THE CHRONOLOGICAL BING CROSBY ON TELEVISION

Compiled by Lionel Pairpoint, Malcolm Macfarlane and Greg Van Beek

The International Club Crosby is placing this superb book detailing Bing’s television career onto the Internet for use by fans and researchers alike. This is an updated version of the original book published by the club in 2003. Paper copies of the original, containing over 70 photographs, are still available.

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‘A tea-chest, a biscuit-box, cardboard, darning-needles, hat-boxes, cycle-lamp lenses, discarded electric motors, piano-wire, glue, string and sealing wax to a total value of 12/6d plus several hundreds of flashlight batteries wired together to provide a 2,000 volt power source.’

This heterogeneous collection comprised the prototype of a system that would eventually provide the most astonishing advance in the field of ‘in-home’ entertainment since primitive man pounded on a hollow log for the amusement of his family.  An infinitely more sophisticated component of that early apparatus can now be found in billions of homes around the globe - possibly in every room, including the bathroom! Just take a moment to consider this remarkable prophecy from ‘Lightning’, a popular science magazine of the 1890’s:

‘Before the next century shall expire, the grandsons of the present generation will see one another across the Atlantic and the great ceremonial events of the world, as they pass before the eye of the camera, will be executed at the same instant before mankind.’

When John Logie Baird transmitted the murky image of a Maltese cross, a distance of three metres, across his attic room, it is possible that he would have cherished the same vision.  But could he really have conceived ‘live’ pictures from the surface of the planets or the tracking of our every move in Woolworth’s?  He died in 1946 when his invention was still something of a ‘freak show’, to be enjoyed by the relatively affluent.  So, he knew nothing of Video Cassette Recorders, WWF Wrestling, Play Stations, the Cartoon Network, Digital Versatile Discs, Jerry Springer, ‘Reality’ Television or Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.

Nowadays, bookcases groan under the weight of hefty tomes that have been written on the subject.  Among them, there will be ‘Guides’, ‘Handbooks’, ‘Who’s Who’s’, ‘Companions’ etc., etc.  You may even discover, ‘The Golden Age Of Television’ and ‘The Encyclopaedia Of Television’, somewhere in there. Please take notice that the volume you are reading makes no claim to either of these prefixes. ‘Golden Age’s’ will vary from generation to generation and there is likely to be a publication waiting, on some editorial slipway, eager to be launched, entitled, ‘The Golden Age of Popular Music - The 1990’s’!

Furthermore, the dictionary advises that an ‘encyclopaedia’ will contain, ‘information on many subjects or on many aspects of one subject’.  Hopefully, this publication will be offering information on only one aspect of one subject.  It is concerned with Bing Crosby’s appearances on television and the compilers’ aim has been to assist in the dating, cataloguing and identification of those foggy videos and/or woolly audio tapes that may form a cherished part of the many collections of his work.

Whereas, he was not exactly dragged, kicking and screaming, into the medium, his entry into television was hesitant, to say the least.  His early quotes on the subject are well documented:

‘No entertainer who’s in everyone’s home once a week can survive very long. If a new motion picture of mine were released each week for fifty-two weeks - I soon wouldn’t have many friends coming to the theatre to see me’ or, The chef can’t stir too many soup kettles.  Television is murder but radio just takes a few hours a week, all I have to do is stand up at the mike and sing.’

The last sentence from these quotations may help to explain his philosophy in the matter. It was no secret that Bing preferred the unseen informality of radio as opposed to getting ‘decked out’ for television and admirers of the Crosby style might have been perfectly content to see him ‘stand up at the mike and sing’. Indeed, the first two programmes that flew under the banner of ‘The Bing Crosby Show’, in 1954, for General Electric were, essentially, radio with pictures.  Both were filmed for TV transmission and it is highly probable that the musical content owed much to the extensive taped library of songs built up from his radio shows.  For example, his opening song in the first of these TV ventures was ‘Y’All Come’ and this was identical to the version used on his radio programme in November 1953, in addition to being the very same version that was mastered for commercial release.

Setting aside re-runs of his old movies, an item advertised as Bing’s television debut, was also a filmed contribution.  Probably shot during a transcription session for ‘Philco Radio Time’, his rendition of ‘Silent Night’ with the Bob Mitchell Boys’ Choir, used as an epilogue to NBC’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ enjoyed the distinction of being seen on television before it was heard on radio.

It should be remembered that in the late 40’s and early 50’s, TV broadcasts were either performed live in front of television cameras or filmed in advance with motion picture cameras.  The only way to preserve a live broadcast was by means of a somewhat primitive process known as ‘kinescope’. This was merely a high flown description for the simple process of placing a motion picture camera in front of a studio television monitor in order to preserve the image and sound for posterity.  As can be imagined this technique was vastly inferior to ‘live’ or even filmed transmissions.

Well aware of the advantages, not to mention, convenience, that the use of magnetic tape had brought to his radio series, Bing would have shown a keen interest in the research going on at the laboratories of Bing Crosby Enterprises in Beverly Hills, Cal.  It was here that John Mullin and Wayne Johnson demonstrated the first video recorder on 11th November 1952.  Bing Crosby Enterprises also showed the first colour video in 1953, though neither was developed commercially.

For the next ten years, Bing honoured the declaration of principles that he had set out for himself regarding over-exposure on television.  During this time there were never more than two of his own specials per annum.  Naturally, there were guest shots, ‘walk-ons’ and sundry interviews but in 1964 he agreed to appear in a weekly ‘sitcom’ series for ABC when another of those early quotes might have returned to haunt him.

‘There’s no question in my mind as to what TV format would be best for me. I’m investigating the possibility

 of a filmed half-hour show, employing motion picture techniques. . . Anybody who goes into television should

be sparing in how much they do’.

All 28 episodes of ‘The Bing Crosby Show’ were reeled off in the space of 31 weeks, a process inherent to sponsored broadcasting. The regime was particularly punishing and most un-Binglike.  He was commuting to Hollywood from his Hillsborough home, filming five shows in three weeks then taking two weeks off. At this time he was suffering from recurrent, painful attacks of bursitis and he wrote to Kathryn, ‘The work isn’t too difficult but it’s constant and all other activities and interests must be excluded. We work straight through from 8 am to 7 pm every day. By the time I bathe and dress for dinner, it’s 9 o’clock and I collapse into bed at 10.’

He was cast as ‘Bing Collins’, a character who, coincidentally, shared the same initials, enabling him to use his own handkerchiefs, shirts and cufflinks should he so desire!  The characterisation was a true alter ego, corresponding with everyone’s image of the real Bing Crosby.  Urbane, amiable, witty, a master of the bon mot, ready to deliver the perfect homespun bromide to difficult, teen-age daughters and most importantly, able to burst into song every half-hour. But although his fans may have loved it, it is reported that ‘he hated the show and hated doing it’ and ‘it took up more of his time than it was worth to him’. ‘Variety’ condemned it as being ‘15 years too late’.  Other critics damned it with the faint praise of ‘cute’ and ‘pleasant’. Inevitably, it slid in the ratings, drawing the bitter comment from Bing, ‘It’s a rat race! If you don’t get a rating, they dump you.’

In the same year, he began his tenure as one of the regular emcees of the prestigious ‘Hollywood Palace’, surviving the possible embarrassment of introducing performing chimps and plate-spinners, to appear in more than thirty of these shows.

If one were pressed to use the tag, ‘Golden Age’, this would, undoubtedly, have been, ‘The Golden Age Of Variety On Television’ and those brought up on ‘Café Continental’ through ‘Saturday Spectacular’, ‘Sunday Night At The London Palladium’ and ‘The Hollywood Palace’ will surely, lament the demise of these extravaganzas. Today, would-be producers would be stopped dead in their tracks in contemplation of the terrifying cost of a forty-piece orchestra and a glittering parade of stars from stage and screen and the best that we can hope for, in these first years of the 21st century, is the annual, filmed version of the ‘Royal Variety Command Performance’ or a one-off, ‘one-person show’ with the camera panning around an audience of mixed celebrities enjoying a free outing.

It was in the ‘Hollywood Palace’ series that the traditional, Crosby family Christmas show was born, continuing (with the exception of 1969) until ‘Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas’, screened posthumously in 1977.

Many stars of radio, stage and film encountered difficulties in their transition to TV.  In an early appearance, Bob Hope can be seen, reading his gags from a script and experienced actors were known to refuse parts for fear of ‘corpsing’ before an unseen and unknown audience. Those who witnessed Bing Crosby make his considerable mark in four of the major show business media: vaudeville, records, radio and films, would have had no doubt that, in spite of his initial reluctance, his easy and relaxed style would be a ‘winner’ for television. On some occasions, those same admirers may have been disappointed, particularly in guest spots, when he was presented like some national monument, for a dutiful audience to applaud brief snatches from ‘Pennies From Heaven’ or ‘Swinging On A Star’. On the other hand, they would have been gratified by the genuine ‘Crosby Medley’, featured in some of his later programmes and full versions of such numbers as ‘I Left My Heart In San Francisco’; ‘Mame’; ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’; ‘The Men In My Little Girl’s Life’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ that they might never have heard in any other context.

Bing’s peaks on TV came relatively late in his life when many others might have been considering winding down.  There is no doubt, however, that public entertaining is a very difficult occupation to retire from, as evidenced from this final quotation, from his biography -‘I don’t have to work at all if I don’t want to. The reason I don’t quit is that I’ve stayed in the entertainment business so long, I’ve become a squirrel on a treadmill. I can see no end to my road, so I can’t jump off’.           

                                                                                                                                                Lionel Pairpoint

 

THE CHRONOLOGICAL BING CROSBY ON TELEVISION

This chronology details, in order, every programme that the compilers have been able to trace. After due consideration, a few doubtful programmes which had been included in our original drafts, have been deleted due to lack of evidence. For example, there was a strong claim that Bing Crosby had some involvement with a ‘This Is Your Life’ programme honouring Laurel and Hardy.  A copy of this show has been discovered and has appeared on satellite television and on a commercially issued video but the copy reveals no contribution by him. Another was ‘The Bob Hope Birthday Special’ purportedly screened on 29th May 1963.  Audio copies exist of an NBC radio programme, sharing the same date, entitled ‘Happy Birthday, Bob’.  Greetings are heard from Bing, Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Cantor, George Burns, Jimmy Durante, Rosemary Clooney and many others.  A review of this radio show appeared in ‘Variety’ of 5th June 1963 but a search of the television listings from several West coast newspapers show no corresponding television show.

To facilitate reference, the programmes have been numbered consecutively within the dates of the original broadcasts. It should be noted that Bing Crosby’s name has been accorded priority in musical items and/or sketches, no matter how small his contribution to such items may have been.  Those items in which he participated are indicated by an asterisk (*).

An attempt has been made to include all musical items performed by or performed to, by other featured artistes. Details of comedy routines, sketches and monologues by other participants and incidental music to accompany acrobats, jugglers, magicians etc., have not been included

Some items have been deliberately omitted.  Although references may be made to them in the programme notes, his Hollywood films and the many ‘tribute’ programmes aired after his death are not shown. Some caution has also been shown with original filmed items, not intentionally produced for television screening.

No special mention has been made to the commercials featured during the programme breaks, although Bing may have been actively involved in them.  This also applies to the annual Crosby Golf Tournament, together with the Minute Maid and Tennetts advertisements.

An endeavour has been made, in the notes, to detail some of the commercially issued, video cassettes and/or audio versions on record or compact disc featuring excerpts or complete shows illustrating Bing Crosby’s work on television.  However, it should be appreciated that these are only representative examples of the material that still is, or has been available.  It is realised that there are some issues and equivalents not shown herein but the compilers have not felt justified in including items which have not been personally checked.

Considerable research has been undertaken and a great many authoritative publications have been consulted to ensure that song titles are correctly quoted.  However, minor differences have been noted in works of reference on the subject and in these cases, the compilers’ discretion has been observed. In addition, there were tunes, obviously specially written to accompany a situation or link which may not have enjoyed the formality of a title by the composer and these have been, arbitrarily, given a name with a view to assisting identification.

Index 1

Lists, alphabetically, the songs or musical items in which Bing Crosby participated.

Index 2

Details, alphabetically, the people and places concerned in the programmes.

Index 3

Lists, alphabetically, the songs or musical items performed solely by or for other guests during the programmes.

 

NOTE:

Index 1 comprises some 1250 renditions by Bing but it should be pointed out that a large percentage of the 765 titles shown were included in medleys and may even consist of only two or three words.  By the same token, Index 3 contains almost 700 song titles, representing more than 800 renditions and in both cases, it has not been considered practicable to note, individually, every occasion on which a mere fragment from a song was used.

A classic example can be observed on the Hollywood Palace of 21st May 1966.  A medley with Johnny Mercer featuring no less than forty titles is timed at precisely five minutes, which allows roughly, seven seconds for each selection, including linking dialogue!

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The first published listing of Bing's appearances on television was printed in BING magazine in 1993 and was prepared by Malcolm Macfarlane who had drawn heavily on earlier research initiated by our late members Bob Roberts and Eric Griffiths. He was aided also by Frans Van der Kolff and the late Jean-Paul Frereault at that time, as well as gathering valuable information from various early Crosby fan club magazines. In amalgamating Malcolm's earlier work and his subsequent amendments for this book, considerable fresh research was carried out by Malcolm, Greg Van Beek and the writer. Much use was made of the excellent series of books produced by Gary Hamann (Bing Crosby In The 50s, etc.) and of reviews taken from the show business journal, ‘Variety’.  Wig Wiggins, Arne Fogel, George O'Reilly, the late Gordon Hooper, Gwen Harvey, Charlie Campbell, Fred Romary, George Harwood, Frank Dolson and Ron Hall added important information. 

Co-author Greg Van Beek generously provided many of the photographs, including some previously unpublished material, that have done so much to enhance and illustrate the text.  In addition, we are grateful to Ron Bosley, who has keenly supported this publication and supplied further photographs from his collection. Arne Fogel too weighed in with some rare pictures and our thanks are due to him as well.

Our sincere appreciation is extended to all those who have assisted with this project.

Very special thanks are due to Martin McQuade who gave, unstintingly, of his time and efforts in reviewing the completed manuscript, making corrections and adding many items of which we had been unaware.

                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                Lionel Pairpoint

 

THE CHRONOLOGICAL BING CROSBY ON TELEVISION

 

No. 1  26th May 1948 - Hollywood Premiere of ‘The Emperor Waltz’ (KTLA-TV)  (a)

 

Bing is in attendance at the Hollywood Paramount and when interviewed by announcer, George Fischer, offers the wry comment, ‘This picture was made so long ago, I’m anxious to see how it turned out!’  (In fact, shooting on the movie had been completed almost two years previously).

 

Amongst other personalities due to attend were 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.

 

Note:

(a)                 The programme was also broadcast on radio station KFWB.

 

“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’ 26th May 1948)

 

No. 2  19th December 1948 – ‘Philco Playhouse’  - ‘A Christmas Carol’ (NBC)

 

*Silent Night                                                                                         (a)           with The Bob Mitchell Boys’ Choir

 

Note:

(a)           A video version appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’ and was also included as an extra on the Infinity Entertainment DVD “The Legendary Bing Crosby” (IEG2204) issued in 2010.

This appears to be identical to the audio version that was broadcast on Philco Radio Time on the 22nd December 1948.

 

“Philco Television Playhouse’s presentation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ on NBC TV, Sunday Night (19th) was a warm, tender and wholly evocative interpretation of the Charles Dickens classic. As an epilogue, Bing Crosby made what was advertised as his first appearance on video, via films with a rendition of ‘Silent Night’ but this highly publicised stint was completely overshadowed by the preceding dramatisation. Film production on the Crosby number, which had the Bob Mitchell Boys’ Choir backing up, was disappointingly flat. There was no mention of the fact that this section of the show was filmed but viewers probably guessed it from the faded texture of the screen image. Crosby, incidentally, has been seen on video before this in several of his old pics.”

(‘Variety’ 22nd December 1948)

 

Crosby Formula To Show The Way (Headline)

 

“Bing Crosby, who recently transferred his future radio and television allegiance to CBS’s William S. Paley for a $1,000,000, is mulling a two-way programming operation that may be the answer to radio stars going video, yet domiciling in Hollywood. The whole problem of shifting their base of operations to New York, key production centre of television, has become increasingly vexing to top air personalities who, despite recognising that sooner or later, they must embrace TV, are nevertheless reluctant to relinquish Californian climes. With Hollywood retaining its grip on coast to coast radio production, the LA to New York problem has been a major factor in stymieing the pacting of big-time personalities for television.

It was considered inevitable that someone would evolve a formula that in one fell swoop, would permit to simultaneous radio/TV video casting to the theme of ‘California Here I Stay’ and if Crosby pioneers the practice which would involve taping for AM and kinescoping for TV at one and the same time, it’s considered a certainty that it would spark a succession of star-studded simul-casts, emanating from the coast. It would also provide the impetus for the taping (such as Crosby, Groucho Marx etc) of major radio programming from hereon in, a practice that has already been blessed or had already been given the blessing of Paley, NBC prexy, Niles Trammell (until this year was strictly verboten on both sides of the major networks).

Crosby, it is reported is peddling his show for next season. Philco is now paying him $25,000 a week for his taped AM programme on ABC but the crooner it is understood wants $27,500 for next season - that’s for radio alone but he wants a simultaneous AM-TV show-casing on Columbia. This would be feasible by training the video cameras on his programme while it’s being tape recorded (weeks in advance of airing) and kinescoping the stanza for a date release of the transcribed TV version. Such a parlay would also permit for separate sponsorship for the video edition with a commercial cut-in to dovetail with the AM commercial insert.”

(‘Variety’ 9th February 1949)

 

“In New York, Bing had discussions with CBS regarding a television show. While there, Bing gave all of the shows the once over and said he’s very enthusiastic about the medium but that it looks like a lot of work and will take more time to put together than a radio show. He doesn’t expect to take the leap until the fall of 1950.”
(‘BINGANG’ summer, 1949)

 

No. 3  27th February 1951 – American Red Cross Fund Campaign (CBS)

 

Guest appearance with Bob Hope and Judy Garland and others. Introduced by Ed Sullivan. Most contributions were probably, pre-recorded and the show was also broadcast on radio at the same time. Further details unknown.

 

No. 4  21st June 1952 – Olympic Fund Telethon (CBS & NBC)

 

Featuring Dorothy Lamour, Frank Sinatra, Bud Abbott & Lou Costello, George Burns & Gracie Allen, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Liberace, Paul Douglas, Ezio Pinza, Phil Harris and Orchestras conducted by John Scott Trotter, Victor Young and David Rose.

 

*Road To Morocco (Parody)                                                                            with Bob Hope

*I Found A Million-Dollar Baby (In A Five & Ten Cent Store)                  with Buddy Cole (Piano) & Red Nichols (Cornet)

*Doodle Doo Doo                                                                                               with Bob Hope & Ezio Pinza

*Carolina In The Morning                                                                 (a)

 

Note:

(a)           A snatch only.

 

“Bob Hope and Bing Crosby’s 14½-hour telethon to raise funds for the U.S. Olympic team was a resounding financial click, topping the $1,000,000 mark, as the mammoth benefit checked off the CBS-TV and NBC-TV channels at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

It was one of the few times in video’s career that the two major networks pooled their facilities and resources for an entertainment-slanted show, a move inspired by Crosby’s CBS identity and Hope’s NBC affiliation.

It was an occasion for some major TV ‘firsts’, including the long-awaited debut of Crosby as a video personality. He demonstrated (toupee and all, an a la the pix Crosby, as distinct from the hat-toting, sports-attired, pipe-smoking Bingle of the radio studio audience) that he’s a natural and a ‘sure bet’ in the transition to TV, adding an affirmative addenda to the current wholesale jockeying among the top bankrollers in TV to latch onto his services for the upcoming semester.

. . . If by 1 a.m., (two hours after the telethon got under way) the viewer was sorely tempted to call it quits for the night, it was because the hoped for Hope-Crosby mental gymnastics and by-play were conspicuous by their absence; the Groaner was still holding back on the vocals (except for a ‘Road to Helsinki’, Olympic-slanted duet, with Hope, as the curtain-raiser) and when he finally got around to ‘Million Dollar Baby’ as his first legit song contribution to TV, it was attended by an embarrassing mental void on the lyrics which didn’t even inspire the Groaner to gag his way out of the fumble.

. . . Those who stayed with it, however, were rewarded as the show gained momentum and the Hope-Crosby dualistics hit their stride. (By the Sunday afternoon finale, they were a TV affinity which suggested they might have been working the video channels for years).”

(‘Variety’ 25th June 1952)

 

The Bob Hope-Bing Crosby “telethon” to raise funds for the United States Olympic Fund, which probably kept a good part of the nation up for most of Saturday night and Sunday morning, was quite a financial feat. A total of $1.000,020 was contributed or pledged over a fourteen and one-half hour period, which is a formidable achievement now that these marathon performances occur so frequently on TV.

Theatrically, the chief news of the “telethon” was that it marked the video debut of Bing Crosby. If there ever was any doubt about it, the word is that the groaner can make the medium his own whenever he chooses. Still youthful as ever in appearance and in good voice, Bing’s relaxed style and easy-going ways were made to order for home viewing. The Bing is in.

Otherwise, however, the long show was something of a disappointment. Perhaps the “telethon” stunt is just becoming too familiar, but much of yesterday’s program was far from exciting and more akin to a succession of personal appearances than a real show. Viewers must have been particularly disappointed that Bing was so sparing with his vocal wares. During the ten hours that this department watched he did only one complete song.

The “telethon” was staged at El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles and was carried by both the Columbia Broadcasting System and the National Broadcasting Company television. From the outset Bob and Bing made it clear that for the night they would be intent on the business of raising the needed funds to transport the American team to Helsinki. Accordingly, their participation consisted chiefly of reading figures and the names of contributors, a chore in which they had the help of Dorothy Lamour. This inevitably made for considerable repetition and, while some of their byplay was fun, the show as a whole moved pretty slowly.

Part of the program’s lack of pace could be attributed to the staging, which was more in the style of radio than television. The guest artists were forced to work in front of a microphone, which is the old-fashioned way of doing things now, and this imposed severe limitation on the variety of acts.   The emphasis was mostly on singing and instrumental solos, with hardly any representation of dancing or sketches.

In the early morning hours the madcap team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis injected some life into the proceedings and the studio audience really came alive. Unfortunately, Jerry somewhat overstayed his welcome, but Bing’s attitude of superiority toward the comedy duo was a mite surprising.

Another star making his TV debut during the “telethon” was Phil Harris, the veteran of the Jack Benny program. He showed to good advantage in two lively numbers and his vitality came over very effectively on TV. Frank Fontaine and his son, Bobby, also had an amusing comedy act during the morning portion of the show.

Bob and Bing deserve the country’s thanks for pitching in at the last moment to assure adequate finances for the Olympic team, and it must be hoped that those who made pledges will keep them. With past “telethons” the actual cash finally received was only a small part of the total pledged and many of the “contributions” turned out to be just cheap and thoughtless bids for free publicity. It’s probably just as well that Bob and Bing rescued the Olympic Committee from its financial plight before the “telethon” format is worn out.

(Jack Gould, New York Times, June 23)

 

“I need no crystal ball to tell me that television looms big in my future, as it does in the future of any entertainer. The principal reason I haven’t had a go at it is that radio, recordings, picture-making and the other businesses in which I’m involved take up so much of my time and mean so many trips away from home that the time to do it right just isn’t available. Then, too, there are a lot of things I like to do aside from business, like golfing, and fishing, and hunting, and if I did TV, when would I so indulge myself?

  TV is here to stay, and it will be here when I get ready to go into it. There’s a question in my mind as to what TV format would be best for me. I’m investigating the possibility of a filmed half-hour show, employing motion-picture techniques the way a big studio films a short subject. But the expense would be tremendous. It might cost so much to make that it wouldn’t be practical. I’m not sure I could find a sponsor who could get up the large bundle of coin such a show would cost. But given the right format, television doesn’t frighten me. I should be able to get by, doing what I’ve done in pictures, in camp shows, and in vaudeville - - entertain.

I do think this: anybody who goes into TV should be sparing in how much work he does. No entertainer who’s in everyone’s home once a week can survive very long. His welcome can’t be stretched that far. If a new motion picture of mine were released each week for fifty-two weeks—or even for thirty-nine weeks—1 soon wouldnt have many friends coming to the theaters to see me. And they’d drop the flap on me at home, too. They’d weary of my mannerisms, my voice, my face.

Three years ago the price for my complete radio package was twenty-seven thousand five hundred dollars a broadcast. This included my salary of seven thousand five hundred dollars a week. For my 1951-52 radio-broadcasting season I made a package deal with General Electric at sixteen thousand dollars a week. This same contract stipulates that so long as I’m doing a radio show for G.E. I will not do a TV show of my own - except for General Electric. I have no agreement on price with G.E. but there are indications that a big show on television would be worth up to fifty thousand per week.

In view of this, it may be cause for wonderment on the part of some that I don’t succumb to the lure. Naturally, I am toying with the idea - who wouldn’t at such prices - but I’m content to take my time. After all, I’m doing reasonably well now, and I don’t have to work at all if I don’t want to. The reason I don’t quit is that I’ve stayed in the entertainment business so long I’ve become a squirrel on a treadmill. I can see no end to my road, so I can’t jump off.”

(Bing Crosby, writing in ‘Call Me Lucky’. Probably written during the summer of 1952)

 

No. 5  4th January 1953 – ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’ (NBC)

 

Guest appearance. With Don Cherry, Marilyn Maxwell, Bob Hope and Jack Buchanan. 

 

“Bob Hope hit his top comedy level of the season with a sprightly hour of gags and quips on last night’s Comedy Hour. There was plenty of help around but Hope took over from the start and the tempo whisked from his opening monolog to the ‘Road To Bali’ scene, which brought on Bing Crosby as a surprise guest making his debut on commercial television.

. . . Hope reserved the closing minutes for Crosby’s entry and a long pitch for their Paramount picture, ‘Road To Bali’, in which each has a financial stake. By actual count ‘Bali’ was mentioned 12 times and the Groaner walked off with a neon sign that spelled out ‘Road To Bali’. Crosby twitted Hope for his crass commercialism in plugging the picture but passed off his own guesting with, ‘anything to get a buck at the box office’. It was a gratis shot by Bing but Hope promised to pay it back. For a closer, Bing, Bob and Buchanan did a song and dance and then came on with ukes which they didn’t have time to play.”

(‘Daily Variety’ 5th January 1953)

 

No. 6  15th February 1953 - ‘Toast Of The Town’ (CBS)

 

Bing was one of the scheduled guests along with Gene Autry, Roberta Peters, Jimmy Boyd, Molly Bee, Eileen Barton and Honeychile Robinson.

No. 7  25th February 1953 - ‘I Married Joan’ (NBC)

 

Guest appearance. Sitcom which ran for 4 years featuring Joan Davis and Jim Backus. Bing appeared carrying a bag of groceries into Joan’s kitchen. The episode was entitled, ‘The Opera’ and it was filmed in advance.

 

“In the Crosby self-kidding tradition, the script took note of the Groaner’s reluctance to plunge into TV. As he sauntered onstage, Joan Davis gasped: “You’re not . . . Oh, no, he wouldn’t be on television. Too fat for it - Too slow.”

(‘Newsweek’ 4th January 1954)

 

No. 8  25th November 1953 – ‘Thanksgiving Party in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation’ (ABC-TV)

 

Hosted by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.  Publicity indicated that Bing was to make a guest appearance with Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Jack Benny, Rosemary Clooney, Xavier Cugat, Jimmy Durante, Frank Sinatra, Groucho Marx, Liberace, Marilyn Monroe, Harry James, Betty Grable, Danny Thomas, Ray Bolger, Jane Wyman, Dick Powell and others. However it seems that Bing and many of the guest stars listed were not on the show.

 

No. 9  3rd January 1954 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show For General Electric’ (CBS(a)

 

Directed by Fred de Cordova. With the John Scott Trotter Orchestra, Perry Botkin, The Cass County Boys,

Barbara Logan, Sheree North and Jack Benny.

 

*Y’All Come                                                                                        (b)

*It Had To Be You                                                                             (c)           with Buddy Cole (Piano)

*Changing Partners                                                                                             with the Rhythmaires

*I Love Paris                                                                                        (d)

 

Notes:

(a)           A video version of the programme was issued on Festival Films (unnumbered) - ‘Bing Crosby’s Cavalcade’ and on Video Yesteryear (number unknown). A brief video extract from the dialogue between Bing and Jack Benny was included in the ABC-TV programme ‘Bing Crosby: His Life and Legend’ which was shown on 25th May 1978 and in the Warner Music Video 50294-3-A - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby – Part One – Special Edition’. Brief extracts were also seen in the BBC2-TV programmes ‘Bing On Bing’ and ‘Living Famously – Bing Crosby’ shown in the UK on 25th December, 2002 and 23rd  January 2003 respectively and in the KSPS-TV documentary Bing: Going My Way shown on PBS in May 2003 and subsequently issued on DVD and video. The entire show was issued on the Collectors’ Choice Music 2-DVD set “Bing Crosby: The Television Specials – Volume 1” in April, 2010

(b)                 A video version of this item appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’ and on the Goodtimes Home Video ‘Bing Crosby - Hollywood’s Greatest Entertainer’.

(There is no doubt that this is the version of the song, issued as a commercial recording, which was also heard on the General Electric radio programme on 22nd November 1953). 

(c)           A video version of this item appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’. The item was also shown as part of the PBS presentation “The  Legendary Bing Crosby” made available to PBS stations in 2010 and subsequently issued on DVD by Infinity Entertainment Group (No.IEG2204). Brief extracts were also used in the Independent TV presentation ‘The South Bank Show’ shown in the UK on 26th December 1999 and in the USA on 24th December 2000 on the Bravo channel as ‘Bravo Profiles Legendary Crooner Bing Crosby’.

(d)           A video version of this item appeared in the Warner Music Video 50294-3-A - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby – Part One – Special Edition’. The item was also shown as part of the PBS presentation “The Legendary Bing Crosby” made available to PBS stations in 2010 and subsequently issued on DVD by Infinity Entertainment Group (No.IEG2204). A video version was included in the i-tunes album "Bing Crosby: With All My Heart" released in January, 2011.

 

“Bing banged over a whopping first show on TV for General Electric, with the New Year only three days old as Crosby ushered in his video debut with his own series, sporadic though they’ll be, it automatically gave an aura of shining expectancy to the ’54 outlook. For years it has been axiomatic in radio that BC can do no wrong. On the basis of the GE Sunday night bow (in the usual Fred Waring spot on CBS TV), it goes in spades. It can be argued that the decision to ‘go film’ instead of live, stripped the half-hour show of a certain spontaneity element (This reviewer, for one, would have preferred a ‘live’ Crosby). At this stage of the game it might seem totally unnecessary and unreal for the Groaner to dandify himself to look twenty-five again and it can be argued that the singer has yet to achieve an on camera TV stance, more appropriate to his demeanour than casualness. It can also be argued that there was no reason for Bing to permit his initial showcase to fall from grace and its high qualitative level by introducing a stripper (Sheree North). The fact remains that none of it really mattered - for if there is a more natural, sure and at ease performer in showbiz, he’s still being kept under wraps. Whatever the minor flaws of chapter one on the Crosby GE TV agenda and they were apparent, they will probably be taken care of, now that Mr. Big has finally succumbed to video’s blandishments. What is important are the positive factors about Bing’s first show - that he’s got himself a format without really requiring a format (which, of course, means nothing more than a relaxed, informed, thirty minute, sequencing of songs and the inevitable banter with a guest star - particularly when the guest is Jack Benny). As it turned out this was one of those dream talent parlays, a visual throwback to ex-radio semesters of the Hope-Crosby by-play, which set some kind of a high mark in comedics, on the listening only circuit. The Benny-Crosby interlude was a little gem in itself. It was so good that the introduction of a third party in the person of Miss North didn’t hurt it but it didn’t help it, either. What is important too, in the Groaner’s first time up, was the clincher that all the surrounding Crosby show components, (John Scott Trotter’s musical backgrounding, Ken Carpenter and more notably, Bill Morrow’s solid contribs as writer/producer have made the AM to TV transition, with the same grace and ease). Chalk up as a plus factor too, the directorial assist from Frederick de Cordova who does the Burns & Allen CBS show. Bing bodes some happy video semesters for ‘54.”

(‘Variety’ 13th January 1954)

 

“That old charmer, head of the Crosby clan, finally showed his face around television. On his own show, that is. The millions who made up the vast welcoming committee must’ve shared the same thought - he was well worth sticking around for. One word description of his coming out party: Socko!

The trepidation and fear of the new medium no longer can be a mental block with the Groaner. He came off his first show, dashing and debonair, as sure of himself as in a Decca recording studio. Only trace of nervousness was in his closing walk-off, he seemed slightly bewildered but that extra bow is not in BC’s makeup. He’ll do another one for General Electric in March and probably, six next season. The first one out of the way, he’ll be old Mr. Confidence himself.

What Crosby and Bill Morrow put together for the grand entry was a pleasantly persuasive dish that must have been devoured avidly by the onlookers. His themer for so many years and dropped this season, ‘Blue Of The Night’ brought him on as a stand-up comic, a monologist of the Bob Hope stripe. Morrow supplied him with some breezy chatter, such as, ‘Reason I haven’t been on TV before is that I was waiting for colour. GE came up with green so, I grabbed it’ Hope, he compared to ‘a stricken steer’. Bing need have no worries on this score, either. He can time and punch a line with the best of them and has the added plus of spreading his charm with the friendliness of an old shopkeeper.

Unlike other singers with their own shows, he warmed his pipes with only four numbers: his current Decca sides, ‘Y’All Come’ and ‘Change Partners’, ‘It Had To Be You’, with Buddy Cole’s piano accompaniment, and ‘I Love Paris’. To most Crosby fans that would have been the show in itself, the lush lilt of the Crosby styling. He was given a production backup for ‘Y’All’ and ‘Paris’, with the Cass County Boys and instrumentals giving the country beat an oatuneful background. It was impressive and warming, with Bing wearing a cowboy hat as his only rural effect. In the ‘Paris’ number, Bing must have titillated the distaffers when he planted a long kiss on Barbara Logan.

Jack Benny’s guesting, along with Sheree North, a bosomy blonde, clad in a clinging jersey, was a riotous romp with the laughs rolling in waves. Benny tried to unsell Bing on TV, working on his nerves to unsteady him but to no avail. The fright gripped Benny instead and he leapt on Bing’s shoulders like a femme frightened by a mouse. It was amicable repartee that passed between them, Bing remarking about Benny’s cosiness with a buck and how he took his lunch at the Cocoanut Grove and was ordered out. Shot back Benny, ‘I can remember when you were thrown out of the Grove for another reason’. That was strictly a trade gag.

The North dance speciality created somewhat of a crisis but it gave the show a zippy pick-up. The Dulcy type, she’s a rare find and could, conceivably, give some competition to Marilyn Monroe or Marie Wilson. She’s the perfect foil for the flip-lipped comic and worked the scene with Benny to most of the hilarious highs. Morrow’s production and Frederick De Cordova’s direction were stellar.

Bing’s in and all the way, a stroke of good fortune for GE.”  

(‘Daily Variety’ 4th January 1954)


Crosby opened his first GE TV show with switch on Jack Benny’s old vaude intro—“Here I Am.” It’s difficult to believe that the show was produced by the same men responsible for his delightfully informal radio airers. Benny provided the brightest spot on the program via his attempt to persuade the imperturbable Bing that that he really suffered from opening night nerves. Benny also introduced Sheree North, a pretty comedienne with a sensational figure. Crosby warbled four numbers—“Ya All Come,” “I Love Paris,” “Change Partners” and “It Had to Be You.” The last-named number, which simply planted Crosby by pianist Buddy Cole and let him sing, was by far the most effective. It is to be hoped that he’ll do more of the same on the rest of the series.

(Billboard, January 16, 1954)

 

“He has strong objections to too-frequent appearances. “I’ve always felt television is just like movies, but it’s in the home. I wouldn’t want to be in anybody’s home too often, and you wouldn’t want to see a movie starring the same person every week.” He feels performers should limit their TV appearances to no more than six or seven times a year. Of his own plans, he is vague. One thing is certain, nonetheless: He will film his second TV show in March, for Easter release.”

(‘Newsweek’ 4th January 1954)

 

No. 10 10th January 1954 - ‘The Christophers’ (WPIX-TV)  (a)

 

With John Charles Thomas, Igor Gorin and Dennis Day.

 

Note:

(a)                 ‘The Christophers’ was a religious movement, headed by Father Keller.  Bing was also featured in other programmes produced by The Christophers’ shown on television but as these appear to be re-runs of films, possibly made for another purpose, they are not included in the main listing but are  merely shown as part of this note: -

28th June 1953 – ‘Films Of Faith’ (WOR-TV New York). The short film, ‘Faith, Hope and Hogan’ was included in this programme.  The film featured Father Keller interviewing, Ben Hogan, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Phil Harris and Ralph Kiner. Perry Botkin joined the group to accompany Bing’s rendition of ‘One Little Candle’ and also a snatch of ‘Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive’.

13th October 1953 – (WOR-TV) This programme included ‘You Can Change The World’, a short film made in 1950 that was directed by Leo McCarey. Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, Loretta Young, Irene Dunne, William Holden, Ann Blyth and Paul Douglas were featured.  Bing sang ‘Early American’.

 

No. 11  17th January 1954 - ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’ (NBC)

 

Bing was advertised as making the presentation to the winner of his National Pro-Am Golf Tournament from Pebble Beach.

 

“Colgate Comedy Hour hit a pretty mediocre level last Sunday (17th), over NBC TV. In a mish mash of video and sports, it looked liked a carbon of ‘Toast Of The Town’, without any of the latter’s class. Some names were there with inferior material, only Frank Sinatra’s special guesting in the final quarter of an hour lent the show some distinction. Advance publicity had played up promise of scenes from the Bing Crosby Golf Tourney at Pebble Beach, Cal., with El Bingo and various stars, to participate in the climax of the event and what resulted was pretty flat. For fifteen long, dull minutes, the camera floated round the clubhouse after the event was over, as Ben Gage picked up some golf and baseball players as well as Dean Martin and Phil Harris (but no Crosby!), in a few chatty inanities that seemed to please the participants, hugely. Alan Young opened the studio part of the show with a few gags and passes at a bagpipe. It picked up quite a bit thereafter, when Chicquita and Johnson came on for their sure-fire class acro act and then segued back to a routine level with a skit showing Stan Freberg, in a recording studio, disking a take-off on, ‘C’Est Si Bon’.  Although this sketch had its moments, it didn’t completely, come off. Then Young was back in a skit about buying a suit which was corny vaudeville in Joe Laurie’s day. Sinatra looking fuller and fit had some sneak gagging that included ribs at his own radio programme and offered, a neat solo rendition of, ‘Young At Heart’ and a somewhat overproduced blues number with a dancing chorus.”

(‘Variety’ 20th January 1954)

 

No. 11a January 1954 – The Jimmy Demaret Show (color)

 

Bing is interviewed by Jimmy Demaret at the Tamarisk Country Club in Palm Springs.

 

Note:

(a)           The interview was included on the Collectors’ Choice Music 2-DVD set “Bing Crosby: The Television Specials – Volume 1” issued in April, 2010

 

 

No. 12  21st March 1954 - ‘The Jack Benny Show’ (CBS)  (a)

 

Guest appearance. With Bob Hope, George Burns, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, Don Wilson, Jay Novello and the Mahlon Merrick Orchestra.

 

*My Honey, I Will Pine ForYou                                                      (b)           with Jack Benny & George Burns

*M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word That Means The World To Me)           (b)           with Jack Benny & George Burns

*The Gypsy In My Soul                                                                     (c)

 

Notes:

(a)           A video version was issued on Congress Video in 1987 (no catalogue number) and also on Madacy Music Group TVC-6-1115 as part of a two-tape set of Jack Benny Programmes. Extracts from the show were included in the Goodtimes Home Video ‘Bing Crosby - Hollywood’s Greatest Entertainer’ issued in 1991. The show was also included on the Critic’s Choice DVD ‘Jack Benny Program Vol. 1’ numbered CCD 001006D issued in 2003.

(b)           The two songs were included in a ‘vaudeville’ sketch entitled ‘Goldie, Fields, and Glide’. An abridged video version of the first song was included in the Goodtimes Home Video ‘Bing Crosby - Hollywood’s Greatest Entertainer’ issued in 1991. Brief extracts were also seen in ‘Remembering Bing’, a 90-minute special produced by WTTW, Chicago and televised by the Public Broadcasting Service on 28th November 1987.

(c)           See also notes for Programme No. 26 6th November 1956.

 

“The show had its high points, of sufficient laugh voltage to carry many another comedy stanza. Those three B boys - Bing, Benny and Burns - did a song and dance turn that dripped with nostalgia of the old vaudeville days. Decked out in blue coats, white pants and straw sailors, they sang and soft-shoed like when they ‘killed ‘em in Scranton’. Each encored solo, with Bing singing ‘Mother’ and Benny reciting the lyrics in mock dejection while the others hung their heads, sadly. Burns took to hoofing for his turn after the fashion of a latter-day Pat Rooney. All three then came out with ukuleles but played not a note. The applause was deafening but this was TV, not vaudeville and time of the essence. Bing, paying back for Benny’s guesting on his first TV show, got across another song in his easy and relaxed style from a sitting position.”

(‘Daily Variety’ 22nd March 1954)

 

No. 13  25th April 1954 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show For General Electric’ (CBS)

 

Directed by Les Goodwins. Produced by Bill Morrow. With the John Scott Trotter Orchestra, Buddy Cole, Joanne Gilbert and The Wiere Brothers.

 

*Dear Hearts And Gentle People                                                      (a)

*Young At Heart                                                                                 (b)

  Singin’ In The Rain                                                                                           Joanne Gilbert

*After You’ve Gone                                                                            (c)           with Buddy Cole (Piano)

*Secret Love

 

Note:

(a)           A video version of this item appeared in the Warner Music Video 50294-3-A - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby – Part One – Special Edition’.

(b)           A video version was included in the i-tunes album "Bing Sings the Sinatra Songbook" released in January, 2011.

(c)        An audio version was included in the CD: Some Fine Old Chestnuts (60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

 

“Bing Crosby, obviously, has a casual attitude toward TV. Almost before he stood up to be counted for his second General Electric filmed foray on Sunday the 25th, over CBS, he was delivering a whale of a plug for Decca Records. And he did it in such a manner as to give the impression that the blurb was more important than the fact that this was his first video outing since last January. About midway, the Groaner came through with the second ballyhoo for his wax works when, he and pianist, Buddy Cole, squared off on ‘After You’ve Gone’. Up front, Crosby one-twoed on, ‘Dear Hearts And Gentle People’ and ‘Young At Heart’ in deadening, stand-up style. After he gave Joanne Gilbert the build-up boffo, she proceeded to give a tame treatment to, ‘Singin’ In The Rain’.

There was a bit of needed spark in the fiddle-faddling vocals and the hoofing of the Wiere Brothers but here’s an act that cries out for live telecasting. Crosby wound it up with, ‘Secret Love’ which with the possible exception of the highly visual Wieres, it was probably a crackerjack, radio show.”

(‘Variety’ 28th April 1954)

 

There’ll be as much critical controversy over this second telefilm by Crosby as over his first one with Sheree North. The issue here is clean-cut. Can Bing just stand up and sing without any production or props and get away with it? Aside from a song by Joanne Gilbert and some monkeyshines from the three Wiere Brothers, it was all Crosby in front of a drop and mostly in close-up, flexing his pipes.

The Crosby fans will be pleasantly serenaded (‘he’s singing to me’) but the critical clan may show their claws. They might contend that it’s little more than radio with a framed picture of Bing sitting atop the set. The Crosby camp claims that such simplified production was the result of a study made of hundreds of letters, most of them asking only that, ‘Bing sing’. That he does and in as good voice as in the relaxed calm of his fatherly days.

Decked out in a sports jacket with an emblem, he gives out with ‘Dear Hearts And Gentle People’ and ‘Young At Heart’, and all the time with hands in pockets. Miss Gilbert then comes on to thrush, ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ with the softness of morning dew. Changing to a business suit (‘for the first time, I’ve been left off the list of the five worst dressers’), Crosby saunters over to a piano where Buddy Cole is benched and with complete detachment raises his voice (‘from a bag of old chestnuts’) and pipes ‘After You’ve Gone’. He closes out the musicale with ‘Secret Love’ and signs off with ‘good night’ and not ‘goodbye’. Bing has been quoted as saying, ‘This is my last’.”

(‘Daily Variety’ 26th April 1954)

 

No. 14  15th June 1954 - Ford Automobile 50th Anniversary Celebration    (a)   

 

*White Christmas

 

Note:

(a)                         A filmed contribution to this two hour show with guitar accompaniment only, interacting with a ‘live’ Rudy Vallee.

 

No. 15 17th October 1954 - ‘Toast Of The Town’ (CBS)

 

A filmed guest appearance. Also featured Irving Berlin and Liberace. Introduced by Ed Sullivan.

 

*White Christmas

 

“Ed Sullivan evidently has a soft spot for Liberace and gave him just about half of his ‘Toast Of The Town’ stanza on CBS-TV Sunday night (17th) . . . Otherwise, it was a first rate session, marked by a top-notch film clip of a Sullivan interview with Bing Crosby on the Coast. The Crosby bit was a plug for the Paramount pic ‘White Christmas’ (which, incidentally has been getting a hefty slice of cuffo time on both radio and TV, via Irving Berlin’s current pic and song-plugging activities). But the Groaner was in his niftiest form as a casual personality and his relaxed way before the cameras belied what must have been an army of Paramount technicians to make this ultra professional looking ‘home movie’ sequence. Sullivan opened with a few remarks and Crosby carried the ball from that point onwards, chatting amicably and delivering snatches of Berlin tunes without accompaniment, except for one number, ‘Gee, I Wish I Was Back In The Army’. It was a tip top trailer.”

(‘Variety’ 20th October 1954)

 

No. 16  3rd December 1954 - ‘Person To Person’ (CBS)  (a)

 

Interviewed at his Hollywood home by Edward R. Murrow, linked from New York.

 

Note:

(a)                 A video version of the programme was issued on Festival Films (unnumbered) - ‘Bing Crosby Surprise Package’. (Bing sings the first line of several of his million-selling records and snatches of ‘This Ole House’ and ‘Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep)’).

A brief glimpse of Bing standing in front of his Gold Records was also seen in ‘Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 - 1957’ first shown on the Disney Channel on 21st November 1993 and subsequently issued on an MCA video

MCAV-10846.

 

“With Crosby this was a compelling Cook’s tour of his Hollywood manse. . .If Crosby were any more relaxed he’d collapse but that didn’t impair the efficiency of his guideposts to a variety of items, from the nineteen Decca ‘gold’ platters to the late Dixie Crosby’s Copenhagen China Collection. He hummed ‘This Ole House’ in tongue-in-cheek manner and interlarded a dash of ‘Count Your Blessings’ in a casual style which spoke of innate showmanship - he even had the right ‘theme’ songs for the occasion. He got in the right degree of plugging for his upcoming ‘Country Girl’, saluted his late gagman, Barney Dean, spotlighted his ‘real’ friends, spoke about the boys - Lindsay was the only one present - and even got in a fast dash of his case against, ‘Oop!’ ‘Shoop!’ and ‘Sh-Boom’ which his four toughest critics, his sons, apparently hold in higher esteem than does the Groaner. He admitted that bringing up the four boys was his toughest job.”

(‘Variety’ 8th December 1954)

 

“Bing Crosby had the crew of Edward Murrow’s, ‘Person To Person’ show really worried sick. The day of his show, it rained and the one thing that Bing insisted upon was that, NOTHING should be damaged or dirtied. Because the house belongs to his mother and it’s her empire.”

(‘Hollywood Citizen News’ 4th December 1954)

 

No. 17  6th January 1955 - ‘The Lux Video Theatre’  presents ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (CBS)

 

Bing appeared as a Lux Video Theatre guest. He did not take part in the play which starred Miriam Hopkins as ‘Norma Desmond’.

 

No. 18  8th March 1955 - ‘The Red Skelton Show for CBS’  (a)

 

Red Skelton presented Bing with the ‘Look’ magazine Best Actor Award for 1954 for his role in ‘The Country Girl’. Other guests were Edmond O’Brien, Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock and Jack Lemmon.

 

Note:

(a)           A video version of Bing receiving his award was included in the Goodtimes Home Video ‘Bing Crosby - Hollywood’s Greatest Entertainer’ issued in 1991.

 

No. 19  30th March 1955 - 27th Academy Awards Ceremony (NBC)  (a)

 

Guest appearance. Talked with Bob Hope (MC) and presented all three Awards in the Music categories.

 

Note:

(a)                 The entire show was included in a Festival Films video ‘27th. Academy Awards Show (1955)’.

Part of the dialogue between Bing and Bob Hope was included in the NBC-TV programme ‘On the Road with Bing: A Special Tribute to Bing Crosby’ which was shown on 28th October 1977.

A brief glimpse of Bing on the stage at the Awards Ceremony was also seen in ‘Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 - 1957’ first shown on the Disney Channel on 21st November 1993 and has subsequently been issued on an MCA video MCAV-10846.

 

“Bing Crosby, making three music awards, was kidded no end by Hope. But Der Bingle more than held his own, returning quip for quip. It was one of the night’s most amusing interludes.”

(‘Hollywood Citizen News’ 31st March 1955)

 

No.20  8th May 1955 – ‘Toast Of The Town’ (CBS)

 

Hosted by Ed Sullivan. With Eddie Fisher, The Mariners, Eileen Barton, Wonder Boy John, Richard Hearne and Robert L’Amouret.

 

During the programme, filmed extracts from the recent Hollywood premiere of ‘Daddy Long Legs’ starring Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron were shown.  Those interviewed at the event included Bing Crosby, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Jennifer Jones, Jane Russell, Harry James, Betty Grable, Victor Mature, Maureen O’Hara, Clifton Webb, Robert Cummings, Jeanne Craine and others.

 

No. 21  24th May 1955 - ‘The Bob Hope Show’ (NBC) (a)

 

Guest appearance. With Don Hartman and Jane Russell.

 

Note:

(a)                 The entire show was issued on DVD by Bobontv.com, their reference number 052455. Apart from the usual Hope monologue, the programme was composed mainly of clips from his movies (see press report). Bing’s participation was limited to a sketch based on the premise that he is throwing a party for Bob and Jane Russell is to be Bob’s date. Bob, in top hat, white tie and tails, arrives at the Crosby residence. Expecting a surprise party, he enters unannounced, only to find that the place is deserted. After looking around the house, he finally enters the bedroom to discover Bing, clad in pyjamas with ice pack on his head, fast asleep in bed! On enquiring about the party, Bing says, ‘Oh, that was last night!’ Clips from the ‘Road’ films were shown including the complete ‘Put It There Pal’ scene from ‘Road To Utopia’. When Bob leaves the room, he has a giant movie poster on his back (placed there by Bing no doubt) advertising the film, ‘The Country Girl’.

                The complete show was included in a video (un-numbered) issued by Festival Films.

 

“Bob Hope closed the book on another television season with a cavalcade of clips from his Paramount past and enough footage on his future, ‘The Seven Little Foys’ to whet audience curiosity. . . .In the guest corner were Bing Crosby, Jane Russell and Don Hartman, executive producer at Paramount. . . .As name attractions, Cros and Russell were point-getters but they were used only sparingly and their material not conducive to the holding of sides or shrieks of sheer delight. They served mostly the purpose of dialoguing the lead-ins to the old films, most of which had Hope in kissing scenes. . .It seemed a waste of both Crosby and Russell, their participation being so functional to obviate any attempt at comedy. . .”

(‘Variety’ 25th May 1955)  

 

No. 22 10th March 1956 - ‘Ford Star Jubilee’ - ‘High Tor’ (CBS)   (a)

 

Directed by James Neilsen. Orchestra conducted by Joseph Lilley. With Julie Andrews, Nancy Olson, Everett Sloane,

Lloyd Corrigan and Hans Conreid.

 

*Living One Day At A Time

  Sad Is The Life Of A Sailor’s Wife                                                                 Julie Andrews

  When You’re In Love                                                                                       Julie Andrews & Everett Sloane

*A Little Love, A Little While

  When You’re In Love (Reprise)                                                                      Everett Sloane

*John Barleycorn

  Once Upon A Long Ago                                                                                  Julie Andrews

*Once Upon A Long Ago

*A Little Love, A Little While (Reprise)

 

Note:

(a)           An augmented audio version of the programme, containing narration and songs not heard on the broadcast was issued on the Decca LP DL8272 - ‘Bing Crosby - High Tor’

 

Schwartz sent me up the recordings of the songs for “High Tor” and I think they are quite good. They have a lot of quality and they are in the mood of the piece. I read the script again and I think this can be quite a nice film. I don’t know about its commercial potentialities or whether or not audiences will understand it completely, but that doesn’t worry me. I would rather be associated with something like this that at least represents an effort to achieve something lofty, than to fall into the rut of all that other bilge that is being produced these days for TV.

I anticipate already that there will be some criticism about this film by some of the newspaper TV columnists, etc., but if it’s done well, and I anticipate it will be, I don’t see how we can be too vulnerable. For the same reason, I don’t think there will be any throwing of hats in the air or dancing in the streets over the film. Let’s just settle for it being “nice”.

(Bing Crosby, in a letter dated 5th October 1955 to George Rosenberg.)

 

 “Crosby’s entry into the 90-minute spectacular on CBS-TV’s ‘Ford Star Jubilee’, Saturday night (10th) was hardly as rewarding as the auspicious occasion warranted. Out of Maxwell Anderson’s ‘High Tor’ fancy, originally presented on Broadway 20 years ago as a straight play, the network fashioned a filmusical version, the joint effort of Arthur Schwartz and Anderson (with Schwartz also doubling as producer)

The songs were good, at least a couple of them way up on the potential list of solid clicks. There was a stunning performance from Julie Andrews, the ex-ingenue of ‘The Boy Friend’, as the ephemeral Dutch phantom walking the ‘High Tor’ mountain for 300 years. But basically, what evolved was a flimsy, ‘boy meets ghost, loses girl, boy loses ghost, gets girl’ vehicle that would find it tough going as the bottom half of a theatrical double feature. Through it all, Crosby was lost. True, his ballading was good. Crosby and his bouncy ‘John Barleycorn’ rendition was one of the show’s high spots but his love-making had just about as much substance as the Dutch ghosts on High Tor. His poetic meanderings were neither fanciful nor symbolic. It just wasn’t in the film clips for a placid and, let’s face it, not-so-young contented guy in a comfortable jacket to project himself as an escapist from a material world through the flights of Anderson’s dream on the Tappan Zee.

When he came upstage to do his songs (four in all) with all his muted charm and affability, it was strictly Crosby and not Van Dorn, the man in love with his mountain. For that matter the entire Dutch crew, from the captain down, had little understanding or feeling for what Anderson was trying to say.

Strange were many things about the production. Why, for example, Crosby wasn’t even given a nibble at the best of the Schwartz tunes, ‘When You’re In Love’, to which, non-singer, Everett Sloane fell heir. Or why the camera transitions were so awkward, considering the scope that the filmization afforded. Or why Ford permitted an invitation to a tune-out even before the film got started with an elongated commercial that must have consumed five minutes.

This musical version of bank robbers scheming to buy High Tor. . . also enlisted the services of Nancy Olsen, who, at least, had a comprehensible role and therefore rang true to her performance. . . It remained for Miss Andrews to really capture Anderson’s elusive fantasy on life and love.

The film was made for CBS in 12 days. It cost about $450,000. The network reserves the right to give it a couple more screenings, then it reverts to Crosby and Schwartz for any possible residual values. These are doubtful assets.”

(‘Variety’ 14th March 1956)

 

“Somewhere in the double translation - from stage to tv-pix terms and from dramatic to musical comedy form - much of what made ‘High Tor’ a Broadway success seems to have got lost. What emerges on the home screens in this film, said to have cost upwards of $500,000, is essentially, a listless exercise, with rather undistinguished musical and murky philosophising, leavened only by the stingiest pinches of comedy.

A strangely subdued Bing Crosby walks through his role with little conviction, making for the most part like a straight musical comedy juvenile. His gifts of off-hand repartee and clowning are little in evidence and his ponderous philosophising proves too static to register dramatically. Only in his vocalising does he show his accustomed style and verve. . . Miss Andrews, a British import for Broadway’s ‘The Girl (sic) Friend’, is too ethereal for dramatic conviction but is lovely in her Dutch costuming and able in her warbling chores with Crosby. . . Nancy Olsen makes the most of her standard role as the brisk modern maid. . . Editing, while generally competent, at times, shows regrettable lapses. In one sequence, heavy rain deluging Conreid and Corrigan, miraculously stops when Crosby walks on the scene. At other times, playback synchronisation between Crosby’s voice and his lip movements are noticeably at variance.”

(‘Daily Variety’ 12th March 1956)

 

‘CBS TV’s presentation of ‘High Tor’ has been described by Oscar Levant as a sort of sleepy hollow legend, being both ‘sleepy’ and ‘hollow’.  Whereas, this is probably too harsh a judgement of the musical version of the Maxwell Anderson play, the production wasn’t, exactly, a hundred per cent as successful.  What happens to have gone wrong is that the whimsy that was present in the intimacy of the theatre, just didn’t get transposed to the screen. The effect as a result was somewhat like trying to pretend ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ without blarney.  The story is intriguing, if somewhat complex.  Bing Crosby owns a mountain, the mountain is coveted by various scoundrels. A ghostly ship with a ghostly Dutch crew makes its appearance. There are romantic complications as Crosby is torn between the shapely spectre of Julie Andrews and a real live girl, Nancy Olsen, while Everett Sloane pitches woo as a phantom.  The only trouble with all this is that it is taken too seriously.  There are some lively tunes among the six or seven introduced in the teleplay and it should be interesting to see whether the combination of TV and Bing Crosby boosts any of them into the hit category.’

(‘Billboard’ 24th March 1956)

 

No. 23  17th June 1956 - ‘The Bob Hope Sunday Spectacular’

 

With Les Brown and his Band of Renown, George Sanders, Marilyn Maxwell, Betty Grable, Jane Russell and Dorothy Lamour.

 

Guest appearance.                                                                              (a)

 

Note:

(a)           An outtake from ‘Road To Bali’ was shown.

 

No. 24  15th July 1956 - ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ (CBS) 

 

Filmed guest appearance to promote ‘High Society’ (a).  With Harold Lang, Joan Holloway, Shirley Yagamuchi, Wesson & Polk, Louis Armstrong and Julie Andrews.

 

*Mississippi Mud                                                                                (b)

*A-Tisket, A-Tasket                                                                            (b)

  I Could Have Danced All Night                                                                      Julie Andrews

  Show Me                                                                                                             Julie Andrews

  Muskrat Ramble                                                                                                 Louis Armstrong

  Basin Street Blues                                                                                              Louis Armstrong

  The Faithful Hussar                                                                                           Louis Armstrong

  Stompin’ at the Savoy                                                                                       Louis Armstrong

 

Note:

(a)           Film clips were shown of ‘Well Did You Evah!’, ‘You’re Sensational’ and ‘Now You Has Jazz’ from ‘High Society’.

(b)           Unaccompanied fragments only.

“Frank Sinatra may think that Ed Sullivan is ‘sick, sick, sick’ but he nevertheless wound up on the latter’s CBS-TV show as a performer on Sunday night (15th). It was, of course, via the film route, plugging the Metro pic, ‘High Society’. Sinatra was heard doing a couple of choruses solo and one with Bing Crosby, who also appeared on the Sullivan show in a filmed interview. The sequence was a thinly veiled but entertaining plug for ‘High Society’ and had Crosby, in his usual breezy manner, speaking about various facets of the pop biz and his favourite personalities.”

(‘Variety’ 18th July 1956)

 

No. 25  6th October 1956 - ‘Ford Star Jubilee’ - ‘You’re The Top’ (CBS)

 

Made a special appearance (filmed at Pebble Beach) in this tribute to Cole Porter.

 

Directed by Seymour Berns.  Orchestra directed by David Rose. With The Don Crichton Dancers, The Toppers,

Louis Armstrong, Dorothy Dandridge, Sally Forrest, Dolores Gray, Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy, Shirley Jones,

Gordon MacRae, George Sanders, George Chakiris and Cole Porter.

 

  So In Love                                                                                                           Gordon MacRae

  Wunderbar                                                                                                          Gordon MacRae

  Why Can’t You Behave                                                                                    Dolores Gray

  Just One Of Those Things                                                                               Dolores Gray

  In The Still Of The Night                                                                                  Gordon MacRae & Shirley Jones

  You’re The Top                                                                                                 Mary Healy & Peter Lind Hayes

  Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love                                                                          George Sanders & Dolores Gray

  Night And Day                                                                                                   George Chakiris

  My Heart Belongs To Daddy                                                                          Dorothy Dandridge

  Begin The Beguine                                                                                            Gordon MacRae

*Well, Did You Evah!                                                                                         with cast

*Another Op’nin’, Another Show                                                                    with cast

 

“Cole Porter was treated to a pleasing once-over-lightly on CBS TV’s ‘Ford Star Jubilee’ Saturday night (6th) as the 90 minute spec series returned for the new season. . . There was no stinting on production credits or in the assembling of talent. . . plus a filmed insert of Bing Crosby and the composer himself joining in for the finale. . . The filmed Crosby insert, perhaps a concession to the Ford demands, was of dubious merit and inevitably led to the integration of one of his film clips from his ‘High Society’ pic. But at least it was one of the more entertaining clips backed by Satchmo and his combo.”

(‘Variety’ 10th October 1956)

 

No. 26  6th November 1956 - ‘See You At The Polls  (a)

 

Appeared as part of a gathering of Hollywood stars including, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, Peter Lawford and Groucho Marx.

The purpose of the programme was to remind American citizens of their right to vote.

 

*The Gypsy In My Soul                                                                     (b)

 

Notes:

(a)           This was an assembled programme consisting of clips from television shows and films, produced by the American Heritage Foundation.

(b)           The item was first seen on the Jack Benny Show (Programme No. 12, 21st March 1954).

 

No. 27  11th November 1956 - ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ (CBS)   

 

Guest appearance. With Phil Silvers, Marcel Marceau, Julie Andrews, Louis Armstrong and Kate Smith.

 

Medley:                                                                                                                Julie Andrews

  Wouldn’t It Be Luverly

  Someone To Watch Over Me

  I’ll Follow My Secret Heart

 

*True Love

 

  God Bless America                                                                                            Kate Smith

 

“. . . The big hoop-la, of course and a rarity in the area of ‘live’ tv, was the Bing Crosby appearance and soloing of his ‘True Love’, with an enforced reprise, hitched to a Sullivan wager that it’ll register second only to ‘White Christmas’ in disc clicks. ‘Love’ was done to a Bing turn but it was in the banter division, chiefly with Phil Silvers, that the Crosby personality asserted itself as of old. Their by-play in the show’s opening moments, set a pace for hilarity that was only topped when Silvers, in perhaps his most stand-out non-Bilko turn on tv, turned in a skit on ‘Ol Man River’ at a ‘Show Boat’ rehearsal that hit a peak in comedics.”

(‘Variety’ 14th November 1956)

 

No. 28  22nd January 1957 - ‘The Phil Silvers Show’ - ‘Sgt. Bilko Presents Bing Crosby’ (CBS)   (a)

Guest appearance.

 

*The Wreck Of The Hesperus (Longfellow)                                                    Recitation

 

Note:

(a)           A video version of the programme was issued on Fox Video 0647 - ‘Sergeant Bilko - Volume Two’

 

No. 29  27th March 1957 - 29th Academy Awards Ceremony

Guest appearance. (Filmed contribution)

 

*True Love

 

No. 30  16th June 1957 - ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ (CBS)  

 

Filmed guest appearance. With Susan Heinkel, Page & Bray, Don Rondo, Rusty Draper, John Raitt, Inger Stevens, Polly Bergen and Johnny Mathis.  A film clip of Bing singing ‘Temptation’ was shown.

 

“On film, Bing Crosby exchanged a couple of pleasant minutes of chatter with Sullivan but for an indifferently, integrated plug on his new pic, ‘Man On Fire’, he introduced Inger Stevens who appears with him in the picture.”

(‘Variety’ 19th June 1957)

 

No. 31  13th October 1957 - ‘The Edsel Show ‘ (CBS)  (a)

 

Directed by Seymour Berns. Written and produced by Bill Morrow. Orchestra directed by Toots Camarata. Musical supervision by Buddy Cole with additional arrangements by John Scott Trotter. With Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope, Lindsay Crosby, The Four Preps and Mr. Conn & Mr. Mann.

 

*Now You Has Jazz                                                                           (b)            with Louis Armstrong

 

Medley:

  All The Way                                                                                                       Frank Sinatra

  Love And Marriage                                                                                           Frank Sinatra

  Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home                                                            Frank Sinatra

*True Love

  South Of The Border                                                                        (c)           Orchestra

*Mexicali Rose                                                                                    (c)

*South Of The Border                                                                        (c)           with Frank Sinatra

*Paris In The Spring                                                                           (c)           with Frank Sinatra

  Mademoiselle De Paris                                                                     (c)            Orchestra

*I Love Paris                                                                                        (c)           with Frank Sinatra

*Sweet Leilani                                                                                      (c)           with Frank Sinatra

*Road To Morocco                                                                             (c)           with Frank Sinatra & Bob Hope

 

  I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan                                                           Rosemary Clooney

 

Medley:

  Boola Boola                                                                                                       The Four Preps

*Collegiate                                                                                                           with Frank Sinatra

*The Whiffenpoof Song

  The Sweetheart Of Sigma Chi                                                                          Frank Sinatra

*September Song                                                                                (d)           with Frank Sinatra

*There’s A Long, Long Trail                                                                             with Frank Sinatra

 

  In The Middle Of An Island                                                                            Lindsay Crosby

  The Birth Of The Blues                                                                    (e)           Frank Sinatra & Louis Armstrong

 

Medley:

  Love Is The Sweetest Thing                                                                            Rosemary Clooney                                                    

  I Want To Be Happy                                                                                         Rosemary Clooney

  Where The Blue Of The Night                                                                         Frank Sinatra

*Goody Goody

  Love Thy Neighbour                                                                                         Rosemary Clooney

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

*Nature Boy

  I’m Always Chasing Rainbows                                                                      Frank Sinatra

  There Is Nothing Like A Dame                                                                       Frank Sinatra

  Somebody Loves Me                                                                                       Rosemary Clooney

  It All Depends On You                                                                                     Frank Sinatra

*Let’s Take An Old Fashioned Walk

  I’ll Walk Alone                                                                                                   Rosemary Clooney

  I’m Walking Behind You                                                                                  Frank Sinatra

*Swinging On A Star                                                                                         with Frank Sinatra

*Small Fry (Parody)

*I’d Climb The Highest Mountain                                                                   with Frank Sinatra

  I’ve Got You Under My Skin                                                                          Frank Sinatra

  Why Don’t We Do This More Often?                                                          Rosemary Clooney

*It’s Been A Long, Long Time

*Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive

  I Can’t Give You Anything But Love                                                           Frank Sinatra

*Please

  I’ve Got A Feelin’ You’re Foolin’                                                                   Rosemary Clooney

  I Get A Kick Out Of You                                                                                  Rosemary Clooney

  June Night                                                                                                          Rosemary Clooney

*You Go To My Head (Parody)                                                                        with Frank Sinatra

  Just One Of Those Things                                                                               Rosemary Clooney

  It’s A Grand Night For Singing (Parody)                                                       Frank Sinatra

  ‘S Wonderful                                                                                                      Rosemary Clooney

*Jealous

  I Got Rhythm                                                                                                     Frank Sinatra

*Hound Dog

  No Other Love                                                                                                   Rosemary Clooney

  Blues In The Night                                                                                            Frank Sinatra

  Tea For Two (Parody)                                                                                      Rosemary Clooney

  Three Little Words                                                                                            Frank Sinatra

*My Blue Heaven (Parody)                                                              (f)             with Frank Sinatra & Rosemary Clooney

  Three O’clock In The Morning                                                                       Frank Sinatra

*Three Little Fishes                                                                                             with Frank Sinatra & Rosemary Clooney

  On The Atcheson, Topeka & The Santa Fe                                                  Rosemary Clooney

*Sunday, Monday Or Always

  Three Coins In The Fountain                                                                          Frank Sinatra

*Columbia, The Gem Of The Ocean (aka ‘The Red, White And Blue’)      with Rosemary Clooney

*Ma Blushin’ Rosie                                                                                            with Frank Sinatra

*Side By Side                                                                                                       with Frank Sinatra & Rosemary Clooney

*On The Sunny Side Of The Street                                                                  with Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney & Louis Armstrong

 

Notes:

(a)           Bing arranged for this ‘live’ program to be ‘produced’ by Gonzaga University in order that the profits could go to them in a tax efficient way. The program won the ‘Look’ magazine TV Award for ‘Best Musical Show.’

                A video version of the programme was issued on International Licensing & Copyright ILC0094 - ‘Frank Sinatra Live At the Edsel Show’ and on Festival Films (catalogue no. unknown) ‘Bing Crosby and Friends Volume 1’.

                The item was also shown as part of the PBS presentation “The Legendary Bing Crosby” made available to PBS stations in 2010 and subsequently issued on DVD by Infinity Entertainment Group (No.IEG2204). An abridged version was also included on Questar DVD QD3175 ‘A Bing Crosby Christmas’. An abridged audio version of the show was issued on Loota LP 4901 ‘The Edsel Show’. In addition, short extracts were included in the A. & E. Biography Channel programme ‘Bing Crosby: America’s Crooner’ which was first televised on 14th December 1993 and has been repeated on several occasions since and also issued on video. Brief extracts were also seen in the KSPS-TV documentary Bing: Going My Way shown on PBS in May 2003 and subsequently issued on DVD and video and in the BBC2-TV presentation ‘Bing On Bing’ transmitted in the UK on December 25, 2002.

(b)           A video version of this item appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’ and on the Goodtimes Home Video ‘Bing Crosby - Hollywood’s Greatest Entertainer’ issued in 1991.

                An abridged video version was also seen in ‘Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 - 1957’ first shown on the Disney Channel on 21st November 1993 and subsequently issued on an MCA video MCAV-10846.

                A brief extract was used in the Independent TV presentation ‘The South Bank Show’ shown in the UK on 26th December 1999 and in the USA on 24th December 2000 on the Bravo channel as ‘Bravo Profiles Legendary Crooner Bing Crosby’.

                BCE 6 (CD) “Bing in Dixieland” (audio and video versions included in download issue)

            An audio version was also  issued on American Masters CD - 'Bing Crosby Rediscovered: The Soundtrack'.

(c)           Video versions of these items were included in the Goodtimes Home Video ‘Bing Crosby - Hollywood’s Greatest Entertainer’ issued in 1991.

                The ‘Road to Morocco’ segment was also seen in ‘Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 - 1957’ first shown on the Disney Channel on 21st November 1993 and subsequently issued on an MCA video MCAV-10846.

(d)           This item was included in ‘Remembering Bing’, a 90-minute special produced by WTTW, Chicago and televised by the Public Broadcasting Service on 28th November 1987.

An abridged video version was also seen in the Goodtimes Home Video ‘Bing Crosby - Hollywood’s Greatest Entertainer’ issued in 1991.

A video version was included in the Public Broadcasting Service TV special ‘Frank Sinatra - The Classic Duets’ aired in the USA in December 2002 and March 2003. The special has subsequently been issued on DVD and video.

An audio version was issued on Capitol CD 72435-42771-2-2 – ‘Frank Sinatra - Classic Duets’

(e)           An audio version of this item was included on Voice CD V-CD-1101 – ‘Frank Sinatra – The Live Duets 1943 - 1957’

(f)            A brief extract was used in the Independent TV presentation ‘The South Bank Show’ shown in the UK on 26th December 1999 and in the USA on 24th December 2000 on the Bravo channel as ‘Bravo Profiles Legendary Crooner Bing Crosby’.

 

“The Edsel Show, a special kick-off for Ford’s new line of cars on tv, was a smooth, fast ride all the way. In fact, without even seeming to try, it shaped up as one of video’s top musical offerings, in the same class as the Mary Martin-Ethel Merman layout several years ago, on the ‘Ford Jubilee’ show.

This time, it was the tandem of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, two savvy pros who were at the top of their form. For Crosby, it was his best tv showing to date and for those who remember live radio way back when, Der Bingle generated the same easy charm that was responsible for his long-time run on the AM kilocycles. Sinatra, likewise, displayed a finesse and a sureness that bespeaks his multi-faceted showbiz experience. In addition, the one-hour stanza showcased, among others, another veteran performer, Louis Armstrong, in some nifty routines.

But basically, it was Crosby and Sinatra, in a freewheeling songalog and an informal script that never got in the way of the singing. Working solo, duo and trio (with Rosemary Clooney), they covered several dozen songs, most of them in quickie versions. In the biggest production of a show that was marked with a minimum of production frills, Crosby and Sinatra did a song ‘take-off’ on ‘Around The World In 80 Days’, winding up with Bob Hope entering for a short routine on ‘We’re Off On The Road To Morocco’

Crosby’s number with Armstrong and his combo on ‘Now You Has Jazz’ was a crackerjack getaway. Satchmo returned again for a nifty rundown of ‘The Birth Of The Blues’ with Sinatra. Miss Clooney had one solo slot on a show ballad midway in the show, while Lindsay Crosby, son of Bing, delivered, ‘In The Middle Of An Island’, in fair style, with backing from the Four Preps. In the hoofing division, Mr. Conn & Mr. Mann, two slick tapsters were on and off fast.

For the final quarter-hour, Crosby, Sinatra and Miss Clooney joined in a clever medley of romantic oldies. As with the rest of the show, this routine was handled with a breezy comedic touch that didn’t strain for laughs.

The new Edsel cars were effectively plugged via some film clips and some asides from Crosby and Sinatra. The latter also appeared to slide in a plug for his upcoming show for Chesterfield on the TV network.”

(‘Variety’ 16th October 1957)

 

No. 32  20th December 1957 - ‘Happy Holidays with Bing & Frank’ (ABC)  (a) 

 

Guest appearance. Written by Bill Morrow, produced by William Self and directed by Frank Sinatra. Orchestra directed by Nelson Riddle.

 

  Mistletoe AndHolly                                                                                          Frank Sinatra

 

*Happy Holiday                                                                                 (b)             with Frank Sinatra

*Jingle Bells                                                                                                          with Frank Sinatra

 

Medley:

*Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly                                                         with Frank Sinatra & Chorus

*God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen                                                                       with Frank Sinatra & Chorus

*Hark! The Herald Angels Sing                                                                        with Frank Sinatra & Chorus

*O Come All Ye Faithful                                                                                    with Frank Sinatra & Chorus

 

  It Came Upon A Midnight Clear                                                                     Frank Sinatra

*Away In A Manger

*O Little Town Of Bethlehem                                                                            with Frank Sinatra

*Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

  Santa Claus Is Coming to Town                                                                      Frank Sinatra

*The Christmas Song                                                                                         with Frank Sinatra

*White Christmas                                                                                                with Frank Sinatra

 

Notes:

(a)           Recorded 18th October 1957 at the Goldwyn Studios and originally shown in monochrome. A colour version was re-discovered by the Sinatra family and was shown on the TRIO channel in the US during 2001 and then issued on a DVD titled ‘Happy Holidays with Bing & Frank’ by Hart Sharp Video numbered 29567 0003-2 in 2003. The entire show was included in the Infinity Entertainment 2-DVD set “Bing Crosby: The Television Specials – Volume 2 – The Christmas Specials” and on the Shout! Factory 7-DVD set “Frank Sinatra Concert Collection”, both of which were released in November 2010.  An audio version of the programme was issued on Ho-Ho-Ho Records LP 1088 - ‘A Warm & Wonderful Christmas Eve With Bing & Frank’ and items have subsequently been issued on many CDs, notably, Laserlight 12775 ‘Christmas Sing with Frank and Bing’ and Eclipse 64914-2 ‘Christmas with Bing and Frank’.

                The programme was sponsored by Bulova Watches and Chesterfield Cigarettes.

(b)           A few bars only.

 

“Bing Crosby guested on Frank Sinatra’s ABC-TV Christmas Show, last Friday (20th) and Sinatra & Co., would have been hard put to find a more vivid contrast with the memorable early season Edsel show. Where the latter was vibrant, this Sinatra filmed episode was static; where the Edsel outing was spontaneous and fresh, this was studied, pretentious and awkward. Comparison is not really invidious, since it was the Sinatra-Crosby teaming that made the Edsel show the great TV outing that it was. Yet, the results on this Yule edition of the Sinatra showcase seem a summary of the failings of the entire Sinatra series on ABC - it’s uncomfortable, Even discounting the often sloppy production, the absence of a central theme or point of view, the fact is that Sinatra never quite seems at his best or his easiest and the attitude affects his guests. Sinatra himself directed this outing, his first directorial stint and in this regard the show was commonplace, with Crosby and the Voice, first carolling over a home bar, then, in old-English costume, in a street setting, then back in the too posh setting of the Sinatra living room. The pair went through some 15 Christmas songs, traditional and modern but neither were in their best voice and unlike the Edsel outing, the combination wasn’t a happy one, with the harmony somewhat forced and at times, rather strident. Worst attribute of the show and the facet that seems to cause the most discomfort, in the dialogue, is Sinatra, spouting a torrent of flip expressions that, presumably, are supposed to be sophisticated and hep but come across in a completely affected manner. He doesn’t seem at ease and neither did Crosby who had to suffer with the same business. It’s a case of writer, Bill Morrow, who should know better than to try his old ‘Kraft Music Hall’ flippancies in another era and with so completely a different type of personality as Sinatra. For all the ABC decisions to do more live shows with Sinatra and with all the big guest star bookings on the show, no improvement in the programme or the ratings is likely to begin until Sinatra starts acting himself. He can work all the tension he wants into a song or even a performance but on television ya gotta be relaxed and ya gotta be straightforward and believable or it’s murder, as Sinatra is now experiencing it.”

(‘Variety’ 24th December 1957)

 

No. 33  12th January 1958 - ‘Bing Crosby And His Friends’ (CBS)   (a)

 

Directed by Seymour Berns. With the Buddy Cole Orchestra, John Daly, Tommy Harmon, Kathryn Crosby, Bob Hope, Phil Harris, Buddy Lester, Red Skelton, Bob Crosby and Fred MacMurray.

 

The first telecast of the Bing Crosby Pro-Am Golf Tournament. Bing presented a live variety show and introduced the song ‘Straight Down The Middle’.

 

Television coverage of this annual event continued during the remainder of Bing’s life and for a time, after his death. No further references to the event will be made in these listings.

 

*Straight Down The Middle

*Tomorrow’s My Lucky Day

 

Note:

(a)           A thirty-minute video excerpt was issued on Video Resources ‘Make Me Laugh - Bing & Friends’ (Catalogue number unknown)

 

“Bing Crosby and Friends put on some sort of a show yesterday afternoon. Ostensibly, a sports programme, featuring the finals of Bing’s tournament at Pebble Beach, it also contained attempts at entertainment.

The golf shots were confusing and meaningless, especially when every other ball flew off into the ocean. The comedy and entertainment pieces were contrived and superficial excepting a fairly nice slice of repartee, involving Crosby and Bob Hope.

One rattling piece of incongruity - During a commercial spell, brother Bob said, in effect, that no ‘plugs’ for movies or current jobs would be allowed to come from the guest stars, due to the charity aspect of the affair. Then Bing and Bob did a smart about-face by giving the old pitcheroo to a new Hope movie.”

(‘Los Angeles Evening Herald Express’ 13th January 1958)

 

“Apparently feeling that straight golf, even with celebrities, is too specialized a field for the mass audience, Crosby decided to jazz things up, shooting film clips of celebs in comedy routines, doing a filmed fashion show and providing some other extraneous inserts. But the technique didn’t work . . . In setting out to give the audience apples and pears, Crosby and CBS came up with a lemon.”

(‘Variety’ 15th January 1958)

 

No. 34  2nd March 1958 - ‘The Bob Hope Show’ (NBC) (a)

 

Guest appearance. With Les Brown and his Band, Anita Ekberg, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner.

 

  Two Sleepy People                                                                                            Bob Hope and Natalie Wood

*Nothing In Common                                                                        (b)            with Bob Hope

 

Note:

(a)           The entire show was issued on DVD by bobontv.com in 2010, reference No. 030258.

(b)           A video version of this item was included in the NBC-TV programme ‘On the Road with Bing: A Special Tribute to Bing Crosby’ which was shown on 28th October 1977.

                An abridged version of this item was also included in the Goodtimes Home Video ‘Bing Crosby - Hollywood’s Greatest Entertainer’ issued in 1991.

 

“The ‘well-alongers’ must have taken huge delight from Crosby and Hope, a winning parlay on any track. . . From Hope’s crackling monologue down through the curtain call bits, it was a gay romp. What looked like a walk-on for Crosby developed into one of those precious moments on television when the pair traded gags. It’s a pleasure to hear these vets bandy words. The dialogue is easy, charming and smooth. Together, they seem not to need a script. The relaxed give and take does it for them. This was comedy on a superlative level that beat a steady tattoo on the risibilities of the onlookers.”

(‘Variety’ 5th March 1958)

 

No. 35  24th September 1958 - ‘The George Jessel Show’

 

Guest appearance.

 

“Tonight, Bing Crosby trades chit-chat with George Jessel. . . You may watch Der Bingle at 8.30 on the station he owns, Channel 13. Before Bing shows up on the Jessel show tonight, comic Gene Baylos will warm up the viewers.”

(‘Los Angeles Evening Herald Express’ 24th September 1958)

 

No. 36  30th September 1958 - ‘The Eddie Fisher Show’

 

Guest appearance. Walk-on spot with Dean Martin interrupting Eddie Fisher and Jerry Lewis.

 

“The big moment in the Eddie Fisher show came when he and Jerry Lewis were clowning and Bing Crosby and Dean Martin walked onto the stage. Not a single boo from the audience and Eddie’s representatives vow the crowd wasn’t screened.”

(‘Los Angeles Evening Herald Express’ 1st October 1958)

 

No. 37  1st October 1958 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show for Oldsmobile’ (ABC)   (a)

 

Directed by Bill Colleran. Musical direction by Buddy Cole. With Tom Hanson & Tad Tadlock, Bill Hayes, Patti Page

Florence Henderson, Dean Martin and Mahalia Jackson.

 

*Well, Did You Evah! (Parody)                                                                        with Dean Martin, Patti Page, Bill Hayes & Florence Henderson

*Swanee                                                                                                (g)                                                                                                          

*In My Merry Oldsmobile (Parody)                                                                with Patti Page, Bill Hayes & Florence Henderson

  Summertime                                                                                                        Mahalia Jackson

  Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child                                                   Mahalia Jackson

 

Medley:                                                                                                 (h)

  Torna A Surriento                                                                                              Dean Martin        

*My Wild Irish Rose

  Oh, Marie                                                                                                            Dean Martin

*Galway Bay                                                                                       (b)            with Dean Martin

*Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral                (Parody)                                  (c)            with Dean Martin

 

Medley:

*In A Little Spanish Town

*Swinging On A Star                                                                                          with Dean Martin

  I Only Have Eyes For You (Parody)                                                               Dean Martin

  Once Upon A Time (It Happened)                                                                  Dean Martin

*My Little Buckaroo                                                                          (d)            with Dean Martin

 

  I Heard a Love Song in Paris (La Seine)                                                         Patti Page

*True Love                                                                                           (e)           with Dean Martin & Patti Page

*Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries                                                                      with Dean Martin & Patti Page

  Here’s To My Lady                                                                          (f)            Orchestra & Chorus

 

We Get Letters’ Medley:

*Mississippi Moon

  Tears In My Ears                                                                                               Patti Page

  Grace                                                                                                                   Dean Martin

*Twang, Twang, Twang                                                                                    with Dean Martin & Patti Page

 

*When The Saints Go Marching In                                                                 with Mahalia Jackson

*For My Good Fortune                                                                                      with Dean Martin & Mahalia Jackson

*Far Away Places                                                                                               

*I Guess I’ll Get The Papers (And Go Home)                                                with Dean Martin & Patti Page

  Well, Did You Evah! (Parody)                                                                        Chorus

 

Notes:

(a)           This was a ‘live’ show.

(b)           Dean Martin’s contribution consisted of spoken interjections only.

(c)           Dean Martin sings ‘O Sole Mio’ in counterpoint.

(d)           Dean Martin’s contribution consisted of a snatch of ‘Volare’.            

(e)           A video version of this item appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’.

(f)            Incidental accompaniment to a dance routine by Tom Hanson & Tad Tadlock.

(g)           The item was shown as part of the PBS presentation “The Legendary Bing Crosby” made available to PBS stations in 2010 and subsequently issued on DVD by Infinity Entertainment Group (No.IEG2204).

(h)           Included as an extra on the Infinity Entertainment DVD “The Legendary Bing Crosby” (IEG2204).

 

“A couple more like this one and ABC-TV will get a reputation for having put television back in show business. Without equivocation, the Bing Crosby Special last Wednesday night (1st) was a delightful viewing experience from beginning to end. A strictly professional enterprise from which Oldsmobile extracted maximum mileage in a tasteful serving of some of the best song salesmen extant. If the product itself, the ’59 Olds, can deliver half the qualitative, freewheeling performance that Crosby & Co achieved last week, then GM’s got itself a happy division.

Here was the plot - Crosby, Dean Martin, Patti Page and the wonderful Mahalia Jackson in a virtual hour songfest, either in solo, duet, trio or whatever which way. That’s all! For background, no elaborate, over-stuffed production but merely a simple crazy-quilt pattern of lights that made for an ingenious bit of electronic hoop-de-doo and a stunning effect in keeping the imaginative qualities of the show as a whole.

The pleasures were varied and frequent, including one of Crosby’s top tv performances to date. In fact the Bingo and Dean Martin were having themselves a merry romp throughout and even if Bill Morrow’s scripting wasn’t always at peak form, the ease and naturalness with which the banter was tossed off, more than compensated for this deficiency.

The opening, ‘What A Swell Party’ (sic) set the mood and the tempo and from then on it was pretty much of a breeze for everyone concerned. There was Crosby’s ‘Swanee’, a beautiful Mahalia Jackson rendition of ‘Summertime’, some Bing & Dean nip-ups, both verbal and vocal, spanning a wide and tuneful range; some Patti Page soloing and one of those inevitable Patti, Bing & Dean three-way clambakes, in both serious and satiric vein, reaching a peak of comicality in some ribbing of ‘We Get Letters’ and kidding around with ‘Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries’ and a rock ‘n’ roll joust. Then a lively Mahalia Jackson spiritual and a kidding-on-the-square ‘Wait For The Reviews’ finale.”

(‘Variety’ 8th October 1958)

 

Bing Crosby moved up to television's top rung last night with the first of his programs for the American Broadcasting Company. The presentation was a musical hour of charm, diversity, humor and taste; it was produced with enormous style and sophistication. The Groaner, who once had doubts about TV, has conquered another medium. This was a Crosby both old and new. Old for his informality, light banter and wry quips. New for his amusing admission of the passing years, the hard work that obviously went into his TV show and the refreshing avoidance of any jokes about Bob Hope. Mr. Crosby is now strictly modern.

(Jack Gould, New York Times, 2nd October 1958)

 

No. 38  22nd November 1958 - ‘The Dean Martin Show for Timex’ (NBC)

 

Guest appearance. Produced and directed by Jack Donohue. With the David Rose Orchestra, Phil Harris, The Treniers and

Dean Martin.

 

*Now You Has Jazz (Parody)                                                                            with Dean Martin and Phil Harris

  Just In Time                                                                                                        Dean Martin

*Volare                                                                                                  (a)           Dean Martin

  John Henry                                                                                                         Phil Harris

  Why, Oh Why                                                                                                   The Treniers

  R.O.C.K.                                                                                                              The Treniers

  I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter                                 Dean Martin & The Treniers

 

  Medley:

  What’ll I Do?                                                                                                      Dean Martin

  All By Myself                                                                                                     Dean Martin

  All Alone                                                                                                             Dean Martin

 

  Makin’ Whoopee                                                                                               Dean Martin & Phil Harris

  Guys And Dolls                                                                                                  Dean Martin & Phil Harris

 

  They Didn’t Believe Me                                                                                   Dean Martin

*Gigi

 

  Medley:

  I Surrender Dear                                                                                                 Dean Martin

  Just One More Chance                                                                                     Dean Martin

  May I?                                                                                                                 Dean Martin

*Learn To Croon

*Please

*Thanks

  June In January                                                                                                 Dean Martin

*Love In Bloom

*Love Is Just Around The Corner                                                                   with Dean Martin

*Love Thy Neighbour

*Soon

*It’s Easy To Remember

 

Note:

(a)           There are spoken comments from Bing and Phil Harris and both accompany Dean Martin for the last few lines, which include a snatch of ‘Where The Blue Of The Night’ from Bing.

 

“The only sustained bit of entertainment coming out of Dean Martin’s first show of the season, occurred in the last quarter hour when Martin and guest, Bing Crosby parlayed a medley of evergreens into a delightful, easygoing songfest. That the tunes were Crosby perennials helped add a neat nostalgic flavour to the segment.

But it took Martin a long time to get on the road to nostalgia. Preceding entries were arranged in hodge-podge manner without any particular flow or meaning. Although the solo shots by Martin and Crosby were okay, the horseplay preceding most of the numbers and centring, particularly, on Martin’s sobriety and/or Crosby’s gold is tiresome stuff at this point in the game. The studied casualness was strained and didn’t come off.”

(‘Variety’ 26th November 1958)

 

“There was an outstanding medley near the wind-up, with Martin and Bing Crosby, his guest, delivering some of Der Bingle’s hits of yesterday and a lot of viewers must have wished this piece de resistance had been lengthier. . . They could have used more of Crosby with Martin for the first half, when Bing was on rarely. . . Martin’s patter was good and Bing quipped about his sons’ penchant for marriage in Las Vegas. Martin registered with ‘Volare’, as Bing and Phil Harris kidded him about hamming it up. . . Harris scored with a dramatic rendition of ‘John Henry’; Crosby was a smooth as syrup with ‘Gigi’; then Martin and Crosby went into the click hits, reeling off vintagers such as, ‘Learn To Croon’, ‘I Surrender Dear’ etc’. Martin would sing a few, then Crosby would pick it up and then they would duet. It was a solid, terrific routine.”

(‘Daily Variety’ 24th November 1958)

 

No. 39  December 1958 - USO Christmas Show   (a)

 

Introduced by President Eisenhower. With The Band Of The USA, Anna Maria Alberghetti, June Allyson, Louis Armstrong, Jack Benny, Polly Bergen, Milton Berle, Ray Bolger, George Burns, Marge & Gower Champion, Cyd Charisse, Van Cliben, Rhonda Fleming, Benny Goodman, Eydie Gorme, Bob Hope, Lena Horne, Betty Hutton, Danny Kaye, Frankie Laine, Tony Martin, David Niven, Kim Novak, Gregory Peck, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Jane Powell, Martha Raye, Jimmie Rodgers, Jane Russell, Dick Shawn, Dinah Shore, James Stewart, Gale Storm, Danny Thomas and Miyoshi Umecki.

 

  Around The World                                                                                                            Rhonda Fleming

  They Can’t Take That Away From Me                                                                           Dinah Shore

  It Might As Well Be Spring                                                                                              Miyoshi Umecki

  Piano solo                                                                                                                            Van Cliben

  Lullaby Of Broadway                                                                                                         Betty Hutton

  It’s A Most Unusual Day                                                                                                 Jane Powell

  Avalon                                                                                                                                 Benny Goodman Quintet

  Ivory Tower                                                                                                                        Gale Storm

  I’d Do Anything                                                                                                                 Lena Horne

*White Christmas                                                                                                (b)

  I’ve Got The World On A String                                                                                     Anna Maria Alberghetti

  When Your Lover Has Gone                                                                                           Eydie Gorme

  Smiles                                                                                                                  (c)           Jimmie Rodgers, Tony Martin & Frankie Laine

  There’s No Tomorrow (O Sole Mio)                                                                              Tony Martin

  Oh-Oh, I’m Falling In Love Again                                                                                  Jimmie Rodgers

  That’s My Desire                                                                                                               Frankie Laine

  Taking A Chance On Love                                                                                              Martha Raye

  My Honey, I Will Pine For You                                                                      (d)           Jack Benny, George Burns & James Stewart

  Come Rain Or Come Shine                                                                                               Polly Bergen

  When The Saints Go Marching In                                                                                  Danny Kaye & Louis Armstrong

  Silent Night                                                                                                         (e)

 

Notes:

(a)           A filmed all star variety special for Overseas American Forces. Shown on AFRTS.  An edited thirty-minute video version (with Bing’s portion intact) was issued on Home Video Syndications VC-210 - ‘Visions Of Christmas’

(b)           Bing appears to sing ‘White Christmas’ by lip-synching to his 1955 recording with the Paul Weston Orchestra and the Norman Luboff Choir.

(c)           Brief parody

(d)           See programme No.12 when a similar act, under the same banner of ‘Goldie, Fields and Glide’ was performed. James Stewart deputises for Bing on this occasion.

(e)           Various groups of the entertainers take part (Bing was not present).

 

No. 40  2nd March 1959 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show for Oldsmobile’ (ABC)  (a)

 

Produced and directed by Bill Colleran. With Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Tom Hanson & Tad Tadlock, Jo Stafford, James Garner, Dean Martin, Phillip Crosby and Dennis Crosby.

 

*Love Won’t Let You Get Away (Parody)                                     (c)                           with cast

*Ol’ Man River                                                                                    (b) (c) (e)

  I’ll Be Seeing You                                                                                                             Jo Stafford

*It’s Easy To Remember                                                                   (d)                           with Dean Martin                                                               

*Hooray For Love                                                                                                             with Jo Stafford & James Garner

  Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home                                                                              James Garner

  Stardust / Way DownYonder in New Orleans                                                           Chorus & Orchestra

*Fancy Meeting You Here                                                                (c)                          with Jo Stafford

*On A Slow Boat To China                                                               (c)                          with Jo Stafford

*I Can’t Get Started                                                                                                           with Jo Stafford

*Hindustan                                                                                           (c)                         with Jo Stafford

*It Happened In Monterey                                                                                              with Jo Stafford

*You Came A Long Way From St. Louis                                                                       with Jo Stafford

*Love Won’t Let You Get Away                                                                                    with Jo Stafford

*Twilight On The Trail                                                                        (b)

*Love Won’t Let You Get Away (Parody)                                                                    with cast

*The Jones Boy                                                                                                                 with Phillip Crosby and Dennis Crosby.

 

Notes:

(a)           An abridged version of the show was shown on the Nostalgia cable channel in the USA in August 1995.

                Phillip and Dennis Crosby used a parody of ‘The Children’s Marching Song’ to link the various segments.

(b)                 Video versions appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’.

(c)           Audio versions of these songs were included on the Bluebird CD ‘Fancy Meeting You Here’.

(d)           A cappella - Bing has only a line or two.

(e)           The item was shown as part of the PBS presentation “The Legendary Bing Crosby” made available to PBS stations in 2010 and subsequently issued on DVD by Infinity Entertainment Group (No.IEG2204).

 

“Bing Crosby’s second show of the season for Oldsmobile was a highly entertaining exercise in cleverness. From Bill Morrow’s script through the special musical material by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen to the settings by Jim Trittipo, the stanza was sparked by a wit and an ingenuity which gave an extra edge to the line-up of names…

Morrow’s scripting, as usual, was keyed to the Crosby style of relaxed but completely constructed palaver. The show also happened to be solid in the performance department, as well. On hand were Jo Stafford who was at the top of her form in her solo of ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ and her wind-up, 20-minute duet with Crosby on a flock of standards. Dean Martin, unbilled and unannounced, turned up for a gag imitation of Bing Crosby in his salad days while Garner was ingratiating in his singing and chatter assignments.

The Crosby twins, Phillip and Dennis, were used as prop boys, singing the intros and shifting the Trittipo sets in a flowing transition from number to number. Their integration into the long Stafford-Crosby duet via do-it-yourself constructions of Chinese junks, Mexican sombreros, airplanes and the Eiffel Tower was standout. They also joined Crosby for a pleasant workout on a hit of a couple of years ago, ‘The Jones Boy’.”

(‘Variety’ 4th March 1959)

 

A scenic designer named James Trittipo virtually stole the Bing Crosby Show last night on Channel 7. His impressionistic settings made of unfinished lumber were breathtaking in their inventiveness, simplicity and humor...Otherwise the show was in the best Crosby tradition, unhurried entertainment that was consistently pleasant.

(Jack Gould, New York Times, 3rd March 1959)

 

No. 41  19th March 1959 - ‘The Dean Martin Show’  (Colour)  (a)

 

Guest appearance.  Produced and directed by Jack Donohue. With the David Rose Orchestra, The Curfew Kids, Donald O’Connor, Gisele MacKenzie and Dean Martin.

 

  Small Fry                                                                                                             Dean Martin & Donald O’Connor

  Back In The Old Routine                                                                                  Dean Martin & Donald O’Connor

 

Note:

(a)           Further details unknown. This may be considered a doubtful entry.  ‘Variety’ of 25th March 1959 carries a review of the programme, without mentioning, Bing. This need not, necessarily, preclude his appearance and as he performed both of the songs noted, with Donald O’Connor, a ‘gag’ walk-on could still be a possibility.

 

No. 42  29th September 1959 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show  for Oldsmobile’ (ABC)  (a)

 

Directed by Bill Colleran. With the Axel Stordahl Orchestra, Jayne Turner, Bill Hayes and Florence Henderson, George Shearing, Joe Bushkin, Paul Smith, Peggy Lee, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra.

 

*I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore (Parody)                                                 with Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee & Louis Armstrong

*Looking At The World Through Rose-Coloured Glasses

  Willow Weep For Me                                                                                        Frank Sinatra

  Baubles, Bangles and Beads                                                                           Peggy Lee

 

Piano Medley:                                                                                                     with George Shearing, Joe Bushkin and Paul Smith (Pianos)

*I Love A Piano                                                                                                  with Frank Sinatra & Peggy Lee

  Lullaby Of Birdland                                                                                          Peggy Lee with George Shearing (Piano)

  The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else                                               Frank Sinatra with Paul Smith (Piano)

*Where The Blue Of The Night                                                                        with Joe Bushkin (Piano)

*I Love A Piano (Reprise)                                                                                 with Frank Sinatra & Peggy Lee

 

  Mack The Knife                                                                                                Louis Armstrong

*Too Neat To Be A Beatnik                                                                             with Peggy Lee

*Basin Street Blues                                                                             (b)          with Louis Armstrong

*Everybody Loves My Baby

*Lazy Bones                                                                                                        with Louis Armstrong

 

Medley:

  Them There Eyes                                                                                              Louis Armstrong

  Some Of These Days                                                                                        Peggy Lee

  If I Could Be With You                                                                                    Frank Sinatra

  Lazy River                                                                                                          Frank Sinatra & Peggy Lee

*High Society Rag                                                                                              with Peggy Lee

  Sleepy Time Down South                                                                                Louis Armstrong

*Now You Has Jazz                                                                                           with Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee & Louis Armstrong

 

Notes:

(a)           A video version was issued on Festival Films ‘Bing Crosby and Friends Volume 2’.  An abridged edition of the show was televised on the Nostalgia cable channel in the USA in October, 1995. The entire show was issued on the Collectors’ Choice Music 2-DVD set “Bing Crosby: The Television Specials – Volume 1” in April, 2010

(b)           An abridged video version of this item was included in the ABC-TV programme ‘Bing Crosby: His Life and Legend’ which was shown on 25th May 1978. A video clip of this item also appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’.

 

“Mount Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Louis Armstrong, Joe Bushkin, George Shearing and Paul Smith in a tasteful, Bill Colleran framework and its hardly an accident that you come up with a 60-minute layout that’s alternately, sophisticated, smart, breezy, snazzy and solid entertainment. Which just about characterises last Tuesday night’s, ‘Bing Crosby Show’

Crosby bore the brunt of the show and for the most part was in fine fettle, whether working solo or dueting with Sinatra or Miss Lee or ‘Satchmo’. With a Bill Morrow scripting assist, Crosby and Sinatra tossed the gab ball back and forth and this may have been the only fall from grace. It wasn’t Grade A gab tossing.

Whether it was Satchmo’s blowing up a storm or vocalising, or Crosby, Sinatra or Miss Lee singing, dueting or as a threesome, or yet again, a Bushkin-Shearing-Smith grand slam in their 88 virtuosing, it came out like tv being restored to the show biz pedestal. These Crosby outings have a habit of upgrading the medium.

There was special song material by Sammy Cahn (who co-produced with Colleran) and Jimmy Van Heusen; a bang up orchestral background by Axel Stordahl and an overall decor that was elegant simplicity.

The sequencing of the numbers gave the show a correct tempo and pacing, from the opening, ‘I’m Glad We’re Not Young Anymore’ by the Crosby-Sinatra-Miss Lee-Armstrong foursome to the closing medley by the quartet. Interlaced were such highlights as Crosby’s ‘Looking At The World Through Rose-Coloured Glasses’, his trademarked ‘When (sic) The Blue Of The Night’, his duet with Miss Lee on ‘Too Neat To Be A Beatnik’; Sinatra’s ‘Willow Weep For Me’, ‘The One I Love’ and ‘If I Could Be With You’; Miss Lee’s ‘Baubles, Bangles And Beads’, ‘Some Of These Days’ and ‘The One I Love’; Satchmo’s ‘Mack The Knife’; ‘Basin Street’ and ‘Lazy River’. Dovetailed with the vocals was a fetching terpsichoreal sequence by Jayne Turner and dancers - a capsule jazz version of ‘Cinderella’.

There was more, too, virtually all of it rich in texture and amply rewarding for the viewing and the listening.”

(‘Variety’ 30th September 1959)

 

No. 43  19th October 1959 - ‘The Frank Sinatra Timex Show’ (ABC)   (a)

 

Guest appearance. Directed by Bill Colleran. Executive producers Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen. With the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Dean Martin, Mitzi Gaynor and Jimmy Durante

 

*High Hopes (Parody)                                                                                       with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Mitzi Gaynor

  Day In, Day Out                                                                                                Frank Sinatra

*Together Wherever We Go                                                             (b)          with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin

  Hurricane Mitzi                                                                                  (c)           Mitzi Gaynor

  Talk To Me                                                                                                        Frank Sinatra

*Cheek To Cheek                                                                                               with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Mitzi Gaynor

  Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams                                                                     Dean Martin

 

Medley:

*Give Us The Good Old Songs                                                                         with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin

*Down By The Old Mill Stream

  The Old Grey Mare                                                                                           Frank Sinatra

  In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree                                                            Dean Martin

  That Old Feeling                                                                                                Frank Sinatra

*Down The Old Ox Road

  Ol’ Rockin’ Chair                                                                                               Dean Martin

  Old Devil Moon                                                                                                 Frank Sinatra

  You’re An Old Smoothie                                                                                  Dean Martin

*My Old Flame

*Ol’ Man River                                                                                                    with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin

 

  High Hopes                                                                                                         Frank Sinatra & Children’s Chorus

 

Medley:

  Just One Of Those Things                                                                                Frank Sinatra

  Angel Eyes                                                                                                          Frank Sinatra

  The Lady Is A Tramp                                                                                         Frank Sinatra

 

Medley:

*You Gotta Start Off Each Day With A Song                                                 with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin

  Who Will Be With You When I’m Far Away?                                             Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin

*Inka Dinka Doo                                                                                                  with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin

*Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home                                                   with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Mitzi Gaynor   & Jimmy Durante

 

Notes:

(a)                 A video version of the programme was issued on Alpha Distribution VST035 ‘The Frank Sinatra Show No. 3’, also on Mountain Video VCM035 ‘The Frank Sinatra Show’ and on Festival Films (No catalogue No.) ‘Bing Crosby and Friends Volume 3’.

(b)           A video version was included in the Public Broadcasting Service TV special ‘Frank Sinatra – The Classic Duets’ aired in the USA in December 2002 and March 2003. The special has subsequently been issued on DVD and video.

An audio version was issued on Capitol CD 72435-42771-2-2 – ‘Frank Sinatra - Classic Duets’

(c)           Non-vocal.  Incidental music for dance routine only.

 

“ABC-TV atoned for a bundle of vidpix scenes on Monday night (19th) when it ushered in the first of four Frank Sinatra specials this season, in an hour frolic that paid off with the desired entertainment wallop. On deck for the occasion, along with Sinatra, were Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Mitzi Gaynor (with a special surprise appearance by Jimmy Durante for the finale).  Spice it up with those distinctive touches that have now become par for the course where producer-director Bill Colleran is concerned, and what does it matter if Sinatra has been in better voice, if there’s too-gimmicky backgrounding or if the silhouetting, shading and lighting on occasion distracted rather than enhanced?

In the words of the Bingo, bring forth three vagrant minstrels together and brother, you got yourself a summit meeting. You’ve got to go a long way to find three personalities who blend with such perfection. The trio’s closer, providing a tantalising sneak preview of their Clayton, Jackson & Durante filmization on the drawing board for ’60, was whammo from ‘Start Off Each Day With A Song’ to ‘Inka Dinka Doo’ and ‘Bill Bailey’ (with, of course, the Schnozz himself as the clincher).

Or again, the threesome kicking around a bagful of old ASCAP standards and clowning up the ‘Together’ number. And if Sinatra in solo was a bit off the pedestal in his ‘Day In, Day Out’, he more than redeemed himself as he reprised his nitery routine (backed by a small combo) as he fractured his audience with ‘Lady Is a Tramp’ and ‘Just One Of Those Things’ . . .”

(‘Variety’ 21st October 1959)

 

“Frank Sinatra's first show on Channel 7 last night ranged in mood from torpor to a state of adept showmanship that might be expected from a combination of his talents with those of Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Mitzi Gaynor. The trouble was that the program had a disconnected quality about it, as if the curtain dropped between its segments. There was no easy flowing continuity. The high points included songs sung in night-club fashion by Mr. Sinatra, a medley by his guests, who introduced the show, and the finale starring all hands, and, surprise, Jimmy Durante.”

(Richard F. Shepard, New York Times, 20th October 1959)

 

No. 44  29th February 1960 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show for Oldsmobile’ (ABC)   (a)

 

Produced and directed by Nick Vanoff. Orchestra directed by Vic Schoen. With Elaine Dunne, Sandy Stewart, Perry Como, Phillip Crosby, Dennis Crosby and Lindsay Crosby.

 

*Sing, Sing, Sing                                                                                                   with Perry Como & the Crosby Boys

*Zing A Little Zong                                                                                             with Perry Como

 

Medley:

*Lazy                                                                                                                     with Perry Como

*Gone Fishin’                                                                                                       with Perry Como

*Lazy Afternoon                                                                                                 with Perry Como

*Hoop-De-Doo                                                                                                    with Perry Como

 

*Getting To Know You                                                                                      with Perry Como, Elaine Dunne & Sandy Stewart

 

Medley:

  Zing A Little Zong                                                                                             Elaine Dunne & Sandy Stewart

  Dream Along With Me (I’m On My Way To A Star)                                  Sandy Stewart

  Where the Blue of the Night                                                                            Elaine Dunne

  Catch A Falling Star                                                                                          Sandy Stewart

  Swinging On A Star                                                                                           Elaine Dunne

  Hot Diggity                                                                                                         Sandy Stewart

  Pennies From Heaven                                                                                       Elaine Dunne

  Papa Loves Mambo                                                                                          Sandy Stewart

  Play A Simple Melody                                                                                      Elaine Dunne & Sandy Stewart

*A Couple Of Song And Dance Men                                                              with Perry Como, Elaine Dunne & Sandy Stewart

  Bye, Bye, Blackbird                                                                                          Sandy Stewart

 

Medley:                                                                                                 (b)

*Mimi                                                                                                                    with Perry Como

  Louise                                                                                                                  Perry Como

*Thank Heaven For Little Girls                                                                       

*Valentine                                                                                                            with Perry Como

*Thank Heaven For Little Girls (Reprise)                                                        with Perry Como

  How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On The Farm                                             Vic Schoen Orchestra

 

  Scarlet Ribbons                                                                                                  Phillip, Dennis & Lindsay Crosby

  Before I Leave This Town                                                                               Phillip, Dennis & Lindsay Crosby

*Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho                                                      (c)           with Phillip, Dennis & Lindsay Crosby

  Come Along With Me To New York                                                              Elaine Dunne

 

Medley:                                                                                                 (b)                                          

*Sing, Sing, Sing                                                                                                  with Perry Como

*Ma Blushin’ Rosie

  Dinah                                                                                                                   Perry Como

*Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider                                                                               with Perry Como

*Gigi

  I Could Write A Book                                                                                       Perry Como

*I Found A Million-Dollar Baby (In A Five & Ten Cent Store)

*I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan                                                          with Perry Como

*Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams

  Dream Along With Me (I’m On My Way To A Star)                                 Perry Como

*Get Happy                                                                                          (d)           with Perry Como

*When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin’ Along

  Mr. Meadowlark                                                                                                Perry Como

*Bob White (Whatcha Gonna Swing Tonight)

  I Whistle A Happy Tune                                                                                  Perry Como

*Avalon

  Manhattan                                                                                                         Perry Como

*Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town)

*Hit The Road To Dreamland                                                                           with Perry Como

  Show Me The Way To Go Home                                                                   Perry Como

*Two Sleepy People (Parody)                                                                           with Perry Como

 

Notes:

(a)           Recorded 11th January 1960. An abridged version of the show was shown on the Nostalgia cable channel in the USA in September 1995.

(b)           An audio version of the medley was issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-123 ‘Crosby and Como’.

(c)           A video version of this item appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’ and it was also included as an extra on the Infinity Entertainment DVD “The Legendary Bing Crosby” (IEG2204). An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-123 ‘Crosby and Como’ and on American Masters CD - 'Bing Crosby Rediscovered: The Soundtrack'.

(d)           Bing ‘scats’ only.

 

“Pairing Perry Como with Bing Crosby may not be change of pace casting but the two stars are masters of the song craft and joined together for a consistently pleasing and of course, always relaxing musical session. It was the first that they had worked together and now, Crosby is slated to play the Como show March 16 on NBC-TV on a home-and-home guest arrangement.

It was, perhaps, inevitable that the Como-Crosby tandem would invite a script that laid on both performers’ easy-going, if not somnolent, style. A couple of nifty laughs were extracted from this angle but it was accented somewhat too heavily through the hour.

Overall, however, the scripting team, headed by Crosby’s veteran phrasemaker, Bill Morrow, turned out some typically smooth-riding persiflage for Der Bingle and his guest. In their song stints, done mostly in duet, C & C delivered with their trademarked casualness, with no effort to bowl over the viewer. The backgrounds were minimal, with some chorus boys used as occasional transitions as the baritone crooners worked through several long standard medleys. Included were a collection of ‘lazy’ songs, a Maurice Chevalier wrap-up midway and a random sample of oldies for the finale.

Also part of the guest line-up were three of Crosby’s four sons who contributed a couple of nifty folk songs, ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ and ‘A Fox Went A’Hunting’, joining with their pere in a slick version of ‘Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho’. They bowed off after engaging in an amusing display of way-back hoofing.

The guest line-up was completed by a couple of good-looking talents, singer-dancer, Elaine Dunne and songstress, Sandy Stewart. Their intro routine via some cross talk between Crosby and Como was slightly too cute but the girls handled their assignments expertly.”

(‘Variety’ 2nd March 1960)

 

No. 45  16th March 1960 - ‘Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall’ (NBC) (Colour)

 

Guest appearance. With Mitchell Ayres Orchestra, the Ray Charles Mixed Group, Genevieve and Peter Gennaro.

 

*Dream Along With Me (I’m On My Way To A Star)                 (a)

*In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening                                      (a)           with Perry Como                                 

*On Behalf Of The Visiting Firemen                                                (a)           with Perry Como 

*In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening (Reprise)                     (a)           with Perry Como

 

Medley:                                                                                                 (b)

*Yes! We Have No Bananas                                                                            with Perry Como 

*The Aba Daba Honeymoon                                                                           with Perry Como 

*Animal Crackers

  Barney Google                                                                                                   Perry Como         

*Collegiate                                                                                                            with Perry Como 

*C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T-I-N-O-P-L-E                                                                       with Perry Como 

*Crazy Words, Crazy Tune (Vo-Do-De-O-Do)                                               with Perry Como 

*It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’                                                                           with Perry Como 

*I Scream -You Scream - We All Scream For Ice Cream                                with Perry Como 

*Mr. Gallagher & Mr. Shean                                                                             with Perry Como 

 

Medley:                                                                                                                

  Who Threw The Overalls In Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?                             Genevieve

*MacNamara’s Band                                                                                           with Chorus

*Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral                                                                                   with Perry Como

*Dear Old Donegal

  It’s A Great Day For The Irish                                                                        Chorus

 

Medley:                                                                                                 (c)          

*Sing, Sing, Sing

*I Hear Music                                                                                                      with Perry Como

  Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning                                                  Perry Como

*Ma Blushin’ Rosie

*Here Comes The Sun

  Blue Skies                                                                                                           Perry Como

*It’s A Lovely Day, Today

  Breezin’ Along With The Breeze                                                                    Perry Como

*Let’s Get Away From It All                                                                             with Perry Como

  Back In Your Own Backyard                                                                            Perry Como

*Mountain Greenery                                                                          (d)           with Perry Como

*Aren’t You Glad You’re You?                                                                        with Perry Como

*When I Take My Sugar To Tea

  When My Sugar Walks Down The Street                                                     Perry Como

*At Sundown

  My Blue Heaven                                                                                               Perry Como

*Moonlight Bay                                                                                  (e)           with Perry Como

*Where The Blue Of The Night                                                        (e)

  Dream Along With Me (I’m On My Way To A Star)                  (e)           Perry Como

*Let’s Put Out The Lights And Go To Sleep (Parody)                 (e) (f)      with Perry Como

*On Behalf Of The Visiting Firemen (Reprise)                                               with Perry Como

*In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening (Reprise)                                     with Perry Como

*I Hear Music (Reprise)                                                                                     with Perry Como

 

Notes:

(a)           Audio versions of these items were issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-123 ‘Crosby and Como’.

(b)           An audio version of the medley was issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-123 ‘Crosby and Como’.

(c)           A video version of the medley was issued on Festival Films (unnumbered) - ‘Bing Crosby Surprise Package’.

                An audio version of the medley was issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-123 ‘Crosby and Como’.

(d)           A video version of this item was included in the ABC-TV programme ‘Bing Crosby: His Life and   Legend’ which was shown on 25th May 1978.

(e)                 Extracts of these items were seen in ‘Remembering Bing’, a 90-minute special produced by WTTW, Chicago and televised by the Public Broadcasting Service on 28th November 1987.

(f)                  Shown on ‘An Evening At  Pop’s’ with Perry Como as guest, on PBS September 1988.

 

“The flip side of the C & C songalog is just as good as the original. Which means that Bing Crosby and Perry Como, in taking up last Wednesday (16th) on Kraft Music Hall, just about where they left off a couple of weeks previous on the Bingo ABC special, had themselves another ball as they cavorted through a mile-wide repertory. Practically half of the full-hour showcase was strictly from duet and a more engaging earful would be hard to come by. They ranged all over the lot, from the ‘crazy songs’ of the ‘20’s as their forepart contribution to an up-dated 15-minute roundelay as the closer.

All told, it was a melodic and a tasteful production, geared for sight values and dressed up in NBC’s finest compatible hues, with an appropriate genuflecting to St. Pat, as Crosby, Como and guest star, Genevieve frolicked on the tinted green. Genevieve’s Gallic tempoed tunes and charm, whether she was working solo or in concert with Crosby and/or Como, framed themselves favourably around the display. It was an infectious kind of fun with some supplementary contributions by Peter Gennaro in the terp department and fine choraling by the Ray Charles mixed group. Basically, this was Bank Night for C & C fans.”

(‘Variety’ 23rd March 1960)

 

No. 46  24th March 1960 - ‘Revlon Revue’ – ‘A Salute To Paul Whiteman’ (CBS)

 

Presented by Revlon to celebrate Whiteman’s 50th anniversary in show business and also his 70th birthday.

 

Guest appearance. Hosted by Mike Wallace, with Jack Teagarden, Buster Keaton and Peggy Lee.

 

  Basin Street Blues                                                                                             Jack Teagarden

  When Day Is Done                                                                                           Paul Whiteman Orchestra

 

  Pearl Bailey Medley:                                                                                       Peggy Lee

  Rockin’ Chair

  The Gypsy In My Soul

  Georgia On My Mind

  It’s So Peaceful In The Country

  Hold On

  Rockin’ Chair (Reprise)

 

  Medley:

  Jeepers Creepers                                                                                                Peggy Lee and Jack Teagarden

  Lazy River                                                                                                           Jack Teagarden

  Them There Eyes                                                                                               Peggy Lee with Jack Teagarden (Trombone)

  Christmas Night In Harlem                                                                               Peggy Lee and Jack Teagarden

 

*Mississippi Mud                                                                                 (a)

*Happy Birthday To You                                                                     (a)

 

  Orchestral Medley:                                                                                         Paul Whiteman Orchestra

  Tiger Rag

  You’re Driving Me Crazy

  Song Of India

  Rhapsody In Blue

 

Note:

(a)           Snatches only of these items

 

“Paul Whiteman, one of the major figures in the history of pop and jazz music, rated a more swinging tribute on his 70th birthday than he was accorded on the ‘Revlon Revue’ last Thursday night (24). The stanza was strictly routine and a frequently listless run-down of tunes associated with Whiteman. Bing Crosby, one of the Rhythm Boys in the Whiteman band, during the late 1920’s, turned up on the show, via a tape sequence, to do a fast ‘Happy Birthday’ chorus to the man who launched him on his crooning career. Like the rest of the show, Crosby’s accolade to Whiteman was devoid of real warmth…”

(‘Variety’ 30th March 1960)

 

No. 47  5th October 1960 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show for Oldsmobile’ (ABC)   (a)

 

Produced and directed by William O. Harbach. With Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Dennis, Phillip & Lindsay Crosby,  Carol Lawrence, Rosemary Clooney and Johnny Mercer.

 

*On The Street Where You Live                                                       (b)

 

*Let’s Take An Old-Fashioned Walk                                                               with Rosemary Clooney

*Lazy Bones (Parody)                                                                                        with Johnny Mercer                                           

*Lullaby Of Broadway (Parody)                                                                      with Carol Lawrence                                          

  Daddy (Parody)                                                                                                 Dennis, Phillip & Lindsay Crosby

 

Song Writers Medley:                                                                                                                      

*I Want To Be Happy                                                                                         with Rosemary Clooney

  Great Day!                                                                                                           Rosemary Clooney

*I Found A Million-Dollar Baby

  On The Atcheson, Topeka & The Santa Fe                                                 Johnny Mercer

*That Old Black Magic

  Over The Rainbow                                                                                            Rosemary Clooney with Chorus

  Old Devil Moon                                                                                                 Johnny Mercer

*Feudin’ And Fightin’                                                                                       with Rosemary Clooney

  South American Way                                                                                       Carol Lawrence

*I Can’t Give You Anything But Love                                                            with Carol Lawrence

  I Won’t Dance                                                                                   (c)           Orchestra

  Long Ago And Far Away                                                                                Rosemary Clooney

  A Foggy Day                                                                                                      Johnny Mercer & Rosemary Clooney

*Swanee

*I Want To Be Happy                                                                                        with Johnny Mercer, Rosemary Clooney & Carol Lawrence

 

  Limehouse Blues                                                                                               Dennis, Phillip & Lindsay Crosby

*Please                                                                                                  (d)           with Dennis, Phillip & Lindsay Crosby

*Mississippi Mud                                                                                               with Dennis, Phillip & Lindsay Crosby

 

Medley:                                                                                                 (e)          

  If I Had My Druthers                                                                                       Rosemary Clooney

  You Are My Lucky Star (Parody)                                                                  Rosemary Clooney

  The March Of The Gladiators (Parody)                                                        Rosemary Clooney

  The Man On The Flying Trapeze (Parody)                                                  Rosemary Clooney

  Love Is Sweeping The Country (Parody)                                                     Rosemary Clooney

*The Love Nest (Parody)

  How About You?                                                                                              Rosemary Clooney

*If I Had My Druthers

*Tea For Two (Parody)                                                                                      with Rosemary Clooney

*Popeye The Sailor Man

*I Get A Kick Out Of You (Parody)                                                                 with Rosemary Clooney

*You Gotta Be A Football Hero

(To Get Along With The Beautiful Girls)                                         with Rosemary Clooney

*Aren’t You Glad You’re You?                                                        (f)             with Rosemary Clooney

  I Like The Likes Of You                                                                                    Rosemary Clooney

*Stay As Sweet As You Are                                                            (f)

*Aren’t You Glad You’re You? (Reprise)                                                        with Rosemary Clooney

*There Will Never Be Another You                                                 (f)            with Rosemary Clooney

 

  When I Was Very Young                                                                 (g)          

 

Old Time Radio Medley:                                                                    (h)          

*Where The Blue Of The Night

*Mr. Gallagher & Mr. Shean (Parody)                                                            with Johnny Mercer

*Mr. Meadowlark                                                                                               with Johnny Mercer

*On Behalf Of The Visiting Firemen                                                                with Johnny Mercer           

*Mr Gallagher And Mr Shean (Reprise)                                                         with Johnny Mercer

  There Will Never Be Another You                                                                 Rosemary Clooney

 

Medley:                                                                                                 (i)

*Pennies From Heaven

*June In January                                                                                 (j)

*Learn To Croon                                                                                 (j)

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

*Tumbling Tumbleweeds

*Sweet Leilani

*Blue Hawaii

*Play A Simple Melody

 

Notes:

(a)           Recorded August 1960. The programme was issued on a Festival Films video as ‘Bing Crosby and Friends Volume 6’. An abridged version of the show was televised on the Nostalgia cable channel in the USA in January 1996.

(b)           An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’.

The arrangement for this item includes portions of the four songs shown in italics. A device which serves to introduce the main participants in the show.

(c)           Non vocal.  Incidental music to accompany Carol Lawrence dance routine.

(d)           An abridged video version of this item was included in the ABC-TV programme ‘Bing Crosby: His Life and Legend’ which was shown on 25th May 1978.

                An abridged version of this item was also seen in ‘Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 - 1957’ first shown on the Disney Channel on 21st November 1993 and subsequently issued on an MCA video MCAV-10846.

(e)           An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’. Most of the titles shown are fragmentary and parodies. A brief glimpse of Bing and Rosemary Clooney together was also seen in ‘Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 - 1957’ first shown on the Disney Channel 21st November 1993 and subsequently issued on an MCA video MCAV-10846.

(f)            Video versions of these items appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’.

(g)                 Orchestral introduction to dance routine by Carol Lawrence, including ‘Little Orphan Annie’ sung by Chorus.

(h)           An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’

(i)            With the aid of split screen technique, Bing duets with several versions of himself. An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’ (Date shown as ‘1961’). Extracts were shown as part of the PBS presentation “The Legendary Bing Crosby” made available to PBS stations in 2010 and subsequently issued on DVD by Infinity Entertainment Group (No.IEG2204).

(j)            Video versions of these items appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’.

 

“Bing Crosby, in his first special of the new season, was the front man of a neat musical stanza, last Wednesday night (5th). Keyed by Crosby in his customary relaxed groove, the session framed an excellent roster of supporting performers in a swinging format. The quartet of scripters supplied a breezy continuity which didn’t get in the way of the music, while the production mountings were imaginative without being pretentious.

The music was pegged to a series of flexible medleys which permitted Crosby and company to work ensemble and solo. After Crosby’s, ‘On The Street Where You Live’ opener, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mercer and Carol Lawrence brought on in a ‘singing game’ involving a chain of cleffing collaborations. It started with the Irving Caesar-Vincent Youmans, ‘I Wanna Be Happy’ to Youmans-Billy Rose’s, ‘Great Day!’ to Rose-Warren’s, ‘I Found A Million Dollar Baby’ etc. It was a clever device for running through about a dozen great standards.

The Crosby sons, minus Gary, contributed a bright, ‘Limehouse Blues’ and then joined with papa on a couple of numbers, including a rock ‘n’ roll take-off on, ‘Please’. Crosby’s ‘old master’ quality was vividly, on display, in this contrast with the younger generation’s derivative talent. Crosby also teamed with Miss Clooney in a nifty piece of material cut from ‘Aren’t You Glad You’re You?’ and then worked with Mercer in a nifty creation of the old days of radio…. Miss Clooney handled one solo number, ‘There’ll Never Be Another You’, in classy style against an appropriately formal background.

For the wind-up, Crosby delivered a medley of his past hits, playing against two other Crosby images, in a cleverly and precisely executed process of film super-impositions. Nelson Riddle’s Orchestra cut the show sharply, throughout.”

(‘Variety’ 12th October 1960)

 

“. . . besides the three junior Crosby’s, there will also be, three of the senior. Aided by a little electronic chicanery, the old man appears on screen in triplicate for a brace of numbers.”

(‘TV Guide’ 5th October 1960)

 

Bing Crosby’s first special of the season, an attraction on Channel 7 last night, was a highly tuneful outing of very considerable style and imagination. Dispensing with the Palm Springs chatter that had grown a trifle wearing last season, the Old Groaner concentrated this time on a variety of medleys done in different styles with Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mercer, Carol Lawrence and his sons, Dennis, Phillip and Lindsay. It was unpretentious, relaxed and musically fresh. Admittedly, the individuals in charge of the sound portion of the show were not at their most efficient. At the outset a mixture of delightful standard numbers was all but obscured by Nelson Riddle’s orchestra...The show’s final number involved a triple exposure, which had three different Bing Crosby's in different costumes, singing simultaneously. It was a real technical feat and interesting and amusing to watch. The three Crosby sons, once the brats of video, have come a long way, the number with their father, adapting “Please” to a Presley rhythm was fine.

(Jack Gould, ‘New York Times’ 6th October 1960)

 

No. 48  19th October 1960 - ‘Tonight’ (BBC(a)

 

Interviewed at Sunningdale Golf Course in the UK by Derek Hart. Bing whistles a few bars of ‘Where The Blue Of The Night’.

 

Note:

(a)           Recorded 15th October 1960.

 

No. 49  20th March 1961 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show for Oldsmobile’ (ABC (a)

 

Produced and directed by William O. Harbach. With the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Aldo Monaco, Hugh Lambert,

Carol Lawrence and Maurice Chevalier.

 

*Ridin’ High                                                                                         (b)           with Maurice Chevalier & Carol Lawrence

*Without A Song

*It’s A Good Day                                                                                (c)           with Chorus

*In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening                                       (d)          with Maurice Chevalier & Carol Lawrence

  Sing, Sing, Sing   / Big Noise From Winnetka                               (e)           Orchestra

 

Medley:                                                                                                                

*Once In Love With Amy

*Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider                                                                               with Maurice Chevalier

*Gigi

  Charmaine                                                                                                          Maurice Chevalier

*Candy

*Gigi (Reprise)

*(I’m) Chiquita Banana                                                                                      with Maurice Chevalier

  In My Merry Oldsmobile                                                                                 Maurice Chevalier

*Louise                                                                                                                 with Maurice Chevalier

*Mexicali Rose

  Mimi                                                                                                                    Maurice Chevalier

*If You Knew Susie                                                                                            with Maurice Chevalier

*Evelina                                                                                                                with Chorus

  Linda                                                                                                                   Maurice Chevalier

*Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep) (Parody)

  Margie                                                                                                                 Maurice Chevalier

*Ma Blushin’ Rosie                                                                                            with Maurice Chevalier

*Thank Heaven For Little Girls                                                                        with Maurice Chevalier

 

  Anema e Core (How Wonderful To Know)                                                  Aldo Monaco

  Granada                                                                                                              Aldo Monaco

 

  Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries                                                                         Maurice Chevalier

*Pigalle                                                                                                                  with Maurice Chevalier

*Alouette                                                                                             (f)             with Maurice Chevalier and Chorus

 

*The Second Time Around                                                              (j)             with Chorus

*Flattery (Can Charge Your Battery)                                              (g)            with Carol Lawrence

 

Medley:                                                                                                                

*Yesterdays                                                                                                         

  September Song                                                                                                 Maurice Chevalier

  Young At Heart                                                                                 (h)           Chorus

*I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore                                                                  with Maurice Chevalier

*I Wish I Were In Love Again                                                          (i)            with Maurice Chevalier and Chorus

 

Notes:

(a)           Recorded February 1961. An edited audio version of the programme was issued on De Baron Grouch LP 47 - ‘Three Giants’. The final medley was not included. ‘Flattery’ is shown on the sleeve as ‘What Do You Think Of Me?’

(b)           Includes a snatch of ‘In My Merry Oldsmobile’.

(c)           Arrangement includes snatch of ‘Great Day!’.

(d)           Arrangement includes snatch of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’.

(e)           Orchestral accompaniment to Carol Lawrence dance routine.

(f)            Included as an extra on the Infinity Entertainment DVD “The Legendary Bing Crosby” (IEG2204).

(g)           Arrangement includes snatches of ‘Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home’ (sung by Bing) ‘Too Marvellous For Words’ (Bing) and ‘Cheek To Cheek’ (Carol Lawrence).

A brief glimpse of Bing dancing with Carol Lawrence was also seen in ‘Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 - 1957’ first shown on the Disney Channel on 21st November 1993 and subsequently issued on an MCA video MCAV-10846.

(h)                 Fragment only.

(i)                   Closes with a reprise of ‘I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore’.

An abridged video version of the item was included in the ABC-TV programme ‘Bing Crosby: His Life and Legend’ which was shown on 25th May 1978.

An audio version was issued on American Masters CD - 'Bing Crosby Rediscovered: The Soundtrack'.

(j)        An audio version was issued on American Masters CD - 'Bing Crosby Rediscovered: The Soundtrack'.

 

“Bing Crosby keeps topping himself. His latest semi-annual ABC-TV romp for Oldsmobile, with Maurice Chevalier as his singing partner and Carol Lawrence as an added starter, was a zestful, fast-hour with wit, warmth and good humour.

Crosby and Chevalier made a fine team, not so much in their vocal meshing as in their wonderful reactions to each other. And since producer-director, Bill Harbach and his three writers played the hour as a sort of ‘fun with music’ show, the Crosby-Chevalier pairing played off, incandescently.

The twosome got their best licks in, during a pair of medleys, one pegged on femme names in a ‘little black book’ sequence of memorabilia which gave them a crack at ‘Louisa’ (sic), ‘Mimi’, ‘Gigi’, ‘Ida’, ‘Candy’ and several more, done with appropriate tongue in cheek and cameraderie. And a second, more sentimental, turn pegged to ‘I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore’ and ‘I Wish I Were In Love Again’. Both were top-flight in performance and effect.

Miss Lawrence got her licks in, vocally and dancewise . . . And her turn with Crosby, a cute piece of fluff titled, ‘Flattery Charges My Battery’ was pure fun.  Monaco is a Crosby discovery, an Italian tenor with a remarkable control of his vocal nuances plus lots of lung power. Other high points of the show were Chevalier’s solos on ‘Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries’ and ‘Pigalle’ (sic) and Crosby and Chevalier with a femme chorus on the jazziest version of ‘Alouette’ yet. Nelson Riddle Orchestra backed with verve and distinction.”

(‘Variety’ 22nd March 1961)

 

No. 50  3rd August 1961 - ‘Tonight’ (BBC)   (a)

 

Another recorded interview for this popular early evening magazine programme. (See Programme No. 48)

 

Note:

(a)           Recorded 2nd August 1961

 

No. 51  5th August 1961 - ‘The Rosemary Clooney Show’ (ATV)   (a)

 

Guest appearance.

 

*Fancy Meeting You Here                                                                                                with Rosemary Clooney

*Fancy Meeting You Here                                                                                (b)           with Dave King

 

Notes:

(a)           This was a ‘live’ show.

(b)           Rosemary Clooney introduces Bing to Dave King resulting in this duet of the final lines of the song.

 

No. 52  26th August 1961 - ‘A Big Night Out With Peggy Lee’ (ATV)   (a)

 

Guest appearance. With the Bob Sharples Orchestra, The Victor Feldman Quartet, David Kossoff, Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn.

 

  I Love Being Here With You                                                                           Peggy Lee

  Moments Like This                                                                                           Peggy Lee

  Fever                                                                                                                    Peggy Lee

  Mary Ellen                                                                                                          Peggy Lee and David Kossoff

  Till There Was You                                                                                           Peggy Lee

  Fly Me To The Moon                                                                                       Peggy Lee

*All Of You                                                                                                          with Peggy Lee

 

 Medley:                                                                                                                with Jimmy Van Heusen (Piano)

  Swinging On A Star                                                                                          Sammy Cahn

  Three Coins In The Fountain                                                                          Sammy Cahn

  All The Way                                                                                                       Peggy Lee

  Love And Marriage                                                                                           Sammy Cahn

  The Second Time Around                                                                                Peggy Lee

*Moonlight Becomes You

*But Beautiful

 

*High Hopes                                                                                                        with Peggy Lee, Sammy Cahn & David Kossoff

  Life Is For Livin’ (Parody)                                                                                Peggy Lee

 

Note:

(a)           Recorded 31st July 1961

 

“ABC TV’s ‘Big Night Out’ which had previously suffered delusions of grandeur, not justified by the outcome, at least lived up to its sizeable handle in this offering. The show was built around Peggy Lee, quite an edifice in herself and its chief guest was Bing Crosby, who’d groaned his way over from the local movie studios where he’s making another ‘Road’ picture with Hope.

It was Peggy Lee’s first outing on British tv and she scored with a relaxed and polished selection of standards, sprinkled with the odd novelty. . .There followed a neat tour of waxworks, to the accompaniment of ‘The Look Of You’ (sic), at the end of which, Bing Crosby, who was pretending to be a dummy, took life.

A gay interlude introduced songwriters, Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, who strung along some of their past hits, such as, ‘Swing (sic) On A Star’ and ‘Second Time Around’, with Cahn striding out with his amateur pipes. Peggy Lee gave snatches of ‘All The Way’ and the whole thing was agreeably informal.

Crosby, in faltering vocal form, reminisced with numbers from past ‘Road’ movies and joined the assembled company in a final ‘High Hopes’. It was one of those guestings when it seemed more important to be there than to bring a contribution.”

(‘Variety’ 26th August 1961)

 

No. 53  10th September 1961 - ‘Sunday Night At The London Palladium’ (ATV)

 

Guest appearance. With the London Palladium Orchestra conducted by Jack Parnell, the Tiller Girls, Yana, Bruce Forsyth and Bob Hope.

 

“The big draw was its star, Bob Hope, who was given 20 minutes of the running time and deserved 10. He was content with a string of cracks about TV westerns, golf and Crosby, all of which seemed vaguely familiar. . .A surprise finale brought on Bing Crosby, in cap and apron, to sweep the stage but groan nothing. It was a good mechanical act but others could have read the gag book, too.”

(‘Variety’ 13th September 1961)

 

No. 54  24th September 1961 - ‘The DuPont Show’ - ‘Happy With The Blues’ (NBC)

 

With the Paul Weston Orchestra, La Vern Baker, Joanie Sommers, Robert Strauss, Peggy Lee, Vic Damone and Harold Arlen.

 

Bing narrates the story of Harold Arlen’s song-writing career. (Voice over only)

 

“Take a score or more of Harold Arlen stock tunes and entrust them to some of today’s most expert practitioners, it’s a cinch you got yourself a show. . . Bing Crosby (offscreen) narrated a sequence capsulising the Arlen career with accompanying stills augmented by some brief Crosby - Judy Garland - Ethel Waters vocals.”

(‘Variety’ 27th September 1961)

 

No. 55  1st October 1961 - ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ (CBS)

 

Filmed guest appearance with Bob Hope. With Phil Silvers, Nancy Dussault, John Readon, Peter Nero and the McGuire Sisters.

Film clips of Sullivan’s recent trip around the world include a visit to London, where he talks with Bob Hope and Bing about their new ‘Road’ picture ‘The Road to Hong Kong.’

 

No. 56  29th October 1961 - ‘The World Of Bob Hope’ (NBC)

 

Further details unknown.

 

“As the first of the ‘World Of’ Specials for Purex in 1961-62, this series looks like a promising venture into the relatively uncharted area of television biography. The kick-off focussed on the life of Bob Hope and while the show did not dig too deeply into the man or his environment, it was an interesting, informal glimpse of the great entertainer. Fascinating bits of film interlaced Hope’s career with such names as Frances Langford, Jerry Colonna, Bill Goodwin and Dorothy Lamour etc. In the case of Bing Crosby, it was symptomatic of this overall superficial prose that no attempt was made to depict Hope’s personal reactions to Crosby.”

(‘Variety’ 1st November 1961)

 

No. 57  5th November 1961 - ‘The Time, The Place And The Camera’

 

Interviewed. Further details unknown.

 

No. 58  11th December 1961 – ‘The Bing Crosby Show’ (ABC)   (a)

 

Directed by Peter Croft. Choral direction by Norman Luboff. With the Peter Knight Orchestra, The Happy Wanderers, Sean Glenville, Ron Moody, Miles Malleson, Miriam Karlin, Marion Ryan, Shirley Bassey, Dave King, Terry-Thomas and Bob Hope.

 

*Great Day!                                                                                                          with Chorus

  That’s Amoré                                                                                                     Dave King

*Learn To Croon

 

Medley:                                                                                                                

*Tea For Two                                                                                                       with Marion Ryan

*When I Take My Sugar To Tea                                                                      with Marion Ryan

  A Nice Cup Of Tea                                                                                            Dave King & Marion Ryan

  Java Jive                                                                                                              Dave King

*A Cup Of Coffee, A Sandwich And You                                                      with Dave King & Marion Ryan

*So Long! Oo-long (How Long You Gonna Be Gone?)                                with Dave King & Marion Ryan

*Tea For Two (Reprise)                                                                                      with Dave King & Marion Ryan

 

  Bye, Bye, Blues                                                                                 (b) (c)     The Happy Wanderers

*The Sheikh Of Araby                                                                       (b) (d)     with The Happy Wanderers

*My Melancholy Baby (Parody)                                                     (b) (e)

*My Fate Is In Your Hands                                                              (b) (f)

 

*Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be                                                                   with Miriam Karlin

 

Medley:

  Lucky Day (This Is My)                                                                                   Shirley Bassey

  I’m Shooting High                                                                                             Shirley Bassey

  As I Love You                                                                                                    Shirley Bassey

 

Medley:

  Make Yourself At Home                                                                                  Chorus

  Where Did You Get That Hat?                                                                        Chorus

*Any Old Iron                                                                                                     with Chorus

*Lily Of Laguna

*If You’re Irish Come Into The Parlour                                                           with Sean Glenville & Chorus

*Knees Up Mother Brown                                                                 (g)

 

*White Christmas                                                                                (h)           with Chorus

 

Notes:

(a)           Recorded 12th November 1961 in the Associated-Rediffusion Television Studio 5 at Wembley, London. The entire show was included in the Infinity Entertainment 2-DVD set “Bing Crosby: The Television Specials – Volume 2 – The Christmas Specials” released in November 2010. An abridged version of the show was televised on the Nostalgia cable channel in the USA in November 1995. Also the entire show was issued on the Festival Films video ‘Bing Crosby & Friends - Vol. 9 - Christmas Show’. Brief glimpses of Bing with Marion Ryan and Dave King were seen in ‘Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 - 1957’ first shown on the Disney Channel on 21st November 1993 and subsequently issued on an MCA video MCAV-10846.

(b)           All four of these items were interpolated into what, in fact, amounted to a lengthy sketch, concerning Bing’s arrest and trial on a charge of ‘singing in the street without a licence’. The ‘policeman’ was played by Ron Moody and the ‘judge’ by Miles Malleson.

(c)           Accordion only, providing incidental accompaniment to a dance routine by the Happy Wanderers.

(d)           Sung as accompaniment to a further dance by the Happy Wanderers.

(e)           A snatch only, sung a cappella.

(f)            An audio version was issued on Crosbyana Collector’s Library EP CCL-1 - ‘Bing And Phillip Crosby Sing Thanks and Other Hits’.

(g)           The song is interrupted by the ‘surprise’ appearance of Bob Hope (suitably attired) as Bing’s long-lost ‘Aunt Matilda’.

(h)           An abridged video version appeared in the CBS-TV special ‘Bing Crosby: The Christmas Years’ which was shown on 2nd December 1978. An extract was also shown as part of the PBS presentation “The Legendary Bing Crosby” made available to PBS stations in 2010 and subsequently issued on DVD by Infinity Entertainment Group (No.IEG2204).

 

 “It was a cold day on November I2th in London, and as I had journeyed a considerable distance, I went into the TV studios foyer early, where I was allowed to sit in the warm until it was time to enter the studios. This part, offered me by fortune, the opportunity of seeing another great star. As I sat there, in came about five men wrapped in heavy overcoats; they went to the reception desk and asked to be directed to the studio where Bing was working. The first person I recognised was the well known Radio and TV personality Jerry Desmonde, who used to be the side kick for the late and great comedian Sid Field. Then I took a look at another chap who was wearing a hat, and it was the one and only Bob Hope. I did not recognise the others; as they went down the stairs to enter the corridor leading to the studio Bob Hope cracked ‘We look like an audition for a Gypsy band’. Well, I did not see Bob do his part in the show; and Shirley Bassey also did her part before I had entered the studio, due to her having an engagement at night in the South of England.

At about 4.30 p.m., I along with a lot of other people made our way into the studio, and I just stood and stared at the hundreds of huge lights hanging from all angles from the studio roof, along with monitor sets, microphones, and on the floor great tangles of cables and TV cameras. I sat myself on the front row of seats on the studio floor and waited, and as we waited, Bing and Rosie Clooney were to be heard singing for our entertainment from the ‘Fancy Meeting You Here’ LP. A studio manager then came along and said a few words to the audience, explaining about the scenes that had already been shot, and those which we were to see being recorded. Then he introduced that great personality Dave King, who did his best to warm up the audience. Dave did a great job, but everyone seemed to be waiting for someone else by this time. Dave sensed this and shouted out words to the effect of ‘Fetch that guy in from the golf course.’ And sure enough, from behind the crowd of studio staff and TV cameras wandered that so familiar figure, to the tune of great applause. Bing Crosby came up to the audience and explained about the show which was running late, and he hoped that it didn’t cause inconvenience to anyone. If Bing only knew what his presence meant to all those in the audience, he need never have spoken those words.

 Bing then commenced with the opening announcement of his TV show and then sang ‘Great Day’. This scene was shot twice as the tapes were not running smoothly on the first take. From then on, the whole thing was a dream come true; there was Bing and his guests going through one scene after another with no trouble at all. And Bing looked so smart in a very nice suit, and a delightful head of hair. He really looked in his forties, and most certainly not in his late fifties. They say Como is relaxed, but you should see Bing. He wandered about the huge studio floor as the cameras switched to another set, doing a little soft shoe shuffle to amuse himself, and whistling here and there. Then as the 30 second count down for the next take commenced, he just stood there without any apparent care in the world. And as the orchestra struck up he launched into his next song or scene as I can only imagine Bing can.

 We saw him sing duets with Marion Ryan and Dave King, do a comedy routine with Terry Thomas and one with a girl whose name escapes me [Miriam Karlin]. She was taking the part of a painter, and with Bing did a number called ‘Fings Ain’t What They Used To Be’. Bing then joined some real London street buskers, and sang a song with them which leads up to another very funny scene in a law court; Bing having been arrested by a London Policeman for singing in the street without a licence. The Judge turns out to be a fan of Bing’s, and comments ‘Whatever has happened in Hollywood for you to have to turn to singing in the streets?’

My great moment came when Bing walked right up to a TV camera not many yards from me, and announced his final number, I had never dared to dream that I would ever hear Bing sing in person, but I have always longed to hear him sing one number; within easy earshot of his actual voice . . .and my great moment came . . . he did not name the number but said words to the effect that ‘Here’s one I should know well.’ A shiver of delight ran right through me as the orchestra and choir came in . . . and Bing’s great voice was only equalled by the great song itself, Irving Berlin’s one and only WHITE CHRISTMAS. As long as I live I swear I’ll never forget that precious minute or two as Bing entranced everyone with the most famous song he has ever sung.

 Bing thanked the audience for being so kind to him; and that was that. . . I travelled home on that Sunday night with a memory which overshadowed any other show business event I have ever witnessed - I recall with pleasure the first time I ever saw and heard Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden and Earl Hines, Michael Holliday, Kid Ory and his Jazz Band. I shall recall this Crosby show with pleasure, but that final number of Bing singing ‘White Christmas’ within actual earshot, is the memory which overshadows everything.

(Stan White, writing in ‘Crosby Post’ December, 1961)

 

“This first of two Bing Crosby specials for ABC-TV may have been thin and tired in theme and some of its comedy but the hour managed to present some easy-going and bright musical moments. Videotaped on London locations and at Associated Rediffusion’s Wembley studios, with Crosby and an all-British cast, it opened and closed effectively but sagged in the middle in sequences that had the vet crooner seeking out his British ancestry.

Highlights were the opener, a song-and-dance number in the traditional Crosby style aided by comedian, Dave King and singer, Marion Ryan; a Crosby and Terry-Thomas comedy bit in a Somerset House setting; songs of Welsh, blues-belter (and a looker), Shirley Bassey (although marred by poor dubbing) and a wind-up pub scene with Crosby and the Happy Wanderers, a buskers group, with a string of songs in the Mitch Miller sing-a-long vogue. Crosby closed with ‘White Christmas’, natch, backed by the Norman Luboff Choir.”

(‘Variety’ 13th December 1961)

 

“It was time last night for Bing Crosby's occasional television special on Channel 7; this one was taped in England and used a number of British artists in an outing that was to prove very thin. By now it is no secret that the timbre and resonance of the Crosby voice have altered with the passing year, and last night the strain of the assignment imply could not be concealed. For some strange reason the obvious way out of the difficulty, capitalizing on the Crosby suavity and reinforcing him with a strong supporting company, was not utilized. A favorite British comedian, Terry-Thomas, had one or two moments of fun but David King was not employed to good advantage. The sketches were of no help either. A young lady named Shirley Bassey, who Mr. Crosby described as a major London hit, encountered formidable difficulty in living up to her billing. And Marion Ryan and Miriam Karlin had somewhat similar problems.”

(Jack Gould, New York Times, 12th December 1961)

 

No. 59  27th February 1962 - ‘The Bob Hope Show’ (NBC)   (a)    

 

Guest appearance. Directed by Jack Shea. With the David Rose Orchestra, Steve Allen, Joan Collins, Joanie Sommers and Jack Paar.

 

  It’s Love                                                                                                              Joanie Sommers

*‘Jobs For The Kids’ Sketch                                                              (b)           with Bob Hope, Steve Allen & Jack Paar

 

Note:

(a)           The entire show was issued on DVD by bobontv.com in 2010, reference No. 022762.

(b)           An extract from the skit featuring Bing was included in the NBC-TV programme ‘On the Road with Bing: A Special Tribute to Bing Crosby’ which was shown on 28th October 1977.

 

Finale was a zany, erratic skit with Paar, Allen, Hope and, as a surprise ‘walk-on’, Bing Crosby. They played children soliciting a job from General David Sarnoff, the RCA (and NBC) mastermind. Sarnoff was simulated, of course.

(“Variety’ 6th March 1962)

 

No. 60  25th March 1962 - Shell Advertisement in UK

 

Bing’s version of this advert was shown for the first time. He recorded the jingle to accompany the film on 8th November 1961. He also appeared in many other promotions, notably for ‘Minute Maid’. It has been considered impossible to individually list these items.

 

No. 61  3rd April 1962 - ‘Picture Parade’ (BBC)   (a)

 

Interviewed together with Bob Hope by Robert Robinson as a promotion for the film ‘The Road To Hong Kong’.

 

*Teamwork                                                                                                          with Bob Hope

 

Note:

(a)           Recorded 19th October 1961.

 

No. 62  14th May 1962 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’ (ABC)   (a)

 

Directed by Stan Harris. Chorus directed by Joseph Lilley. With the David Rose Orchestra, The Smothers Brothers, Pete Fountain, Edie Adams, Gary Crosby and Bob Hope.

 

*America                                                                                                              with Edie Adams, Gary Crosby, Bob Hope & Chorus

 

Road Films Medley:                                                                                                                         

*You Lucky People You                                                                                    with Bob Hope

*Moonlight Becomes You

*Road To Morocco                                                                                            with Bob Hope

*Personality                                                                                                         with Bob Hope

*But Beautiful                                                                                                     with Bob Hope

*Teamwork                                                                                                          with Bob Hope

 

  I Need Some Night Life                                                                                    Edie Adams

  Loads of Love                                                                                                   Edie Adams

 

*Let’s Not Be Sensible

  I Got Rhythm                                                                                                     Pete Fountain & his Group

*Play A Simple Melody                                                                                     with Gary Crosby & Pete Fountain & his Group

*Camp Karefree                                                                                                  with Gary Crosby, Edie Adams & Bob Hope

  Chicken Fat                                                                                                        Gary Crosby

  Chocolate                                                                                                           The Smothers Brothers

*Zing A Little Zong                                                                                            with Cast

 

Note:

(a)           Recorded April 1962. Pre-show publicity indicates that ‘Lollipops And Roses’ was to be sung by Bing and ‘A Fine Romance’ by Bob Hope and Edie Adams, but these items were missing from the copies viewed by the compilers. An abridged version of the show was televised on the Nostalgia cable channel in the USA in February 1996.

                A video version of the programme was issued on Video Yesteryear No. 591 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show 14th May 1962’ and on Festival Films ‘Bing Crosby and Friends Volume 7’.

                The entire show was issued on the Collectors’ Choice Music 2-DVD set “Bing Crosby: The Television Specials – Volume 1” in April, 2010

 

 “It’s probable that Bing Crosby gets lots of loot for his ABC-TV specials. He’s worth it. On Monday (14th), Crosby put together an imaginative stanza, hip and quick and he was aided tremendously by a very funny, Bob Hope, by a charming and swinging, Edie Adams and his look-alike, offspring, Gary Crosby. Right from the opener, a theatrical number built around ‘America’, the flashy piece of music from ‘West Side Story’, the hour programme jumped.

The Crosby-Hope ‘review’ of music from their old ‘Road’ pictures was to be expected but expected or not, these two old pros made it light and easy and almost worth all the several minutes devoted to this two-man medley. The numbers by Miss Adams were musical pleasures. When son, Gary and his father stood there, the younger might not have been quite so proficiently casual as his pere but he tried and he was a fair contrapuntal match for the old man.

The Smothers Brothers were OK towards the finale and sets by Spencer Davies were fine, which to sum it up, means Crosby put on a good show for ABC and his sponsors.”

(‘Variety’ 16th May 1962)

 

“…I was preparing to go back to Maryland when I heard Bing was doing a television special to promote the movie (‘Road To Hong Kong’).  I called him and said that if he wanted me, I would stay over in Hollywood for a few days.  Mr. Crosby informed me that it was too late to write me in.  When I saw his special, however, I was really shocked to see them using large blow-ups of me and they kept talking about me all through the show.”

(From ‘My Side Of The Road’ by Dorothy Lamour)

 

No. 63  24th June 1962 - ‘The Ed Sullivan Show ‘ (CBS)

 

Guest appearance. This was Ed Sullivan’s 14th Anniversary Show and in a change of style, he sat in the audience for most of show. Guest stars included Lucille Ball, Jerry Lewis, Steve Allen, Jack Carter, Phil Silvers, Jack Benny, Teresa Brewer, Red Buttons, Johnny Carson, Ted Mack, Will Jordan, Arthur & Katherine Murray and George Gobel.

*I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me

  Anniversary Waltz                                                                            (a)
  Climb Every Mountain                                                                                     Kate Smith
  Smile Medley                                                                                                     Teresa Brewer

 

Note:

(a)                 Non-vocal.  Incidental accompaniment to dance routine by Arthur & Katherine Murray.

No. 64  June 1962 ‘The DuPont Show’ – ‘Biography of a Movie’ (NBC)

 

Special Documentary.  A chronicle of all aspects of the filming of ‘The Road To Hong Kong’ which, apparently, featured an interview with Bing.

 

No. 64a  19th July 1962

 

Bing is interviewed by a KGMB-TV reporter at Honolulu Airport prior to his departure for California. Mary Frances and Harry Crosby are also seen.

 

Note:

(a)     The interview was included on the Collectors’ Choice Music 2-DVD set “Bing Crosby: The Television Specials – Volume 1” issued in April, 2010

 

No. 65  24th October 1962 - ‘The Bob Hope Show’ (NBC)   (a)

 

Guest appearance. Directed by Jack Shea. With the Les Brown Orchestra, Juliet Prowse and Lucille Ball.

 

*‘Bonanza’ Sketch                                                                                             with Bob Hope & Juliet Prowse

  Turkey Trot                                                                                        (b)           Juliet Prowse

*I Can’t Begin To Tell You

*Put It There Pal                                                                                                  with Bob Hope

 

Notes:

(a)           A snatch of the opening dialogue between Bing and Bob plus the entire ‘Bonanza’ sketch was included in the NBC-TV programme ‘On the Road with Bing: A Special Tribute to Bing Crosby’ which was shown on 28th October 1977. The ‘Bonanza’ sketch, with Bing as Ben Cartwright and Bob Hope playing all three sons, lampooned the popular TV western series, which ran on NBC-TV from September 1959 to January 1973. The entire show was issued on DVD by bobontv.com in 2010, reference No. 102462.

 (b)          Arrangement includes ‘Twelfth Street Rag’.

 

“Hope was the incontrovertible star within a supporting constellation consisting of Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball and Juliet Prowse. . .The second skit, a take-off on ‘Bonanza’, was even better. In this one, Crosby was the head of a vast Texan Empire and father of three sons. All of whom were played by Hope. With Miss Prowse rung in for some sex appeal, it was a risible romp in a madcap groove which Hope carried off with flawless timing and unruffled aplomb. . .Crosby was featured in the finale, doing an okay solo on ‘I Can’t Begin To Tell You’ and then duetting on ‘Put ‘er (sic) There Pal’ from their film ‘Road To Utopia’. It was top-name and top-drawer, all the way.”

(‘Variety’ 31st October 1962)

 

“Bob Hope returned to the air Wednesday night with the first of six specials. You could usually say where there’s Hope, there’s life—but not this time. Maybe it was because it was a filmed show—or could his writers still be on vacation? Whatever the reason, Hope didn’t have it. It wasn’t because of his lack of talent. He had his perennial sparring partner Bing Crosby, comedienne Lucille Ball and delicious dancer, Juliet Prowse. But except for Bing it was almost a total loss . . . The one bright spot of the otherwise lackluster performance was the last ten minutes when Crosby sang and then Hope joined in for a duet on their old palship song ‘Put It There Pal’—with new lyrics, it was refreshing indeed.

(‘Milwaukee Journal’)

 

No. 66  24th December 1962 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show for Clairol’ (ABC) (Colour)   (a)

 

Directed by Norman Abbott. Orchestra conducted by Andre Previn. Chorus directed by Joseph Lilley. With The United Nations Children’s Choir and Mary Martin.

 

*This Is A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening                                              with Mary Martin

 

Medley:                                                                                                 (b)                                                                                          

*I Like Music                                                                                                        with Mary Martin

*I Hear Music                                                                                                       with Mary Martin

  The Song Is You                                                                                                Mary Martin

*Cheek To Cheek                                                                                                 with Mary Martin

*I Got Rhythm

*This Is A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening (Reprise)                             with Mary Martin

 

*This Is A Grand Occasion                                                                                with Mary Martin

*I Left My Heart In San Francisco                                                 (c)

‘Signs Song’ routine                                                                                            Mary Martin

*Doin' The Bing                                                                                (d)

 But Not For Me                                                                                                     Andre Previn (piano solo)

 

Coffee Break Medley:                                                                                                                     

*What’s New

  Mad About The Boy                                                                                        Mary Martin

*Singin’ In The Rain                                                                                           with Mary Martin

*I Love To Whistle                                                                                             with Mary Martin

  A Wonderful Guy                                                                                              Mary Martin

*I Like The Likes Of You                                                                                   with Mary Martin

*Only Forever                                                                                                      with Mary Martin

*The Song Is Ended

*Wait Till The Sun Shines, Nellie                                                      (e)           with Mary Martin

 

  God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman                                                                      Andre Previn Orchestra

*Little Drummer Boy                                                                            (f)

*Some Children See Him                                                                                   with Mary Martin

  Let There Be Peace On Earth                                                                          The United Nations Children’s Choir

*White Christmas                                                                                (g)          with Mary Martin

 

 

Notes:

(a)           Recorded November 1962. This was the first ‘special’ broadcast by ABC in colour. The entire show was included in the Infinity Entertainment 2-DVD set “Bing Crosby: The Television Specials – Volume 2 – The Christmas Specials” released in November 2010.  An abridged version of the show was televised on the Nostalgia cable channel in the USA in December 1995.

(b)           The medley was sung with Bing and Mary Martin, alongside Andre Previn, who was providing piano accompaniment.

(c)           A video version of this item appeared on Warner Music Video 8536 50294 3 - ‘The Magic Of Bing Crosby’.

                Audio versions were issued on Crosbyana Collector’s Library EP CCL-1 - ‘Bing And Phillip Crosby Sing Thanks and Other Hits’ and on Limited Edition Club JGB1007 - ‘B.C. - T.V. (Bing On The Box)’

(d)           Audio and video versions were included in the i-tunes album "Bing Crosby: Shall We Dance?"

(e)                 An abridged video version of this item was included in the ABC-TV programme ‘Bing Crosby: His Life and Legend’ which was shown on 25th May 1978. Part of this item also appeared on VCI video VC4137 ‘A Bing Crosby Christmas’ and on Questar DVD QD3175 with the same title.

An abridged version was also seen in ‘Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 - 1957’ first shown on the Disney Channel on 21st November 1993 and subsequently issued on an MCA video MCAV-10846.

(f)                This version was edited and included in the TV special The Nick At Nite Holiday Special shown on November 28, 2003 with Clay Aiken appearing to sing a duet with Bing.

(g)                The duet is augmented, later, by Andre Previn and the United Nations Children’s Choir for a short reprise.

 

“The potential of this Bing Crosby Christmas Eve special was great, as he and guest star Mary Martin opened with ‘This Is A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening’. Unfortunately, though, the two savvy singers didn’t live up to the potential. The hour was an overly casual affair that produced little of the magic expected of a Crosby-Martin parlay. The songbag was, for the most part, made up of just a few identifying bars that dissipated the values of the standards put on display. The full-length, special material songs fell short, too. . . Crosby’s material song, ‘Doing The Bing’, was pegged on his easy-going manner and was given sock production styling by the imaginative choreographic work of Marc Breaux and Dede Wood.”

(‘Variety’ 26th December 1962)

 

No. 66a  30th December 1963 ‘Once Upon A Dime’ (KTTV)

 

Guest appearance. Producer-Director: Jack Donohue. With Andre Previn, Lionel Hampton, Connie Stevens, Juliet Prowse, Pearl Bailey and Dean Martin.

 

No. 67    17th February 1963 - ‘The Dinah Shore Show’ (NBC) (Colour)   (a)

 

Guest appearance. Directed by Dean Whitmore. With orchestra conducted by Harry Zimmerman, Al Hirt and his Band and Bud & Travis.

 

  Wonderful Boy                                                                                                  Dinah Shore

  Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year                                                           Dinah Shore

*You’ll Never Get Away                                                                                    with Dinah Shore

 

Medley:

  ‘S Wonderful                                                                                                      Chorus

*Quizas, Quizas, Quizas

*In A Little Spanish Town                

 

  Easy To Love                                                                                                    Al Hirt & his Band

  Chop Suey                                                                                                         Al Hirt & his Band              

  Serenade In Blue                                                                                               Dinah Shore with Al Hirt & his Band                                                                                                                                                              

 

*South Rampart Street Parade                                                                          with Dinah Shore & Al Hirt (Trumpet)

  Raspberries                                                                                                        Bud & Travis

  La Bamba                                                                                                            Bud & Travis

 

Medley:                                                                                                  (b)           with Dinah Shore

*Let’s Be Buddies

*Friends

*How About You?

*Just The Way You Are

*I’d Do Anything

*Teamwork

 

*Let The Rest Of The World Go By                                                 (c)           with Dinah Shore

*‘S Wonderful (Parody)                                                                     (d)           with Dinah Shore

 

Notes:

(a)           Recorded December 1962.

(b)                 An audio version of the medley was issued on Limited Edition Club JGB1007 - ‘B.C. - T.V. (Bing On The Box)’. 

The last five songs in the medley were included in the programme ‘MWAH! The Best of the Dinah Shore Show’ broadcast by various PBS Stations in the US in early March 2003.

(c)           An audio version was issued on Limited Edition Club JGB1007 - ‘B.C. - T.V. (Bing On The Box)’

(d)           An audio version was issued on Limited Edition Club JGB1007 - ‘B.C. - T.V. (Bing On The Box)’ (Shown as ‘Let’s Be Going Our Way’)

 

“Dinah Shore’s show became a major event with the addition of Bing Crosby to its cast. The presence of Der Bingle was not only a valuable asset to its entertainment values but he seemed to excite every department, as well. . . Bing’s casual air and humour-laden renditions generated excitement. ‘In A Little Spanish Town’ and ‘Que Sas’ (sic) comprised his first medley. Then with Miss Shore,he  sat down for a light-hearted and gay session of singing and banter. It was an easy, graceful stint by a pair of pros. Crosby also seemed a bit thinner than usual but didn’t let it interfere with his work. He seems ageless.”

(‘Variety’ 20th February 1963)

 

No. 68  16th September 1963 - ‘Come A’ Running’ (CBS) 

 

The pilot episode was screened for a proposed series, starring Linden Chiles and Ruth Hussey.  The option was not taken up on what appears to have been another turgid ‘doctor/nurse’ saga.  It earns a place here because Bing is said to be heard singing the intended theme song, ‘Come A’ Running’.

 

No. 69  7th November 1963 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’ (CBS)   (a)

 

Produced and directed by Nick Vanoff. With the Andre Previn Orchestra, The Young Americans, Caterina Valente and Buddy Ebsen.

 

*A Doodling Song                                                                               (b)           with The Young Americans

*Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams                                                       (b)           with The Young Americans

 

  Medley:                                                                                                                The Young Americans

  I’ve Been Ramblin’

  Jamaica Farewell

  Cottonfields

  Michael, Row The Boat

  The Crawdad Song

  This Land Is Your Land

 

*In The Summertime                                                                                            with Buddy Ebsen

 

  Never Will I Marry                                                                                            Caterina Valente

 

Medley:                                                                                                                  with Caterina Valente

*Never On Sunday                                                                                             

*Quizas, Quizas, Quizas                                                                                    

*Quando, Quando, Quando                                                                             

*Bei Mir Bist Du Schön                                                                                     

*Sukiyaki                                                                                                             

*Mademoiselle De Paris                                                                                    

*The Language Of Love                                                                                   

 

  Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah                                                                                         Andre Previn (Piano)

  Yankee Doodle Dandy                                                                                     The Young Americans

*Shenandoah (Across The Wide Missouri)                                   (c)           with The Young Americans

 

Medley:

  At The Codfish Ball                                                                                          The Young Americans                       

  Broadway Rhythm                                                                                            The Young Americans

*You Are My Lucky Star                                                                  (d)

  Easy To Love                                                                                                     The Young Americans

*The Ballad Of Davy Crockett                                                          (e)            with Buddy Ebsen & Chorus

  I’ve Got You Under My Skin                                                                           Caterina Valente

 

*Danke Schön                                                                                                     with Buddy Ebsen & Caterina Valente

 

Notes:

(a)           Recorded 29th September 1963. A video version of the programme was issued on Festival Films ‘Bing Crosby and Friends Volume 5’

(b)           An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’.

(c)           An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’. (Shown as ‘Shennandoah’. Date shown as 29.9.60)

(d)           An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’. (Shown as ‘You’re My Lucky Star’ and as being from ‘Hollywood Place [sic]’. Date shown as 1/11/66)

(e)           An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’. (Source and date shown as ‘Duet with Buddy Ebson [sic] - Hollywood Place [sic] 1959’).

 

“Always a low pressure performer, Bing Crosby seemed to be virtually rolling on his rims in his first special of the 1963-64 season. The Old Groaner still appeared youthful but there was a telltale trace of tiredness in some of his routines. Crosby, however, is still a persuasive smoothie with his rococo lines supplied by scripter, Bill Morrow and he piloted this stanza down a pleasing, if familiar groove. It was an all-musical session spotlighting vocals by Crosby, Buddy Ebsen and a large Coast Choral group, the Young Americans. . . Ebsen, in his ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ role, joined with Crosby in a work-over of a charming folk-styled tune, ‘In The Summertime’.

Continental songstress, Caterina Valente was brought on with a weak comedy intro but she came through with an effective rendition of ‘Never Will I Marry’ and joined with Crosby in a snappy international medley of tunes that ranged from, ‘Never On Sunday’ through ‘Sukiyaki’ to ‘Mademoiselle De Paris’.

Second half of the show revolved around a group of old picture and legit tunes with Crosby and the guests working solo and in tandem on such numbers as ‘Codfish Ball’, ‘Broadway Rhythm’, ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ and ‘Davy Crockett’. The singing and hoofing were entertaining enough despite the unimaginative staging. The show was marked by some clever commercial concoctions. The Pepsodent plug featured some by-play between Crosby and Jerry Colonna, who was long identified with the product via his association with Bob Hope. In the Pontiac plug, Phil Harris turned up in a screwball golf match with Crosby.”

(‘Variety’ 13th November 1963)

 

None of us, including Bing Crosby, are getting any younger. The crooner, youthfully attired in what appeared to be a blazer, was on the Columbia Broadcasting System last night in a special that wasn’t very special at all. He sang a few old songs, a few new ones and traded some unfunny musical variety-show patter with his guests – Buddy Ebsen and Caterina Valente. Mr. Crosby still has the same quiet, relaxed manner and his sleepy-time voice, apparently in fine condition, roved through “Dream Your Troubles Away” and “Shenandoah”. Delicate hearts in many homes probably skipped several beats...The program emerged as a harmless hodgepodge of folk, popular and semiclassical music.

(‘New York Times’ 8th November 1963)

 

No. 69a  15th November 1963 The Chrysler Theatre - The House Next Door

 

A comedy of errors about an East Coast man who acquires a Beverly Hills mansion for a pittance because it is located next to one owned by a mobster. Starring Bob Hope, Jill St. John and Kathryn Crosby.  Bing makes a short cameo appearance in the final scene as a handsome stranger who distracts Bob’s wife (played by Kathryn).

 

No. 70  8th December 1963 – The Best on Record (The Grammy Awards) (NBC)

 

During the evening of 11th November, Bing was filmed being presented with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences by Frank Sinatra. The film was intended to be used in an NBC special at the Grammy Awards event to be called ‘The Best on Record’ which was scheduled to be televised on 24th November but was cancelled due to the death of President Kennedy. The show was eventually seen on December 8. The citation read:

 

“For his outstanding recordings which span more than 30 years, consistently embodying superior musicianship, uncompromising dignity and a never-failing enthusiasm, and have served as an inspiration to those within the industry as well as millions of listeners the world over.”

 

No. 71  13th December 1963 - ‘The Bob Hope Comedy Hour’ (NBC)   (a)

 

Co-host with Jack Benny.  With Les Brown and his Band of Renown, Danny Thomas and Juliet Prowse.

 

*Do You Hear What I Hear?                                                            (b)

 

Notes:

(a)           In the absence of Bob Hope who was suffering from an eye ailment, Bing introduced the show and later the ‘Look’ magazine All-American Football team. Apart from this and his song, the programme was padded with a comedy routine by Jack Benny and re-runs of a couple of sketches from previous Hope shows. 

                Most of Bing’s contribution was taped on 24th November 1963. The entire show was issued on DVD in 2010 by Bobontv.com, their reference number 121363.

(b)           Bing lip-synched to his 1963 recording with the Ralph Carmichael Orchestra & Chorus (See also Programme No. 120). A video version of this item was included in the NBC-TV programme ‘On the Road with Bing: A Special Tribute to Bing Crosby’ which was shown on 28th October 1977.

 

“With Bob Hope benched for a few weeks by an eye ailment, Jack Benny and Bing Crosby co-quarter-backed his ‘Chrysler Comedy Hour’, last Friday and, with the help of some choice sketches from previous Hope programmes, made it a winning outing. The show was noticeably a patchwork of tapes and almost totally devoid of the immediacy and spontaneity that is normally felt in a Hope broadcast. But the star’s illness, wittily dwelled upon by Benny and Crosby, turned that into an advantage in the manner of a tribute. The viewer found himself present, not merely as a consumer of entertainment but as a friend of the hospitalised comic and a well-wisher.

The opening monologues took the form of the traditional show biz roasts, with Crosby testifying that, in all his years with Hope, the comic never up-staged or hogged a scene - ‘although Heaven knows, he tried’.

For a finale, Crosby introduced the ‘Look’ magazine, All-American Football Team and the various Bowl Game Queens with a lukewarm gag for each member. The segment had no appropriateness in the programme but did serve for topicality and, along with a Crosby rendition of, ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’, helped to keep the show from seeming to be an entire re-run.”

(‘Variety’ 18th December 1963)

 

No. 72  23rd December 1963 - ‘Hollywood and The Stars - The One And Only Bing’ (NBC)  (a)

 

First showing of this documentary. Narrated by Joseph Cotten.

 

Note:

(a)           A video version of the programme was issued on Festival Films (unnumbered) - ‘Bing Crosby’s Cavalcade’

 

No. 73   24th December 1963 - ‘The Promise’ (Colour)

 

A half-hour hour programme with narration by Bing. He did not appear on camera, nor did he sing. Father Peyton’s Family Theater Group re-enacted events leading to the birth of Christ.

 

No. 74  4th January 1964 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC)   (a)

 

With Les Brown & his Orchestra, Les Salvadori (musical clowns), The Tahon Puppets, The Hardy Family (acrobats), Silvan, The Young Americans, Bobby Van, Nancy Wilson, Gary Crosby, Bob Newhart and Mickey Rooney.

 

  If We Felt Any Better                                                                                       Mickey Rooney and Bobby Van

  Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho                                                                      Gary Crosby

*Teamwork                                                                                                          with Gary Crosby

   I’m Almost In Your Arms                                                                               Nancy Wilson

  Green, Green                                                                                                       The Young Americans 

  Saturday Night                                                                                                   The Young Americans

  If I Had A Hammer                                                                                          The Young Americans

*Climb Ev’ry Mountain                                                                     (b)           with the Young Americans

 

Notes:

(a)                 Recorded 28th December 1963.

The Hollywood Palace was an hour-long variety show that ran on the ABC network from January 1964 until February 1970. Instead of a permanent host, guest hosts were used. Bing Crosby, a frequent guest host, hosted the first and last Hollywood Palace episodes.

The series began as a mid-season replacement for ‘The Jerry Lewis Show.’ ABC originally had high hopes for Lewis’ live, two-hour variety series. They signed the comedian to a 5-year contract for a reported $35 million. The network also purchased the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles and re-christened it ‘The Jerry Lewis Theatre.’ After Lewis’ series failed, ABC renamed the theatre ‘The Hollywood Palace.’ The first two seasons of The Hollywood Palace were in black and white. The show switched to colour on 18th September 1965 (the beginning of the third season). Collectors of this series may notice that black and white copies of the colour episodes are in circulation. That’s because, during the series run, ABC produced B&W 16mm kinescope copies of the colour episodes. Many of these B&W kinescopes ended up in the collections of 16mm film collectors. In more recent years, VHS copies have been mastered from these B&W kinescopes. The original colour videotapes do exist but they are not as accessible to collectors as the B&W kinescopes.

 (b)          An audio version was issued on Crosbyana Collector’s Library EP CCL-1 - ‘Bing And Phillip Crosby Sing Thanks and Other Hits’.

 

A briskly paced vaudeville show was unveiled on Saturday evening by the American Broadcasting Company to take the place of the recent Jerry Lewis stage weight.  For popular diversion, the hour gives promise of turning out nicely.

The show bears the title of "The Hollywood Palace" and adheres straightforwardly to the tested formula of the two a day.  Last night there were clowns for an opener,  the main star was penciled in for next of closing and there was a song fest to empty the studio.The producers, Nick Vanoff and William O. Harbach, displayed their showmanship by engaging some fine acts to bridge the intervals between headliners.   Andre Tahon's puppet company was nothing short of superb in its miniature version of the singing nuns doing "Dominique." The Hardy family, a father and his three engaging young daughters, were tumblers extraordinary.  Silvan was truly a mystifying illusionist; it was a pity he had to be cropped for a middle commercial.

With its chief feature, the show took no chances: it presented Bob Newhart in his wonderful monologue on Sir Walter Raleigh trying to convince his London superior of the uses of tobacco. And Mickey Rooney's vitality stood him in good stead in making the most of his rather thin sketch involving "Candid Camera." Nancy Wilson, Gary Crosby, the Young Americans and Bing Crosby, who doubled as master of ceremonies, completed the roster.  The musical aspects of the show, as a matter of fact, were the weakest part of the evening.

But a good augury of the future was the insistence of Mel Feber, the director, that the show keep moving.  It looks as if there may be some new competition on the Ed Sullivan level of television.

(Jack Gould, New York Times, 6th January 1964)

 

“If I had anything to do with ‘Hollywood Palace’, the show replacing ‘The Jerry Lewis Show’, I would have had Dean Martin as M.C., saving Bing Crosby for the second instalment. ‘The Hollywood Palace’ tried to be ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ while also trying to hold on to ‘The Lawrence Welk’ audience and high ratings - not recognising the awful truth that it is Lawrence, himself who has this undefinable magic. No other substitute can harvest his crop of corn and high-number rating.”

(‘Hollywood Citizen News’ 8th January 1964)

 

No. 75  15th February 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show for Lever Brothers’ (CBS)  (a)

 

Produced and directed by Nick Vanoff. With John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra, Peter Gennaro. Kathryn Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bob Hope.

 

*Pennies From Heaven

*Something To Do                                                                                              with Rosemary Clooney, Kathryn Crosby & Peter Gennaro

*I Believe In You                                                                                (g)           with Bob Hope                                                    

  I Want To Be Happy                                                                        (b)           Orchestra & Chorus

*Dream                                                                                                 (c)            with Kathryn Crosby

*The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game In New York

                                                                                                              (g)             with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin

 

Medley:                                                                                                  (h)                                                                                          

*Don’t Fence Me In                                                                                            with Rosemary Clooney

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

*She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain                                                        with Rosemary Clooney

*The Crawdad Song                                                                                           with Rosemary Clooney

*San Antonio Rose                                                                                             with Rosemary Clooney

*Down In The Valley                                                                                          with Rosemary Clooney

*On Top Of Old Smokey                                                                                    with Rosemary Clooney & Chorus

*You Are My Sunshine                                                                                      with Rosemary Clooney

 

  Stranger In Paradise                                                                          (d)           Orchestra & Chorus

 

Medley:                                                                                                                 

*A Scarf, A Stool, A Song And Imagination                                  (e)           with Chorus

  Imagination                                                                                                        Rosemary Clooney

*I Left My Heart In San Francisco                                                   ( e)          with Chorus

 Two Ladies In De Shade Of De Banana Tree                                 (b)           Orchestra & Chorus

 My Ship                                                                                                                Kathryn Crosby

*Love Makes The World Go Round                                               (e) & (f)   with Rosemary Clooney

*A Scarf, A Stool, A Song And Imagination  (Reprise)                                with Rosemary Clooney, Kathryn Crosby & Peter Gennaro.    

 

Notes:

(a)           Recorded 27th October 1963 & 3rd February 1964. A video version of the show was issued by Festival Films in 2002 entitled ‘Bing Crosby & Friends - Vol. 8 - ‘All-Star’ Show’.

(It is not difficult to believe that some portions of the show were filmed more than three months apart. The segments featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bob Hope have obviously been recorded separately.

In addition to the vocal duet with Hope, there is a  two-part sketch focusing on Bing and Bob’s disparate and entirely fictional versions of their first meeting in which Bob Hope plays a somewhat dishevelled caddy and Bing, an equally shabby, ‘shoeshine boy’, who warbles a few lines from ‘Where The Blue Of The Night’. This particular sketch with Hope was included in the Goodtimes Home Video ‘Bing Crosby - Hollywood’s Greatest Entertainer’ issued in 1991.)

(b)           Accompaniment for dance routine by Peter Gennaro.

(c)           An audio version was issued on Limited Edition Club LP JGB1007 - ‘B.C. - T.V. (Bing On The Box)’

(d)           Accompaniment for dance routine by Kathryn Crosby and Peter Gennaro.

(e)           An audio version was issued on Broadway Intermission LP BR-136 ‘Bing Crosby - From Bing’s Personal Collection - Crosbyana Volume 6’.

(f)            Rosemary Clooney sings a few lines of ‘Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo’ contrapuntally

(g)           Shown as part of the PBS presentation “The Legendary Bing Crosby” made available to PBS stations in 2010 and subsequently issued on DVD by Infinity Entertainment Group (No.IEG2204).

            An audio version was issued on American Masters CD - 'Bing Crosby Rediscovered: The Soundtrack'.

(h)           This medley was included in the Passport Video DVD-1560 “Rosemary Clooney – Singing At Her Best” released in 2004.

 

“Bing Crosby, who can somehow do no wrong in front of the camera, ambled his way, effortlessly, through his hour Saturday night special on CBS-TV. His tired pals, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, didn’t generate much excitement. It was left up to Peter Gennaro and his dancers to add any sparkle the programme had.

Bing’s wife, Kathryn, was not much of a plus or minus in the line-up. She was there and she did, very nicely, what she had been taught to do which was a novelty in itself. Actually, she was a welcome change from Bing’s sons who usually show up on his TV clambakes.”

(‘Hollywood Citizen News’ 18th February 1964)

 

“This one had billing as ‘a special’ but therein lies a misnomer. There’s nothing special about a programme, despite illustrious show business names, which lacks both wit and wisdom. . . Mrs. Crosby proved to be the hit of the show, being amiable and attractive. Otherwise Crosby’s show was a disjointed effort.

While the various players gave a fair account of themselves, mainly via the song and dance material and the quipping clashes between Crosby and Hope, the programme itself was devoid of cohesion. It was as if each segment had been filmed on its own and then all the pieces were put together as an afterthought, with continuity not in mind.

Crosby was strong with ‘Pennies From Heaven’ and ‘San Francisco’ and he and spouse were fine with the ‘Dream’ combo but for the rest, well, it was just a lost world. . . .The show was probably okay for the fans but the advertised come-on must have left a number of people, unhappy.”

(‘Variety’ 19th February 1964)

 

The Prestons, the father-and-son law team on "The Defenders," were pre-empted last night on the Columbia Broadcasting System to make way for Bing Crosby's special musical hour. Followers of the Saturday night legal dramatics probably questioned the wisdom of the substitution. Mr. Crosby’s hour boasted a number of stars including his wife, Kathryn Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney, and Pete Gennaro. But not too much originality was employed in their use, and the show followed a predictable course. The longest sequence had Mr. Crosby and Mr. Hope exchanging insults as usual. Otherwise, the sixty minutes primarily had Mr. Crosby and his colleagues in random numbers, the choice of which left much to be desired in lilt or melody. The evening’s major pleasure was Mrs. Crosby, who in song and dance projected an attractively youthful verve.

(Jack Gould, New York Times, 16th February 1964)

 

No. 76  20th June 1964 - ‘Los Expertos Contestan’  (a)

 

Records a Spanish-speaking panel game show for Latin American release.

 

Note:

(a)           Date of taping only.  Transmission details unknown.

 

No. 77  13th September 1964 – ‘ABC’s Wide World of Entertainment’ (ABC)

 

Produced and directed by Dwight Hemion. With Gene Barry, Inger Stevens, Kathy Nolan, Jimmy Dean, Sammy Jackson, David Hedison, Tony Franciosa, Richard Basehart, David Janssen, Lawrence Welk, Connie Stevens and Mickey Rooney.

 

*On ABC This Coming Year                                                                             with Chorus

*Play A Simple Melody                                                                                     with Mickey Rooney, Sammy Jackson, David Hedison, Tony Franciosa & Richard Basehart

*Style                                                                                                                    with Mickey Rooney & David Janssen

*The Beer Barrel Polka                                                                                       with Jimmy Dean & Lawrence Welk (Accordion)

 

“Crosby, last night served as host of a programme introducing the stars and shows debuting this week on ABC. It was a nice bit of fluffery serving to show the network’s intense concentration upon strictly light-hearted programming.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 14th September 1964)

 

“Some day, it’s to be fervently hoped, somebody’ll come along with an effective ‘let me entertain you’ trailer on things to come – a trailer, for example, that won’t have the opposite effect of what was intended and induce viewers to stay away. . . When the hour was over, what was chiefly demonstrated (and perhaps, compensated for the entire 60 minutes) was the indestructibility of Bing Crosby.”

(‘Variety’ 16th September 1964)

 

 “When Bing Crosby walked into the Stadium Club at Chavez Ravine with his pal Ed Crowley prior to an Angels baseball game, it might be assumed that he was out for an evening of relaxation. Nope. He was working. He was on hand to close a deal with Bill Rigney, Angel’s manager and Albie Pearson, littlest Angel of them all, to play an umpire in an upcoming chapter of his new TV series, ‘The Bing Crosby Show’, premiering tomorrow on ABC-TV.

Because I’ve known and liked Bing for a long time, I decided to join and ask him a rather rude question: ‘Under any criterion employed by modern man to measure success, you are successful. You’ve sold more records than any singer in history (estimated 200 million). You’ve starred in 56 motion pictures over twenty-five years. You own banks, real estate, stocks, your own Bing Crosby Production company - and you are a very happily married man. So why are you taking on one of the most rugged work schedules in show business - the weekly TV series?’

‘I was wondering when you were going to get to the question’, said Bing, looking very sharp, fit and fine. He said, amiably, ‘I’m an actor and I suppose an actor must act. I can’t fish and play golf all the time’.

Who’s been fishing and playing golf all the time? During the past four months, Bing has co-starred with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in that spoof on gangsters, ‘Robin And The Seven Hoods’, his production company is the producer of ‘Ben Casey’, ‘Breaking Point’, ‘Slattery’s Hurricane’ and now his ‘Bing Crosby’ shows; and he’s moved his family, actress Kathryn Grant and their three youngsters, Harry, Mary Frances and Nathaniel, from Holmby Hills to a beautiful new estate near San Francisco.

‘But, seriously, about this working thing’, Bing went on in a sort of musing way, ‘a man in my position has a tiger by the tail. He just can’t let go any old time. So many people become dependent on him for their livelihood. If he quits, scores of jobs go down the drain. Each job represents a family’.

A big smile spread over Bing’s face. ‘At least, that’s the argument I give myself. Maybe I’m just a workhorse at heart who wants to work’. ‘Will you continue to do movies now that you’re active in the jute mill of weekly TV?’, I put in. ‘Sure’, he said, ‘Don’t other TV people make movies?’

The game was about to start but I did get from Bing that his new series is a family situation comedy in which his wife will be portrayed by Beverly Garland and their names are Bing and Ellie Collins. The darnedest things happen to the family but why not tune in yourself, tomorrow night, and see how it all starts.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 13th September 1964)

 

No. 78  14th September 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)  (a) & (b)

 

‘A Fine Romance’ - Stung by daughter, Janice’s description of their marriage as, ‘dull’, Bing and Ellie decide to rekindle their, supposedly, ‘lost fire’.

 

*It Had To Be You                                                                                             with Beverly Garland

 

Notes:

(a)           Bing’s debut in a television situation comedy series that received a mixed reception from the critics. The consensus of opinion seemed to be, unoriginal but pleasant enough, without setting the woods on fire. His role was ‘Bing Collins’, a happily married family man, with wife, Ellie, played by Beverly Garland, daughters Janice and Joyce by Carol Faylen and Diane Sherry. Further support came from live-in handyman, Willie Walters played by Frank McHugh.

The background of this other ‘Bing’ was somewhat vague. Depending on which source is consulted, he is variously described as ‘an electrical engineer’, ‘a building engineer’, ‘an architectural designer’ or, ‘a teacher of engineering at a college’, who also had similarly, blurred beginnings in the armed forces/show business/vaudeville. This latter plot device permitted the interpolation of at least one song (sometimes accompanied by ‘family’ and/or guests), in each of the 28 episodes. The series was produced by Steven Gethers and directed by James Sheldon.

Carol Faylen was the daughter of character actor Frank Faylen (who appeared in many of Bing’s films) and of actress Carol Hughes (‘Dale Arden’ in the third Flash Gordon series).  She seems to have ‘retired’ from show business after this series although Diane Sherry went on to have a career in TV and movies, playing the part of Lana Lang in the 1978 film ‘Superman’. Beverly Garland has kept very busy over the years and she too had a Superman connection playing the part of Ellen Lane in ‘Lois & Clark - The New Adventures of Superman’, the popular TV series. ‘The Bing Crosby Show’ was one of the last major jobs for Frank McHugh (who worked with Bing in ‘Going My Way’) although he did appear in the Elvis Presley film ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ in 1967. McHugh died in 1981.

The opening song (over the titles) was ‘There’s More To Life Than Just Living’ and the closer, ‘It All Adds Up’. See Note (b)

(b)           Audio versions of both titles were issued on Broadway Intermission BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’ (Source is shown as ‘Hollywood Place (sic) 1959’)

 

“BING CROSBY has ANOTHER wife—and he’s going back to work.”

 “And as he’s 60, multimillionaire with thriving business interests, happily married with a family, people are asking. . . WHY?Sitcom family

For Bing has agreed, for the first time in his career, to a weekly TV series, a family show with lovely Beverly Garland as Mrs. Bing Collins, his wife, Carol Faylen as their 16-year-old daughter, Joyce, and Diane Sherry as their 11-year-old daughter Janice. Living with the family is Bing Collins’s wartime buddy Willie (played by comedian Frank McHugh) who dropped in for a meal and just hasn’t left.

Why face the high pressure and grind of a weekly show, particularly when for years you have worried about the dangers of over-exposure?

Says Bing: ‘I liked what they showed me and thought I’d take a crack at it.’

The fact is that Bing was bored. His holdings in the orange-juice business, real estate, oil and Bing Crosby Productions were all in good hands, needed little attention from him. He’d had all the golf and fishing he wanted.

Agents and friends had been trying for years to persuade Bing to take on a weekly TV show. His answer was that he didn’t mind an occasional appearance but that was all.

‘Suppose I made 52 movies a year? Who’d come to watch me after the fifth or sixth? They’d get fed up with my voice, my kisser, every aspect of me. No.’

Then one of Bing’s agents, Meta Rosenberg, took over a proposition for Bing to make several specials. Her viewpoint: There were already so many specials on TV that there was nothing very special about them.

‘What would be special to if we could ever talk Bing into doing a weekly series,’ she said.

‘After all good motion-picture roles for Bing are hard to come by, but he’s still a fine actor in good physical condition with an excellent mind and great stores of energy.’

So, she went to Bing and put up the proposition again, pointing out that stars such as Lucille Ball, Red Skelton and Donna Reed had all been appearing regularly on TV for years          

Bing said he would try it, if he liked the format of the shows they planned. The Bing Collins family was the result. Bing, as Bing Collins, is an engineer who is also consultant to a nearby university. As a father he is sensible and witty. It’s a family with no zany relationships—just a group of happy people whose life can be fun. He sings in each show, gives the youngsters sound advice. For instance, when elder daughter, Joyce pleads for an equal-terms relationship with her parents he explains: ‘You want to be us. And you can’t. And you force us into trying to be you  And we can’t. We’re not meant to be friends, baby. I’m your father. And you’re my kid. And if that’s an outmoded parent-child relationship I’m all for it.’

It’s quality with a pedigree. Most half-hour TV shows are budgeted at around 50.000 to 60,000 dollars (£22,300 to £26.700) a program. ‘The Bing Crosby Show’ is closer to 70,000 dollars (£31,250). Bing’s take from this package, which he owns completely, is from 15,000 to 20,000 dollars (£4700 to £8930) a week.

It hits the screen this month in the U.S.”

(‘TV Week’ 19th September 1964)

 

Bing Crosby, in his first TV series rather than a special, has been assigned the 9:30 niche and his domestic situation comedy might work out in to something rather nice and different. At least he starts out as a sensible father, not a wack, and he and his TV wife, Beverly Garland, live a more gentle life than is the norm for couples on the screen,

Don Beaumont’s opening script had several warmly understanding insights into married life in the middle years, notably the fact that conversation has a way of always veering back to the welfare of one’s children. If James Sheldon, the director, can withstand the normal TV pressures for fierce activity in comedy, Mr. Crosby’s family series could evolve pleasantly.

(Jack Gould, New York Times, 15th September 1964)

 

 “The feeling is inescapable in watching the new Bing Crosby situation comedy series which premiered Monday night (14th) on ABC-TV, that it’s just about fifteen years too late in arriving. For when all is said and done - and the saying and the doing take a long time - the new 30-minute entry is nothing more than a variation on a dozen similar, ‘Ozzie And Harriet’, ‘Make Room For Daddy’ themes.

Attractive people all, as were (and are) their predecessors, each responding to the other’s cues with all proper and warmed-over nuances to match their own stylised comedics and delivery. But, unfortunately, its all been seen and acted and scripted before, with nary a bow to innovation. It’s telegraphed to the viewer from the word ‘go’ and while there is no denying that Crosby has a way with a given situation, it lacks any inventiveness to take it out of its vintage mould.

It’s all played low key and casual (often to the point of dragging) as Crosby and his mate, Beverly Garland (in this initial instalment), relive their courtship, amid the more frantic behaviourism of their teen-age daughters, Carol Faylen and Diane Sherry. Even the old props will be recognisable - as for example, the wartime pal, (Frank McHugh) who becomes a permanent houseguest. That’s really going back. Don Beaumont as the scripter, James Sheldon as director and Steven Gethers as producer are a match for Crosby and the others in perpetuating the cliché.”

(‘Variety’ 16th September 1964)

 

No. 79  21st September 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘Exactly Like Who?’ - With Gary Crosby. Joyce can hardly wait for her new boyfriend, Don to meet her family. She claims that he’s the living, singing image of her father.

 

  Lavender Blue                                                                                                   Beverly Garland

  Come What May                                                                                              Gary Crosby

*Night And Day

 

Gary Crosby guests as song promoter. Bing suspects he has cribbed his newest ‘hit’ from a popular song.

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 21st September 1964)

 

No. 80  28th September 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘A Bit Of Fresh Danish’ - With Ulla Jacobsson. The Collins’ household has an unusual visitor. It’s Dr. Olga Dannebrog, an outspoken, freethinking blonde who Bing met at an engineering convention in Copenhagen.

 

*L'Amour, Toujours, L'Amour (Love Everlasting)                                       (a cappella)

*Annie Laurie                                                                                                      with Ulla Jacobsson

*The Campbell’s Are Coming                                                                           with Ulla Jacobsson

*Karoline                                                                                                              with Ulla Jacobsson

 

“Excellent episode. At last, Bing’s series hits on all cylinders and shows some promise. The plot concerns a scientist Bing met in Copenhagen who has come to town on a visit. The scientist happens to be a tasty bit of Danish pastry, complete with Danish ideas of love and courtship. There are not real belly laughs as we go through the standard jealousy routines but the characters gel, the pace is perfect and it’s a smile from start to finish.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 28th September 1964)

 

No. 81  5th October 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘The Green Couch’ - With The Wellingtons. Ellie’s worried about the teen-age dive that Joyce frequents but Bing doesn’t share her concern.

 

*Saturday Night                                                                                  (a)           with Carol Faylen & The Wellingtons

 

Note:

(a)           A  ‘blow-up’ version of this song was included in a selection of outtakes from the series issued on a video ‘Bing Crosby’s Cavalcade’ (unnumbered) by Festival Films.

 

“Bing continues to come out on top in his role as one of TV’s most sensible husband/fathers. Tonight wife, Beverly Garland and friend, Frank McHugh wind up in the clink after a small misunderstanding with the police and Bing has to bail them out.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 5th October 1964)

 

No. 82  6th October 1964 – ‘The Bell Telephone Hour’ (NBC) (Colour)

 

Guest appearance. With the Donald Voorhees Orchestra, the Buddy Cole Trio, Grant Johannesen, The McGuire Sisters and Burl Ives.

 

*Great Day

*Avalon                                                                                               (a)

*Chinatown, My Chinatown                                                            (a)

*Alabamy Bound                                                                                (a)

*I’m Confessin’                                                                                   (b)

*When I Take My Sugar To Tea

*Never Be Afraid

 

Notes:

(a)           Audio versions of these items were issue on Longines SYS 5114 (LWS 384) - ‘The Best of the Telephone Hour’

(b)           An audio version of this item was issued on Longines SYS 5117 (LWS 387) - ‘Command Performance’

 

“. . . The series came out for the seventh TV season bell with a stellar marquee of Burl Ives, the McGuire Sisters, concert pianist Grant Johannesen and a wham plus in the person of Bing Crosby. . . Der Bingle, backed by Buddy Cole’s combo, was likewise retrospective but let it be said that his evergreen nostalgia was, indeed, a capper to this latest Bell seminar in musical democracy. It was notably, Bing’s first stint on the show, which beamed live from NBC’s Burbank plant.”

(‘Variety’ 7th October 1964)

 

No. 83 12th October 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘Hoop Shots’ - With Jimmy Boyd. Joyce disrupts the family’s tranquillity by getting engaged to a lanky basketball player with a chronic case of the shakes.

 

*Sally, Let Your Bangs Hang Down                                                                with ‘the family’

*Skillet Good And Greasy                                                                                 with ‘the family’

 

No. 84 19th October 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘Flashback’ - The Collinses indulge in a bit of nostalgia. They watch home movies of the day when Bing met Ellie and Willie.

 

*Can’t We Talk It Over?                                                                   (a)

*Sweet Georgia Brown

 

Notes:

(a)           A few bars only.

 

“A delightful half-hour. Fans are treated to a little bit of background on Bing Collins’ Army career, his courtship of Ellie and their early marriage years in effectively handled flashbacks. Beverly Garland (Ellie) is a standout in these sequences.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 19th October 1964)

 

No. 85  26th October 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘The Education Of Bing Collins’ - With Macdonald Carey. Joyce is not happy about the prospect of her cultivated history teacher meeting her ‘lowbrow’ parents.

 

*Gaudeamus Igitur                                                                             (a)

*Shuffle Off To Buffalo                                                                     (b)           with Beverly Garland and MacDonald Carey

 

Notes:

(a)           A few bars only.

(b)           A  ‘blow-up’ version of this song was included in a selection of outtakes from the series issued on a video ‘Bing Crosby’s Cavalcade’ (unnumbered) by Festival Films.

 

“There’s an abundance of charm and ease in this pleasant entry. Debonair Macdonald Carey guest stars as Bing’s daughter’s history professor, and it follows that she (Joyce) develops an unusually strong interest in history.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 26th October 1964)

 

No. 86  9th November 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘The Dominant Male’ - With Gary Crosby. Joyce’s boy friend, Don, maintains that ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’ and he challenges Bing to prove otherwise.

 

*How Deep Is The Ocean?                                                                (a)

*Hallelujah, I Love Her So                                                                                               with Gary Crosby

 

Note:

(a)           Also reprised.

 

No. 87 16th November 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘The Importance Of Bea ‘n’ Willie’ - With Elizabeth Fraser. Willie is smitten with the daughter of the local lumberman but Willie’s so shy that the Collinses feel obliged to do some coaching from the sidelines.

 

*My Wild Days Are Over

*Cutie, Who Ties Your Tie?                                                                              with Diane Sherry

*You Can’t Get Along With ‘Em Or Without ‘Em

 

“Cute show with plenty of laughs. Willie (Frank McHugh) gets stung by one of Cupid’s biggest arrows and doesn’t know how to cope with it.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 16th November 1964)

 

No. 88  23rd November 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘The Liberated Woman’ - With Glenda Farrell. After reading a book on woman’s need for self-expression, visiting Aunt Lulu begins coaching the Collins in dramatics.

 

  You’re An Old Smoothie                                                                                  Beverly Garland

*You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To

 

No. 89  30th November 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘Genius At Work’ - With Thomas Gomez. Bing and Ellie order their brilliant but chronically messy daughter, Janice, to shape up - a world famous mathematician is coming for a stay.

 

*I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues

*D’Ye Ken John Peel                                                                                          with Beverly Garland, Frank McHugh & Carol Faylen

*D’Ye Ken John Peel (Parody - a cappella)

 

Note:

(a)                 Recorded 3rd August 1964.

 

No. 90  7th December 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘The Yadwin Report’ - With Don Penny. The Collinses seem so happy that Joyce’s boy friend can come to only one conclusion - their marriage is doomed.

 

*You’re Just In Love                                                                                          with Beverly Garland

 

“Funny and breezy episode. The Collins’ marriage is rated by a junior size psychologist who happens to be daughter Joyce’s latest boy friend.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 7th December 1964)

 

No. 91  14th December 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)   (a)

 

‘Janice And Me On A Saturday Spent With Random Inputs No. 1’ - With David Wayne. Janice and a leading exponent of electronic music, combine efforts to prove that Bing’s notions of music are antiquated.

 

*The Birth Of The Blues

 

Note:

(a)                 Recorded 11th June 1964

 

“This charming series takes a humorous poke at electronic music. Daughter Janice helps a kookie composer with his latest way-out work. David Wayne plays the composer as though he were Burgess Meredith playing a mad scientist.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 14th December 1964)

 

No. 93  21st December 1964 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC) (Colour)

 

‘The Christmas Show’ - With The Wellingtons. The Collinses, their singing guests, The Wellingtons and assorted carollers celebrate the holiday season in song.

 

*Christmas Candles

  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen                                                                       Carollers

*We Wish You The Merriest                                                                           with Carollers and Cast

*La Pinãta                                                                                                            with Carollers and Cast

*Do You Hear What I Hear?                                                                             with Carollers

*Argyll The Christmas Stocking                                                                      with Carol Faylen and Diane Sherry

  White Christmas                                                                                                Beverly Garland

*White Christmas                                                                                                               

 

“Good holiday entertainment for the family. Short on plot but long on song as Bing and company gather round the piano and offer a programme of some new Christmas songs, as well as his holiday trademark, ‘White Christmas’.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 21st December 1964)

 

Monday’s (21) seg of this fresh-man situationer did what it  figured to do with Crosby as star – tossed out the plot and settled down to a pleasant holiday songfest with Bing, his TV household – Beverly Garland, Frank McHugh, et al – plus an augmentation from the Wellington trio of lads and a group called The Carolers (who were doing just that outside when the family flagged them in). The tree-trimming, gift-giving seg delivered ‘seasonal songs’, capped inevitably with a Crosby-Garland rendition of “White Christmas”. Miss Garland, of course, being the show's hausfrau. The two, by the way, make a fine couple, and Crosby is convincingly his own age in this series.

(‘Variety’, 23rd December 1964)

 

No. 94  11th January 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘The Soft Life’ - The Collinses take a vacation but have differing ideas regarding their accommodation.

 

*Lazy Bones                                                                                        (a)

*Mountain Greenery

 

Note:

(a)           A few bars only

 

“Entertaining episode. Bing and his wife have differing ideas about vacations and each tries to prove that their way is best. Bing chooses a well-equipped cabin while the rest of the Collins clan, rough it, by camping out in clear sight of Bing’s relaxed luxury.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 11th January 1965)

 

“Bing Crosby, who started his first weekly television show last fall, expressed doubt yesterday that the series would continue next season.... “It’s been fun and it hasn’t been too hard a chore,” the singer and actor said. “But according to the rating, we haven’t been doing so well. I think I’d have to get on a glass bottom boat to find the rating. It’s a rat race. If you don’t get a rating they dump you.” Mr. Crosby said he was not depressed by the show’s rating and that usually a show required “a couple of years to get a good rating.””

(‘New York Times’ 13th January 1965)

 

No. 95  16th January 1965 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC)

 

Produced by William O. Harbach. Directed by Grey Lockwood. With Mitchell Ayres and the Hollywood Palace Orchestra, The Three Rebertes, Jacques D’Amboise & Catherine Mazzo, Leonardo, Corbett Monica, The King Family, Frank McHugh and Beverly Garland. Also Gene Barry, George Burns, Cyd Charisse, Buddy Ebsen, Phil Harris, Liberace, Tony Martin, and Ed Wynn make brief guest appearances.
 

*There’s More To Life Than Just Living                                        (a)

*She Can Carry A Gun                                                                                       with George Burns & Ed Wynn

 

Medley                                                                                                                 The King Family

  Lollipops And Roses

  There Is Nothing Like A Dame

  A Lot Of Living To Do

  Too Young

  I’m Old Fashioned

 

*Dream                                                                                                                 with The King Family

*Top Banana                                                                                       (b)           with Frank McHugh

*Happy Birthday, To You                                                                 (c)           with entire company

 

Notes:

(a)           An audio version of this item was issued on Broadway Intermission BR-135 - ‘Crosbyana - Volume 5 from Bing’s Collection’ (Source shown as ‘Hollywood Place (sic), 1959’)

(b)                 Also reprised with Frank McHugh and Beverly Garland.

(c)                 On this first anniversary of the Hollywood Palace, the last eight personalities shown in the cast list, all former hosts for the series, joined Bing in a ‘Birthday’ sketch.

 

“The Hollywood Palace has done right well for itself in the first year of its existence. Originally set as a replacement for the ‘Jerry Lewis Show’, this variety layout has established itself firmly in the entertainment scheme and is vying for the top spot in the variety field. The first birthday party show was emceed by Bing Crosby who also emceed its premiere on January 4th, a year ago. As guests, the producers gathered many of the emcees that had appeared during the year, for extremely brief bits. . . Crosby, in addition to conferenciering, reparteed with Frank McHugh, Beverly Garland and the raft of guests, to give this show a great big, agreeable and ingratiating effect.”

(‘Variety’ 20th January 1965)

 

No. 96  18th January 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘Bugged By The Love Bugs’ - With The Standells. Bing becomes a virtual pariah in his own home - just because he turned down two free tickets to a rock ‘n’ roll concert.

 

*Kansas City                                                                                                        with The Standells

 

“Cute, timely show. A rock ‘n’ roll group known as ‘The Love Bugs’ comes to town and the Collins’ house is thrown into a dither. The girls are heartbroken when they miss the big concert but the group’s manager turns out to be an old friend of Bing’s so everything ends up swinging.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 18th January 1965)

 

No. 97  25th January 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)   (a)

 

‘Are Parents People?’ - with Ken Murray and Pam Austin. Joyce and her friend, Clarissa, upset Bing and Ellie with their Easter vacation plans - they’ve decided to tour Mexico all by themselves.

 

*Cuanto Le Gusta                                                                                                with Carol Faylen

  The Wiggle Ball                                                                                                  Carol Faylen and Pam Austin

*South Of The Border

 

Note:

(a)           A video version of the programme was issued on Festival Films ‘Bing Crosby and Friends Volume 7’

 

No. 98  1st February 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘That’s The Way The Suki Yaki’s’ - With James Shigeta. Bing really goes for the way Japanese wives pamper their husbands which provokes Ellie into wagering that he couldn’t take even one week of it.

 

*The Japanese Sandman

 

“Pleasant show. Bing and Ellie declare war when Bing decides the ‘old tradition’ is more desirable than the new, after spending an evening at a Japanese couple’s home. Plenty of sight gags here.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 1st February 1965)

 

No. 99  8th February 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)  (a)

 

‘The Gifted Child’ - With Arthur Franz. Ellie is beside herself with worry when precocious Janice informs her parents that the school has sent her to see a psychiatrist.

 

*Sometimes I’m Happy                                                                                    with Diane Sherry

 

Note:

(a)           Recorded 25th August 1964.

 

“A cute show with a built-in message. Janice (Diane Sherry) discovers she’s under consideration to skip a grade and her reaction is anything but joyous. Her family goes along with her as she tries to make a decision.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 8th February 1965)

 

No. 100  15th February 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)  (a)

 

‘The Image’ - With Kathryn Crosby, Pat Harrington Jr. and George Gobel. Ellie goes along with a scheme to upgrade Bing’s public image which involves her with an effervescent interior decorator.

 

*In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town                                                                  with ‘the family’

 

Note:

(a)           Recorded 1st February 1965.

 

 “Publicity expert (Pat Harrington Jr.) and a decorator (Kathryn Crosby) try to jazz up Bing’s personality. George Gobel plays a motel manager.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 15th February 1965)

 

No. 101  22nd February 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘The Keefers Come Calling’ - With Frankie Avalon and Vikki Carr. Bing and Ellie help their new neighbours, a pair of teen-age newly weds, adjust to married life.

 

*You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me                                                       with Beverly Garland

  You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me                                                        Frankie Avalon & Vikki Carr.

 

“A good show which places its focus on a pair of newly weds, charmingly played by Frankie Avalon and Vikki Carr, who move into the neighbourhood. When their marital problems become too much for them, Bing and his wife step in and mediate.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 22nd February 1965)

 

No. 102  1st March 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)  (a)

 

‘Operation Man Save’ - With Joan Fontaine and Dennis Day. Ellie takes a cue from Bing’s highly efficient secretary and tries to introduce a little organisation at home.

 

*Exactly Like You

Exactly Like You (a cappella)                                                                        Beverly Garland, Frank McHugh, Carol Faylen & Diane Sherry

 

Note:

(a)           A video version of the show was included in the Festival Films video ‘Bing Crosby & Friends - Vol. 8 - ‘All-Star Show’.

 

“Guest star, Joan Fontaine lends her chic style to this one in the role of Bing’s efficient secretary. Her ‘helpful’ suggestions almost cause a domestic crisis in the Collins’ household. Dennis Day plays her down-trodden husband.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 1st March 1965)

 

No. 103  8th March 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘One For The Birds’ - With Phil Harris. Bing’s former vaudeville partner, Barney Jenks, shows up for a few day’s visit with a new partner - a trained crow named Blackie, in tow. During their stay, a number of burglaries are reported in the locality.

 

*Baby Face                                                                                                           with Phil Harris

*The Prisoner’s Song (a cappella)                                                                    with Phil Harris

*Bye, Bye, Blackbird                                                                          (a)            with Phil Harris

 

Note:

(a)           A  ‘blow-up’ version of this song was included in a selection of outtakes from the series issued on a video ‘Bing Crosby’s Cavalcade’ (unnumbered) by Festival Films.

 

No. 104  10th March 1965 - ‘The Grand Award Of Sports’ (ABC)

 

Produced and directed by Charles Dubin. With Jim McKay, Chris Schenkel, Colonel John Glenn and others.

 

Co-host with Kathryn Crosby. Autolite Institute Of Life statues were awarded to top names in 20 categories of sport in a live telecast from New York World’s Fair.

 

“Grand Award of Sports on ABC-TV was an obvious attempt to imitate the glamor and excitement of the annual Academy Awards. But the 90-minute show was spectacular only in its failure to generate any real interest. Emcee Bing Crosby was his of the Church of one by its lead- usual hip and casual self, a parlay that couldn’t offset the boredom as athletes in just about everything from pro football to beanbag plodded to the podium to collect hardware.”

(‘Variety’ 17th March 1965)

 

No. 105  22nd March 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘The Test’ - Bing insists that Joyce learn the rule book before taking her driver’s examination but he’s not doing much for his own renewal test.

 

  Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive                                                                      Carol Faylen & The Wellingtons

*The Little Things In Life

 

No. 106  29th March 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)    (a)

 

‘Moonlighting Becomes You’ - With Mel Tormé.

 

*Them There Eyes

*Smack Dab In The Middle                                                                               with Mel Tormé

 

Note:

(a)           A video version of the programme was issued on Festival Films -’Bing Crosby and Friends Volume 6’

 

“Professor (Mel Tormé) moonlights as a jazz pianist in a cellar café.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 29th March 1965)

 

No. 107  5th April 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)

 

‘What’s A Buddy For’ - With Lloyd Nolan and The Bob Mitchell Boy’s Choir.

 

*Smile, Smile, Smile                                                                                            with The Bob Mitchell Boy’s Choir

 

“Insurance broker (Lloyd Nolan) talks Bing into umpiring a Little League game.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 5th April 1965)

 

No. 108  12th April 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)  (a)

 

‘Conform, Conform, Whoever You Are’

 

*When I Was A Lad (from ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’- a cappella)

*Auld Lang Syne                                                                                                 with ‘the family’

 

Note:

(a)           Recorded 23rd September 1964. This was no doubt originally intended to be shown on 28th December 1964 (See press quote).

 

“In a revolt against conformity, Bing and Ellie plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a cosy mountain cabin.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 12th April 1965)

 

No. 109  12th April 1965 - ‘The Lucy Show’ (CBS) (Colour)

 

In this episode entitled ‘Lucy, the Disk Jockey’, Lucille Ball played a radio station DJ.  Although Bing did not appear on camera, he did contribute a vocal. Lucy introduced Bing by saying ‘here’s a recording of Bing Crosby singing Stephen Foster’. She played the ‘record’ and Bing’s voice, a cappella, sang (to the tune of ‘De Camptown Races’) ‘dum-dum-dum-dum-dee-dee-dee, Ste-phen Fos-ter’.

 

No. 110  19th April 1965 - ‘The Bing Crosby Show’  (ABC)  (a)

 

‘Real Estate Venture’ - With Ruth Roman. Energetic realtor, Amanda Rankin, convinces Ellie that, she too, is a born real estate saleswoman.

 

*My Heart Belongs To Daddy (Parody)                                        (b)

*Home, Sweet, Home                                                                        (c)

*My Blue Heaven

 

Notes:

(a)           The entire show was included in the Festival Films video ‘Bing Crosby & Friends - Vol. 9 - Christmas Show’.

(b)           A fragment only.

(c)           Bing hums and whistles only to a piano accompaniment.

 

“Dynamic realtor (Ruth Roman) convinces Ellie that she should sell the house and join her staff.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 19th April 1965)

 

No.111  27th June 1965 (BBC1)

 

Richard Allison briefly interviews Bing on his arrival in London and this is shown on a news bulletin.

 

No. 112  27th June 1965 - ‘The Eamonn Andrews Show’ (ABC in UK)

 

Guest appearance. With Spike Milligan, Cilla Black, Patrick Campbell and Harry H. Corbett.

 

Ol’ Man River                                                                                      Cilla Black

*The Thrill Is Gone                                                             (a)

 

Note:

(a)                 Fragment only.

 

No. 113  30th June 1965 - Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships (BBC)

 

Short interview.

 

No. 114  6th July 1965 - ‘Late Night Line-Up’ (BBC2)

 

Interviewed by Joan Bakewell. This was probably filmed at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships.

 

No.115  July/August 1965 – ‘Art Linkletter’ (CBS)  (a)

 

Interviewed by Art Linkletter on the set of ‘Stagecoach’

 

Note:

(a)                 Transmission details unknown.

 

No. 116  18th September 1965 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC) (Colour) (a)

 

Directed by Grey Lockwood. Produced by William O. Harbach. With the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra, the Tibor Rudas Dancers, the Black Theatre of Prague, The Nitwits, Burns and Schreiber, Bertha & Tina (elephants), Tim Conway and Caterina Valente.

 

*On The Hollywood Palace This Coming Year

  Goody Goody                                                                                                    Caterina Valente

  Meditation                                                                                                         Caterina Valente

 

Medley:                                                                                                                 with Caterina Valente

*Fancy Meeting You Here

*On A Slow Boat To China

*It Happened In Monterey

*Hindustan

*On A Slow Boat To China (Reprise)

 

 “Hollywood Palace starting its third year on the vaudeo spectrum, seems to continue in affable and agreeable ways. At this point the format continues to be serviceable and there’s no cause to re-write this hit. The formula of a name emcee and name talent is sufficiently potent to make this one of the better variety displays on the medium.

Bing Crosby making his third appearance on this soiree gave the season’s premiere a flavour unique to him. He mixes affability and entertainment in equally potent doses and gets involved in the proceedings to give the show an entertaining tone. For example, he ‘straighted’ for Tim Conway of ‘McHale’s Navy’, who needed a straight of Crosby’s calibre to look good. He sang with Caterina Valente and each endowed the other with an added ingredient. On her own, Miss Valente delivered with her accustomed top-rated product.”

(‘Variety’ 22nd September 1965)

 

Note

(a)           Recorded 5th September 1965.  The entire show was issued on video by Nostalgia Family Video.

 

No. 117  25th September 1965 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC) (Colour) (a)

 

Produced by William O. Harbach.  Directed by Grey Lockwood. With the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra, the Young Americans, La Norma, Fred Roby, Sims’ Performing Ponies, Carl Ballantine, Pat Woodell, Louis Armstrong and Phil Harris.

 

*My Blue Heaven                                                                                              

   It Might As Well Be Spring                                                                             Pat Woodell

  Waiting For The Robert E. Lee                                                                       The Young Americans

  Swanee                                                                                                                The Young Americans

*Happiness Is                                                                                                      with The Young Americans

  Way Down Yonder In New Orleans                                                               Louis Armstrong

*Dardanella                                                                                                          with Louis Armstrong

  King Of The Road                                                                                             Phil Harris

*South Rampart Street Parade                                                                          with Phil Harris, Louis Armstrong and The Young Americans

 

Note

(a)           Recorded 3rd September, 1965

 

“No matter how many times you experience it, there is no ‘high’ in life quite like the adrenaline-surge in your body as you stand waiting behind a curtain to open upon the stage of a TV variety show. The orchestra goes into the intro for your song. You hear the long, sustaining roll on the timpani drums. The string section is coming in on a single-note trill. Then you hear the brass building in pitch and volume when suddenly the curtain opens to reveal a truly awesome sight. At least it was an awesome sight for me to see late that Friday afternoon, September 3, 1965, when the curtain opened on the stage of the ABC TV variety show, Hollywood Palace.

Standing about 15 feet to my left is big-bandleader Phil Harris. Standing about 12 feet to my right is show business legend Louis Armstrong. And standing center-stage about eight feet in front of me to my left is the entertainer I most admire in life - Bing Crosby. .  . This particular Palace is going to be publicized in the TV viewing guides as ‘Bing Crosby hosts Louis Armstrong’s fiftieth year in show business.’

. . . Amid lingering uneasiness throughout the city, an extremely large crowd is lined up out front of the ABC Palace Theater on Vine about one-half block north of Hollywood Blvd. Making my way down an iron fire escape on the south side of the theater where the second and third-story dressing rooms are located, I’m amazed to see so many people waiting to get in to the late-afternoon taping of the dress rehearsal. . . Less than an hour later the full-dress rehearsal is being taped. I don’t remember now all of the songs performed. But I do remember that after two or three, I am performing with Mr. Crosby a moderately obscure song of the time called ‘Happiness Is’. He had had a special arrangement made, complete with key changes that move one-half step upwards after every chorus. And the original lacklustre verses are rewritten into clever new lyrics about various celebrities. I always liked the up-beat melody, so I still remember some phrases, like this one:

‘To a waiter, it’s a tip, tip, tip,

To Phil Harris, it’s a nip, nip, nip.

To a jockey, it’s a nag, nag, nag,

And to a G. I., it’s a Bob Hope gag’.      

When the Bob Hope line comes up in the dress rehearsal and the final performance, both audiences emit a sustained ‘Aaaaaaaw’ that everyone up on stage can clearly hear above the ongoing music. Through part of this song, Mr. Crosby is seated on a stool. On the floor around him are several young female singers with their arms around the bottoms of his legs. One day at rehearsal, Lisa, one of the girls, had found a hole in one of his pant cuffs. She put her finger through it and wiggled it around while laughing out loud for all to see. He just smiled and paid no attention.

While standing behind him for part of this number I often think he has a poor tailor. Even his performance clothes look - in a word - ‘baggy.’ When I tell my folks about this one night, my mother says he always had a reputation over the years for being a bad dresser. And yet his loose-fitting garments may be the result of nothing more than him being on a diet at the time - something my current age has much experience with. Back then, however, that thought never occurs to the 17-year-old mind in my 145-pound body. . . . At 62, his voice is deep, full and every bit as resonant as it was for any performance at any time in his career. Watching him whenever possible, it seems to me as though it is just so effortless on his part. His head tilts back slightly, the jaw drops and out comes this incredible sound unlike any voice before or since.

On Monday, the first day of rehearsal, everyone takes turns on stage recording all the numbers with the full orchestra. For the remainder of the week the daily rehearsing is performed to the pre-recorded sound which is constantly stopped and rewound while the Director and the TV camera people work the show out visually from various angles. The orchestra will not reappear until the dress rehearsal late the following Friday afternoon.

On variety programs of this time there is a short break on the day before dress rehearsals. This allows newcomers to briefly kibitz with the stars. Like me, everyone in that show could hardly wait to return from their dressing rooms with some memento for these stars to autograph. In my case, I had brought along the record jacket from ‘Robin and the Seven Hoods’ on which Mr. Crosby is centered between Sinatra, Martin, Davis and Peter Falk. When he reaches out to sign it for me, I just cannot resist telling him the many number of times I had gone to see the film.

‘Myyyyyy,’ he says in that familiar low-baritone voice as he drops his head and looks at me from out of the top of his eyes, ‘but you are a brave soul.’ On the soundtrack recording of ‘Style’, his voice can be clearly heard speaking after the song concludes: ‘Come on, let’s get some clothes on or we’ll be late for breakfast.’ A passing comment from me about this remark only brings a bewildered expression from him.

Standing there, less than four feet from him as he signs the album and hands it back to me, I am thinking how authentic his hairpiece appears. No one unaware of the truth would ever have suspected it is not his real hair. But overall, the one aspect I find truly remarkable about his appearance is that he has the most youthful-looking eyes I have ever seen in any person. Either before or since, I have never seen such bright blue irises surrounded by such large, pure white sclera. They are totally devoid of any red blood vessels, which is probably why Phil Harris comments at one point that Bing should not worry his ‘baby-blues.’

Misters Crosby and Harris have some comic patter they perform together at one point. And I am so happy that on Thursday, the last day before dress rehearsal, there seems to be endless equipment problems. Over and over again the Director’s voice bellows out from the control room speaker: ‘One more time from the top, please.’ The two seasoned veterans then redo all the punchlines, complete with feigned laughter and totally rehearsed ‘ad lib’s.’ And every time they make it sound as though they are just having a casual, impromptu conversation in someone’s living room. It is quite an on-the-job education for those of us present from the younger set. . .

This Friday is also the first day that Louis Armstrong appears at rehearsal, primarily for camera placement and sound levels. Mr. Armstrong was age 65 at the time. A number of the younger performers think the network is especially insensitive to his physical condition, for he had been given a dressing room on the second floor. To reach it, he has to slowly labor up two floors of thin metal steps.

I remember on the day of kibitz, my request for Mr. Armstrong’s autograph turns an expression of pain upon his face into that wonderful smile. His smile could cause the sun to shine, even indoors. After he graciously signs my album, I watch him take very short and slow steps towards the dressing room stairs. His head is bowed forward, and it seems to take him forever to reach the second floor. But as far as I know, he never once complains to a soul about not having a first-floor dressing room. I shall always remember him as the quintessential gentleman of charm, grace, personality, humor and - most of all - talent.

He and Mr. Crosby perform something together, which I have since forgotten. But what I will never forget is the closing finale, in which everyone on the show takes part. Talk about a show-stopper, the closing number is South Rampart Street Parade. A wonderful series of interlaced melodies and counterpoints composed by Ray Bauduc and Bob Haggart with lyrics by Steve Allen, the entire composition conveys the feeling of an oncoming parade building in volume and rhythm. Only this arrangement has something no street parade ever has - a studio orchestra with a string section. Added to this layered complexity are the jazz ‘fills’ of Mr. Armstrong’s horn and numerous sections of syncopated rhythm.

Wow, what an experience!

There are many unforgettable musical moments I can look back on. But if I had to select one that approaches a spiritual level of magic, it would be this one.”

(Richard Zimmerman, one of the Young Americans, writing in ‘BING’ magazine, Winter 2001)

 

No. 118  17th November 1965 - CBS News Special - Sinatra

 

Interviewed.

 

No. 119  20th November 1965 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC) (Colour)

 

With the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra, Desmond & Marx, Charlie Manna, The Black Theatre of Prague, Willy Mays, Michael The Waiter, The Kessler Twins, John W. Bubbles, Diahann Carroll and Bob Hope.

*Them There Eyes
  Married (Heiraten)                                                                                            The Kessler Twins
*Identical                                                                                              (a)           with The Kessler Twins
  When My Baby Smiles At Me                                                                        John W. Bubbles

Medley:
*You Can Dramatise The Feeling With A Hat                                               with John W. Bubbles

*A Couple Of Song And Dance Men                                                              with John W. Bubbles

*Red Sails In The Sunset
*In A Little Spanish Town                                                                                 with John W. Bubbles
  I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire                                                       John W. Bubbles
*Prisoner Of Love
  M.I.C.K.E.Y.M.O.U.S.E.                                                                                    John W. Bubbles
*London Bridge Is Falling Down                                                                      with John W. Bubbles
  Stranger In Paradise                                                                                          John W. Bubbles
*Old Devil Moon

  Get Me To The Church On Time                                                                    John W. Bubbles
*You Go To My Head
*Me And My Shadow                                                                                        with John W. Bubbles
*You Can Dramatise The Feeling With A Hat (Reprise)                               with John W. Bubbles

  It’s Not Unusual                                                                                                Diahann Carroll

  You Go To My Head                                                                                        Diahann Carroll

  Going Out Of My Head                                                                                    Diahann Carroll
  If I Ruled The World                                                                                         Diahann Carroll

*Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep)                                                    with Chorus

Note:

(a)           Bing’s contribution consists of two lines.

                 

“Then there was the great team of Buck and Bubbles, particularly the dancing member of the team, Bubbles. He was considered by Fred Astaire (and many others) to be the greatest soft shoe, buck and wing, or tap dancer who ever lived. At every performance we had visiting dancers in the wings who had dropped in from other vaudeville circuits or motion picture presentation houses, who came over to watch and learn. People like Eleanor Powell and Hal Le Roy. Five times a day, seven days a week, Bubbles never danced the same routine twice, but always an inspired improvisation. Later he went on to play ‘Sportin’ Life’ in ‘Porgy and Bess’.”

(Bing Crosby, writing in ‘Call Me Lucky’)

 

No. 120  15th December 1965 - ‘The Bob Hope Comedy Special’ (NBC) (Colour) (a) 

 

Guest appearance. With Nancy Wilson, Janet Leigh and Jack Benny.

 

  I’ll Only Miss Him                                                                                             Nancy Wilson

 This Dream                                                                                                          Nancy Wilson

*‘The Tenant’ Sketch                                                                         (a)           with Bob Hope

*Do You Hear What I Hear?                                                             (b)

 

Notes:

(a)   The entire show was issued on DVD by Bobontv.com in 2010, their reference number 121565.

(b)     A video version of this item in which Bob Hope becomes Bing’s tenant at his Palm Springs home was included in the NBC-TV programme ‘On the Road with Bing: A Special Tribute to Bing Crosby’ shown on 28th October 1977.

(c)   Bing lip-synched to his 1963 recording with the Ralph Carmichael Orchestra & Chorus (See also Programme No. 71).

 

“Last week’s TV outing was a fair variety show that didn’t quite live up to its super stellar cast. . .The comedy sketches were uneven, the best, possibly because it was the broadest, involving Jack Benny as an escaped convict hiding out at the North Pole and Hope as Santa. Less effective was the skit in which Bing tried to get rid of his Palm Springs tenant (Hope), so that he could sell his mansion. Crosby nicely warbled his way through a Yule tune but basically, the show seemed to be hung up on the audio personalities of Hope, Crosby and Benny. 

(‘Variety’ 22nd December 1965)

 

No. 121  25th December 1965 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC) (Colour)  (a)

 

With the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra, Bob Williams & Louie, Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, Andre Tahon, Harry L. Crosby III, Dorothy Collins, Bob Crane and the cast of ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ (Werner Klemperer, John Banner, Robert Clary, Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis and Ivan Dixon). (b)


*The White World Of Winter                                                                            with Chorus
  The Nutcracker Suite (Tchaikovsky)                                             (c)            Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians
*The Whiffenpoof Song                                                                                    with Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians
  It Might As Well Be Spring                                                                              Dorothy Collins
*The Glow Worm (Parody)                                                                                 with Dorothy Collins

Medley:
*It’s Christmas Time Again                                                                              with Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians
*Go Tell It On The Mountain                                                                           with Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians

  Twelve Days Of Christmas                                                                              Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians
  Stille Nacht (Silent Night)                                                                                Werner Klemperer & John Banner
  French Carol                                                                                                       Robert Clary
  Deck The Halls                                                                                                   Dorothy Collins
*We Wish You The Merriest                                                                            with Dorothy Collins, Bob Crane & Cast

  O Come Little Children (Humperdinck)                                        (d)           Harry L. Crosby III
*White Christmas                                                                             (e)

Notes:

(a)                Recorded 29th November 1965. A video version of the programme was issued on Festival Films – ‘Bing Crosby and Friends Volume 4’.

(b)                ‘Hogan's Heroes’ was a TV series from Bing Crosby Productions that ran for 168 episodes. The plot involved shrewd, smooth-talking, ‘Col. Robert Hogan’ (Bob Crane) leading a ragtag band of POW's held in the mythical ‘Stalag 13’. The Germans, in the shape of ‘Col. Wilhelm Klink’ (Werner Klemperer) with ‘Sgt. Hans Schultz’ (John Banner), as his bumbling sidekick, gave Hogan and his gang plenty of opportunities to sabotage their war efforts. Four of the other cast members (in the order shown above), played respectively, ‘Cpl. Louis LeBeau’, ‘Cpl. Peter Newkirk’, ‘Sgt. Andrew Carter’ and ‘Cpl. James Kinchloe’.

                Bob Crane had enjoyed a successful career in radio with KNX  in Los Angeles. His television break came in 1963, when he played 'Dr. Dave Kelsey’ on the popular ‘Donna Reed Show’ but he was dropped after two years. In 1965, he landed the starring role in ‘Hogan's Heroes’.  The show gained a place in the top 10 by the end of its first season and Crane was nominated for an Emmy twice, in 1966 and 1967. In 1971, the new president of CBS abruptly cancelled ‘Hogan's Heroes’. In the aftermath, he continued to act. However, the roles were few and unfulfilling. On 29th June1978, Bob Crane was murdered in his rented apartment/hotel room in Scottsdale. He was 49 years old.  His murder remains unsolved.

(c)                 A vocal arrangement of themes from the well-known Christmas ballet including, ‘Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy’, ‘Waltz Of The Flowers’ and ‘Arabian Dance’. 

(d)                Harry L. Crosby III (aged 7) makes his first television appearance. A video version was included in Christmas at the Hollywood Palace, a program shown on PBS-TV in December 2004 and made available on DVD and video.

(e)                 A fragment was included in Christmas at the Hollywood Palace, a program shown on PBS-TV in December 2004 and made available on DVD and video.


No. 122  1st January 1966 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC) (Colour)

 

With the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra, Donna Butterworth, Bob Newhart, Sonny & Cher, David Nelson and the Flying Artons, Marilyn Maye, Ben Blue and Danny Thomas.

 

*This Could Be The Start Of Something Big

  Misty                                                                                                                    Marilyn Maye

  Swanee                                                                                                                Donna Butterworth

  Waiting For The Robert E. Lee                                                                        Donna Butterworth            

*My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii                                              with Donna Butterworth   

  What Now My Love                                                                                         Sonny & Cher

*Have You Made Your Resolutions?                                                              with Sonny & Cher

*High Hopes

 

No. 123  6th January 1966 - ‘Telescope’ (CBC Canada)   (a)

 

Profile. Includes interview with Fletcher Markle.

 

Note:

(a)                 Recorded October 1965.

 

No. 124  6th February 1966 - ‘The American Sportsman’ (ABC) (Colour)

 

Fishing for marlin in Mexico.

 

No. 125  19th February 1966 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC) (Colour)

 

With The Hugh Lambert Dancers, Roger Ray, The Fiji Island Band, Henny Youngman, Gary Crosby, Edgar Bergen and Rosemary Clooney.

 

*Just The Way You Are                                                                     (a)

  Who Can I Turn To?                                                                                        Gary Crosby

  Senikau-ni Bula                                                                                                 The Fiji Island Band

  Krisimasi                                                                                                             The Fiji Island Band

 

Blues Medley:                                                                                      (b)           Rosemary Clooney

  I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues

  You Don’t Know About Misery

  Mood Indigo

 

Medley:                                                                                                                  with Rosemary Clooney

*Hear That Band

*The Daughter Of Molly Malone

*Poor People Of Paris

*New Vienna Woods

*Hear That Band (Reprise)

 

Notes:

(a)                 Arrangement includes a snatch of ‘Stay As Sweet As You Are’.

(b)                 The medley is introduced and closed with a few lines on the subject of ‘torch songs’ – perhaps parodied or possibly especially written for the occasion.

 

“A good night for the middle-aged set with host Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Edgar Bergen and Henny Youngman on tap. Rounding out the bill are the Hugh Lambert Dancers, Roger Ray who practically destroys the xylophone and the Fiji Island Band.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 19th February 1966)

 

No. 126  26th March 1966 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC) (Colour)

 

With Cully Richards, The Harris Nelson Family, David Frost, Nanette Fabray, Jackie Mason and Tammy Grimes.

 

*When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along

  Feeling Good                                                                                                      Tammy Grimes

*Typically English                                                                                               with Tammy Grimes

*The Men In My Little Girl’s Life

  American Patrol                                                                                                 Nanette Fabray

 

Medley:                                                                                                                  with Nanette Fabray

*If You Wanna Learn Your History

*B-U-Ug

*Greensleeves

*English Country Garden

*Quartet from ‘Rigoletto’ (Parody)

*Tell Me Pretty Maiden

*Indian Love Call

*Baby, It’s Cold Outside

*B-U-Ug (Reprise)

 

“Host, Bing Crosby and guests, Tammy Grimes and Nanette Fabray spend most of the hour, singing tunes. In addition Miss Fabray is tap-dancing again: Britain’s David Frost and Jackie Mason deliver soft quiet-type comedy monologues and the vaudeville acts feature a tumbling group and pantomimist Cully Richards.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 26th March 1966)

 

“If ‘Batman’ succeeds by being very bad, ‘Hollywood Palace’ scores by being very good. Last Saturday (26th), with Bing Crosby as emcee, viewers were treated to another potpourri of talent, with Jackie Mason, Tammy Grimes, Nanette Fabray and David Frost among the ingredients of this sumptuous video dish. . . Miss Fabray closed the session as Crosby joined in a humorous duet tracing the development of music from the cave man of prehistoric times to the ‘cave man’ of today. . . Host, Crosby, offered his rendition of the current hit, ‘The Men In My Little Girl’s Life’ which is part soliloquy. But singing rather than saying songs is his forte, as he demonstrated in the opener, ‘When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along’.”

(‘Variety’ 30th March 1966)

 

No. 127  27th March 1966 -’Timmy’s Easter Parade Of Stars’ (Canada) (aka ‘The Easter Seal Show’)  (a)

 

Guest appearance. With Orchestra conducted by Lucio Agostini, The Art Hallman Singers, Robbie Lane and the Disciples, Juliette and Kathryn Crosby.

 

*When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along

  More                                                                                                                    Juliette

*Easter Parade (Parody)                                                                                     with Juliette

*Swinging On A Star                                                                                          with "Timmy" & chorus

*The Men In My Little Girl’s Life

 

Note:

(a)           Recorded 7th March 1966 before an audience of 1,200 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto, Canada. The show is one of Canada’s biggest show business charity shows and it aids Canada’s handicapped children.

 

“… The television show was taped on the following evening and what a wonderful experience it was. My daughter, Diane, who also admires Bing very much, accompanied me to the show and we were delighted to find that our seats were in the twelfth row, on the side of the theatre from which Bing was working. What a wonderful thrill as the curtain went up to the strains of the Lucio Agostini orchestra playing the ever-beautiful “Blue of the Night”—and Bing appeared on stage. It seemed just incredible that we were actually sitting there watching the great Mr. Crosby in person!

As the show was being taped, it was a start and stop affair.  This made it all the more interesting for, between numbers when the tape was stopped, Bing was on stage, talking casually to the audience, the technicians, the performers, and lending a hand whenever he saw the need. We were particularly impressed by his never-failing patience, friendliness and good humour throughout the entire show.

We had been told that it was Bing’s friend, Mr. Max Bell, who had invited and “coaxed” Bing to come to Toronto to do this show. But it was obvious from Bing’s own remarks that he had been very happy to come as he said he wanted to express to Canada his gratitude for many good times he has spent in various parts of the country hunting and fishing and making good friends. What nicer way than to give so freely of his time and talents for such a worthy cause.

Bing opened the show with his own terrific version of “Red Red Robin”, and the show was off to a happy start, most of the performers on the show were Canadian, which, Bing said, was “as it should be,” but besides emceeing the show, Bing managed to get in four songs, each of which had its own specia1appeal, and all were well-chosen to fit the occasion.

At one point in the show, Bing had a chat with “Timmy” who asked Bing if he would have time to meet some of his little crippled friends. Bing said he most certainly would and then did a very appealing version of “Swinging on a Star” with Timmy and his friends. Bing is always so good with children. You can just imagine the scene as Bing looked round at each of the children and smiled saying: “Well, this is the biggest group I’ve worked with since I sang with the Fred Waring Pennsylvanians.”

Just about the happiest moment in the show came when Bing introduced “A young lady who’s very special to me—because she keeps my sons out of my golfing equipment, fishing tackle and shot guns—my wife Kathryn” It had been Bing’s idea to bring Kathryn along to appear on the show and her appearance just made it complete. The audience was clearly delighted to see her. Kathryn came on stage smiling. She is very sweet and friendly, and looked so beautiful in a pink fur-trimmed gown, with a short full skirt, and very stylish white lace hose.

Kathryn talked to Bing and the audience about the Easter Seal campaign and the excellent work which is done through donations received. But after a few short minutes, Bing said: “That was very well said, Kathryn,—and now I am going to excuse you.” “Already?” she exclaimed, smiling—“I was just going to sing!” “Well,” said Bing, “I’m about to introduce a lovely lady and I don’t want to see my wife crying in public.” “I never cry darling,” said Kathryn “but I’ll be in the wings, waiting— and watching,” and kissed him on the cheek. As she left the stage, Bing called out: “Where’d you get the socks?” “From when I was a nurse,” Kathryn called back. Bing then introduced Toronto’s own Juliette—my favourite female vocalist if I may say so here. Glamorous Juliette has been charming her fellow Canadians with her lovely songs and warm personality on her own weekly show for many years and it was a real treat to see my two favourites together.              Juliette expressed her genuine pleasure at meeting Bing. “You know,” she said, “Like every other female vocalist, I’ve often wondered if I would ever have a chance to stand right beside you and sing a duet with you.” “I thought you’d never ask me,” said Bing, as the orchestra struck up “Easter Parade”. This produced one of the most delightful moments in the show. The words of the song had been changed slightly to fit the occasion—and this must have been somewhat confusing, though Bing wasn’t using the cue card. But in the second chorus, when he was supposed to sing “I’ll be all in clover”, the words eluded Bing and unable to pick up the place on the cue card, he came in, like the pro that he is, in perfect tune and time, with the surprising words—“I can ‘t see the next line.” Juliette, quite a pro herself, quickly filled him in and not a note was missed. A most delightful duet, with a special added dash of true Crosbyanna.

Something very amusing happened as Bing was about to do his closing song. The orchestra went into the introduction too soon and Bing didn’t quite make it to centre stage on time. “You’d better give me that intro again, Lucio,” called Bing. The orchestra, hidden behind the curtains for this number, must have been completely thrown. All was silent for so long that Bing finally walked over and put his ear to the curtain, calling out “Hello-o-o there. Is anybody there?” And then to the audience: “I think they’ve all gone home.”  But soon the orchestra started the song again and Bing, seated on a stool, alone in the spotlight at centre stage, closed the show with his own unforgettable version of “The Men in My little Girl’s Life”.  /Bing does this song so well that it is really regrettable that he has not made a recording of it for general release.

At the end of the show, all the performers came on stage. Timmy presented Kathryn with a huge bouquet of red roses and it was a very touching moment as she bent down to kiss him on the cheek.

When the curtain went down, Bing came out front and thanked the audience for “helping us to put this show together,” said once again how happy he was to have been able to do it and with a smile and a wave, a “Goodnight and God Bless you”, was gone.”

(Lillian Potter, writing in BINGANG magazine, December 1966)

 

 “Bing was in Toronto last week for the video-taping of the Timmy Easter Seal Show. The cast and crew at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Canadian National Exhibition, were captivated by the Crosby personality. Despite his genuine modest manner, it was evident to everyone that we were in the presence of an incomparable performer.

        During the rehearsals for the CTV program he sang with the ease that others have emulated through the years; his voice was never more mellow. His opening selection, “When the Red, Red, Robin Comes Bobbin’ Along”, he handled in his delightful breezy manner. “Easter Parade” offered Juliette the opportunity to duet with Mr. C. The crippled children joined the Oscar winning star to recall from ‘Going My Way’, the Academy Award winner, “Swinging On A Star.” But, his most impressive performance was a tender interpretation of the current hit, “The Men In My Little Girl’s Life.”

        The ease with which he emcecd the show was infectious. The variety bill included: Jackie Vernon (who was appearing at the RoyalYork), Gord Lightfoot, The Brian Brown Trio, Robbie Laine and Juliette. Alex Barris, the popular Toronto columnist and TV personality, wrote a solid script—with Crosby jargon much in evidence.

        When I first heard that Bing would host the big Easter show, I sent him a note telling him where I could be reached in Toronto. It was a real treat to receive a phone call from him, shortly after his arrival—I doubt if my mother-in-law will use her phone for a long time. We had several opportunities to talk to Bing throughout the day and early evening. During the breaks in the rehearsal he sat in the near - empty theatre with Alex, my wife and I. In the mid-afternoon we were joined by his wife Kathy, who also made an appearance on the program. Mrs. Crosby is not only very pretty, but also a very pleasant person.”

(Gord Atkinson, The Ottawa Citizen, 19th March 1966)

 

No. 128  20th April 1966 - ‘The Road To Lebanon’ (A Danny Thomas Special) (NBC) (Colour)  (a)

 

Guest appearance. Directed by Alan Handley. With Harper MacKay and his Orchestra, Hugh Downs, Claudine Auger,

Sheldon Leonard and Bob Hope.

 

*The Road To Lebanon

*White Christmas                                                                                (b)

  Oh, Moon                                                                                                            Danny Thomas

*Together Wherever We Go                                                                              with Danny Thomas

  Cool Water                                                                                         (c)            Danny Thomas

*I Enjoy Being A Girl (Parody)                                                                          with Claudine Auger

*The Road To Lebanon (Reprise)                                                                     with Danny Thomas & Claudine Auger

 

Notes:

(a)           A video version of the programme was issued on Video Yesteryear No. 230 -‘The Road To Lebanon’

                A poor quality black & white version was also issued on Elstree Hill Entertainment 730009-3 as part of the 3-DVD box set ‘The Bob Hope Collection’

(b)           Brief snatches only.

(c)           A snatch only, a cappella.

 

“Danny, Bing Crosby and Claudine Auger (of ‘Thunderball’ fame) star in this spoof of Crosby and Hope’s ‘Road’ pictures.    In an interview on the ‘Today Show’, Bing tells host, Hugh Downs, that he doesn’t want Hope as his co-star in ‘The Road To Lebanon’. ‘Danny Thomas would be perfect’, says Crosby. ‘He’s younger, fresher and Lebanese’. So, Crosby heads for Lebanon to sign Danny.”

(‘TV Guide’ 20th April 1966)

 

“Fashioned on the old ‘Road’ features that Bob Hope and Bing Crosby used to make, and aping the style as it parodied the situations, this Garry Marshall – Jerry Belson script had Thomas visiting his ancestral homeland to judge the Miss Lebanon beauty contest and being pursued first by Crosby who wanted to team up with him and slough off Hope as a partner, and second by the son of a Lebanese sheik who was to exact punishment for a tribal sin committed by one of Thomas’ forebears – getting a nose job. The wellspring of much of the hour’s comedy was that the ‘son’ was really a daughter, played by Claudine Auger who was everything her role demanded – sexy. . . .The scripters managed to pave some openings along the way for a couple of songs by Crosby and a singleton by Thomas. . . . Producers Alan Handley and Bob Wynn kept production values high throughout, and Handley’s direction was slick and strictly big time.”

(‘Variety’ 27th April 1966)

 

No. 129  1st May 1966 - ’The Magic Of Broadcasting’ (CBS) (Colour)  (a)

 

Directed by Ben Hill. With John Scott Trotter, Sheldon Leonard, Diane Sherry, Kerry McLane, Rod Serling, Arthur Godfrey and Lucille Ball.

 

*Love Is Just Around The Corner

*Pennies From Heaven

*I’ve Got A Pocketful Of Dreams

*Wait Till The Sun Shines, Nellie                                                                      with Diane Sherry & Kerry McLane

*Blue Skies                                                                                          

*Swinging On A Star                                                                                           with Diane Sherry & Kerry McLane

 

Note:

(a)           Bing was co-host for the show with Arthur Godfrey and Lucille Ball introducing film clips.  His contribution to the programme was taped on 17th February 1966 at the Desilu Studios.

 

“Arthur Godfrey is host for a nostalgic review of the great stars and favourite programmes of radio and television history. Joining him are Bing Crosby, who uses an ancient Atwater Kent radio to acquaint two youngsters with musical stars of the past, including Al Jolson, Ben Bernie, Helen Morgan and Arthur Tracy; Lucille Ball, seen at rehearsals for her TV show with series co-star Gale Gordon (radio’s first Flash Gordon); Sheldon Leonard, TV producer of such series as ‘I Spy’ and ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’; writer Rod Serling, who discusses the live dramas of television’s ‘Golden Age’ and bandleader, John Scott Trotter, who reviews the big bands of yesteryear. Films, stills and transcripts include ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy’; Fanny Brice; Rudy Vallee; Milton Berle; ‘Fibber McGee and Molly’ and Fred Allen.”

(‘TV Guide’ 20th April 1966)

 

“If there was anything this star-studded botch lacked, it was any kind of ‘magic’. In the scan of broadcasting from early radio days to TV present, the show fell into almost total disarray in striving to cover too much. The historic segments, a hodge-podge of clips, stills and sounds came off as a meaningless recitation. The viewer kept waiting for a spark in the debris which would give the feel of the medium’s past. Nothing happened.

It was as though reels from another special were unspooling in a reprise of a day in the life of producer, Sheldon Leonard and Lucille Ball at work on the set. And Bing Crosby’s inane bit at opening with two kids in a record shop seemed more like a gimmick out of the past than the historic footage.

The first mistake in this Lee Mendelson production may well have been putting it in colour. The switches from tint to b & w to sepia and yellow-tinted b & w was the crowning touch to the mishmash of the whole.”

(‘Variety’ 4th May 1966)

 

No. 130  21st May 1966 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC) (Colour)

 

With The King Family, The Mecners, Pat Daly & Bill Wayne, Mac Ronay, Leslie Uggams, Shelley Berman and Johnny Mercer.

 

*This Is One Of Those Songs                                                            (a)

  What Did I Have?                                                                                             Leslie Uggams

  Inka-Dinka-Doo                                                                                                 Leslie Uggams

 

*From Monday On                                                                                             with Johnny Mercer

 

Medley:                                                                                                 

*Three Little Words

  Too Marvellous For Words                                                                            Johnny Mercer

*Witchcraft

  That Old Black Magic                                                                                      Johnny Mercer

*Chattanooga Choo Choo

  On The Atcheson, Topeka & The Santa Fe                                                 Johnny Mercer

*A Shine On Your Shoes

  Come Rain Or Come Shine                                                                              Johnny Mercer

*Three O’clock In The Morning

  One For My Baby                                                                                             Johnny Mercer

*Yes, We Have No Bananas

  Tangerine                                                                                                            Johnny Mercer

*Lazy River

  Lazy Bones / Moon River                                                                                 Johnny Mercer

*Manãna

  Blues In The Night (Parody)                                                                            Johnny Mercer

*Winter Wonderland

  In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening                                                       Johnny Mercer

*Take Me Out To The Ball Game

  And The Angels Sing                                                                                        Johnny Mercer

*Love Me Or Leave Me

  Autumn Leaves                                                                                                 Johnny Mercer

*Russian Lullaby

  Fools Rush In                                                                                                     Johnny Mercer

*Manhattan

  I’m Old Fashioned                                                                                             Johnny Mercer

*The Night They Invented Champagne

  Days Of Wine And Roses                                                                                Johnny Mercer

*Shoo-Fly Pie And Apple Pan Dowdy

  Dream                                                                                                                  Johnny Mercer

*Miss America

  Goody Goody (Parody)                                                                                    Johnny Mercer

*What A Difference A Day Made

  Day In, Day Out                                                                                                Johnny Mercer

*New York, New York

  Hooray For Hollywood                                                                                    Johnny Mercer

*Margie

  Laura                                                                                                                   Johnny Mercer

*Diga Diga Doo

*Something’s Gotta Give                                                                                   with Johnny Mercer

 

*Young At Heart                                                                                                 with The King Family

*You Make Me Feel So Young                                                                          with The King Family

 

 “Except for comic, Shelley Berman at the telephone, this is mostly a singing show with Bing Crosby as its host. Bing joins songwriter, Johnny Mercer for a medley and manages to merge with the huge King Family for a few tunes at the end. Leslie Uggams rounds out the vocal list with numbers like ‘Inka Dinka Doo’ and vaudeville acts including a trio of sway poles, two British comics and a glass tumbler juggler round out the bill.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 21st May 1966)

 

“With BingCrosby as host, Saturday’s (21st) ‘Hollywood Palace’ was another well-blended hour of mirth and melody.   Whether in a solo of ‘One Of Those Songs’ or, joined by the King Family, the crooner sang in pleasant low-key manner that has kept his popularity constant for what seems like generations. Old buddy, Johnny Mercer was on hand for a humorous duet with Bing which in medley fashion ran down the list of Mercer hit favourites through the years. . .”

(‘Variety’ 25th May 1966)

 

Note:

(a)           This item was shown on ‘The Best Of The Hollywood Palace’, hosted by Susanne Summers, on ABC-TV in 1993.

 

No. 131  6th June 1966 - ‘Kaleidoscope’ Channel 9 (KQED San Francisco)

 

Interviewed by Jim Day on this local PBS station.       (a)

 

Note:

(a) An extract from the interview may serve to illustrate Bing’s philosophy of life in his later years.

 

J.D: ‘You say that more recently you've come to think that your mother was right about her prayers. What's happened more recently that's caused you to think that luck is a little less important?’
Bing: ‘Well mebbe I've become a little closer to religion. And thinking it over, and the way things go, you become convinced that there is a Divine Providence that looks after you. I don't suppose the Good Lord was looking after me whether or not I recorded this or recorded that. But you have to feel that some influence other than something worldly was working. My mother was such a wonderful woman and she did so many good things and such good work and she wanted success and happiness for me so maybe the Lord, to make her happy, had good things happen to me.’
J.D: ‘Why have you been brought closer to religion in recent years?’
Bing: ‘Well I can't account for it, except as you get older, you seek the solace of religion. I always was a pretty good Catholic. I had lots of transgressions for which I was properly sorry but in our church, if you're penitent, you're still in the fold. But as you get older, Jim, as you know - you're just a young fellow - but you'll come to it later in life - you'll become sere and yellow like me, that religion is a great solace and a great refuge and a great comfort.’
J.D.: ‘How long do you intend to continue singing?’
Bing: ‘Not much longer!’
J.D.: ‘Why not?
Bing: ‘Oh, it doesn't sound so good anymore. I make a record now and the disc comes back to me a few days later. I play it at home and I play it about half through and I take it off. It sounds too bad.’


No. 132  9th June 1966 - ‘Across The Seven Seas’ (Colour)

 

Guest appearance. Programme discussed private air travel to Southern California. Interviewed at his home in Las Cruces, Baja California, Mexico.

 

Note:

(a)           A video version was included on ‘Around the World In Technicolor’ distributed by LS Video Inc.

 

No. 133  17th September 1966 - ‘The Hollywood Palace’ (ABC) (Colour)

 

Produced by William O. Harbach. Directed by Grey Lockwood. With The Mitchell Ayres Orchestra, Mac Ronay, The Rhodins, Mickey Deems, The Mamas & the Papas, Lola Falana, Jane Marsh, Joyce Jameson, Sid Caesar and George Burns.

 

*Strike Up The Band                                                                          (a)

  Promise Me Anything                                                                                       Lola Falana

  You’ll Never Have To Go To Bed At All                                                       George Burns

*You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You                                  (a)            with George Burns

  Mimi’s Aria (Puccini)                                                                                        Jane Marsh

  Dancing Bear                                                                                                     The Mamas & The Papas

  Dancing In the Street                                                                                        The Mamas & The Papas

*Sketch                                                                                                                  with Sid Caesar, Mickey Deems & Joyce Jameson

                                                                 

Note:

(a)           An abridged video version of these items was included in the ABC-TV programme ‘Bing Crosby: His Life and Legend’ which was shown on 25th May 1978.

 

 “New season. Bing Crosby returns to host the season’s premiere, sing with George Burns and act in a comedy sketch with Sid Caesar and Joyce Jameson about a harassed husband in a split-level house. Burns brags about his talents as a vocalist. Crosby introduces opera soprano, Jane Marsh, recent winner of the Tchaikovsky contest in Moscow, for an aria from ‘La Boheme’ and variety novelties like the Mamas and the Papas, a French pantomimist, a trapeze act and dancer-singer, Lola Falana.”

(‘Los Angeles Herald Examiner’ 17th September 1966)

 

“‘Hollywood Palace’ is basking in its reputation as one of the better produced variety shows. Nick Vanoff and Bill Harbach seem to be able to extract a maximum from each act and a distinguished emcee gives gloss to the show and provides the acts with an excellent setting.

In its premiere for the new season, Bing Crosby paced the proceedings, imparting his own brand of affability and easy-going charm. Crosby contributed as a singer, comedian and conferencier and rated high in each sector. As far as additional name value, the show had its share. Sid Caesar, in a slimmer package, looked like his old self. . . his skit with Joyce Jameson, portraying suburbanites whose home Crosby visited, had the air of exaggerated truth. It had funny moments and excellent execution.”

(‘Variety’ 21st September 1966)

 

No. 134  30th October 1966 - ‘The Andy Williams Show’ (NBC) (Colour)  (a)

 

Guest appearance. With The Young Americans, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Kate Smith and the Allyn Ferguson Orchestra.

 

  Moon River                                                                                                        Andy Williams
*Where The Blue of the Night
  Sixteen Tons                                                                                                      Tennessee Ernie Ford
  When The Moon Comes Over The Mountain                                             Kate Smith


  I’ve Got You Under My Skin                                                                          Andy Williams
  Sixteen Tons                                                                                                      Tennessee Ernie Ford
  (I’m A) Natural Man                                                                                         Tennessee Ernie Ford

 

Medley:                                                                                                                  Tennessee Ernie Ford & Andy Williams

  May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
  Your Cheatin’ Heart

 

Medley:                                                                                                                  The Young Americans

  Seventy Six Trombones
  A Spoonful Of Sugar
  Once Upon A Time
  Back In The Old Routine
  I’ve Been Breakin’ Rocks On A Chain Gang
  Single Minute Waltz
  A Home In The Meadow
  I Fell In Love
  I Wanna Be Loved By You
  Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue


 Medley:                                                                                                 (b)           with Andy Williams

*In A Little Spanish Town                                                                 (c)

*Don’t Fence Me In

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

*In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening

*Swinging On A Star                                                                          (d)

*When You And I Were Young Maggie Blues                              (e)

 

  Who Can I Turn To?                                                                                        Kate Smith

 

Medley:

  Back In Your Old Backyard                                                                            Andy Williams & Kate Smith

  ‘Way Back Home                                                                                             Andy Williams & Kate Smith

  Carolina In The Morning                                                                                Andy Williams & Kate Smith

  (Back Home Again In) Indiana                                                                      Andy Williams & Kate Smith

*Home On The Range                                                                       (f)

  I Know A Place