1936-1937 Season with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra    

The Hooper rating for the season was 22.4 which put the show in 6th place overall. The top show was the Eddie Cantor program with 29.1.

 

No.  36  15th October 1936  

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Ruth Chatterton, Elisabeth Rethberg and Slip Madigan.

 

*One, Two, Button Your Shoe                                     (a)

*Let’s Call A Heart A Heart                                         (a)

*On The Beach At Waikiki                                           (b)

  My Gal Sal                                                                                        Bob Burns (bazooka)

  One Fine Day/On The Wings Of Song                                                Elisabeth Rethberg

*So Do I                                                                      (a)

*Pennies From Heaven

 

Notes:

(a)                JSP1076 - “Bing Crosby In The Thirties - Volume One”          

            Spokane 14 - “Bing In The Thirties - Volume Two”     

            CD- JSP 934A – “Bing Crosby – The Vintage Years 1932-1937”

(b)               JSP1076 - “Bing Crosby In The Thirties - Volume One”

            CD- JSP 934A – “Bing Crosby – The Vintage Years 1932-1937”

 

“Having had his fill of Tanforan (racetrack) and its steeds of assorted size, shape and speed, Bing Crosby picks up where he left off, on the Music Hall show.  This means Bob Burns is promoted back to his original high level of comedian which is a ‘break’.  We hear the Master of Ceremonies stigma weighed, heavily, upon him.  Guests in the Music Hall will be prima donna, Elisabeth Rethberg - she of the near perfect voice, cinemactress Ruth Chatterton and St. Marys’ coach, Slip Madigan”

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 15th October 1936)

 

No.  37  22nd October 1936 

 

With Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Josephine Antoine, Anne Shirley and Adolphe Menjou.

 

*I’m An Old Cowhand (From The Rio Grande)

*Did I Remember?

*Somebody Loves Me

*Pennies From Heaven

*South Sea Island Magic

 

Movieland’s Anne Shirley and Adolphe Menjou and the Met’s, Josephine Antoine are guests of Bing Crosby on KPO at 7 pm.  It seems fitting that Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee, two crooners who went places should stage their radio shows on the same day, the same network and, very nearly, the same hour.  But whereas Crosby is a comparative novice at ceremony mastering, Vallee is a real veteran.  Today on KPO at 5 pm he celebrates his seventh radio birthday” 

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 22nd October 1936)

 

No.  38  29th October 1936  

 

With Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Emmanuel Feuermann, Elissa Landi and Cary Grant.

 

*I’m In A Dancing Mood

*The Way You Look Tonight

*Me And The Moon

*Button Up Your Overcoat

*So Do I

*Goodbyee                                                                              with Cary Grant

 

A ‘one-liner’(for what it is worth) from the Los Angeles Times of 29th October 1936, “Joe Venuti (Orchestra) replaces Jimmy Dorsey on the Crosby show”

 

 “Bing Crosby’s Music Hall which manages to maintain a respectably high, guest star standing, goes KPO-ing at 7 tonight, with three visitors.  You’ll hear screen favourites, Elissa Landi and Cary Grant and cellist, Emmanuel Feuermann, rated tops in the world, today.  Miss Landi and Grant will be interviewed or had you already guessed?”

(“San Francisco Chronicle 29th October 1936)

 

No.  39  5th November 1936 

 

With Bob Burns, Bruna Castagna, Gladys George And Warren William.

 

*You Turned The Tables On Me

*I’ll Sing You A Thousand Love Songs

*Until The Real Thing Comes Along

*S’Posin

*Let’s Call A Heart A Heart

 

“If there weren’t much pretty money and lovely publicity involved, Hollywood’s throbbing thespians would probably fight to the last ditch to keep off the air.  After all, there isn’t much pleasure in working before a camera all day and rehearsing in a studio all night and furthermore you’d be surprised how many veteran stars suffer severe attacks of ‘mike fright’ when the cue signal is flashed.  Bing Crosby is probably the one radio ace who realises this, that’s why the Hollywooders who appear on his show, do anything and everything, except act.  In fact, they are forbidden to emote.

‘Be yourselves’ is Bing’s standing order and that’s why on last week’s Music Hall, you heard Cary Grant singing, cockney songs and Elissa Landi reciting poetry she’d written herself and they don’t have time to worry about ‘mike fright’.  Tonight, on KPO, Gladys George, star of, ‘Valiant Is The Word For Carrie’ and Warren William head the guest list and even Crosby doesn’t know what they’re going to do - That’s his story, anyway.  The only predictable guest tonight is, Bruna Castagna, currently appearing with the San Francisco Opera Company.  You can rest assured that she will sing and in her usual, spotless style” 

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 5th November 1936)

 

No. 40  12th November 1936 

 

With Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Grete Stueckgold, Helen Vinson and Edmund Lowe.

 

One, Two, Button Your Shoe

*I Can’t Escape From You

*Until Today

*A Fine Romance

*Mighty Lak’ A Rose                                                               with Grete Stueckgold

 

“...it seems noteworthy that crooner, Bing Crosby will sing a duet with diva, Grete Stueckgold on KPO at 7.  Other guests are Edmund Lowe and Helen Vinson”.  (“San Francisco Chronicle” 12th November 1936)

 

No.  41  19th November 1936 

 

With Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Harold Bauer, Patsy Kelly and Robert Armstrong.

 

*On A Typical Tropical Night

*The Way You Look Tonight

*Pennies From Heaven

*Exactly Like You

*Empty Saddles                                                                       with The Paul Taylor Choristers

*If They Knock The “L” Out Of Kelly                                      with Patsy Kelly (Bob Burns - Piano)

 

“Bing Crosby who did San Francisco in regal style last week and weekend, stages his usual ‘carbon copy’ programme.  We mean all of Bing’s programmes, read like the one preceding, so, we always adjust our spectacles and look twice to make sure we aren’t printing last week’s.  Patsy Kelly and Robert Armstrong of the films share top billing with concert pianist, Harold Bauer and it’s all on KPO at 7 pm” 

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 19th November 1936)

 

No.  42  26th November 1936   

 

With Bob Burns, Lotte Lehmann, Rochelle Hudson and Ricardo Cortez.

 

*Did You Mean It?

*Darling, Not Without You

*Sweet Lady

*I’m In A Dancing Mood

*So Do I

 

“Last week, a critic bobbed up with this: ‘Bing Crosby’s getting terrible.  His voice cracked on a song the other night’.  If Crosby’s voice didn’t have those frequent explosions, his popularity might wane.   The so-called good singers learned, long ago, it is better to perform like Crosby than any other way.  The first one to mention a crack in his voice would be Crosby”

 (“Los Angeles Times” 29th November 1936)

 

No.  43  3rd December 1936  

 

With Bob Burns, Alice Faye, Gene Raymond and Gregor Piatigorsky.

 

*You Turned The Tables On Me

*The Night Is Young And You’re So Beautiful 

*Oh! You Beautiful Doll

*Did I Remember

*South Sea Island Magic

 

“Battle Of The Guest Stars - One of the most brilliant line-ups ever offered by Rudy Vallee who is no slouch at brilliant line-ups, will be heard on KPO at 5 pm, today.  Read - and gasp... Noel Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Ed Wynn, The Don Cossack Chorus and banjoist, Eddie Peabody.  Bing offers, Gene Raymond, Alice Faye and cellist, Gregor Piatigorsky who are nice people, all the same (KPO 7 o’clock)”

 (“San Francisco Chronicle” 3rd December 1936)

 

No.  44  10th December 1936 

 

With Bob Burns, Suzanne Fisher, Bruce Cabot and Anita Louise.

 

*One, Two, Button Your Shoe

*In The Chapel In The Moonlight

*I’ll Sing You A Thousand Love Songs

*Can’t We Be Friends?

*Close To Me

 

“Most likely to drive rational radio fans to drink are (1) overlong commercial announcements and (2) conflicting network shows.  Right now, the latter problem overshadows the former.  On Thursday night, whether you’ve realised it or not, air conditions come to a pretty terrible pass.  At 7 pm, Bing Crosby, always using a pair of movie stars and a concert artist as shields does mortal combat with Columbia’s, ‘Then And Now’ and ‘March Of Time’.  Somewhat beside the point is the observation that Crosby has been more than holding his own but it seems apropos to add that the first half of his programme is by far the strongest.  That’s because at 7.30 pm, ‘Time Marches On’ and thousands march off the Crosby wavelength, tonight and possibly Crosby is in part, responsible.  This conflict will be on the air for the last time, KFRC’s ‘Then And Now’ comes to an end after a 13 week run that cost its sponsor about $260,000”

(“San Francisco Chronicle  10th December 1936)

 

No.  45  17th December 1936    

 

With Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Nadine Conner, Mary Astor and Jack Oakie.

 

*It’s De-Lovely

*She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain                                   with Jack Oakie

*Midnight Blue

*Charmaine                                                                              with The Paul Taylor Choristers

*Darling, Not Without You

*So Do I

 

“Bing Crosby’s programme for Kraft is one of the season’s slickest examples of touching up a programme with small details, snatches of saucy dialogue and other tricks and trappings - none of them remarkable but in the assembled show, producing a mood and a tempo that makes for popularity.  Lines assigned to Bing Crosby have certain finessing with the type of stuff Ben Bernie does.  This is not to suggest any imitative quality or any close resemblance but surely that the leisurely sort of whimsy, Crosby is doing, has a precedent of success on the air.  Last Thursday, the 17th, was neither the best or the least of the recent Crosby broadcasts.  It was very typical and as such, worth considering in some detail.  It would be impossible to recall one gag, one memorable twist or one catchphrase.  Yet the hour moved with a kind of radioesque sophistication.  Crosby, if anything, overbuilt Nadine Connor (sic), a concert singer.  His ballyhoo made it tough for her to deliver but the same ballyhoo humanised the singer and reduced the danger of turning off, among classical-avoiding listeners.  Jack Oakie works well with Crosby and Burns.  They tore off a hill-billy lampoon.  Incidentally, this suggests Oakie-Crosby as a good screen comedy combo.” 

(“Variety” 23rd December 1936)

 

“Radio fans with an eye to the future are directed to tonight’s Bing Crosby hour.  Heading the guest stars will be Jack Oakie and Oakie has been named to succeed Rupert Hughes, later this month, as the conductor of the Tuesday night ‘Caravan’ programmes.  Also headlined are Mary Astor, who made her own headlines a few months back and Nadine Connor, (i) young Hollywood songstress”

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 17th December 1936)

 

Note

Nadine Conner’s name is firmly stated in “The New York Times Index” and in several advertisements for Opera performances but other sources tend to use the more common “Connor”.  Her only connection with Hollywood appears to have been in 1948, when she dubbed an aria for Betty Hutton in “Dream Girl”.

 

No.  46  24th December 1936  

 

With Bob Burns, Jose Iturbi, June Travis and James Gleason.

 

*Adeste Fideles

*Trust In Me

*Diane

*Did You Mean It?

*Pennies From Heaven

*Silent Night

 

“Bing Crosby observes Christmas Eve in the Music Hall by presenting three famous guest stars, June Travis and Jimmy Gleason of the films will be interviewed and Jose Iturbi, noted concert pianist, comes back for his third appearance at 9 pm over NBC-WSMB”

(“New Orleans Times-Picayune” 24th December 1936)

 

No.  47  31st December 1936 

 

With Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Pat O’Brien, The Foursome and Art Tatum.

 

*With Plenty Of Money And You

*In The Chapel In The Moonlight

*Stumblin

*When My Dreamboat Comes Home

*Close To Me

 

“Pat O’Brien, motion picture star, will make a return engagement as guest of Bing Crosby on the Music Hall programme at 9 pm over NBC-WSMB, Bob Burns, bazooka-tooting Arkansas yarn spinner, the Paul Taylor Choristers and Jimmy Dorsey’s Orchestra will be heard as usual”

(“New Orleans Times-Picayune” 31st December 1936)

 

No.  48  January 7th 1937

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Helen Mack, Lawson Little and Grete Stueckgold.

 

*There’s Frost On The Moon (Spring In My Heart)

*Under Your Spell

*Dear Old Girl

*Trust In Me

*Let’s Call A Heart A Heart

 

I have been credited with giving Bing Crosby a style of talking. . . . The reason early Crosby/Kraft radio shows sounded stilted was that Bing simply resisted talking. He didn’t want to be bothered with scripts and rehearsals. He just wanted to sing. Finally, we conceived the idea of putting lines in the guests’ scripts that were not in Bing’s script. No performer wants to wind up with egg on his face, and Bing rose to the bait. Always quick enough with a quip in the locker room at Lakeside, he fell back on this natural resource. Between this, and the language I wrote for him which he enjoyed speaking, the public image known as Bing Crosby evolved.

(Carroll Carroll from The Old Time Radio Book by Ted Sennett, pages 68–69)

 

No.  49  14th January 1937   

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, Patricia Ellis, Edward Everett Horton and Guiomar Novais.

 

*One, Two, Button Your Shoe

*If My Heart Could Only Talk

*Oh! Miss Hannah

*The Night Is Young And You’re So Beautiful

*When My Dreamboat Comes Home

 

No.  50  21st January 1937    

 

With Bob Burns, Mrs. Sarah Lockwood, Waldemar A. Kaempffert, Lee Tracy and Rose Bampton.

 

*I’m In A Dancing Mood

*I Can’t Lose That Longing For You

*Swingin’ Down The Lane

*I’ll Sing You A Thousand Love Songs

*So Do I

 

“....then Bing Crosby goes KPOing at 7 pm with Lee Tracy and Rose Bampton of the Metropolitan Opera bandwagon.  Miss Bampton will call Crosby, ‘Bing’ and he’ll call Miss Bampton, ‘Rose’ and everybody will be too, too chummy” 

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 21st January 1937)

 

No.  51  28th January 1937  

 

With Bob Burns, Rosalind Marquis, Josephine Tuminia and Victor McLaglen.

 

*There’s Frost On The Moon (Spring In My Heart)

*In The Chapel In The Moonlight

*Kalua

*Under Your Spell

*Moonlight And Shadows

 

“Rudy Vallee at 5 and Bing Crosby at 7, stage their usual guest star wrangle, today.  In Vallee’s corner are pianist, Percy Grainger and actor, Brian Aherne.  Crosby pins his hopes on Victor McLaglen, San Francisco’s singing, Josephine Tuminia and movie starlet Rosalind Marquis”

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 28th January 1937)

 

No.  52  4th February 1937

  

With Bob Burns, Marion Claire, Basil Rathbone and William Frawley.

 

*With Plenty Of Money And You

*There’s Something In The Air

*When My Dreamboat Comes Home

*In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree

*Close To Me

 

“Marion Claire, prima donna of the Chicago Opera and star of many light opera successes will be interviewed by Bing Crosby, during the Music Hall programme over NBC-WSMB at 9 pm.  Miss Claire’s latest stage musical was ‘The Great Waltz’”  

(“New Orleans Times-Picayune” 4th February 1937)

 

No.  53  11th February 1937   

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, Edward Everett Horton, Dorothy McNulty and Toscha Seidel.

 

*You Do The Darnedest Things, Baby

*My Melancholy Baby

*The Night Is Young And You’re So Beautiful

*Goodnight, My Love

*Pennies From Heaven

 

“Edward Everett Horton, famous movie comedian will celebrate his first assignment to a starring role in Bing Crosby’s Music Hall programme to be heard over NBC-WSMB at 9 pm.  Toscha Seidel, celebrated violinist and Dorothy McNulty, young singer in motion pictures will also be Bing’s guests”  

(“New Orleans Times-Picayune” 11th February 1937)

 

 “Doesn’t look like Jimmy Dorsey will stick on the Bing Crosby show much longer.....the rumours are flying and we’ll put our chips on Artie Shaw”

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 11th February 1937) (Sorry, you lose!)

 

“Dorothy McNulty” will be better known to most as, Penny Singleton, who starred in the “Blondie” series of movies opposite Arthur Lake.

 

No.  54  18th February 1937  

 

With Bob Burns, Marion Claire, The Abbe Children and Sophie Tucker.

     

*I Love You From Coast To Coast

*Blue Hawaii

*Sweet Is The Word For You

*Sweet Leilani

*Dardanella

 

“As is the accepted custom, Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby are Thursday night’s toppers as far as the guest talent goes.....Crosby’s line-up includes such notables as operatic soprano Marion Claire, Sophie Tucker and the three Abbe Children, whose chronicling of foreign travel has made them quite famous”

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 18th February 1937)

 

“Marion Claire, beautiful operatic soprano, will return to Bing Crosby’s Music Hall, as guest soloist for the second time in two weeks.  Crosby will also play host to Sophie Tucker and the Abbey (sic) Children, Patience, John and Richard whose book (‘Around The World In 11 Years’) on their life was one of the literary sensations of 1936” 

(“New Orleans Times-Picayune” 18th February 1937)

 

No.  55  25th February 1937    

 

With Bob Burns, Mary Garden, Sidney Skolsky and James Cagney.      

 

*Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

*There’s Something In The Air

*Night And Day

*Sweet Is The Word For You

*Moonlight And Shadows

 

“James Cagney grooved pretty nicely into a guesting shot on Bing Crosby’s hour over NBC last week.  Could have been better if a better script had been handed to him.  As it was, his mike appearances were split up into four briefies; two of them drooping pretty badly before termination,  Also there was no semblance of any farewells and up to the end of the programme, probably many expected the cocky character, screen player would return.  He would have been pressed more firmly, had he had his mike turn compressed into one whirl.  Bad judgment was it also to build suspense with heaps of talk from Crosby about Cagney’s warbling then have Cagney beg off.  Sidney Skolsky, syndicated Hollywood columnist was used on the programme in the Cagney interludes.  His voice registered much better that it did, recently, when guesting on a Lux shot over CBS.  However, his script could have made him out to be a much more humble person.  The treatment of making the writer out to be at once, the H.L. Mencken and the Samuel Pepys of the pic biz, doesn’t register well with listeners, many of whom are, doubtless, Skolsky readers”. 

(“Variety” 3rd March 1937)

 

“James Cagney, reputedly one of the screen’s toughest men and Bing Crosby, no sissy himself, will make a two-way attack on Sidney Skolsky, Hollywood columnist, during the Music Hall broadcast tonight.  The object of the attack is to face Skolsky to reveal where and how he gets all the news and gossip he prints”

(“New Orleans Times-Picayune” 25th February 1937)

 

(Mary Garden, the Scottish soprano, was claimed at the time to be ‘the World’s greatest opera singer’.  “Grove’s Dictionary Of Music & Musicians’ has other thoughts - “Her personality counted for more in her performance than her vocal art which was defective or her histrionic skill which was limited and vitiated by many mannerisms”.

Sidney Skolsky might be more familiar as a sometime screenwriter and the producer of “The Jolson Story”.)

 

No.  56  4th March 1937         

 

With Bob Burns, Grantland Rice, Mary Garden, Freddie Bartholomew, Mischa Auer and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

 

*Gee! But You’re Swell

*Sweet Leilani

*Memories

*What Will I Tell My Heart?

*Serenade In The Night

*Fiddle Dee Dee                                                                      with Bob Burns & Mischa Auer

 

“Having been prodded, considerably by our Mr. Neil Hitt, we feel constrained to waggle a disapproving finger at the naughty local announcers who proclaim 37,000 times daily, ‘Bing Crosby now sings ‘Pennies From Heaven’.  This is a recording’ As Mr. Hitt points out, after considerable probing through our best dictionaries, this is blatantly false.  Each time the mike man reads the above line he infers, ‘We have Bing Crosby in our studios and you are about to hear him make a phonograph record’.  We have been in one or two radio studios in our lifetime and we have yet to see Mr. Crosby in the act of making a record.  So, we must side in with Mr. Hitt’s contention that the announcement should go like this, ‘Bing Crosby now sings ‘Pennies From Heaven’.  This is a record’.  By doing so, our announcers will remain well inside the boundaries of truth and shorten their labours by one complete ‘ing’ each of the 37,000 times they play ‘Pennies from Heaven’ (Announcers will please file their complaints or expressions of gratitude with Mr. Hitt - it was his idea in the first place)”

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 4th March 1937)

(Let’s all be pedantic - “the mike man” should imply - his listeners will infer!)

 

No.  57  11th March 1937

 

With Bob Burns, Mary Brian, Andres Segovia and Lee Tracy.

 

*Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

*Too Marvellous For Words

*The Darktown Strutters’ Ball

*In A Little Hula Heaven

*I Can’t Lose That Longing For You

 

No.  58  18th March 1937  

 

With Bob Burns, Vitya Vronsky & Victor Babin, Harriet Hilliard and Basil Rathbone. 

 

*Slumming On Park Avenue

*Trust In Me

*I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now

*The Mood That I’m In

*Blue Hawaii

 

“Bing Crosby KPO 7 pm welcomes Harriet Hilliard, Basil Rathbone and the famous Russian two piano team of Vitya Vronsky and Victor Babin 

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 18th March 1937)

 

No.  59  25th March 1937  

 

With Bob Burns, Betty Jaynes, Gail Sondergaard and Walter Brennan.

 

*In A Little Hula Heaven

*My Little Buckaroo

*By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

*What Will I Tell My Heart?

*Moonlight And Shadows

 

“This being Thursday, Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby and Lanny Ross go at it again, flinging guests pell-mell through your loudspeakers in an earnest endeavour to do right by your ears.  Vallee’s guests are topped by Tyrone Power.  Crosby’s list shows, Gale Sondergaard and Walter Brennan and the sixteen year-old opera singer, Betty Jaynes of Chicago”

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 25th March 1937)

 

Quite a ‘scoop’ for the guest list.  Gale Sondergaard and Walter Brennan had just received their awards as Best Supporting Actress/Actor.  She for ‘Anthony Adverse’ and he for “Come And Get It” (His first of three) This was the first time that the Academy accepted nominations in this category and the winners received a plaque rather than the customary Oscar.

 

No.  60  1st April 1937 

 

With Bob Burns, George Palmer Putnam, June Travis, Charles Grimm, Amelia Earhart and John Barrymore. 

 

*Boo-Hoo!

*Sweet Is The Word For You

*Where The Blue Of The Night Meets The Gold Of The Day

*Goodnight, My Love

*Serenade In The Night

 

Another quite extraordinary visitor, with her husband, George Palmer Putnam, making us wonder if Bing could not have written an entire book about the guests that he welcomed to the Kraft Music Hall.  It was a bare three months after this appearance, on July 2nd, that Amelia Earhart vanished.  Although theories abound, no trace of her or the aircraft have been found to this day.  One of the most bizarre stories associated with this event, is that in the early days of the search for the missing aviatrix, songwriters Harry Pease and Jack Meskell came up with the song, “They Needed An Angel In Heaven So God Took The Queen Of The Air”. Miraculously, good taste prevailed and no publisher would touch it!

 

No.  61  8th April 1937  

 

With Bob Burns, Florence Lake, Kathryn Meisle and Victor McLaglen.  

 

*Little Old Lady

*Sweet Leilani

*Ma! He’s Making Eyes At Me

*Too Marvellous For Words

*Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

*The One Rose (That’s Left In My Heart)

 

“Tears For Mr. Crosby - Studio Audience Is ‘Out’- Yet His Music Hall Is ‘In’” (Headline)“We don’t like to harp on a subject any better than you like to have a subject harped upon (Harp, harp, the larp) but we’re confronted, today with another angle of this studio applause business and there’s really no sidestepping of it.  We refer to the Bing Crosby angle, of which we can find no more intriguing example to present of the anti-studio applause faction.  Since first taking to the ether, Mr. Crosby has steadfastly refused to admit spectators to his programme.  It’s not because he doesn’t like to have strangers around but he concedes, readily, that they do more harm than good - even if they’re really nice about it and just sit in a corner without emitting a peep. And has the rich diet of handclaps and laughter harmed our Mr. Crosby’s radio standing?  It has not. Definitely, irrevocably and - well you get the idea.  Mr. Crosby also has a comedian on his programme, his name is Robin Burns.  Even without a background of chirps, cackles, screams and other outward displays of enthusiasm, Mr. Burns manages to be one of the very funniest and yet Mr. Burns’ rival funny men claim that they couldn’t give their all, do their best, ring the bell etc., if they couldn’t look beyond the microphone to find row upon row of happy, upturned faces ready to giggle and guffaw at the slightest provocation.  Maybe we’re wrong but if Mr. Crosby and Mr. Burns can stay among the first five in the national ratings without relying on visible, voluble support couldn’t a few of the others.  Incidentally, guesting in the Music Hall, tonight will be, Victor McLaglen and Florence Lake of the films and Kathryn Meisle of the concert stage.  Mr. Crosby will refer to all, merely, as, ‘Vic’, ‘Flo’ and ‘Kathryn’” 

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 8th April 1937)

 

No.  62  15th April 1937  

 

With Bob Burns, Percy Grainger, Lionel Stander, Frances Farmer and Harry Barris.  

 

*Boo-Hoo!

*The Mood That I’m In

*(Back Home Again In) Indiana

*Blue Hawaii

 

“The Australian composer/pianist, Percy Grainger leads the troupe of guests in Bing Crosby’s Music Hall and hard on his heels you’ll find Lionel Stander - he of the hacksaw voice, Frances Farmer also of the films and Harry Barris, who, with Crosby formed two thirds of  Paul Whiteman’s famous old Rhythm Boys”

(“San Francisco Chronicle  15th April 1937)

 

“There will occur tonight, along about 7 o’clock or shortly after, through KFI, an event which is momentous in the radio industry.To the ordinary dialler in Podunk, it may mean little but to those who know the inside story, the re-union of Harry Barris and Bing Crosby, if only for a few minutes, is something to think about.  You see, since Crosby became something of a dignitary in his own right, he hasn’t gone much for singing with others unless it be with a full chorus.  So far as I know, he has not engaged in trio or duet work, his first love.

Tonight, he and Barris, once two of the famous Rhythm Boys from Paul Whiteman’s and Gus Arnheim’s Orchestras, get together for a spell of ‘hot’ singing.  True, Al Rinker is not scheduled to be among those present but the other two should carry on.  We should hear some of the ‘noodling’ which this pair made famous Also on the program will be the eminent pianist and composer, Percy Grainger, whose radio appearances are all too infrequent to suit me.  Frances Farmer and Lionel Stander represent the motion picture industry and Bob Burns and Jimmy Dorsey’s Orchestra represent the regular cast of Kraft Music Hall.”

(“Los Angeles Examiner” 15th April 1937)

 

No.  63  22nd April 1937

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, Ernest Schelling, Rose Bampton, The Foursome and Walter Connolly.

 

*One In A Million

*Alabamy Bound

*Little Old Lady

*Moonlight And Shadows

*Sextet - Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)                                           with Rose Bampton

 

No.  64  29th April 1937 

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Mischa Auer, Connie Boswell and Madeleine Carroll.

 

*You’re Here, You’re There, You’re Everywhere

*Sentimental And Melancholy

*My Little Buckaroo

*Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet

*Sweet Leilani

*The Music Goes ‘Round And ‘Round (Parody)                                   with Bob Burns (Bazooka)

 

Grete Stueckgold was scheduled to appear on this programme but was obliged to cancel as her husband died on the date of the broadcast.  Her place was taken, at very short notice, by Connie Boswell.

 

No.  65  6th May 1937  

 

With Bob Burns, Janice Porter, Mary Garden and Basil Rathbone.

 

*How Could You?

*Carelessly

*I’d Climb The Highest Mountain

*What Will I Tell My Heart?

*The One Rose (That’s Left In My Heart)

 

“More and more the conviction grows that Bing Crosby’s Music Hall is variety radio entertainment at its best.  Mr. Crosby is, without doubt, the most ‘relaxed’ emcee on the air.  He all but yawns his way though the script and his lazy humour is great stuff for ears, wearied by the glorified programme conductors who, apparently, try to sound like machine guns and are every bit as devastating”

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 5th May 1937)

 

No.  66  13th May 1937 

 

With The Paul Taylor Choristers, Lionel Stander, Elissa Landi, Josephine Tuminia and John McCormack.

 

*Swing High, Swing Low

*September In The Rain

*My Buddy

*Sentimental And Melancholy

*Turn Off The Moon

  So Do I Love You                              (a)        John McCormack (Edwin Schneider – Piano)

  Shannon River                                     (a)        John McCormack (Edwin Schneider - Piano) 

  The Blue Danube (Strauss)                              Josephine Tuminia

 

Note:

(a)        A portion of the show, featuring these two items and including some dialogue was issued on GOR CD101(CD) “A Little Bit Of Irish - Bing Crosby”

 

“John McCormack having retired and given up singing forever and a day, duly appeared on the Bing Crosby Kraft Music Hall hour and sang a couple of numbers.  Numbers weren’t important nor, for that matter, the fact that he’d come out of retirement at his very first moment after commencing it.  What counted was that the Irishman was in rare good humour and had himself a royal good time all through the programme, clowning with Crosby, Bob Burns (sic) and Lionel Stander.  It was good fun throughout and if McCormack really means it about quitting the concert stage but wants to shift to some other branch of the biz he might consider being an MC.  He could get away with it.”

 (“Variety” 19th May 1937)

 

The contentious point in the above quote is the presence of Bob Burns.  The CD “A Little Bit Of Irish” observes the following in its liner notes, “Bing Crosby introduced John McCormack as his guest on the Kraft Music Hall on 13th May 1937.  During their conversation some humorous interruptions come from Bob ‘Bazooka’ Burns”.  In fact, the ‘interruptions’ in the segment heard are from Lionel Stander and in addition, after a question from McCormack asking, “What can she find in France that she can’t find, right here, in America”, Bing is heard to say, “It’s a pity - it’s really a pity that Burns isn’t here - he’d know - he was over there with the Marines” and confirmation can be found in the Appendix note for Programme No. 68 and this further quote:“With Bob Burns on vacation, Crosby carries on, alone for KPOers at 6 pm.  His guests include San Francisco’s coloratura, Josephine Tuminia, Elissa Landi, John McCormack and Lionel Stander”  (“San Francisco Chronicle” 13th May 1937)

 

No.  67  20th May 1937

 

With Ken Carpenter, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Lionel Stander, Lee Tracy, Connie Boswell and

William Gargan.

 

*In A Little Hula Heaven

*Never In A Million Years

*Limehouse Blues

*Carelessly

*Sweet Leilani

 

Extract from article in BING magazine, Spring, 2003 by Malcolm Macfarlane about New York Public Library collection

Kraft Music Hall - May 20, 1937.

This 78 rpm aluminium-based 12” acetate was part of the Lee Tracy collection and we know that Mr. Tracy was a guest on the show that night. Whilst we knew what songs Bing sang, no-one had heard them for years and again it was with eager anticipation that I sat there in my headphones sending a message for playback to commence. It soon became apparent that the only parts of the show which had been preserved were those featuring Lee Tracy. First we hear Bing and Lee talking about Lee’s latest film Behind The Headlines (also known as Tomorrow’s Headlines) then there is dialogue between Bing, Lee and Lionel Stander about Bing’s slang talk (“stationhouse”, “zingy” “long haircut” etc.) which brings laughter from the audience. The next cut has a WW1 sketch involving Bing, Lee, Lionel Stander and William Gargan. “Colonel” Stander whispers to “Major” Crosby that they are going to advance and whispers pass down the line to first “Captain” Tracy and then “Lieutenant” Gargan. The whispers go back and forth among the personnel until eventually someone says that the front line is 15 miles away and “Why are we whispering.” The payoff comes when “Colonel” Stander says that he has laryngitis! Unfortunately there are no songs from Bing on the recording which was obviously done specifically for Lee Tracy.

 

No.  68  27th May 1937  (a)  

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, The Paul Taylor Choristers, Zasu Pitts, Gail Patrick and Rudolph Ganz.

 

*How Could You?

*My Melancholy Baby                                     with Zasu Pitts

*You’re Here, You’re There, You’re Everywhere

  The Land Of The Sky Blue Water                   Bob Burns (Bazooka)

*Time On My Hands                                        with The Paul Taylor Choristers

*My Little Buckaroo                            (b) 

  Forgotten Waltz (Liszt)                                   Rudolph Ganz (Piano)

  La Puerta Del Vino  (Debussy)                       Rudolph Ganz (Piano)

  Lullaby For Bazooka                                      Rudolph Ganz (Piano) & Bob Burns (Bazooka) 

The Flight Of The Bumble

            Bee (Rimsky Korsakov)                       Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra

*Where Are You?                                            with The Paul Taylor Choristers

 

Notes:

(a)                The complete programme was issued on Spokane 7 - “Bing Crosby - On The Air”

(b)               TRM20029 - “Radio Memories Of Bing Crosby”

 

This is the earliest known example of a complete show from the series of which a copy survives.  Ken Carpenter welcomes back Bob Burns after two weeks absence.

 

“Bob Burns returned last week to the Kraft Phoenix programme, after a fortnight’s absence to fish the trout streams in the High Sierras.  He has been sorely missed during his siesta, so he stepped right in, sounding fresh and helped lift the period to its old level.  Bing Crosby seemed exuberant with Burns’ return and displayed more pep than he had done on the two previous editions.  Zasu Pitts was the guest in the show and not too impressive.  Her singing of ‘Melancholy Baby’ was choppy and not bravely ventured.  Interruptions by Burns’ mild kidding detracted further.  An announcement that Miss Pitts would carol in the forthcoming Wanger production, “52nd Street” for United Artists, wasn’t too good a ballyhoo in view of the performance. Boys and comedienne wound it up with a skit on Christopher Columbus putting the touch on Queen Isabella for his voyage of discovery.  Burns was seaman and Crosby, King Ferdinand - Bit was quite funny”. 

(“Variety” 2nd June 1937)

 

No.  69  3rd June 1937  

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, McLellan Barclay, Charles Ruggles and Natalia Bogdanya.

 

*Wake Up And Live

*September In The Rain

*Runnin’ Wild

*Never In A Million Years

*Turn Off The Moon

 

“Bing Crosby is probably the shining light for air audiences.  Not only are his audiences told NOT to applaud but they are requested to restrain their laughter to a studio chuckle” 

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 3rd June 1937)

 

No.  70  10th June 1937  

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, Harriet Hilliard, William Frawley and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

 

*It Look’s Like Rain In Cherry Blossom Lane

*They Can’t Take That Away From Me

*Casey Jones

*There’s A Lull In My Life

*Sail Along, Silv’ry Moon                                                         (a)        with William Frawley

*Where Are You?

 

Note:

(a)                 Broadway Intermission BR116 - “Crosbyana Volume II - The Fabulous Rice Tapes – 1937”

 

“For more than a year now, rumours have been floating around that Jimmy Dorsey and his band will be leaving the Crosby show.  Well, they’re finally coming true.  Next month, the Dorsey swingsters move into Chicago’s Congress Hotel and chances are they’ll be replaced by a studio orchestra, although Joe Venuti or Artie Shaw are supposed to be in the running”

 (“San Francisco Chronicle” 10th June 1937)

 

No.  71  17th June 1937 

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, Jose Iturbi, Katherine De Mille and Pat O’Brien. 

 

*The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down

*The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (Parody)                         with Bob Burns

*On A Little Dream Ranch

*Garden Of Tomorrow

*Sailboat In The Moonlight

*Sweet Leilani

 

“Radio is his game and he’s so deaf you almost have to shout to make him hear.  He’s small and of nondescript appearance.  You’d never pick him out in a crowd and the chances are you’ve never heard his rather odd name.  Carroll Carroll is the brains behind the success of Bing Crosby’s air show.  He studies Bing constantly - not an affectation or colloquialism used by the crooning idol of radio escapes his sharp eyes which are trained to read the Crosby lips.  He writes Bing’s scripts.  Yes, Bing’s informed chatter on the air is all written and the reason you’d swear it was ad-libbed is because Carroll Carroll writes right down Bing’s alley and be it known to Bing’s credit that he appreciates Carroll’s talent.  He takes one look at the script and says, ‘It’s swell’. When Crosby reads that script, he can’t help falling into a natural groove, thereby giving his hour the inimitable style and all the time Carroll Carroll watches him from the control booth, studying, studying.  He has absorbed so much of Bing’s personality that he, consistently and successfully, transcribes it to typewritten paper, each week.  The Crosby cast never assembles for rehearsals until Thursday morning.  They work all day, cutting and changing and building up that ‘spark’ that accounts for its present Crosley Report rating.  The show is seldom timed at the start of a broadcast.  The crew have been working so hard all day that they have on hand a wealth of material, discarded during rehearsal to fill with should the programme run short.  So when you tune in tonight (KPO 6 to 7) and hear Bing winding out, in his own style, just realise that a little semi-deaf guy by the name of Carroll Carroll is doing his bit to preserve that personality in consistency”.

(“San Francisco Chronicle” 17th June 1937)

 

No.  72  24th June 1937 

 

With Ken Carpenter, Bob Burns, Constance Bennett and Reginald Denny.

 

*They All Laughed

*Was It Rain?

*Then I’ll Be Happy

*There’s A Lull In My Life

*Dancing Under The Stars

 

“Bing Crosby - Bob Burns Thursday night session over NBC Red for Kraft Phoenix Miracle Whip was not the only commercial plugging inserted.  Two guests, Constance Bennett and Reginald Denny also slipped in some blurbing for their extra-film business ventures.  It seems Miss Bennett peddles cosmetics and Denny is interested in a firm manufacturing model airplanes although the trade labels of neither were mentioned.  All the chatter on their two separate sessions with Mr. C and Mr. B circled around their businesses.  Usually, on the Kraft Show, guests get ribbed.  The pair, last week, escaped completely and both bits, in consequence were much duller than customarily encountered on this sturdy show”

 (“Variety” 30th June 1937)

 

“Bing Crosby gags around with Constance Bennett, Reginald Denny and Florence George, radio soprano and quite the good looker.  Speaking of ‘La Bennett’, she causes something of a sensation every time she rolls up to NBC’s Hollywood studios for a guest appearance.  In the first place, she flounces out of a Rolls Royce that’s longer than the Golden Gate Bridge.  In the second place she carries a ‘booful’ spaniel dog whose hair, mind you, is marcelled and in the third place she sits, nonchalantly, on the studio stage during the broadcast and casts supercilious glances out over the audience.  This causes the audience to giggle gleefully and just have the time.  If there is anything a Hollywood audience loves, it’s to be glanced at superciliously”.

 (“San Francisco Chronicle” 24th June 1937)

 

No.  73  1st July 1937  

 

With Bob Burns, Toby Wing, Roland Young and Mischa Levitzki.

 

*Smarty (You Know It All)

*It’s The Natural Thing To Do

*My Heart Stood Still

*All You Want To Do Is Dance

*The Moon Got In My Eyes

  Waltz in E Minor (Chopin)                                                      Mischa Levitzki (Piano)

  Annie Laurie                                                                           Mischa Levitzki (Piano)

  Etude (Chopin)                                                                       Mischa Levitzki (Piano)

 

“Roland Young, the stage and screen comic, lived up to his best traditions as a sly humorist on his guest appearance on Bing Crosby’s Kraft Music Hall programme, last Thursday.  Tops was the reference to Young’s ability to talk without seeming to open his mouth, with a suggestion that he’d do a Bergen/McCarthy act being carried out as he went through a ventriloquial routine with Burns.  The pair were introduced as ‘Roland Bergen’ and ‘Bob McBurns’, the latter doing snappy dummy and crossfire banter.  Mischa Levitzki, on same show, introduced as being on the broadcast for the fourth time, readily showed his capability, in three distinct types of selections - brilliant work on ivories.  Levitzki indicated his versatility by joining in some of the gagging”.         

(“Variety” 7th July 1937)

 

Another curiosity here.  This show, dated 1st July 1937, was Bing’s last show of the season but “Variety” of 14th July 1937 carried a section entitled ‘Third Annual Fall Radio Forecast’ in which the various agencies had been asked to outline the future radio plans of their clients.  No less a person than John U. Reber, Vice President of Radio for J. Walter Thomson, submitted (among others) the following, “Thursday 10 - 11 pm, Kraft Music Hall from Hollywood.  Bing Crosby went on vacation for around three months after July 8th broadcast.  Crosby returns in September, date not definite.  Bob Burns now emceeing show.  Uses one musical name and at least two movie guests for interviews.”

 

Bing’s leave from the Kraft Music Hall was hardly a traditional vacation.  In addition to several recording sessions, the newly opened Del Mar Turf Club was absorbing much of his time and he was involved in a series of sustaining broadcasts for NBC, from the track, interviewing patrons and riders alike.  These inspired John Royle, NBC’s programme head to write to Crosby that, “Whenever he felt that he was getting too old to sell cheese or to lift his pipes for a ditty, he could turn to NBC for a sports announcing assignment”.  He also followed the racing trail to Chicago and to the Yearling Auctions at Saratoga.  During his absence, Bob Burns acted as MC and guests included George Raft, Lupe Velez, Frederick Jagel and Brian Aherne.

 

This was the last programme with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

 

“A new orchestra takes the rostrum at the Music Hall when Johnny Trotter’s musical aggregation replaces Jimmy Dorsey’s group (KFI-6) on Bing Crosby’s one hour show.  Bob Burns is conducting the weekly broadcast during Bing’s absence”

(“Los Angeles Evening Herald Express” 8th July 1937)

 

Go to 1937-38 season

 

BACK TO TOP

 

BACK TO CONTENTS