what it was all about!”

As I rounded the corner every morning I saw Bing’s little dressing room. It looked like a big milk wagon with a frame and wheels, so it could be towed around. Bing would be sitting there, studying his lines or talking to someone or giving everybody a wave or nod in a friendly fashion…

Keep in mind that our “court musicians “ were really nightclub musicians who worked until 2 a.m., yet had to report every morning at 7: 30 for makeup and costumes. The first two or three days weren’t too bad, but about the middle of the week the l8-hour day began to take its toll…

When we finally started a scene, Bing would walk in, and the assistant director would explain what was happening. He’d say, “Mr. Crosby will walk in from this door, and Mr. Crosby will come across here. He’ll meet the leading lady over there, and Mr. Crosby will then move up to the musicians.” The directors and assistant directors were always very correct and meticulous about the way they referred to the stars. But to us musicians and other workers he was always “Bing.

When at long last we started our scene, we stood there with our instruments while Bing came and stood in front of us with his back to me, about two feet away. The filming of this scene must have lasted two or three days… I noticed that Bing was always chewing gum. When it came time for a take, he’d tuck the gum somewhere in his mouth, but it would reappear when the take was over. As he chewed, his eyes were checking on everything that went on in the studio. He didn’t miss a single movement or detail.

When you’ve done a scene several times it gets a little wearying, and even Bing got impatient. After the fourth or fifth take, as soon as someone said “Cut,” Bing would shout “Print it! Print it! It’s a take!” The directors, of course, paid no attention to him.

When a scene started, the pre-recorded music would play, and the dancers would begin prancing around in their fifth century style. After about four bars the music faded out completely. We kept playing and the dancers kept dancing with the help of a string of lights which flashed the rhythm to us.

The mornings were difficult and the days were long, but Bing was always fresh at that early hour. He was awake when everybody else was half asleep. Bing always went to bed early. When he was in Spokane he put in so many years carrying the newspapers in the morning that he got used to arising early and had no problem with it. If he wasn’t working he’d get up at 5 or 6 in the morning to play golf.

While lounging around on the set between takes, Bing often broke into a spontaneous song, usually from some cornball melody that lingered in his mind. One was a tune from the twenties, “My Ohio Home.” It was a song that didn’t do much for me in the twenties, or any other time, but every time there was a lull Bing would sing a few bars of that melody or some other obscure tune from his Paul Whiteman days.

One day between takes a prop man brought in a stool, and Bing sat down on it. From out of nowhere appeared a barber with his comb, towel, and scissors. He approached Bing, who was wearing a wig, and trimmed his hair around the back of his neck. There really wasn’t much to cut, but here was Bing Crosby, one of the biggest figures in Hollywood, getting his hair cut like a little kid sitting in his mother’s kitchen…

The last day of our work, Bing, knowing that all of us court musicians were about ready to leave him, said, “Hey, you guys, when you get your makeup and all that jazz taken off, meet me at the Playboy and we’ll have a few laughs.” So we all ran in the dressing room, rubbed cold cream on our faces, and threw our wigs in a corner. About six of us walked into the Playboy, and there was Bing standing at the bar, the picture of cordiality and relaxed affability.

“Come on, you guys, sit down and order up your favorite poisons,” Bing urged. There wasn’t anybody else there at the time, so we sat down. The bartender came along and one by one took our orders. Then he said, “What’ll you have, Bing?” Bing looked at the ceiling, hesitated, and replied, “I will have my usual internal poultice.” A great line!

Yes, it was a great experience working with Bing Crosby!

(Don Eagle, writing in BINGANG, December 1989)

 

October 10, Friday. (2:30–4:30 p.m., 6:06–6:37 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Clifton Webb, Burl Ives, and Howard Duff which is broadcast on October 22.

October 13, Monday. (2:30–3:50 p.m., 5:37–6:09 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Victor Moore and Boris Karloff which airs on October 29.

October 14, Tuesday. The New York premiere of the film Variety Girl takes place. It had already been released elsewhere on August 29.

 

[The film] emerges a socko entertainment . . . [Hope] and Crosby click with their “Harmony” routine, a socko number for all its paraphrasing of the “Friendship” routine out of Du Barry Was a Lady which Bert Lahr and Ethel Merman made famous.

(Variety, July 16, 1947)

 

October 15, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Dinah Shore.

October 16, Thursday. (11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m., 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for a Kraft Music Hall broadcast. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Appears live on the Kraft Music Hall on NBC hosted by Al Jolson with Oscar Levant and Lou Bring and his Orchestra in support.

October 17, Friday. (3:00–5:00 p.m., 6:25–7:05 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Ozzie and Harriet Nelson which airs on November 5.

October, 18, Saturday. James C. Petrillo, chief of the American Federation of Musicians, announces that none of his members will ever make another phonograph record or transcription after December 31, 1947. This threatens to have a major impact on Bing who is recording his radio show as well as making many records.

October 20, Monday. Bing is named in the press as a charter member of the Hollywood Republican Club.

October 22, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Clifton Webb, Burl Ives, and Howard Duff.

October 24, Friday. (3:30–5:30 p.m., 6:44–7:13 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Peter Lorre and Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers which airs on November 12.

October 28, Tuesday. (7:00–7:30 p.m.) Live guest appearance on Bob Hope’s radio show on NBC alongside Bob’s regulars Jerry Colonna and Vera Vague. The show comes from Van Nuys.

October 29, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Gale Robbins, Victor Moore, and Boris Karloff.

October 31, Friday. (3:00–5:20 p.m., 6:40–7:20 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Dorothy Kirsten and Barry Fitzgerald which is broadcast on November 19.

 

It is difficult to find one word to describe my feelings about this great performer’s voice: sexy, smooth, suave, and ever so personalized . . . many have tried to emulate his sound. . . . Bing and I were close friends for quite a while and enjoyed some good times together. He was a warm person with a gay and light personality. At one time we actually became quite serious; however, there were two important careers to consider.

(Dorothy Kirsten, writing in her book A Time to Sing, page 124)

 

November 2, Sunday. (1:19–2:38 p.m., 4:00–4:37 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Frankie Laine which is broadcast on November 26. Later, the Friars Club throws a testimonial dinner for Bob Hope at the Biltmore Hotel. Bing is listed as a speaker but does not attend, which leads to some comment in the press with Bob Hope reportedly being upset.

November 5, Wednesday. (12:05–2:50 p.m., 6:45–7:30 p.m.) Rehearses for an appearance on the Jimmy Durante show. (7:30–8:00 p.m.) Guests on the Jimmy Durante live radio show on NBC for Rexall Drug Stores with Arthur Treacher, Candy Candido, and Roy Bargy and his Orchestra.

 

The Crosby guest spot on Durante’s show is very good, but pales by comparison with this Crosby show episode [see December 4, 1946]. On his November 5, 1947 show, Durante plugs his new MGM film. This Time for Keeps, starring Esther Williams, “opening this week in theaters throughout the country,” but he does not sing any of the several songs he did in that film. Instead he plugs “Chidabee,” Crosby grabbing hold of the tail end of the song. Bing plugs his new film for Paramount, The Road to Rio. They join to sing “The Song’s Gotta Come from the Heart,” segueing into “Ochi Chornya,” which Durante loved to interpolate into other songs, and back again to “The Song’s Gotta....” Dorothy Lamour is announced as next week’s guest.

(Jimmy Durante - His Show Business Career, page 125)

 

(9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Ozzie and Harriet Nelson.

November 7, Friday. (3:15–5:15 p.m., 6:30–7:07 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Al Jolson which is broadcast on December 3.

November 8, Saturday. (3:30 to 4:45 p.m.) Records “Now Is the Hour” and “Silver Threads Among the Gold” in Hollywood with the Ken Darby Choir.

 

Bing has recorded “Now Is the Hour” in a most tasteful performance with a small choir. This has style and imagination and even if you are sick of this song Crosby gives it a freshness that is quite disarming. Coupled with “Silver Threads Among the Gold” 03839 should be a money-spinner.

(The Gramophone, April, 1948)

 

November 9, Sunday. (4:40–6:00 p.m., 7:38–8:18 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Walter O’Keefe which is broadcast on December 10.

November 11, Tuesday. Bing is named as America’s most popular actor for the fourth consecutive year in the All-American Annual Popularity poll carried out by Boxoffice, a weekly trade journal.

November 12, Wednesday. Records four songs, including “Pass That Peace Pipe” and “Embraceable You,” accompanied by John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra. “Pass That Peace Pipe” charts briefly in the No. 21 spot. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peter Lorre and Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers.

November 13, Thursday. (8:00 to 10:40 a.m.) Records “But Beautiful” and two other songs in Hollywood with Victor Young and his Orchestra. “But Beautiful” spends three weeks in the Best-Seller charts, peaking at No. 20.

November 14, Friday. (3:15–5:15 p.m., 6:30–7:10 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Joe Frisco and Eileen Woods which is broadcast on December 17.

November 16, Sunday. (5:10–6:30 p.m., 7:30–8:10 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Danny Thomas which airs on December 31.

 

In the evening, Crosby did the whole show before an audience. If he muffed a song then, the audience loved it—thought it was very funny—but we would have to take out the show version and put in one of the rehearsal takes. Sometimes, if Crosby was having fun with a song and not really working at it, we had to make it up out of two or three parts. This ad-lib way of working is commonplace in the recording studios today, but it was all new to us.

(John T. Mullin, writing about working with Bing in High Fidelity, April, 1976)

 

November 18, Tuesday. (4:30–7:30 p.m.) Bing records “Ain’t Doin’ Bad Doin’ Nothin’” and “Ida I Do” with Joe Venuti and his Orchestra.

 

Ain’t Doin’ Bad Doin’ Nothin’

Crosby pleasingly balladeers a new Joe Venuti song with the aid of Venuti’s fiddle.

Ida I Do

Der Bingle does a typically pleasing job on the evergreen

(Billboard, September 11, 1948)

 

November 19, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Dorothy Kirsten, Barry Fitzgerald, and the Ken Darby Choir. Reports in the press indicate that Bing has contracted “makeup poisoning” during the filming of Connecticut Yankee and that the cameramen are shooting only one side of his face at present.

November 21, Friday. (3:15–5:15 p.m., 6:40–7:15 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Walter O’Keefe and the Lone Ranger (Bruce Beemer) which airs on January 7, 1948. During the day, Bing dictates a letter to his son Gary at Bellarmine Academy, San Jose.

 

Dear Gary,

Once again I hear very bad news about you and your weight. You are 14 years old now and you should have acquired a little judgment, a little brains, a little commonsense. I am not going to have you grow up into a fat, unattractive slob. If there is anything I can do to prevent it, you can be sure that I will do it…

 

November 22, Saturday. Bing sings with Xavier Cugat’s band at the Winter Ball benefit for St. John’s Hospital held in the Crystal Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

 

The scoop that comes once—that’s what I got the night my camera caught Bing Crosby and his wife Dixie stepping out together.

Bing’s murder on news pictures. Once in a while he’ll let us grab a few shots. But most of the time he ducks or puts all the photogs who are around on their honor not to aim his way—so he can relax and have fun.

Because this ball, held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, was a big benefit for St John’s Hospital, the committee decided it would be better to hire just one man to take pictures. Otherwise, because the cream of Hollywood was to be there, the place would be mobbed by guys with cameras. It was my lucky day all round, I guess. I was the photographer they selected.

When I saw Dixie sitting beside Bing I didn’t think I had a prayer. It is unusual for these two to step out together.

Just the week before when they had gone night-clubbing together they’d refused absolutely to allow pictures to be taken.

But I figured I had nothing to lose by asking.

“Sure, go ahead,” said Bing. “But let’s not make a big fuss about it. Just wait your chance and grab them.”

That’s why I can’t tell you why Bing’s laughing his head off. I was so busy getting him and Dixie in focus I missed the joke.

Later Bing sang a series of parodies on the tunes he’s done in his pictures. And his performance was so easy and smooth they wouldn’t let him go. He finally had to finish with “White Christmas.”

And I can tell you that Dixie, like all the rest of us, never gets tired of hearing him. She clapped as loud and long as anybody else. And when he came back and sat down beside her, she was all smiles.

(Al Brack, I Was There)

 

November 24, Monday. (9:30 p.m.) Bing, Bob Hope, Pat O’Brien and others participate in a Catholic Welfare program caled “It’s Up To You” on radio station KECA.

November 25, Tuesday. (4:30 to 7:00 p.m.) Records “Apalachicola, FLA” and “You Don’t Have to Know the Language” with the Andrews Sisters and Vic Schoen and his Orchestra.

November 26, Wednesday. (6:15 p.m.) Bing and Dinah Shore broadcast a radio appeal for Christmas Seals on station KHJ. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast and Bing presents the patriotic piece “The Man Without a Country.” The guest is Frankie Laine.

 

Bing Crosby was impressive on his Philco Show, Wednesday night (26th) on ABC, as the narrator of Jean Holloway’s dramatisation of Edward Everett Hale’s, ‘The Man Without a Country’. There was one other notable aspect of the broadcast. That was the impression on the listener, particularly during the present emphasis on patriotism, of the familiar story of Philip Nolan’s disgrace. There has always been something disturbing about that notorious incident but this broadcast suggested, as never before, (not even on several previous presentations of the same script) that the punishment imposed on Nolan was inhumanely cruel. It was deliberate and unrelenting and only death brought relief for the officer who, on thoughtless impulse, wished never to hear of the United States again. No one could seriously have thought Nolan really have meant what he had blurted out in a moment of rage. In fact, as Hale’s account says, Nolan’s epitaph contained the statement that no man ever loved America more than he. Only the most supremely self-righteous patriot would willingly face the same strict accountability of his everyday reckless word that Philip Nolan faced and this broadcast suggested that in the case of ‘The Man Without a Country’, the intended villain emerged a finer figure than did the zealots who judged him.

(Variety, December 3, 1947)

 

November 27, Thursday. (8:00–11:00 a.m.) Records three songs in Hollywood with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra and then records “Galway Bay” with an orchestra led by Victor Young. “Galway Bay” reaches the No. 3 spot in the Billboard Best-seller lists during a 19 week stay in the charts.

 

Pretty Baby

A spritely Crosby rendition of the oldie with good orking in back of him.

Swingin’ Down the Lane

More tongue-in-cheekish singing of an oldie by der Bingle.

(Billboard, December 18, 1948)

 

November 28, Friday. (3:10–4:38 p.m., 6:30–7:10 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records another Philco show, which airs on January 14, 1948. The guests are George Burns and Evelyn Knight.

November 30, Sunday. (4:45–6:25 p.m., 7:30–8:05 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Burns and Allen which airs on January 21, 1948.

December 3, Wednesday. (8:00–10:05 a.m.) Records four songs with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra, including “Ballerina.”  “Ballerina” spends eight weeks in the Billboard charts reaching a peak position of No. 10. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC and the guest is Al Jolson.

 

Ballerina

Golden Earrings

Decca 24278 A special Decca pairing cut this week and available for the stalls Monday (15). Both tunes are currently moving along at a rapid pace on The Billboard’s popularity charts and the pairing by Der Bingle should get this platter an immediate and solid reaction. The Rhythmaires assist Crosby on the “Ballerina” side.

(Billboard, December 13, 1947)

 

Al’s last 1947 Crosby show was in December—eight months after the one before. When the May show ended, Crosby’s agents had tried to sign Al up for another ten programs that autumn. But the two singers couldn’t agree terms.

      One report said that Bing and Al were at least $1,000 apart on what Jolson’s guest appearance fee should be. . . . It was to be two years before Al appeared again on the Crosby program although Bing was to join him on his.

      Bing had wondered at the very beginning of their association how the live studio audiences would take to Al appearing as himself. He thought they would be too amazed at the difference between Larry Parks on the screen and Jolson’s real appearance. But it never seemed to matter. They loved Jolson as he was—and of course the Crosby–Jolson team.

(Al Jolson, page 234)

 

December 4, Thursday. (1:30–4:15 p.m., 5:15–5:30 p.m.) Rehearses for an appearance on the Burns & Allen show. (5:30–6:00 p.m. & 9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing guests on The George Burns and Gracie Allen radio show on NBC with Gail Gordon, Hans Conreid, and Meredith Willson and the Maxwell House Orchestra. Bing sings “How Soon.” Press reports indicate that Bing has purchased an interest in the Billings, Montana baseball club.

December (undated). Bing is interviewed by telephone from Melbourne by radio station 3XY and he has a conversation with a young lady named Pam Fenton who has won a contest organized by the radio station.

December 5, Friday. (3:12–4:45 p.m., 6:40–7:20 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Esther Williams and Red Ingle which airs on January 28, 1948.

December 6, Saturday. Bing’s recording of “White Christmas” makes its annual appearance in the pop charts, peaking at number three over a five-week period.

December (undated). Bing and Dixie seen out together at Charley Morrison’s Champagne Room. They are with Bill Morrow and Iris Bynum.

December 8, Monday. Bill Balderston, Group Executive Vice President at the Philco Corporation writes to Bing:

 

Dear Bing,

I have intended all Fall to drop you a line and tell you how much we are enjoying your programs. As Jimmie Carmine says, “They are terrific!” We are all very happy about the results in the field - - as you probably know, radio is a complete sellout. Our distributors have no stocks, and we are pushing all the plants for maximum output!

       We have talked about our visit to Tuscarora many times. It was really the high spot of our Western trip. The movies we took of you and the boys are really very good, and we have run them many times for our friends.

       Under separate cover we are sending a very small gift for you and the boys. Hope it arrives safely. Tell Lin he had better practice up his “mumble-peg” so that the next time we get together he can win from us all.

       Susan and the boys join me in wishing all of you a happy, joyous Christmas. We are looking forward to seeing you in New York after the holidays.

 

Bing passes the letter to Bill Morrow with the pencilled comments “It’s about time.”

December 10, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Walter O’Keefe. During the show, Bing mentions the Hotel Drake in New York and this produces a letter from Helen E. Jones, the Hotel’s Publicity Director.

 

Dear Bing Crosby,

Everyone here at the Drake, from the valet to the manager, thanks you for your plug on the Drake on last night’s program.

       It’s good to know you haven’t forgotten your stay here and we often speak of your pleasant visit and the fun it was to hear that familiar voice right in our midst.

       I’ve chalked up as my best remembrance my birthday last May when you sang that song just for me. It’s the little things like that, and the thought you have of others that makes it seem like a darned good world. You’ve done more than your share in establishing that fact.

       Say hello for me to Bill Morrow.

       Sincerely

 

Bing annotates the letter with a pencilled instruction to his secretary “To Morrow and send Xmas card.”

December 11, Thursday. The production call sheet for Connecticut Yankee indicates that Bing is required on set 11 (stage 15) at 9:00 a.m. for the ‘slave market’ scene. Bing also starts a heavy recording schedule as a strike of the Petrillo-led American Federation of Musicians is scheduled for January 1. Three songs are recorded later that day with Victor Young and his Orchestra, plus the Ken Darby Choir. “Blue Shadows on the Trail” charts briefly with a peak position of No. 23.

 

“Blue Shadows on the Trail,” “A Fella with an Umbrella” (Decca). A corking coupling and an uncommon buy for the Crosby addict.

(Variety, May 5, 1948)

 

Laroo, Laroo Lilli Bolero

Bing with choral backing on top plug item.

The Story of Sorrento

Listenable and tasteful production built around the BMI version of the Italian folk tune.

(Billboard, April 17, 1948)

 

“Some performers will do maybe thirty-seven takes and do it better each time. A lot of guys I knew around then could do maybe five or six takes and then start to go downhill. Start to come apart. Find that their best take is about the fourth or fifth. They knew exactly how to gear themselves up for that. I always heard stories about how my dad was so relaxed and so natural and, you know, sort of everything. People made it seem as if it came out of the top of his head. Just as if he woke up and started doing it. I can tell you from being in the house at the time, that if he was going to a recording date, the day before, the night before as well as the morning, he always had dubs of the song with the piano player and usually the songwriter singing it, and these would be playing in the background all night until he went to bed. In the morning when he got up, while shaving, showering and getting dressed, it would be played and played again and again. He would sing it over and over again, so that my father had it pretty well set for words and melody by the time he got to the studio. Now when you have already got that down, the arrangement was simple, run through it a couple of times; when to come in, when to lay out, where the end is and where the beginning is. He would hit it two or three times and go. That was best for him. That was the best way to work.”

(Gary Crosby, speaking in an exclusive interview with Gord Atkinson, subsequently broadcast in Gord Atkinson’s The Crosby Years, www.whenfm.com)

 

December 12, Friday. Films further scenes at the ‘slave market’. (3:40–5:40 p.m., 6:30–7:10 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, records a Philco show with Jimmy Durante, Dick Haymes, and Mark Hellinger which airs on February 4, 1948.

December 13, Saturday. The production call sheet for Connecticut Yankee suggests that more scenes at the ‘slave market” are to be filmed.

December 15, Monday. The production call sheet for Connecticut Yankee again shows that more scenes at the ‘slave market” are to be filmed.

December 16, Tuesday. Scenes in the ‘peasant hut’ are due to be captured for the Connecticut Yankee movie.

December 17, Wednesday. On the Connecticut Yankee set, scenes in the King’s quarters are scheduled to be filmed. (5:30–8:15 p.m.) Bing records two tracks with the Andrews Sisters and Vic Schoen and his Orchestra in Hollywood. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Joe Frisco and Eileen Woods.

 

Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters (Decca 24481)

At the Flying “W”

Surefire Rhythm novelty featuring a twin box office attraction.

A Hundred and Sixty Acres

Same combine do full justice to a tune that’s not up to the topside’s standard.

(Billboard, September 11, 1948)

 

December 18, Thursday. The production call sheet for Connecticut Yankee indicates that the scene in Merlin’s courtyard is to be filmed. Later Bing records “Once and for Always” with Rhonda Fleming and Victor Young and his Orchestra. There is publicity regarding Bing and Ampex.

 

BING CROSBY SIGNS BIG SAN CARLOS DEAL - Takes Over Full Output of New Recording Device

SAN CARLOS, Dec. 18.—Announcement of the first contract upon a new tape recording process that probably will revolutionize the broadcasting industry was made here today by the Ampex Electric corporation, which said that the contract has been completed with Crosby Enterprises, Inc., headed-by radio’s foremost personality, Bing Crosby.

Final completion of the contract was made by Crosby’s brother and business manager, Everett Crosby, and T. I. Moseley, owner of the Dalmo-Victor Corporation. Moseley and A. M. Poniatoff are the largest stockholders in Ampex Corporation.

A quartet of men at the local plant, Forrest Smith, manager; Charles McSharry, office manager; Harold Lindsay and Myron Stolaroff, engineers, jointly made the announcement of the perfection of the tape recording device which will be distributed by Crosby Enterprises with the entire first year’s output already sold to the American Broadcasting Company.

A demonstration of the new recorder, a shining 900-pound cabinet with two quietly whirring 35-minute tape reels on its top, left auditors breathless. Music and voices reproduced on the thin, brown plastic tape were more real than the sound of music or persons standing in the same room. An uncanny, almost ghostlike effect in which the actual breathing of musicians and singers could be detected marks the tremendous almost “open-end” sound range of the reproduction which also has-hitherto hidden qualities in the middle-register of sound made electrically, audible for the first time. It is the highest fidelity ever achieved by electrical engineers. Also new to recording is the ability of the tape to be reduplicated or “dubbed” without any loss in fidelity. A re-recording may be made by the machine from its own tape in an infinite progression of times without any loss whatever, where ordinary disc recording loses nearly 20 per cent of quality on each successive re-recording. The tape moves through the recorder so fast that it may be slowed down for editing, splicing and “dubbing” without the splicing being audible, thus uncovering a big short cut for all radio transcription.

Crosby’s interest in the new process stems from his own decision, made over a year ago, to record all of his programs instead of making “live”’ broadcasts. This object was endangered by quality losses in recording until last summer when Crosby began to record his shows on German-built tape machines which had been improved by the W. A. Palmer Company of San Francisco. These tape recordings were placed upon wax transcriptions for distribution and use by the American Broadcasting company and its affiliated stations.

Starting in 1948, the entire Crosby show will be recorded on the far more advanced Ampex recorder. These shows will also be re-transcribed to wax discs, probably until April, when it is hoped that high fidelity stations will have sufficient Ampex equipment to allow broadcasts directly from the tape.

Engineers Lindsay and Stolaroff, who have developed the new process, say that the effects of the new high fidelity transcription will be readily apparent on existing radio sets of the AM type and even better on FM broadcasts. Both said that the average AM home radio is capable of much better reproduction than present broadcast signals will allow.

Smith said that a chief worry now, here as well as throughout the entire broadcast industry, is what effect the recording ban set for January 1 by Caesar Petrillo  and his national musicians union will have upon transcribed broadcasts.

”We don’t know the answer here,” said Smith.

From Los Angeles, however, today comes word that there is close liaison between Everett Crosby and Petrillo.

The Ampex instruments have been experimentally recording the Crosby broadcasts since October, it was revealed, and Bing Crosby was said to have personally ordered the connection between Ampex and Crosby Enterprises.

One of the astonishing effects of the new recordings in revealing full quality of spoken voices will probably cause top-flight radio announcers to change their methods of speech. The unctuous, richly furred voices of the announcers will have to approach more closely the normal since the exaggerated characteristics developed for present radio sound “over-done and silly” under the new recording process.

Smith said that the present plans of Ampex will be limited for the first year to production of high precision recording and play-back machines with an initial order of 500 of these to be completed. This, he said, cannot be done under normal mass production methods because of the precision elements involved. He said that the San Carlos plant will employ about 30 highest type electrical workers on the production.

Meanwhile the Ampex plant here is tapering off on production of electric motors for airplanes. It has been engaged in this work since war days when the plant was also busy in making radar parts. Smith estimates that a switch-over to the recording device manufacturing will start in about four weeks.

The plant is located at 1155 Howard Street in San Carlos. Smith said that the research on the recording device has been under way for more than a year. He also said that production of home recorders on a mass basis is under consideration but that it will be at least a year before this field is entered.

(George W. Whitesell, San Mateo Times, December 18, 1947)

 

December 19, Friday. The production call sheet for Connecticut Yankee has reserved this day for pickups and retakes. Bing records a Philco show with Robert Taylor which airs on February 18, 1948. Robert Taylor receives a fee of $3000 for his services.

December 20, Saturday. The production call sheet for Connecticut Yankee has also reserved this day for pickups and retakes. (6:00–7:00 p.m. Pacific) Bing is one of several guests who make brief appearances on “The Joyful Hour” broadcast on the Mutual network. Others taking part include Perry Como, Ann Blyth, Dennis Day and Dick Haymes. The show has been transcribed and is produced by Father Peyton of the Rosary Crusade.

December 21, Sunday. (5:00–6:18 p.m., 7:30–8:30 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with Peggy Lee, Oscar Levant, and Joe Venuti which airs on February 11, 1948. (9:15-9:30 p.m.) Bing guests on the Louella Parsons radio show on ABC.

December 22, Monday. (3:20–4:40 p.m., 6:30–7:10 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records another Philco show, this time with Peggy Lee. The show is broadcast on February 25, 1948.

December 24, Wednesday. Records no less than eight songs with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra but “Oh, You Crazy Moon” is not issued. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. This is simply a rebroadcast of the December 25, 1946 show.

 

I’d Love to Live in Loveland – Decca 24471

Being revived now some 40 years after it originally proved to be one of the biggest pops ever, the Will Rossiter waltz is given a relaxed ride by Der Bingle with the usual able Trotter background.

(Billboard, July 31, 1948)

 

December 25, Thursday. The film Road To Rio is released, taking $4.5 million in rental income in its initial release period in the USA.

 

With Bing Crosby and Bob Hope on the tramp again in “Road to Rio,” recklessly scattering jokes and rescuing perennial girl friend Dorothy Lamour from dangerous hypnotic trances, there’s fun to be had at the Paramount. Maybe this is not the funniest picture ever made; maybe it is not even quite as rewarding as some of those earlier journeys, but there are patches in this crazy quilt that are as good and, perhaps, even better than anything the boys have done before. They are traversing more of a rollercoaster highway than usual this time and so there are some tedious uphill pulls when the huffing and puffing is excessive and the results negligible. However, when they reach the top “Road to Rio” is irresistible.

Hope reluctantly doing a highwire bicycle act and wrecking a carnival in the process, or being unceremoniously hung up as a side of ham in a ship’s refrigerator, or blowing musical bubbles out of a trumpet in a Rio de Janeiro night club may sound silly in cold print, but it’s the kind of stuff that gets laughs on the screen. And, naturally, Crosby, the smoothest straight man in the business today, is in there all the time getting situations started and feeding jokes to his pal when he doesn’t actually steal the play by adding a snapper to a snapper.

This mad caper is climaxed by a wild round of excitement at an ultra-lavish wedding party, when the boys bravely move in to rescue the dazed Miss Lamour from being duped into marriage by swindlers posing as friends. If this synopsis sounds sketchy, it’s only because the story doesn’t matter anyway. For the script merely serves as a means for getting a pair of impecunious musicians driven out of one state after another by irate husbands and boyfriends until they are cornered, forced to stowaway on a Rio bound steamer and meet up with a beautiful senorita and her problems. All that matters really is that “Road to Rio” is fairly well loaded with laughs.

(New York Times, February 19, 1948)

 

This celluloid junket along the Road to Rio should find smooth riding to sturdy box-office. The pattern established by other Paramount “Road” pictures is solidly followed by Daniel Dare’s production to keep the laughs spilling and the paying customers satisfied.

. . . Able song selling is given to “But Beautiful” and “You Don’t Have to Know the Language” by Crosby. Miss Lamour tosses of “Experience” for listening pleasure. Two male stars combine on “Apalachicola, Fla.,” for laughs as song-dance team, while the Andrews Sisters lend their special touch to “For What?”. (Editor’s note: The latter song was not included in the final print of the film). Score is further abetted by inclusion of five rhythmical Latin standards.. .

Star trio is up to all demands and gives extra punch because of obvious enjoyment of playing roles.

(Variety, November 12, 1947, following tradeshow.)

 

What a grand way to spend New Year’s Eve—seeing Road to Rio. I am only repeating myself when I say that it’s the funniest of the Road pictures and, in my opinion, worthy of inspiring a special Academy Award for musical comedies. When you laugh so hard you fall out of your seat, you know this is one you must not miss. I have seen it twice, and I’ll see it again, because it’s better than any tonic.

(Los Angeles Examiner, January 1, 1948)

 

The Andrews Sisters join Crosby for “You Don’t Have to Know the Language,” one of many fine tunes written for the film by two of Crosby’s favorite songwriters, Johnny Burke and James Van Heusen. The girls appeared perfectly coifed and outfitted in sequined dresses. Their makeup was well done, and they had never before appeared so attractive on screen. This appearance marked the only time that the girls worked with Crosby in a movie, although they are often erroneously credited with having appeared in Road to Utopia. Watching Crosby and the sisters in Road to Rio, it is easy to see how much they enjoyed working with each other. Crosby is playful with all three sisters at different times during the performance, even trying to make La Verne laugh just before the song’s last line. One flaw occurs at the very end of the number when, after completing their final turn, Patty miscalculates her last step and collides with LaVerne as she swings out her hip. LaVerne keeps her composure, despite the substantial bump. The film out-grossed every other theatrical release of 1948, including MGM’s Easter Parade with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.

(John Sforza, Swing It! Page 110)

 

December 26, Friday. (3:00–4:00 p.m., 6:30–7:30 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records a Philco show with James Stewart which is broadcast on March 10, 1948. Stewart receives a fee of $3000 for his services. During this show, James Stewart sings “I’m A Wolf” and Bing arranges for him to have some copies of the performance on disc. This leads Stewart to send the following telegram to Bing on January 23, 1948:

 

Dear Bing:

Thank you ever so much for the records of Wolf Creek Pass. I have offered some of them to several of my friends but my friends refuse to accept them so I will treasure them all myself for ever.

Best regards,

Jim Stewart

 

December 27, Saturday. Another recording session, this time with Victor Young and his Orchestra. Bing records a solo version of “Once and for Always” and with Sir Cedric Hardwicke and William Bendix, he sings “Busy Doing Nothing.”  All of the songs from the film are issued on a 3-disc 78rpm album set in 1949 and this reaches the No. 5 position in Billboard's best-selling popular record albums chart.

 

Bing Crosby—“Once And For Always”—”If You Stub Your Toe on the Moon” (Decca).

Two tunes from Crosby’s Connecticut Yankee pic. “Once” is nicely done by Crosby and has hit possibilities. On this pairing, however, it’s the “Stub Your Toe” side that catches the ear, similar to the same writer’s “Swinging on a Star” the tune carries heavy sales and popularity weight. Rhythmaires and Victor Young band help focus its values.

(Variety, March 16, 1949)

 

Once and for Always

Bing does one of his super old-time jobs with a melodic ballad from his forthcoming “Connecticut Yankee” flick.

If You Stub Your Toe on the Moon

Also from the “Yankee” score, Bing gets off a warm rendition of the novelty ditty that’s in the same vein as his sock “Swing on a Star” number.

(Billboard, April 2, 1949)


Connecticut Yankee album

Crosby’s in rare form for this album of tunes from the “Connecticut Yankee” flick. His work on the top ballad “Once” is more reminiscent of the Bing of the thirties than anything he’s done in a long while – and the song is a natural. (It’s done twice here – one by Bing as a solo and again as a reprise with Rhonda Fleming). Other tune to watch is “Stub,” which could have the makings of another “Swing on a Star”.  Also represented from the original cast are Murvyn Vye, Bill Bendix and Cedric Hardwicke. If picture is as big as advance word has it, then album is in.

(Billboard, April 16, 1949)


 December 28, Sunday. (4:41–6:21 p.m., 7:33–8:13 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing records another Philco show, this time with Margaret O’Brien. The show is broadcast on March 17, 1948.

December 29, Monday. (2:00–3:30 p.m., 5:08–5:48 p.m.) In NBC Studio B, Bing tapes another Philco program. This time the guest is Jack Benny and the show is broadcast on March 3, 1948.

December 30, Tuesday. Records “If You Stub Your Toe on the Moon” and “Lili Marlene” with the Victor Young Orchestra. Later, records “Ichabod” and “The Headless Horseman” with Vic Schoen and his Orchestra. “If You Stub Your Toe on the Moon” charts briefly in the No. 27 spot.

 

Bing Crosby (Decca 24508)

Lili Marlene

This is a Crosby record just for Crosby’s collectors’ sake; tune of course is the war-born German item.

A Bluebird Singing in My Heart

More meaningless Bing.

(Billboard, November 6, 1948)


Ichabod

Ditty from the Disney “Ichabod and Mr. Toad” flick gets a manly try from Bing, but doesn’t register as a potential pop item.

It’s More Fun Than a Picnic

An unballyhooed light waltz novelty from “As the Girls Go” is done deftly and airily by Cros and a vocal group—but doesn’t wallop.

      (Billboard, September 3, 1949)

 

December 31, Wednesday. Bing records four songs with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra including “Haunted Heart” and “Love Thy Neighbor.” Another song – “A Fella with an Umbrella” – charts briefly in the No. 23 spot. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Danny Thomas. Bing continues in the recording studio until quite late and then accompanied by Dixie, they meet friends at the Beverly Hills Club where they celebrate the New Year.

 

Haunted Heart

Bing’s tonsils entwine haunting legit tune, emerging with one top disking to date on ditty.

(Billboard, April 10, 1948)

 

During the year, Bing has been named “Most Popular Living Person” in an ABC radio poll. Frank Sinatra is second with Pope Pius XII third. Bing also wins the Illustrated Radio Press Readers Award for 1947. He has had thirteen records that have become chart hits. Also Decca has issued nine 78rpm albums of Bing's recordings in 1947.

 

Most of his records made in the second half of 1945 and through much of 1946 were disappointing. His top notes seemed to come with great difficulty; his phrasing was not as relaxed and certain as it had been in the past. . . . There was a clear uncertainty in Bing’s work, and the blame for that could be laid at the door of his musical collaborators. For a long time during this so-called decline and fall, Bing was paired with various small groups on the Decca roster. Missing the sure baton and intelligent aid of John Scott Trotter, he had floundered between the notes of little units who were working with him to improve their fortune. The association with Bing was obviously more than just a shot in the arm for musical outfits on the way up, but unfortunately, though the collaboration was a hypodermic for their professional rating, it didn’t help Bing. As he worked more and more with John Scott Trotter on the Philco show, made a few records with him, and began to work more regularly as a singer, his voice emerged from the dark clouds of poor colleagues. It shone again, and in his mid-1947 records, he was clearly an assured vocalist once more.

(Barry Ulanov, in his 1948 book The Incredible Crosby, page 281)

 

1948

 

(Undated). During the year Bing hosts a short (1200 feet) film for the National Republic Congressional Committee  titled Knock on Every Door which is intended to encourage every one to do their part and vote. Other Hollywood actors take part as well.

January 2, Friday. Bing is named top moneymaking star for the fourth consecutive year in the annual poll of motion picture theater owners and operators conducted by the Motion Picture Herald trade publication.

January 3, Saturday. Bing enters St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica, for his annual checkup.

January 5, Monday. (8:15 p.m.) Bing is interviewed by Joe Hasel on Hasel's sportscast  program on ABC about the forthcoming golf tournament. They also discuss the outlook for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

January 7, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Walter O’Keefe and the Lone Ranger (Bruce Beemer).

January 8, Thursday. Bing attends a party at Lawson Little’s house at Pebble Beach.

January 9–11, Friday–Sunday. Plays in the Bing Crosby Pro-Am Tournament at Pebble Beach with Cam Puget, the local professional. The professional winner is Lloyd Mangrum. During the tournament, Bing is made Honorary Police Chief of the city of Monterey in a ceremony at a council meeting.

January (undated). Ampex demonstrates the tape recording of the Philco show on their new recorder and ABC orders twelve machines at $5,200 each. The machines are to be divided equally between New York, Chicago, and Hollywood. Bing Crosby Enterprises becomes involved in the sale of Ampex products.

January 14, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Evelyn Knight and George Burns.

January 15, Thursday. (11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m., 4:30–6:00 p.m.) Rehearses for an appearance on the Kraft Music Hall. (6:00–6:30 p.m.) Appears live on the Kraft Music Hall on NBC hosted by Al Jolson. Oscar Levant is also present and Lou Bring and his Orchestra provide support.

January 17/18, Saturday/Sunday. Bing is seen with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and others at the Ojai Valley Inn in Southern California.

January 21, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Burns and Allen.

January 28, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Another transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast and Bing’s guests are Red Ingle and Esther Williams.

January 31, Saturday. Bing’s recording of “Now Is the Hour” enters the pop charts and remains there for 23 weeks.

February 3, Tuesday. Variety reports that James C. Petrillo of the American Federation of Musicians has agreed to a continuation of Bing’s Philco show on the understanding that all transcription discs are returned to Philco in Philadelphia for destruction after the Wednesday night broadcast. It is stated that Bing is recording three or four more shows to complete the programs for the season. Bing is apparently paying a rate one-third higher than the live rate to the musicians in order to gain their support.  Meanwhile, Bing and Dixie arrive in Elko, Nevada, during the morning in a brief snowstorm. He is to be made Honorary Mayor later in the week. After meeting several people, Bing and Dixie go on to their North Fork ranch.

February 4, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Dick Haymes, Jimmy Durante, and Mark Hellinger. The show had been taped in December but Mark Hellinger had died on December 21.

 

Bing Crosby gave a showman’s epitaph to Mark Hellinger on his Philco program, last Wednesday (4th). Several weeks before the columnist’s death, he appeared as one of Crosby’s guest stars and the plattered show was aired without any revisions, except for one mention by Crosby that, ‘just as his friends would like it, he’s here with us tonight.’ And because of this it was one of Crosby’s crackerjack sessions. Hellinger’s memory has a bit of lustre added to it. Hellinger gave a short plug to his latest film, ‘The Naked City’, exchanged a few gags with Crosby about the ‘good old days’ and set the stage for Dick Haymes and Jimmy Durante, in outlining a mythical Broadway, legit show. For the rest of the show, Hellinger played straight as Crosby, Durante and Haymes cut some incomparable vocal capers, in a comedy tune about the passing of vaudeville. Everything and everybody clicked with perfect precision and it was a fitting farewell to Hellinger that he should have appeared in this great show.  

(Variety, February 11, 1948)

 

February 5, Thursday. Bing announces that he will pay for all of the three-dollar tickets for the 360 persons expected to attend the banquet in his honor on the coming Saturday in Elko. When the news is flashed to about 100 people waiting in the line to buy tickets, an enormous cheer is heard.  Bing comes into Elko for a meeting and to pick up supplies.

February 6, Friday. Bing and Dixie pose for photographers at their ranch. At some time during the year, Bing buys the Laing ranch which fits in well with his other ranches.

February 7, Saturday. (2:00 p.m.) At a public ceremony on the balcony of Ranchinn, Bing is made honorary mayor of Elko, a position he holds until his death. During his acceptance speech, Bing announces that he is giving $5,000 towards a new municipal swimming pool for Elko. Bing visits a number of Elko residents in their places of business during the afternoon and is photographed sweeping the streets and meeting the acting chief of police. (7:00 p.m.) Bing, accompanied by Dixie, is honored at a banquet at the Commercial Hotel and he entertains the crowd with a witty speech followed by several songs for which he is accompanied by Frank Brandt’s orchestra. Recorded excerpts from the event are broadcast by station KUTA on February 10.

 

Four hundred people jammed the lounge of the Commercial Hotel Saturday night and heard Bing Crosby make his first “promise” for reappointment as honorary mayor of the city of Elko. This special honor had been conferred upon the star of radio and screen earlier in the day by Mayor David Dotta.

      “I promise,” said Bing, “to close all the saloons in Elko within the next week.” Then he added, “Before we close them, we’ll be sure we’re in them.”

      Alternating between a serious and humorous mood, Crosby kept his listeners completely entertained and their thunderous applause showed their approval of his acceptance of the position of honorary mayor of Elko. . . . The crooner said that Karl Keppler, an Elko insurance agent, recently called him and wanted to insure his voice. “How about the rest of me?” asked Crosby.

      “You’ve already collected on that.” Keppler replied.

      In conclusion to his part of the program, the like of which radio companies pay $5,000, he sang several songs, one a parody on his activities in Elko, beginning with his first ranch purchase here. . . .  Those who heard him arose and applauded violently.

(Elko Daily Free Press, February 9, 1948)

 

February 11, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee, Oscar Levant, and Joe Venuti. A long Gershwin medley is performed.

 

Bing’s guests were the best of the best—Durante, Jolson, Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Dinah Shore, Connie Boswell. In a short piece about Peggy around this time, Newsweek described the circumstances that led to her hooking up with Bing: Her staunch refusal to leave Hollywood kept her off several good radio programs. Then, last fall, Bing Crosby suddenly needed a good girl singer. He hired Peggy and got a girl who could sound as good on her own as she did in duets with him.

Over the next few years, Lee and Crosby would pair up on “It’s a Good Day” several times; the song jibed well with Crosby’s philosophy of never complaining. Theyd sing countless other duets, combining their extraordinary talents on any number of stylistic offerings. On one extraordinary show in 1948 they offered up a handful of Gershwin songs, duets including ”S Wonderful,” “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “They Cant Take That Away from Me,“I Got Rhythm,” and “Summertime,” some featuring the singular jazz violinist Joe Venuti.

On one of his earliest shows with her, Crosby asked about her new house on Denslow and inquired about Dave’s health-all very personal, all very friendly, all very gentlemanly. It seemed he was trying to calm her down. Just before airtime, she had professed her nervousness. When you introduce me,” she asked, “would you please not leave me out there on the stage alone? Would you stand where I can see your feet?On that show, and thereafter, Bing made sure to stay within her sight-leaning on a prop, hovering somewhere nearby. “Bing was always finding ways to help give me confidence,” she would write. Professionally, they were an equally good fit: Both always arrived at the studio before the others for rehearsals. I was always impressed by his promptness, his honesty, and his modesty,” she explained.

(Fever – The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee, page162)

 

February 15, Sunday. Has his second hole in one, this time at the sixteenth at Cypress Point. Bing was only the second person to achieve this feat at that hole.

 

Golfer Bing Crosby was elected to buy champagne at the Cypress Point clubhouse on Monterey Peninsula, Calif. On the 16th hole – 222 yards, with a 200-yard carry-over across an inlet of the Pacific – he shot a hole-in-one. “We were shooting into the sun,” he explained to the press afterward. “So I just stood up and smacked one blind.”

(Time magazine, February 23, 1948)

 

February 17, Tuesday. Bing wins the Most Popular Male Star award from Photoplay magazine for the fourth successive year but is criticized for not being present at the Gold Medal Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

February 18, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Robert Taylor. The film Road to Rio has its New York premiere and goes on to become the top film for box office takings in 1948 in the U.S.A.

February 22, Sunday. Bing and Dixie are back in Hollywood.

February 25, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Peggy Lee.

 

Incidental Intelligence: To keep all ABC programs at their regular times when daylight saving time starts April 25, ABC just bought a dozen of the sensational new tape recorders which now make the Bing Crosby transcribed show actually better than a live broadcast The recorders are made by a San Francisco firm, Ampex Electrical Corp.

(Oakland Tribune, February 26, 1948)

 

February 26, Thursday. Bing goes into St. John’s Hospital again for another checkup. Later Bing, Dixie, and the four boys are seen in the Fox and Hounds.

February 28, Saturday. Decca has issued a 4-disc 78rpm album called "Bing Crosby Sings with Lionel Hampton, Eddie Heywood, Louis Jordan" and this is reviewed by Billboard on this date.

This album would be worth a 90 rating but Decca’s pressings, leave us face it, are loaded with surface noise. This deficiency, seemingly aggravated of late, may be minor for routine “singles”; in an album the consumer kickbacks could be important. Apart from bad surface, the material here consists of all old Bing singles on which he doubled. It’s great stuff in collection. Outstanding are the Eddie Heywood-Bing pairing on “Who’s Sorry Now” and Bing with Jordan on “My Baby Said Yes”. (Retail rating 85).


March 2, Tuesday. In Command Performance show #313 with Dinah Shore.

March 3, Wednesday. Bing and his four sons take part in the Pittsburgh Pirates practice drills at Hollywood Park in front of many newsreel camera men and magazine photographers. The Pirates are doing their spring training in Los Angeles. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Jack Benny and Tom Breneman.

 

Crosby Juke Skit

The Bing Crosby show, via American Broadcasting Company, Wednesday (3) was built largely around juke boxes. Jack Benny and Tom Brenneman (sic) guested with Der Bingle and music machine situations developed when Benny dropped a nickel in a juke in Brenneman’s joint to hear a Crosby disk and the machine stopped playing after the first couple of bars of the disk. Benny then “went across the street” to the Crosby studio to try to get his nickel back.

(Billboard, March 13, 1948)

 

March (undated). Records his section of the soundtrack for the Walt Disney cartoon The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad which is released in October 1949. Ken Darby handles the vocal arrangements.

March 57, Friday–Sunday. Bing and Bob Hope attend the International Blind Golf and Shooting Tournament at Inglewood Golf Club, California, and present the “Bob Hope–Bing Crosby Trophy.”

March 6, Saturday. Decca has issued a 4-disc 78rpm album called "Bing Crosby Sings with Judy Garland, Mary Martin, Johnny Mercer" and this is reviewed by Billboard on this date.

Second in series of Decca packages with triple-talent peg featuring der Bingle’s former vocal wax compatriots. All disks are former single releases but album as a whole should appeal to all who are Crosby fans (who ain’t). Particularly valuable and as rhythmically appealing as when they first came out are the Mercer team-ups with Gallagher-Shean version of “Mr. Crosby and Mr. Mercer”; “Small Fry,” “On Behalf of the Visiting Firemen.” In fact whole album sparkles with the xairy, wunnerful Crosby touch.


March 9, Tuesday. Bing’s four boys work out with the Pittsburgh Pirates who are still training in Los Angeles.

March (undated). Bing and Dixie have dinner at King’s restaurant.

March 10, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is James Stewart.

March 12, Friday. Bing throws a big party for the Pittsburgh Pirates team.

March 13, Saturday. The Paramount newsreel of today includes film of Bing with the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.

March 15, Monday. Tapes a Philco show with Fibber McGee and Molly (Jim and Marion Jordan).

March 16, Tuesday. In the American Red Cross 1948 Fund Campaign broadcast Services to Veterans.

March 17, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Margaret O’Brien.

 

Crosby Disks Circle New York Clock (Front Page Headline)

Bing Crosby can be described as the only singer who follows the New York metropolitan listener, around the clock. Judging from the amount of time devoted to programs made up exclusively, of his own recordings, there is hardly a quarter of an hour during the day or night, Monday through Saturday, that some station in the metropolitan area isn’t broadcasting Bing’s voice. Excluding the four network stations, the number of quarter hours of aired Crosby records almost matches the number of quarter hours that the average metropolitan station consumes in broadcasting. The airing time of the fifteen non-web stations, in and around New York averages eleven hours a weekday, this figures out at 44 quarter hours a day, whereas Crosby records have an accurate schedule of thirty quarter hours. There isn’t one of the nineteen metropolitan stations that doesn’t play a Crosby disk, during the weekday and even one of the network keys, WOR has its own program of Crosby recordings - that one comes on Monday morning. The three heaviest Manhattan pluggers of Crosby platters are WNEW, WINS and WHN. WINS currently clears 26 quarter hours a week of Crosby programs and plans to add another hour daily or twenty four quarter-hours a week which will give that station’s listeners, 50 quarter-hours a week of the crooner’s output. WHN schedules three daily Crosby shows for a total of four and a half hours a week and this does not include the airings he gets on several other record programs aired by this station at other times of the day and night. WNEW has two Crosby shows of twenty-five minutes each on weekdays and a forty minute one on Sundays, these add to ten minutes short of six hours a week. On the Jersey side, WAAT tops the list with two half-hour daily stanzas which count up to six and a half hours a week and also a fifteen minute round of Bing on Sundays.

(Variety, March 17, 1948)

 

March 18, Thursday. (8:15 p.m.) Bing is at Gilmore Field to see the Pittsburgh Pirates beaten four to one by Bob Hope’s Cleveland Indians at a specially arranged friendly match in Hollywood. Also, Bing and Dixie, plus Rita Hayworth are said to have had reservations for the Burl Ives concert at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater but it is not known whether they attended.

March 24, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Peggy Lee and Wild Bill Elliott.

March 28, Sunday. (1:30–2:30 p.m.) Bing, together with many other stars, takes part in The Triumphant Hour, a program of the Family Rosary Crusade broadcast on the Mutual Network for Easter.

March 31, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Another transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast and Bing’s guest is Dick Powell.

 

The first two Ampexes (modeled on the Magnetophon) finally appeared in April 1948 and were followed immediately by twelve more for ABC. The ABC order had, in fact, made possible the final financing of the first two-Ampex Model 200, serial numbers 1 and 2, which were presented to me. They went into service on the twenty-seventh Crosby show of 1947-48. Still, ABC insisted on broadcasting from discs until its technical people were sure of their backup capacity and of the reliability of tape. But we retired my Magnetophons, which were getting pretty tired by that time.

(John T. Mullin, writing in High Fidelity, April, 1976)

 

April (undated). The first Ampex tape recorders are delivered to ABC and the use of transcription discs declines.

April 3, Saturday. Bing is featured in the Paramount newsreel urging support for the American Cancer Society. Also, Decca has issued a 2-disc 78rpm album called "Selections from Road to Rio" and this is reviewed by Billboard on this date.


Two disk album featuring three novelty tunes and one ballad from the latest Crosby-Hope flicker, "Road to Rio," is directly aimed at the film fan market, with release date timed to coincide with national showing of pic. Previously out as single platters, all four tunes enjoyed some success with Crosby’s “But Beautiful” ballad easily taking top honors. Bing's “Language” with the Andrews Sisters will probably gain new popularity once public ganders gals and the groaner sell it on the screen.


April 4, Sunday. (10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.) Rehearses for an appearance on the Jack Benny Show in Palm Springs. (7:00–7:30 p.m.) Guests on the Jack Benny radio show on NBC. Bing sings “Haunted Heart” with Phil Harris and his Orchestra.

April 6, Tuesday. In San Francisco, Bing receives an award from General Mark Clark at a retreat parade ceremony as part of the San Francisco Bay celebration of Army Day. This is a Presidential Certificate of Merit for "outstanding fidelity and meritorious conduct in aid of the war effort during World War II."

April 7, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Fred Astaire and Peggy Lee.

April 9, Friday. Bing has been asked to record “Nature Boy” in a cappella style with the Jeff Alexander choral group but refuses to go against the AFM ban. Frank Sinatra had recently recorded the song in a similar manner.

 

Reliable outside reports disclosed, however, that Decca had originally skedded the tune for a week-end session with Bing Crosby and a choral group. Date was abandoned late Friday when Crosby refused to go against the ban placed by American Federation of Musicians’ chieftain, James C. Petrillo. Sources close to Crosby said that Der Bingle wired Petrillo Friday (9) asking for permission to cut a special disking. When no reply from Petrillo was forthcoming Friday evening, Crosby dropped the whole idea…It is recalled that Crosby has enjoyed amiable relations with the AFM since the federation okayed the singer’s request to continue the transcription of his Philco airer.

(Billboard, April 17, 1948)

 

 April 14, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Fibber McGee and Molly (Jim and Marion Jordan). Variety states that Bing and Dixie have recently left Los Angeles for New York.

April 15–18.Thursday–Sunday. Bing takes part in the lavish reopening celebrations of the Greenbrier Hotel, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, after its use as an army hospital during the war. He attends a party for 300 at the hotel on the Friday and plays in a pro-am golf tournament teamed with Ben Hogan on the Saturday and Sunday. Bing and Hogan tie for fourth place. On the Saturday evening, Bing attends the Diamond Ball and sings three songs; “Now Is the Hour”, “The Girl Friend” and “The Whiffenpoof Song”. Bing shares the center of attention with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Rose Kennedy is also there with four of her children (John, Patricia, Kathleen, and Eunice) as is J. Arthur Rank (a British industrialist and founder of the Rank Organisation), plus many Astors, Vanderbilts, and Biddles.

April 18, Sunday. Stars in a transcribed NBC radio program A Question of Pianos with Ann Blyth and others for Catholic Charities. Also, Bing sings four songs in a transcribed radio program Guest Star #56. It appears that all of the songs were dubbed from Bing’s Philco shows. This is a Treasury Department production and is the first in support of the Security Loan Campaign.

April 19, Monday. Bing goes to the Pittsburgh Pirates opening game of the season in Cincinnati with Bill Morrow and sees the Pirates lose four to one.

April 20, Tuesday. Bing arrives in Pittsburgh and goes to the William Penn Hotel. Later, he is at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, for the Pirates game against the Chicago Cubs. A crowd of 38,546 see the Pirates win 3-2.

 

High in the broadcasting booth overlooking home plate, Rosey Rowswell was fidgeting like a nervous gnome, his firecracker-type voice describing the opening game of the season at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Down below, the stands were jam-packed with Pirate fans, tile sun warm on their backs, gloom, deep in their hearts. The Pirates were trailing the Cubs 1-0 in the fourth inning.

Into the broadcasting cage slid a man with wide-angle ears. He was wearing a large grin. He also wore a loud, open-collared sport shirt and on his head was a jaunty hat with a wide, multi-colored band. At the sight of this character, old Rosey began to relax.  Mister “Good Luck” had shown and everything was going to be all right for the Pirates.

“Hi, assistant,” Rosey said. “It’s about time!”

The assistant, who goes by the handle of Bing Crosby, took over behind the microphone and, in a voice that is recognized by millions, said  easily, “The count on Stan Rojek is two and one, Wally Westlake on deck, here’s the pitch—“

Within a few moments, word spread like wildfire through the ball, park that Der Bingle was at the mike. The atmosphere cleared. The wild-eyed Pittsburgh fans remembered opening day last year when Bing went on the air, and the Pirates replied by slamming out seven runs in one inning! Now, ball players’ heads popped out of the dugout to snatch a glimpse of their boss, Bing, up there in the booth and their grins were wonderful to see. And then they went ahead to win the game, 3-2.

I like to think they won that one for Bing. I do know that whenever Old Man Crosby is hanging around their home grounds, the Pirates are almost impossible to beat. Maybe he’s just good luck—and ball players are a superstitious lot—but, somehow, I believe it’s more than that. I think it has to do with the way Bing feels about the Pirates and they way they feel about him.

The players like to kid broadcaster Rosey Rowswell, telling him that if he continues to let Crosby relieve him on the air, Bing is going to get his job.

Crosby never uses a program when he broadcasts. He knows all the data about every major league player without consulting the book. His talk is spiked with
zingy baseball lingo plus the unmistakable Crosby wit.

(Photoplay magazine)

 

April 21, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Clifton Webb and Bing’s four sons. The show has an audience rating by Hooper of 18.5.

 

Youthful Bounce

It took his four kids to do it but Bing Crosby, missing for some time from the top fifteen Hooper ranks, bounced back and into the eleventh place in the latest tallies, just released. The rating was made on the night Crosby’s four boys appeared on the ABC-plattered Philco show with the advance build-up it got via the previous Sunday’s Walter Winchell and Louella Parsons programs, contributing towards the 18.5 rating pay-off.

(Variety, May 5, 1948)

 

April 22, Thursday. Still in Pittsburgh, Bing visits the Veterans Hospital at Aspinwall.

April 23, Friday. (2:15–4:30 p.m.) Bing is in Boston and broadcasts part of the play-by-play commentary on the Red Sox versus Yankees baseball game. The Red Sox win four to nil.

April 24, Saturday. Bing’s recording of “Now Is the Hour” is at number one in the charts for three weeks. This turns out to be Bing’s last number one record.

April 28, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Claudette Colbert. Variety carries a critical comment from Fred Allen as Bing had pulled out of a guest appearance on his show at the last moment. Allen had already recorded a Philco show with Bing and Bing was supposed to reciprocate. Bing fulfills his obligations on May 23.

April 30, Friday. Starting at 2 p.m., Bing acts as grand marshal of the Grand Feature Parade of the 21st. Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Virginia. The crowd watching the event is estimated at 100,000. The proceedings are captured by Paramount News and featured in their newsreel of May 8. Bing goes on to a reception at Harry Byrd Jr.’s home at 112 S. Washington St. He then travels to Front Royal, Virginia, where he sings on the courthouse steps as part of a concert to help raise money for a new stadium. Bing is the first contributor to the Front Royal Recreation Center Building Fund when he donates $1,000. Stays at the home of State Senator Raymond Guest at Bayard, Warren County, Virginia. Mr. Guest is the cousin of Bing’s friend, Harvey Shaeffer.

May 2, Sunday. Bing arrives in New York.  During his time in the city, Bing stays at both the Garden City Hotel and the Westbury Hotel at various times. He records four Philco shows whilst in New York.

May 3, Monday. Is appointed to the advisory council of Sports America whose principal purpose is to bring more boys and girls into sport and recreation.

May 5, Wednesday. Paramount put on a belated birthday party for Bing at the Rainbow Room in New York. Marlene Dietrich, Veronica Lake, and Florence Pritchett are amongst the guests. Another birthday party takes place at the Chatham Hotel at some stage and this attended by Mark Woods, Chairman of the American Broadcasting Co. and Harry Wismer, Sports Director at the American Broadcasting Co. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Barry Fitzgerald.

 

Bing Crosby celebrated his birthday and the first press party he’s ever agreed to attend when Par poured for him and the Fourth Estaters at a Rainbow Room shindig (5). All guests were allowed to bring him a present, if it didn’t cost more than 50 cents!

(Daily Variety, May 7, 1948)

 

May 10, Monday. Golfs in a benefit for North Community Hospital at Piping Rock Golf Club, Locust Valley, Long Island. He and pro Jimmy Thomson come fourth in the competition.

May 12, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Another transcribed Philco Radio Time show and Bing’s guest is Henry Fonda. The show has been recorded in New York with Kenny Delmar as announcer and with the Skylarks taking over from the Rhythmaires.

May 14, Friday. Bing is in Philadelphia and is thought to have been presented with “The Country Gentleman Award” as winner of a poll amongst rural motion picture goers for the leading male movie star. This is the third successive year that he has won the award.

May 15, Saturday. Bing is said to have visited the Philco factory in Philadelphia and played golf at Huntington Valley Country Club with Philco executives.

May 16, Sunday. Bing plays in the National Celebrities Golf Tournament at the Columbia Country Club, Washington D.C. in pouring rain in front of a crowd of 6,000. Playing with Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, and Del Webb, Bing, with a seventy-six, ties with baseball star Dizzy Dean for the amateur prize. Margaret Truman (daughter of the president) keeps Bing’s score for nine holes. Film of the event is included in the Paramount newsreel of May 22. In the evening, Bing appears in a show before 6000 spectators at Uline Arena with Edgar Bergen, Ray Noble, and Henry Morgan. Part of the show is broadcast on NBC at 8:00 p.m. as The Edgar Bergen Show.

 

Bing Crosby guested Sunday night (16th) on the Edgar Bergen show from Washington and supplied the only bright touch. Although the writing for the guest spot was uninspired, Crosby’s offhand humor was infectious and his vocal number stand out.

(Variety, May 19, 1948)

 

A couple of wooden heads and a groaner drew over 6000 Washingtonians last night to the Uline Arena on the afterpiece of the double-barreled Celebrities program. The wooden heads were Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, pals of one Edgar Bergen; the groaner was Bing Crosby, who got an ovation as soon as he sneaked his head around a stage drape....Crosby, relaxed and lackadaisical, tossed his nonchalance all over the place, singing one song—”Cherie”—and revealing the skullduggery that went on in the locker rooms before the day’s golf rounds. Charlie, it seems, was offered cash from Bergen and a snazzy scooter from Bing, for whatever low scores his card could contrive.

(The Washington Post, May 17, 1948)

 

May 18, Tuesday. Bing and Fred Allen meet at Bing’s hotel in New York to discuss Bing’s forthcoming appearance on Allen’s show.

May 19, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guest is Ethel Merman and again the show has been recorded in New York. Ken Carpenter returns as announcer.

May 21, Friday. Bing is thought to have golfed at Meadow Brook on Long Island. Later, he is at Ebbets Field baseball park located in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn as part of a crowd of 8803 to see the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 8-4. The game commences at 2 p.m.

May 22, Saturday (2 p.m. start). Goes to Ebbets Field again to watch the Pirates beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 3-1. The crowd totals 12,821. Bing leaves just before the end and later he is at a party at the home of Brenda and “Shipwreck” Kelly. Elsa Maxwell and Florence Pritchett attend also.

May 23, Sunday. Starting at 2:30 p.m., Bing is at the Polo Grounds and sees the New York Giants beat the Pirates 2-1. He watches the game from a box alongside the Pirates dugout with Del Webb (Vice-president of the New York Yankees), Frank McKinney and Roy Hamey. (8:30–9:00 p.m.) Guests on the Fred Allen show on NBC sponsored by The Ford Dealers of America. The show is subtitled “Fred Wants to Do Bing’s Life Story.” Kenny Delmar is the announcer. Bing then leaves for Hollywood.

 

When in New York, besides the Stork Club, Toots Shor’s, and Club 21, there are two places in the Village that Bing usually hits; Eddie Condon’s and Nino & Nella’s. Nella knows all the Crosby’s. She’s known Bing since his days with Whiteman. Her guests are encouraged not to pester Bing when he does come in. One time, while sitting alone at a table, Bing spotted some photos of himself hanging on the wall. Bing’s face lit up and he said “hey fellas look, in that one I still had my own hair!”

(BINGANG, November, 1948)

 

May 26, Wednesday. Bing arrives back in Los Angeles during the morning and in the evening he and Dixie attend the Hollywood Paramount for the premiere of The Emperor Waltz. Amongst other personalities thought to be present are Lucille Ball, Eddie Cantor, Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Mona Freeman, Clark Gable, Betty Grable, Rex Harrison, William Holden, Bob Hope, Van Johnson, Alan Ladd, Hedy Lamarr, Pat O’Brien, Larry Parks, Edward G. Robinson, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, Gene Tierney and Esther Williams. Bing and Dixie go on to the party afterwards at the Crystal Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel where Edward G. Robinson joins the violinists serenading them. This is the first film premiere to be televised (on KTLA-TV at 8:30 p.m.) and the proceedings are also broadcast on radio station KFWB. The Paramount newsreel of June 5 includes coverage of the film premiere. The Emperor Waltz takes $4 million in rentals during its initial release period in the USA.

 

A large turnout of Hollywood personalities is guaranteed at the world premiere of ‘The Emperor Waltz’ tonight at the Hollywood Paramount Theatre. Bing Crosby, arriving from New York this morning to attend his first world premiere event. The gala occasion is expected to draw a crowd of several thousand spectators and extra police will be on duty to handle the overflow throng on Hollywood Bvd.

(Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1948)

 

The Emperor Waltz should solve any ticket buyer’s entertainment problem. That’s the only kind of problem it attempts to resolve, and the way it goes about it is strictly enjoyable. Such a natural parlay as Bing Crosby, Johann Strauss melodies, comedy, and gorgeous color, played against a breath-taking scenic background is earmarked for the niftiest kind of grosses.

      …Picture has a free-and-easy air that perfectly matches the Crosby style of natural comedy. Costar Joan Fontaine, better known for heavy, serious roles, demonstrates adaptability that fits neatly into the lighter demands and she definitely scores with charm and talent as the Crosby foil.   

      One complaint likely to be made by audiences is that Crosby doesn’t sing enough. What the crooner does deliver registers strongly, as to be expected, and there’s a load of music otherwise to fill the sharp Victor Young score. Johnny Burke wrote special lyrics for three Johann Strauss melodies and teamed with James Van Heusen on cleffing one new tune.

      Standouts in the music department is the Crosby touch on “I Kiss Your Hand Madame,” oldie by Fritz Rotter and Ralph Erwin; and “Friendly Mountains,” number based on two old Austrian yodel songs. “Madame” is reprised several times and Crosby reached back into his groaner past to give it the extra special treatment of “boo-boo-bah-boo”. In for romantic treatment is “The Kiss in Your Eyes,” old Viennese tune with lyrics by Burke…

(Variety, May 5, 1948)

 

(9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Alec Templeton and Beatrice Lillie. The show has been recorded in New York.

May 29, Saturday. In the transcribed Command Performance show to mark its sixth anniversary, Bing is given the Kilroy Award for the outstanding male vocalist on the AFN of the AFRS.

May 31, Monday. Bing stages a golf match at Lake Merced Country Club, San Francisco, as a benefit for the family of his friend Benny Coltrin, who had recently passed away after surgery at the age of forty. A crowd of 16,000 watch Bing play with Marlene Bauer (age fourteen, who has an eighty-two), Bud Ward, and Jimmy Thompson. Other stars playing are Johnny Weissmuller and Dennis Morgan. About $17,500 is raised for the Coltrin family. After the golf match, Bing watches the Santa Rosa Pirates (a “farm” club for the Pittsburgh Pirates) play the Redding Browns at Doyle Park, Santa Rosa.

June 2, Wednesday. (9:00–9:30 p.m.) Bing’s transcribed Philco Radio Time show is broadcast by ABC. The guests are Fred Allen and Joe Venuti. This is the last Philco show of the season and again it has been recorded in New York.

 

Crosby’s Tape Success Scenes Spurring Networks To More Recorded Shows

Up in smoke with Bing Crosby’s summer hiatus, which started last week, goes the last remaining argument of NBC and CBS that transcribed shows aren’t acceptable to listeners. Aside from copping honors with a 14.6 in the last Hooper rating, two points higher than his nearest competitor, mechanical perfection of the Groaner’s tape recorded shows has disproved network arguments that transcriptions aren’t as good as live shows. Tape has, in the past year, completely altered not only the operation on top ABC shows but has changed the thinking of the entire industry regarding recorded programs. When the Crosby show first went on ABC two years ago, it was strictly a transcription job of editing and re-editing, editing and re-dubbing and re-editing, often requiring as many as four days after a show was originally cut on platters, before it was whipped into broadcasting shape. Then tape was used. At first it was transferred to platters for broadcast because equipment had not been perfected for broadcasting directly from tape. This method was still better than the previous years because there was only one transfer instead of six or seven with consequent loss of quality in each step. Time necessary for editing the show to its final broadcast form was reduced to a mere three or four hours when tape was first used, last fall, following a summer of intensive experimenting by both ABC and the Crosby office. Continuity editors operating in the same manner as film directors have now reached the point where they can wrap up the show in two hours. Programs edited on the original tape are now being aired and retain the original broadcast quality. It is so good that in a recent demonstration for engineers from Southern California stations, a live program was recorded simultaneously on tape and the experts weren’t able to tell which was tape and which was live, as the control booth engineer switched from live pick-up to tape pick-up. Since Crosby went recorded, two other shows have followed him, netwise - Groucho Marx and the Abbott and Costello layout. A number of others that did live repeats two years ago are now recording repeats. It is expected that there’ll be more top shows on the ET gravy train in the fall, as a result.

(Variety, June 9, 1948)

 

June (undated). A well researched and balanced book called The Incredible Crosby by Barry Ulanov has been published by Whittlesey House of New York and part one commences as follows:

 

Few men have so completely captured the American imagination as Bing Crosby has. And just as few have had their imaginations so completely captured by America and its people as Bing Crosby has. Without waving a flag, with a noticeable avoidance of the Fourth of July oration, he has gone right to the heart of twentieth-century America. In his language, his looks, his dress, in his sports, his ambling gait, his shifting weight, Bing Crosby bespeaks his country. In his voice he sings America, and most of America sings with him.

 

The New York Times reviews the book which has 336 pages and costs $3.50:

 

There have been many attempts to explain the phenomenon known as Bing Crosby, including the one so obvious it has the ring of paradox -- that he may not be bad as an entertainer. Barry Ulanov, biographer of “The Incredible Crosby,” finds the full true reason quite easy. Bing, he says, is just the average American and “therein lies his genius.”

      ...As the editor of Metronome, the author has a decent respect for singers and musicians. Possibly it is this respect which at times make the account and his friends read a little like an account of Dr. Johnson and his circle. Possibly, indeed, an average American hasn’t as much colour as an unaverage American. Whatever it is and despite the fact Mr. Ulanov takes up all sides of Bing, his story does not trip along like a popular ballad. It is painstaking and detailed, but it does not trip...Mr. Ulanov goes into the movies in detail and when he doesn’t like them he says so. But he always likes Bing as a person, Bing, the incredible Crosby.

(Lewis Nichols, New York Times, June 20, 1948)

 

June 15, Tuesday. Bing purchases the 3000 acre Laing ranch near Elko from Chester and Lillian Laing, who had retired.

June 17, Thursday. The film The Emperor Waltz has its New York premiere.

 

It goes without saying that Bing is the master of the breezy remark, the flip crack, the practitioner of light romance and a warbler, but it is Miss Fontaine in a comedy role who equals the shining Crosby quality whenever they appear together. Paired off this way they delivery extremely well.

      Production is lavish. Attention has been given in the Brackett-Wilder script to optic as well as aural senses and the effort smoothly unfolded in the latter’s knowing direction is warmly rewarding and a constant pleasure.

      Comedy is not overlooked. The tale is strewn with clever gags which fit already light sequences. There is resourceful utilization of sound and this gives Crosby a fine session yodeling in the Tyrol while the echoes come bouncing back off the mountain walls.

(Film Daily, May 3, 1948)

 

Imagine our old friend Bing Crosby as a Yankee at Franz Joseph’s court, peddling a newfangled phonograph and wooing a countess on the side, and you have a thumbnail synopsis of Paramount’s “The Emperor Waltz,” the light-hearted musical farce-romance which came to the Music Hall yesterday. Picture it all in Technicolor, with the courtiers in flashing uniforms, the ladies in elegant dresses and Bing in an old straw hat, and you have a fair comprehension of the prospect and atmosphere. For “The Emperor Waltz” is a picture which can be characterized in a few words, but which is much more entertaining if you see it from beginning to end.

Not that there’s anything staggering in the way of music or plot in this spoof which Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder produced, directed and wrote. A dash of “The Prisoner of Zenda,” a twist of old Viennese “corn” and plenty of any “Road”-show nonsense and you have a composite of the plot. Likewise, three musical numbers are the extent of the score—and only one of these items is unfamiliar and new.

But, even so, Brackett and Wilder have made up with casualness and charm—and with a great deal of clever sight-humor—for the meagerness of the idea. And Bing has provided the substance which the farcical bubble may lack. As the corn-fed American salesman whose fox terrier dog runs afoul of the countess’ fancy French poodle—and thereby inspires the romance—our boy is his usual delightful and completely unceremonious self, baffled by Hapsburg pomposity and candid in his confidence in love.

Nothing he says is likely to be mistaken for deep philosophy but it all has the sound of observation which lightens the weariness of life. If it’s boop-boop-adoing “Santa Lucia” while sculling a Tyrolean lake boat, with the off-hand explanation, “I used to travel for a Venetian-blind company,” or merely calling his sweetheart “Honey Countess” in a thoroughly natural way, Bing has the air of a fellow to whom the artificial is a bore.

And Joan Fontaine as the countess makes a beautiful counterpart for his open and genial directness. Icy and lofty at the start, she melts with magnificent acquiescence to his bland importunities of love. Maybe you wouldn’t think so, but she turns in a sweet job of farce and frets for her poodle’s torn emotions just as gravely as she does for her own. Likewise, Richard Haydn is cute as the emperor and Roland Culver makes a suavely snobbish courtier, while Sig Ruman is grand as the emperor’s vet.

Best of the musical numbers is “Friendly Mountains,” a yodel song which Bing ripples over his tonsils while walking down an alpine road, to be answered by magical echoes and a swarm of slap-dancers in the dells. It’s a charming, melodious ditty and as cute in its staging as a cuckoo clock. Also amusing is a pick-up of the oldie, “I Kiss Your Hand, Madame,” which is used to put the bashful canines—and also the countess—in the mood. Roberta Jonay and Bert Prival skip a lively dance to it, too. And the final romantic number, which Bing sings, “The Kiss in Your Eyes,” is a pleasantly sentimental re-write on Heuberger’s “Chambre Separée.”

Set against gorgeous mountain scenery and richly palatial rooms, “The Emperor Waltz” is a project which should turn the blue Danube to twinkling gold...

(Bosley Crowther, New York Times, June 13, 1948)

 

June 21, Monday. At a presentation at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, CBS demonstrates the long-playing microgroove recording playing at thirty-three and a third revolutions per minute.

June 23–July. Bing and his sons are at the Elko ranch.

 

From our home town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a friend and I drove to Los Angeles during our 1948 summer college vacation. We worked at a warehouse in Los Angeles for a couple of months, then returned home via the “Northern route” - through Nevada.

Since the days of the blue label Decca records, I had admired Bing Crosby - I bought all his records, saw all his movies, and never missed the good old radio programs. Like millions of people, I admired Bing as a person as well as a premiere performer.

Knowing the Crosby ranch was near Elko, Nevada, I wanted to try meeting Bing, difficult as that might be. I simply made a phone call from a restaurant in Elko. I believe someone at the eatery helped me with the listing in the phone book. The housekeeper answered the phone, and after listening to my story said it would probably be all right to come out. We drove the fifty or so miles, passed several “No Trespassing” signs, and around noon pulled up near the front yard of a small white house. Bing Crosby stepped out of the house. It was evident he had not received our message as he looked rather stern. The situation was explained (calling him Mr. Crosby) and everything was O.K.

Can you imagine, Bing asked if we had eaten? We had not but said we had. (In fact we were extremely low on funds. Since then I have often thought how nice it would have been to eat at Bing Crosby’s house.) He must have sensed we were hungry as he went into the house and brought us some chocolate candy. Can you beat that!! Bing gave each of us a picture with his personal autograph, dated at Spring Creek Ranch. I recall we talked a little about his spread. While the house and buildings looked small, I believe the ranch was immense. One of the ‘cowhands’ joined us for a few minutes with some questions for Bing. Finally each of us took the other’s picture with Mr. Crosby. We then left.

I shall never forget the generosity of Bing Crosby to a couple of absolute strangers. When we first arrived it was “Mr. Crosby.” But as we left I distinctly recall saying, “Thanks Bing.”

This was a real experience. I had not known what to expect. Bing Crosby was very kind to us. It was some day, and it wasn’t long before everyone in our home of Bowling Green heard of our experience with Crosby!

(Richard Heman, writing in BINGTALKS magazine, July 1992)

 

June 25, Friday, Bing opens the Silver State Stampede in Elko.

June 27, Sunday. The gardens of Bing’s home at 594 South Mapleton Drive, Holmby Hills, are used for a garden party and bazaar for the Carmelite Nuns of the Carmel of St. Teresa, Alhambra.

August 4, Wednesday. Bing and his sons have arrived at Hayden Lake, Idaho for a 2-week vacation. The local paper reports that Bing has a cold and that Del Webb of the New York Yankees has arrived to golf with him.

August 11, Wednesday (evening). Bing attends a party at the Clark House at Hayden Lake given jointly by Dr. & Mrs. Joseph Lynch and Mr. & Mrs. Charles Finucane.

August 12, Thursday. Bing is in Spokane to see the start of work on the construction of the new engineering building, Dillon Hall, on the Gonzaga campus. He is photographed with Rev. Arthur Dussault, Rev. Francis Corkery and a number of students.

August 14, Saturday. (starting at 3:30 p.m.) Bing takes part in a golf match at Lewiston Golf and Country Club in Idaho for the benefit of Lewiston Boys’ Club of America. Bing and Bud Ward take on local professionals Joe Durgan and Bill Welch.

    August 21, Saturday. Decca has issued a 4-disc 78rpm set called Blue of the Night and Billboard reviews it on this date.


Another Decca collection of reissued Crosbyana containing eight standards, including Der Bingle’s “Blue of the Night” theme. To the simple and effective backing of John Scott Trotter’s ork, Crosby sings as only Crosby can sing, which is better than most anyone else in the biz can do. Good album cover.


August 24, Tuesday. Bing's sister, Mary Rose obtains a divorce in Oakland from glass company executive William D. Miller on the the grounds of "extreme cruelty". Miller is told to pay $100 per month in respect of the couple's son William (aged 7). Mary Rose had married Miller in Reno in 1938.

August (undated). John T. Mullin joins Bing Crosby Enterprises as chief engineer of its electronics division.

September 4, Saturday. Dressed as a clown, Bing takes part in the Ringling Brothers circus show on the Pan-Pacific grounds with many other stars as part of a massive benefit performance for St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica. Nearly $250,000 is raised.

September 6, Monday. Bing records the first Philco show of the season with Claudette Colbert and his four sons.

September 11, Saturday. Bing records another Philco show with Judy Garland. He has become a large stockholder in Vacuum Foods Corporation and has been elected a director. It is announced that Vacuum Foods will sponsor a new fifteen-minute five times a week daytime radio program featuring Bing acting as a disc jockey. The company’s Minute Maid quick frozen concentrated orange juice is to be promoted on the shows.

 

The program for Minute Maid occasioned some amusement in the press because of his long standing feud with disk jockeys over saturating the airwaves with his music. Suddenly he was one of them, playing three or four of his own records, in a 15–minute format, each morning Monday through Friday.

     He had been talked into it by Grillo and Jock Whitney, a wealthy sportsman he had met in horse racing circles. Whitney was an original investor in Vacuum Foods, a Florida company freezing foods, a novelty then. Frozen orange juice was one of those inventions mothered by necessity for troops who couldn’t get it fresh during the war. They had to drink it but Vacuum Foods was discovering civilians didn’t. Whitney came up with the idea of offering Crosby 20,000 shares of stock to educate the public and stimulate sales.

     Between records he and Ken Carpenter talked of frozen orange juice, as an acceptable alternate, and Minute Maid became a household word with sales in excess of $100 million within a few years.

     Grillo set up Bing Crosby Entertainment as producer and had Crosby work for union scale, again a matter of taxation. He accepted a seat on the board of directors of Vacuum Foods which was purchased a few years later by The Coca-Cola Company.

(Norman Wolfe, Troubadour: Bing Crosby and the Birth of Pop Singing)

 

September (undated). Dennis and Phillip Crosby join their brother Gary at Bellarmine Academy, San Jose.

September 16, Thursday. Bing is photographed at the Santa Clara County Fair.

September 18, Saturday. Bing arrives in Portland, Oregon, and golfs at Portland Golf Club in the afternoon.

September 19, Sunday. Golfs at 1:30 p.m. at Glendoveer Golf Club, Portland with Hayden Newton against Bob Hope and George Schneitner. Bing and Hayden win two and one. At 6:30 p.m. Bing and Bob attend a charity dinner at the Multnomah Hotel, Portland, and afterwards they headline a show at Multnomah Stadium at 8:30 p.m. which includes Marilyn Maxwell, Buddy Cole, Joe Venuti, Perry Botkin, and John Scott Trotter. The proceeds of the day go to the Crosby–Hope Foundation Fund for the benefit of the PGA Junior Golf Program.

September 20, Monday. Bing and his entourage arrive at the Great Northern Railway Station in Vancouver, Canada, at 10:30 p.m. Despite the late hour, the acting mayor and other civic officials are there to greet them supported by a kilted police pipe band. An unruly crowd of 2,300 people causes chaos by mobbing Bing and damaging the civic cars being used. Bing and his party check in at the Hotel Vancouver. Bing has been persuaded by boxer Jimmy McLarnin to put on a show in Vancouver to raise funds for the planned Sunset Memorial Community Center.

 

Bing, Bill Morrow and most of his party arrived via Great Northern, on Monday evening, September 20. An advance party composed of Hal Malone of the News-Herald, Fred Bass, representing the radio station; Charlie Defleux, Public Relations Chairman; and Stan Thomas of Sunset Memorial Centre, boarded the train at Blaine and briefed Bing briefly on what to expect at the station.

The scene which greeted Bing on his arrival on the station platform, however, was not as it had been planned! Apparently, as the train came to a halt in the station, hundreds of fans who, a few minutes before were nowhere in sight, ran around behind the station to the platform and bedlam resulted. Perhaps you, also, heard the radio broadcast of that portion of the reception!

Acting-Mayor Miller, Chief Constable Mulligan, Alderman Cornett and Ed. Arnatt were introduced to Bing before the radio mikes, stationed on the platform. The ever-growing crowd surged around, trying to catch a glimpse of Der Bingle.   The Police Pipe Band struck up a march, two  burly policemen fell in behind, Bing was flanked by two tall and extremely competent-looking detectives, and, followed by the Mayor, Chief Mulligan and Stan Thomas, who in turn were followed by Alderman Cornett, Ed. Arnatt, Stan Thorpe of  Shaughnessy  Golf  Club,  then more police and hundreds of cheering fans.

They started down the platform to the station rotunda, preceded by scores of cameramen—professional and amateur—whose flash-bulbs, particularly those of the latter group, were set off at times dangerously close to the eyes of our distinguished guest. As the official party neared the rotunda, the cheering of thousands of citizens of all ages, rose in a mighty crescendo. Sunset Executive and Ladies’ Auxiliary members, standing in line at the station entrance caught a fleeting glimpse of Bing as he was guided into the building,

As Bing entered the over-crowded rotunda, the cheering reached a mighty roar. Men and women, particularly the latter, reached out in an effort to touch or grab the King of the Crooners. The crowd surged through the police lines at the curb as thousands of happy Vancouverities pressed forward for one quick glimpse of their idol of stage and radio.

Cries of “There he is!”  “It’s him!” “Hi, Bing!” “I touched him!” and “I pinched him!” etc., etc. were heard from many lining the aisle through which Bing and his escort forced their way. After the minute or so which seemed much longer—so much appeared to have happened from the time Bing entered through  one  doorway  and made his exit through the other—Bing, Acting-Mayor Miller and Thomas found themselves in the Mayor’s limousine.  Then the fun began all over again. Hundreds of fans, crowded beyond the sidewalk unto the roadway in front of the station, and still hoping for at least a peek at Der Bingle, blocked the roadway ahead of the Mayor’s car. Only the Herculean efforts of five or six stalwart policemen, who literally pulled the official car through the milling, cheering crowd, made it possible for the driver to finally put the car into gear and, preceded by a motorcycle escort, whisk Bing and the others to the hotel.

Another crowd waited at the hotel, both outside and inside. But Bing was soon settled comfortably in his suite where he kidded the other members of his party as they arrived.

(Sunset Review, November 1948)

 

September 21, Tuesday. Bing’s plan to play golf at Capilano Golf Course at 8:00 a.m. is canceled due to heavy rain. During the morning, John Scott Trotter rehearses the local musicians who have been recruited for the next day’s show. Later at 1:30 p.m., Acting Mayor George Miller presents Bing with a golden key to the city on the steps of City Hall. Bing sings along as the Firemen’s Band plays “Where the Blue of the Night.” He goes on to the site of the proposed Sunset Memorial Recreation Center at 51st and Prince Edward Avenue, where he speaks to the crowd of 1,000 and sings a chorus of “Blue Skies” as a joke about the weather. Bing then climbs on to a bulldozer in pouring rain and turns over the first few yards of soil to inaugurate work on the center. Later he goes to the Vancouver Sun newspaper offices where he spends time “editing” the sports pages.

 

Tuesday was a busy day for Bing and his party. Most of it has already been amply covered by the press and radio stations. Rehearsal at the Orpheum in the morning.   The Civic reception, presentation of the golden “Key to the City” and the slate totem pole by the Acting-Mayor in a driving rain on the steps of the City Hall. 

Bing, singing most unexpectedly, while accompanied by the Firemen’s Band, his famous theme-song, “In the Blue of the Night,” (sic) and the crowd there, under their umbrellas and galoshes, loved every minute of it!  Never before, and we doubt if ever again, will such a distinguished and charming person ever sing on the steps of our City Hall.

Indicative of the informality and free-and-easy manner of our star from Hollywood, was his suggestion that those accompanying him on his trip to turn the first sod at Sunset, join him over a sandwich at a wayside restaurant.  (It they arrived too early at Sunset, many would be disappointed and Bing was aware of it.) Needless to say, the waitresses had the thrill of a lifetime. Likewise, the twenty-odd members of a middle-aged ladies’ club who were dining there at the time.  “Ooohs” and “a-ahs” were all over the place!

Then came the trip out Fraser Avenue, renamed “BINGSWAY” in Bing’s honor. He was deeply appreciative of the honor. And on to Sunset, where more than a thousand had braved one of the wettest days of 1948 to be on hand when Bing operated a large bull-dozer to officially turn the first sod on the site  of  Sunset  Memorial  Centre. Many of those present had been there two hours and more, and great was the roar when Der Bingle stepped from his car onto the sodden field.

At Sunset, as if throwing a challenge right back into the teeth of old Jupe Pluvius, Bing broke out in a rich rendition as only Bing can sing, of “Blue Skies.” On the bull-dozer he was a panic. When Chief Mathias tried to explain the faces on the twenty-toot totem pole which Sunset Memorial had presented to Bing, the ever-ready Crosby wanted to know how come so many Hopes on the one pole. Chief Andy Paull’s daughter Yvonne was on hand to present Bing with a beautiful white moose-hide shopping bag for Mrs. Crosby. Bing liked it: said he’d keep his girdle in it.

(Sunset Review, November 1948)

 

September 22, Wednesday. After a morning rehearsal where, as is usual, the musical numbers are recorded for possible use in the final version of the show, Bing, William Gargan, Marilyn Maxwell, and Ray Milland tape a Philco show at the Forum to produce funds for the Sunset Memorial Center. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. In due course, it is revealed that $21,000 has been raised. The show is broadcast on October 13. Marilyn Maxwell is paid a total of $1,500 for this show and a subsequent show in Spokane.

 

Vancouver.jpgHarry Lillis Crosby, the cold eyed little crooner from Spokane whose smiles are as rare as the million bucks he makes each year, jammed the Exhibition Forum for two hours Wednesday night. Supported by a talented cast, including local musicians, he sent the capacity audience home obviously happy after half a dozen songs, and a line of gags which ran the gamut from pat to patter. Stan Thomas, president of the Sunset Memorial Community Center, estimates that 8,000 people attended the performance and that $33,000 was grossed.

In gratitude, the hall in the center will be called “Bing Crosby Auditorium” center officials announced as the show ended. Other tokens Crosby collected for his donated services included a life membership in the Squamish Indian tribe as “Chief Thunder Voice,” a Cowichan Indian sweater, emblazoned with the title, and a verse-laden wooden tomahawk.

The man who invented crooning some eighteen years ago celebrated his chieftainship by wrapping himself in a blanket and joining Squamish Chief Matthias Joe and his braves in a war dance. This gag, like several others, drew hearty laughter, even from the 1,500 paying customers in the north end of the Forum who got a fine view of the back of the orchestra, but hardly a glimpse of what was happening on stage. . . . Once Crosby noticed the plight of the 1,500 viewless in the north end. The crowd out front shouted “We can’t hear you.” From the back came a louder roar: “We can’t see you.” Crosby promised he would “work around” to the viewless. Thirty minutes of the show was recorded for release on U.S. networks October 13 after unsatisfactory sections have been substituted.

(Ralph Daly, The Vancouver Sun, Thursday, September 23, 1948)

 

The great show at the Forum will go down in the history of Vancouver as the most sparkling presentation of its kind ever staged here.  Records fell like ten-pins! Largest attendance ever recorded at any similar affair here!  Largest “gross” and “net” for any single performance.  The first time the top man in show business had ever appeared at a public performance in Canada, west of Toronto. Highest “gross” on first-day ticket sales and, we believe on Wednesday ticket sales also.  The price scale set a new “high” for this city.

The show itself was superb! The huge audience loved every phase of it, from the Indian Chief ceremony, right through to the final curtain.  Bing and his guests, Ray Milland, Marilyn Maxwell and Bill Gargan, were at their best. The script was a scream.  The whole show was a dream come true, not only for Sunset Memorial Centre, but, also, for thousands of Vancouverites who, for the first time, were seeing their idol in person on a Vancouver stage!

(Sunset Review, November 1948)

 

September 23, Thursday. Bing has a practice round at Capilano Golf Club, Vancouver.

September 24, Friday. Golfs with former Canadian champion Ken Black, Gordon Bowers, and Bill Mackenzie at Capilano Golf Club.

September 25, Saturday. (8:30 a.m.) The train carrying Bing and his entourage pulls out of the Vancouver station.

September 26, Sunday. Having traveled to Spokane, Bing rehearses another Philco show with Dan Dailey and Marilyn Maxwell at the Post Theater.

September 27, Monday. Plays golf at Hayden Lake.

September 28, Tuesday. Starting at 8:30 p.m., Bing records the Philco show at the Post St. Theater as part of a benefit to raise funds for the Spokane stadium. The show is broadcast on October 20. After recording the show, Bing goes to the Natatorium Park Ballroom in Spokane and sings with the Dutch Groshoff Orchestra. Subsequently he goes on to San Francisco to record more shows.

 

Bing’s Entertaining Shows Bring $10,000 to Stadium Fund

Bing Crosby and a company of talented Hollywood entertainers played a double bill in Spokane last night, jamming the Post theater to the roof for the Philco Hour broadcast and playing to more than 4000 persons at Natatorium park.

A benefit sponsored by the Athletic Round Table, the two shows netted the Spokane stadium fund better than $10,000. It was another Crosby gift to Spokane.

The broadcast will be aired Wednesday night, October 20.

It was almost a wedding anniversary celebration for Bing and Dixie Lee Crosby are observing their 18th wedding anniversary today. Mrs. Crosby is in Hollywood.