Monday, April 27, 2015


Despite his easygoing manner, Crosby had a reputation as a hard worker. And he was an achiever, leaving a fortune that may range from $80 million to $100 million.

It's easy to see where all the money came from: Crosby starred in 57 films, sold more than 300 million records, earned top-dollar for years as a radio, television and nightclub performer.

Few have earned as much money as Crosby did. Even fewer have handled whatever they had with equal wisdom or with the rampant luck that was his peculiar bounty. His was one of the greatest of Hollywood fortunes, probably ranking behind those of Bob Hope and Fred MacMurray alone.

Years ago Crosby acquired vast landholdings in California and oil wells in Texas, at a fraction of their present worth.

His part-ownership of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, music publishing ventures, income from his infrequent but top-rated TV appearances reflected and contributed to his great wealth.

He once held distribution rights for a frozen orange juice, now the Minute Maid division of the Coca Cola Company, in which his holdings were believed to be significant. Later, he appeared in orange juice commercials and TV specials with his second family.

His Bing Crosby Enterprises marketed a variety of wares. He owned a luxurious trailer village at Palm Springs, Calif., a 20,000-acre cattle ranch near Elko, Nev., and a ranch in Argentina.

He received a few million dollars worth of stock when Cox Broadcasting Corporation bought Bing Crosby Productions, his TV production company. He had three homes: a ranch at Rising River in northern California, a hacienda at Las Cruces in Baja California and a French chateau-like mansion at Hillsborough, Calif (photo below).

Only last year Crosby and Phil Harris, the comedian, formed a company to import and market tequila and a beverage made of various citrus juices to be slipped with the tequila.

Bob Hope once recounted how he and Crosby parlayed a modest stake into a bundle that was the beginning of Hope's stupendous wealth.

"I met a guy in Texas, shrewd guy. He persuaded me and Bing to put some money into an oil-well drilling operation. We were lucky. Bing and I came out with $3.5 million each. That was in 1949," Hope said.

Crosby may have acquired his business acumen as a youngster. While still a schoolboy, he worked at several jobs -- delivering papers, mopping floors, doing topography work at a loggers' camp in his native Washington state.

"Dad was in hock most of the time," he once explained. "As soon as he finished paying for a sewing machine, he'd buy a Victrola or a lawnmower or one of us would need new clothes. We soon found out there wasn't a lot of money on hand for baseball bats and sodas. Whatever we got, we earned."

Even Bing's interest in sports paid off in spades. An avid sports buff, he once held the major share in the Del Mar Race track. His yearly $150,000 Bing Crosby Invitational Golf Tournament at Pebble Beach, Calif. became of the most coveted events for pro and amateur golfers alike.

Indeed, the improbably luck of the star was such that, only hours after he bought part-interest in a thoroughbred named Meadow Court, it won the Irish Derby and went on to win at Ascot...

Monday, April 20, 2015


Bing recorded around 1700 songs for commercial release beginning in 1926 and ending in 1977. He recorded songs in each of these 51 years. His first recording, I've Got the Girl, was released on the Columbia label. He recorded on the Victor label for Paul Whiteman from 1926-28, then for Columbia again until 1931. From 1931-34 Crosby's discs were released on the Brunswick label. In 1934 a Brunswick executive, Jack Kapp, founded a new recording company, Decca, and signed Crosby as its first recording artist. Crosby recorded for Decca exclusively through 1955, then free-lanced with several recording companies, including one founded by Frank Sinatra in the '60s (Reprise). The bulk of Bing's recordings were for Decca, which was bought by MCA in 1962. In 1996 MCA became the Universal Music Group.

At the time of his death Bing was widely recognized as the world's most successful singer in terms of record sales. Bing's records have sold in the hundreds of millions worldwide. Bing's recordings have been released on so many different labels and in so many different combinations that there are no definitive data on his total sales. As of 2000, for example, there were more than 100 compact discs of Bing's recordings for sale on various labels worldwide. Some of his recordings have not been out of print for more than 60 years.

Bing earned 23 gold records in his lifetime, signifying sales of at least a million copies. Most of Bing's gold records were for singles. Most of the singles were released as 78 rpm discs and all except True Love were released on the Decca label. One of Bing's gold records, "Sam's Song" and "Play a Simple Melody" with son Gary, was the first double-sided gold disc. Bing was awarded platinum discs for his two biggest selling singles, White Christmas (1960) and "Silent Night" (1970).

1937: Sweet Leilani
1941: San Antonio Rose
1942: White Christmas
1942: Silent Night
1943: I'll be Home for Christmas
1943: Sunday, Monday or Always
1943: Pistol Packin Mama (w Andrews Sisters)
1943: Jingle Bells (w Andrews Sisters)
1944: Swinging on a Star
1944: Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra
1944: Don't Fence Me In (w Andrews Sisters)
1945: I Can't Begin to Tell You
1946: McNamara's Band
1946: South America, Take it Away (w Andrews Sisters)
1947: Alexander's Ragtime Band (w Al Jolson)
1947: Whiffenpoof Song
1948: Now is the Hour
1949: Galway Bay
1949: Dear Hearts and Gentle People
1950: Sam's Song / Play a Simple Melody (w Gary Crosby)
1956: True Love (w Grace Kelly)
1956: High Society soundtrack
1970: Merry Christmas (an album anthology)
1977: Seasons (Bing's last album went gold in England)

Monday, April 13, 2015


Bing Crosby began to donate items to Gonzaga University in preparation for the opening of the Crosby Library in 1957. Bing donated gold and platinum records, trophies, placques, and photographs to addorn the room. In addition to the generous donations of materials by Bing prior to his death, Crosby fans and family began to recognize the Crosby Library as the home of all things Crosby. In June 1993, the University received the entire collection from the Bing Crosby Historical Society in Tacoma, Washington. Additionally, several collectors have given major donations of Crosby recordings.

Today, the Crosbyana Room in the Crosby Student Center serves as a museum for Crosby fans. Each year over 2500 visitors sign the guest book in the Crosbyana Room. These visitors come from all fifty states and at least 20 foreign countries. Crosby fans recognize Spokane and Gonzaga as being his hometown and alma mater and make the trek to see the sites. Visitors can see approximately 200 items, including the duplicate Oscar he won in 1944 for "Going My Way". There are twenty-two gold and two platinum records from such titles as "White Christmas," "Silent Night", and “Swinging on a Star.” Also displayed are movie stills and photographs, record albums, books, and sheet music. There are many trophies and awards he received over the years from various organizations. There are also items from the Crosby Research Foundation, such as the “Trip Trap,” a mousetrap that the foundation invented. There is also a health device that Crosby endorsed called "Stretch to Your Health with the Stars.”

What you see today in the Crosbyana Room is just a portion of the total amount of trophies and citations that Bing won over the years. Space does not permit us to show all of his treasures. What is not on display is housed in the Special Collections vault in the Foley Center Library. This vault also houses the University’s Rare Book Collection, the University Archives, the Jesuit Oregon Province Archives, and other manuscript collections.

The Crosby Collection includes: approximately 1400 records and albums, 800 audio cassettes, 2000 discs of radio shows, 300 pieces of sheet music, and an extensive magazine and clipping file about Bing's life and career. There are numerous scrapbooks created by his adoring fans, Crosby's correspondence with Gonzaga, and hundreds of photographs depicting his high school, college, and career days. The collection also contains books by and about Bing and his contemporaries, and publications by various Crosby fan clubs from throughout the world.

A major donation to Gonzaga University from Bing Crosby in 1957 was the massive collection of his radio shows. Nearing 2000 discs, the collection contains “The Bing Crosby Show,” “Kraft Music Hall,” “Minute Maid Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice,” “Philco Radio Time,” and other titles. In all, this is a major holding of Crosby’s radio work from 1943 to 1954. What makes this collection even more impressive is the fact that these 16-inch discs are in excellent playing condition and they are fairly complete.

The Gonzaga Collection has a few of his personal effects. Some of these items such as his pipes can be viewed at the Crosby Alumni House. Located at 508 E. Sharp this building, which was Crosby's boyhood home, is open weekdays to the public free of charge...

Monday, April 6, 2015


The V-Disc was a product of the War Department of the U.S. government during World War II and for a short time afterward. They were performed by the biggest names in the entertainment industry supporting the military effort and were used extensively by the Armed Forces Radio Service. They were unique transcriptions, many from radio air checks and motion picture soundtracks. They were not made for the general public, and after they were deemed at the end of their usefulness they were ordered destroyed, which most of them were. Once in a while some are discovered and provide a wonderful snapshot in sound of a bygone era. They are sometimes saved for posterity as on a recent CD set of V-Discs by Frank Sinatra.

The Bing Crosby V-Discs are from a variety of sources, many from his transcribed radio broadcasts. A great source of the information used in this listing comes from the V-Disc Discography section in "The Road to Bing Crosby", a 4-volume work by Richard Harding, Fred Reynolds, Bob Roberts and Derek Parkes published in 1980 by Greenwood Press, and Richard S. Sears' book, "V-Discs: A History and Discography". Unless otherwise noted, the orchestra is conducted by Bing's long time musical collaborator, John Scott Trotter...

ADESTE FIDELIS (From 12-21-44 Kraft Music Hall).
Skitch Henderson, piano. Intro. by Bing and Ken Carpenter. Audience joins in on second verse. (From 12-25-46 Philco Radio Time)
ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND Al Jolson, Intro. by Bing and Al. (From 5-7-47 Philco Radio Time )
ALL BY MYSELF (Film: Blue Skies). Al Jolson, intro by Bing and Al. (From 5-7-47 Philco Radio Time)
ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS DANCE (From 3-15-45 Kraft Music Hall).  
ALWAYS (Parody). Dick Haymes, Andy Russell, Dennis Day, Phil Harris Orch (From 3-16-47 Jack Benny Lucky Strike Radio Show)
AMOR (From 5-18-44 Kraft Music Hall)
ARTHUR MURRAY TAUGHT ME DANCING IN A HURRY Intro. by Bing and Ken Carpenter. (From 5/17/45 Kraft Music Hall rehearsal)
BLESS 'EM ALL (From 5-25-41 Kraft Music Hall)
BLUE HAWAII(Film: Waikiki Wedding). Intro. by Bing. (From 12-7-44 Kraft Music Hall)
BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON Charioteers, James Sherman, piano (From 4-15-43 Kraft Music Hall) 
BY THE WATERS OF THE MINNETONKA Community sing, with male chorus, piano and Hammond organ, led by Bing. 
CHRISTMAS SONG Skitch Henderson, piano, Intro. by Bing and Ken Carpenter. (From 12-25-46 Philco Radio Time)
CLEMENTINE Music Maids & Hal Hopper(From 6-14-41 Decca master DLA-2437)
COUNTRY STYLE (Film: Welcome Stranger). Chorus(From 5-7-47 Philco Radio Time)
DARLING, JE VOUS AIME BEAUCOUP (From 4-1-43 Kraft Music Hall)
DEAR OLD DONEGAL (From 3-14-46 Kraft Music Hall rehearsal)
DEAR OLD GIRL Charioteers, James Sherman, piano. Introd. by Bob Burns and Bing.
DOWN BY THE RIVER (Film: Mississippi). Henderson Choir(From 1-18-45 Kraft Music Hall)
DOWN THE OLD OX ROAD(Film: College Humor). Henderson Choir,(From 1-11-45 Kraft Music Hall)
EASTER PARADE (Film: Holiday Inn). Al Jolson,. (From 5-7-47 Philco Radio Time)
EMPTY SADDLES (Film: Rhythm on the Range)Ken Lane Singers Intro. by Bing. (From 12-28-44 Kraft Music Hall)
FOR ME AND MY GAL Community Sing, with male chorus, piano and Hammond organ, led by Bing. 

FRIEND OF YOURS (Source unknown)
GOING MY WAY (Film: Going My Way) (From 6-29-44 Kraft Music Hall)
I CAN'T ESCAPE FROM YOU (Film: Rhythm on the Range) Intro. by Bing. (From 12-28-44 Kraft Music Hall)
I PROMISE YOU(Film: Here Come the Waves). Henderson Choir (From 11-30-44 Kraft Music Hall)
I REMEMBER YOU Henderson Choir Intro. by Bing and Ken Carpenter. (From 5-17-45 Kraft Music Hall)
I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS Henderson Choir. (From 12-7-44 Kraft Music Hall)
I'LL GET BY, AS LONG AS I HAVE YOU Paul Weston O. (Source unknown)
I'M AN OLD COWHAND (Film: Rhythm on the Range)Intro. by Bob Hope and Bing. (From 12-28-44 Kraft Music Hall
IN A LITTLE HULA HEAVEN (Film: Waikiki Wedding). Henderson Choir Intro. by Bing. (From 12-7-44 Kraft Music Hall)
IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME Community Sing, with male chorus, piano and Hammond organ, led by Bing VP1235-D5TC188. V-Disc 203-A (Navy); 423-A
IN THE LAND OF BEGINNING AGAIN (Film: The Bells of St. Mary's). Henderson Choir Intro. by Bing. (From 2-14-46 Kraft Music Hall rehearsal)
IT AIN'T NECESSARILY SO Dinah Shore, Gordon Jenkins Orch ( Aug. 1943 Dinah Shore Program)
IT CAN'T BE WRONG (From 6-24-43 Kraft Music Hall)
IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU (From 5-18-44 Kraft Music Hall)
IT'S A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY Dinah Shore, Gordon Jenkins Orch (2-24-43 Command Performance No. 54)
IT'S EASY TO REMEMBER (Film: Mississippi). Henderson Choir(From 1-18-45 Kraft Music Hall)
I'VE GOT MY CAPTAIN WORKING FOR ME NOW (Film: Blue Skies). MGM Orch (From film soundtrack)

JINGLE BELLS Ken Lane Singers(From 12-21-44 Kraft Music Hall)
JINGLE BELLS Charioteers, Henderson Choir, Skitch Henderson, piano(From 12-25-46 Philco Radio Time)
JUNE IN JANUARY (Film: Here Is My Heart). Henderson Choir (From 11-30-40 Kraft Music Hall)
KENTUCKY BABE Charioteers, James Sherman, piano (From 8-26-43 Kraft Music Hall)
LAST ROSE OF SUMMER (Film: Dixie). Rise Stevens; intro. by Bing. (From 11-23-44 Kraft Music Hall)
LAST ROUNDUP Lennie Hayton Orch (From 9-27-33 Brunswick master LA-20)
LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! (2-14-46 Kraft Music Hall)
LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART Community Sing, with male chorus, piano and Hammond organ, led by Bing. (From Army Signal Corps film soundtrack).
LET'S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (Film: Here Come the Waves) (From 1-4-45 Kraft Music Hall)
LOUISE (From 5-25-44 Kraft Music Hall)
LOVE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER (Film: Here Is My Heart) Charioteers (From 11-30-44 Kraft Music Hall)
MOONLIGHT BAY Charioteers, James Sherman, piano. (From 8-5-43 Kraft Music Hall)
MR. PAGANINI. (Film: Rhythm on the Range). Charioteers(From 12-28-44 Kraft Music Hall)
MY HEART AND I (Film: Anything Goes) Henderson Choir (From 3-8-45 Kraft Music Hall)
ONE ALONE Trudy Erwin, Orch. (From 11-22-43 AFRS rec. session)
ONE I LOVE BELONGS TO SOMEBODY ELSE Al Jolson (From 1-15-47 Philco Radio Time)
ONE MORE DREAM Charioteers (From 3-21-46 Kraft Music Hall)
ONE, TWO, BUTTON YOUR SHOE (Film: Pennies from Heaven). Ken Lane Singers Intro. by Bing. (From 11-16-44 Kraft Music Hall)
ONLY FOREVER (Film: Rhythm on the River). Henderson Choi(From 1-18-45 Kraft Music Hall)
PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (Film: Pennies from Heaven). Tommy Dorsey Orch (From 6-18-44 All Time Hit Parade)
PLEASE (Film: The Big Broadcast of 1932) (From 7-29-43 Kraft Music Hall rehearsal)
POINCIANA (SONG OF THE TREE) (From 11-22-43 AFRS rec. session)
SHE'S FROM MISSOURI (Film: Dixie). Charioteers Intro. by Bing. (From 11-23-44 Kraft Music Hall)
SHOO FLY PIE AND APPLE PAN DOWDY Charioteers, Eddie Duchin, piano Intro. by Bing. (From 3-14-46 Kraft Music Hall rehearsal)
SILENT NIGHT Kraft Choral Club(From 12-21-44 Kraft Music Hall)
SILENT NIGHT Henderson Choir(From 12-25-46 Philco Radio Time)
SIOUX CITY SUE. Charioteers (Source unknown)
SKELETON IN THE CLOSET (Film: Pennies from Heaven). Charioteers, James Sherman, pianoIntro. by Bing, (From 11-16-44 Kraft Music Hall)
SMALL FRY (Film: Sing You Sinners). Tommy Dorsey Orch Intro. by Bing. (From 6-18-44 All Time Hit Parade)
SMALL FRY Johnny Mercer, Paul Weston Orch (From 7-27-44 Johnny Mercer's Music Shop)
SO DO I (Film: Pennies from Heaven). Eugenie Baird Intro. by Bing. (From 11-16-44 Kraft Music Hall)
SOMEONE STOLE GABRIEL'S HORN Dorsey Bros. Orch (from Brunswick master)
STRANGE MUSIC (From 12-28-44 Kraft Music Hall)
SUMMERTIME Dinah Shore, Gordon Jenkins Orch (From August 1943 Dinah Shore Program)
SUNDAY, MONDAY, OR ALWAYS (Film: Dixie) Intro. by Bing. (From 11-23-44 Kraft Music Hall)
SWEET LEILANI (Film: Waikiki Wedding). Henderson Choir Intro. by Bing. (From 12-7-44 Kraft Music Hall)
SWING  LOW, SWEET CHARIOT (Film: Dixie). Charioteers, Henderson Choir. Intro. by Bing (From 11-23-44 Kraft Music Hall
SWINGING ON A STAR (Film: Going My Way). Charioteers (Source unknown)
TANGERINE Intro. by Bing Crosby and Ken Carpenter (From 5-17-45 Kraft Music Hall rehearsal)
THAT SLY OLD GENTLEMAN (Film: East Side of Heaven). Henderson Choir (From 4-26-45 Kraft Music Hall rehearsal)
(THERE'LL BE A) HOT TIME IN THE TOWN OF BERLIN Andrews Sisters, Vic Schoen Orch (From 6-30-44 Decca master L-3449)
THERE'S A SMALL HOTEL Eddie Duchin, piano Intro. by Bob Hope. (From 2-28-46 Kraft Music Hall rehearsal)
THESE FOOLISH THINGS (REMIND ME OF YOU) Charioteers, Henderson Choir (From 2-7-46 Kraft Music Hall)
THESE FOOLISH THINGS (REMIND ME OF YOU) Frank Sinatra(from 11-16-44 Kraft Music Hall)
TOO-RA-LOO-RA-LOO-RAL (Film: Going My Way). (From 6-22-44 Kraft Music Hall)
TOO ROMANTIC (Film: Road to Singapore) Henderson Choir (From 3-22-45 Kraft Music Hall)
WAIT 'TIL THE SUN SHINES, NELLIE (Film: Birth of the Blues). Community Sing(From Army Signal Corps film soundtracks)
WAITER AND THE PORTER AND THE UPSTAIRS MAID (Film: Birth of the Blues) Mary Martin & Jack Teagarden with Jack Teagarden Orch
WHAT DO YOU DO IN THE INFANTRY? Chorus(From 8-5-43 Kraft Music Hall rehearsal)
WHITE CHRISTMAS (Films: Holiday Inn and White Christmas) (From 12-14-44 Kraft Music Hall broadcast)
WHITE CHRISTMAS (From 12-25-46 Philco Radio Time)
WITH EVERY BREATH I TAKE  (Film: Here Is My Heart)(From 11-30-44 Kraft Music Hall
YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE (From 2-24-43 Command Performance No. 54)
YOU CALL EVERYBODY DARLIN' Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires (From 11-3-48 Philco Radio Time)