Friday, February 23, 2018

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE - EPISODE 4

Here is the 4th episode of my You Tube series. This one features some Bing recordings of Oscar nominated songs. Please keep the comments and suggestions coming...


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

FLASHBACK: 1964


The death of Bing's mother was covered briefly in the Lewiston Tribune on January 8, 1964...

SANTA MONICA, Calif, (AP) - Mrs. Catherine Helen Crosby, 90, mother of singer Bing Crosby, died Tuesday in a Santa Monica rest home after suffering a series of strokes.

A doctor and a family friend had just left her room when she died.

Mrs. Crosby had been in failing health for the past two years. She had lived with Bing in Holmby Hills, Calif., since her husband died in 1949.

Last fall she suffered a stroke and in the past four months had several others. Doctors said she was unconscious for the past three weeks.

She is survived by five sons and two daughters: Laurence (Larry) of Holmby Hills; Everett, Salisbury, Conn.; Edward (Ted); Harry Lillis (Bing); George Robert (Bob), Honolulu; Mrs. Catherine Mullin, Watsonville, Calif., and Mrs. Mary Rose Pool, Carmel, Calif.


Friday, February 9, 2018

IN THE NEWS: NATHANIEL CROSBY

Nathaniel Crosby’s victory in the U.S. Amateur in 1981 was among the most memorable in its long history, “a magical moment in golf,” Terry Jastrow, who produced the telecast for ABC, called it. It helped earn Crosby a berth on the U.S. team that won the Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, two years later.

Two years from now, Crosby will complete the circle, returning to Hoylake, this time as the captain of the U.S. Walker Cup team. The USGA will make the announcement official on Wednesday.

"I haven't had a great moment in 35 years, haven't won a tournament in 35 years," Crosby said. "So when Diana Murphy [the USGA president] called me, I was extremely surprised. For someone that has something to say about everything, I was taken aback. I had a serious loss of breath when she told me I would be the next Walker Cup captain."

Crosby largely had reconciled with the idea that he likely would never be the Walker Cup captain based on the fact that the job generally goes to those who were career amateurs. For Crosby, he intended his amateur career to launch him onto a successful professional career. He played a few PGA Tour events and was a member of the European Tour for two years, but essentially retired from competitive golf to pursue a business career.


But when he turned up on the short list of candidates, his appeal to the USGA was that a preponderance of Walker Cup players these days similarly aspire to a professional career and as a result he can relate to them.

"To consider being an amateur golfer as a career made no sense to me when I was 17 years old," he said. "My pitch to the USGA was that I’m more in touch with guys trying to be successful golf pros who are 18, 19, 20, 21 years old."

Crosby, 56, is the son of the late entertainment industry icon Bing Crosby, which likely will heighten interest in the biennial amateur competition between teams from the U.S. and Great Britain & Ireland.

Bing was revered in the United Kingdom for his work on behalf of the war effort in the U.S. and his entertaining troops during World War II, and he was on record expressing a preference for courses in Great Britain and Ireland over those of the U.S. He also played in a British Amateur on the Old Course at St. Andrews, which still hosts the annual Bing Crosby Trophy, a competition for senior amateurs held in September.

Nathaniel has his own history in Great Britain. It began with the ’83 Walker Cup at Hoylake, where he had a 1-1 record in the Americans’ 13 ½ to 10 ½ victory. His teammates included three other future U.S. Walker Cup captains—Jay Sigel, Jim Holtgrieve and Bob Lewis Jr.

There, too, was his role in Bing’s annual Christmas show, this one, “Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas,” recorded in England in 1977. It was on that show that Bing and David Bowie, the original odd couple, collaborated on the song “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth,” that has become a Christmas standard.

A few weeks after recording was completed and Nathaniel had returned home, Bing died of a heart attack moments after finishing a round of golf in Spain.


Four years later, Nathaniel, 19 at the time, won the U.S. Amateur at the Olympic Club not far from the family home in Hillsborough, Calif., and next door to the San Francisco Golf Club where he remains a member.

Crosby, who regained his amateur status in 1994, has been a partner and executive in three golf equipment companies—Toney Penna Golf, the Jack Nicklaus Equipment Company and Orlimar Golf. Today, he is chairman of the AppleTree Golf Society.

“Nathaniel Crosby has proven experience as an amateur player at the highest levels in both individual and team competition, and this will lend itself well to providing leadership for the USA Walker Cup Team in 2019,” Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman, said in a statement. “His father earned the USGA’s highest honor, the Bob Jones Award, and I know Nathaniel possesses similar traits, including sportsmanship, patriotism and a competitive spirit, that will assist him as captain.”

Incidentally, U.S. Walker Cup captains typically are retained for a second term. It would seem likely that Crosby, too, would be the U.S. captain again in 2021, given that the Walker Cup will be played at Seminole Golf Club in North Palm Beach, Fla., where he also is a member, as was Bing. Crosby, however, is not looking that far ahead...

Monday, January 29, 2018

COMING SOON: GARY GIDDINS AND BING BIO - VOLUME 2


Gary Giddins presents the second volume of his masterful multi-part biography...

Bing Crosby dominated American popular culture in a way that few artists ever have. From the dizzy era of Prohibition through the dark days of the Second World War, he was a desperate nation's most beloved entertainer. But he was more than just a charismatic crooner: Bing Crosby redefined the very foundations of modem music, from the way it was recorded to the way it was orchestrated and performed.

In this much-anticipated follow-up to the universally acclaimed first volume, NBCC Winner and preeminent cultural critic Gary Giddins now focuses on Crosby's most memorable period, the war years and the origin story of White Christmas. Set against the backdrop of a Europe on the brink of collapse, this groundbreaking work traces Crosby's skyrocketing career as he fully inhabits a new era of American entertainment and culture. While he would go on to reshape both popular music and cinema more comprehensively than any other artist, Crosby's legacy would be forever intertwined with his impact on the home front, a unifying voice for a nation at war. Over a decade in the making and drawing on hundreds of interviews and unprecedented access to numerous archives, Giddins finally brings Bing Crosby, his work, and his world to vivid life -- firmly reclaiming Crosby's central role in American cultural history.

"The best thing to happen to Bing Crosby since Bob Hope." (WSJ)


See also http://garygiddins.com/

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

STEVE CROSBY: GRANDSON OF BING


Steven C. Crosby '81 endured 28 separate interviews to land his dream job at Seattle-based Vulcan Inc., the brainchild of billionaire investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. In his capacity as vice president of corporate communications, Crosby reports directly to Allen and oversees Vulcan's in-house marketing, PR, media relations, advertising, special events, promotions, community outreach and government affairs teams.

The son of actor Gary Crosby and the grandson of legendary crooner Bing Crosby, Crosby 's only forays into show business were a few high school plays and hosting his own college radio show. "My father forbade me from going into show business, so it forced me to focus my energies elsewhere."

He says that his parents were very careful to make sure he lived a normal life and earned his keep. "I had jobs all throughout high school, college and law school. I didn't have all the trappings one might expect from a Hollywood lifestyle. My parents kept everything very grounded."

Monday, January 1, 2018

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE - EPISODE 3

Happy New Year! Here is episode 3 of my pod cast on You Tube. I think the bugs and kinks of episode 2 has been corrected. I hope you enjoy the episode, and please keep the comments and suggestions coming...




Saturday, December 23, 2017

COMING SOON: KING OF JAZZ TO DVD

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

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

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


Disc Features:

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



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

ROSEMARY CLOONEY AND MEMORIES OF WHITE CHRISTMAS

This interesting story was originally published in 1995...

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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



SOURCE

Friday, December 8, 2017

BING AND A FRIENDSHIP TREE

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