Bing – A Diary of a Lifetime
This is the diary of Bing’s life originally published by the International Crosby Circle in 1997 and long out of print. The information was also shown in the Bing Crosby Internet Museum until it was closed down in January 2010. A vastly expanded and more detailed version called Bing Crosby – Day by Day was published by Scarecrow Press in 2001 but this has now sold out completely. It can however be viewed by clicking on the link above.
Copyright © 1997 and 2001 by Malcolm Macfarlane
Precise dates relating to Bing’s early life are hard to come by and we have to rely on his autobiography plus other biographies for much of the outline. Certain facts were gleaned from the archives at Gonzaga University and overall we gain an impression of a man brought up in a large family in which the Roman Catholic Church played a major part. Bing’s father was said to have been a happy-go-lucky character who was somewhat imprudent with money, whilst his mother was the strict disciplinarian who undoubtedly influenced Bing considerably. Bing was introduced to activities such as fishing by his father, but it was his mother who ensured that religious faith played a large part in Bing’s daily life. From the age of three until he was 22, Bing lived in a pleasant, mainly Catholic, area in Spokane, Washington. He would probably have had the same friends through grade school, high school and then University. For pocket money, he had a variety of jobs and as a 13 year old he became an altar boy.
The important part played in his formative years by the Jesuit priests at Gonzaga was always acknowledged by Bing and as we examine the key dates of his time there, we can see how first he was heavily involved in sporting activities and then worked his way through elocution and debating to drama, where the drug of applause would have well and truly entered his system. His early forays into singing and comedy can be seen and then in the academic year he was due to graduate from Gonzaga University, he had a starring role in a play and also started to earn good money as one of the Musicaladers. One can imagine that final year as he fell behind with his studies and perhaps realised that his chances of graduating that year were receding. The lure of show business finally convinced him to drop out of University and then he struggled for a while after the Musicaladers disbanded, before picking up work in the Clemmer Theatre with the 17 year-old Al Rinker as his accompanist. They realised that the Spokane area was limited as regards a show business career and eventually they plucked up the courage to travel 1,500 miles to Los Angeles in an open Model-T Ford. There they sought work and Bing’s real show business career began.
May 3 (Sunday) Harry Lillis Crosby is born at home, 1112 North J Street, Tacoma, Washington, fourth child of Harry Lowe Crosby and Catherine Helen ‘Kate’ (nee Harrigan) Crosby. ‘Lillis’ was a family name from the distaff side. Three siblings preceded Harry Lillis: Laurence Earl ‘Larry’ (January 3, 1895), Everett Nathaniel (April 5, 1896), and Edward John ‘Ted’ (July 30, 1900). Young Harry’s date of birth was usually incorrectly given as May 2, 1904 (sometimes 1901) from 1933 onwards. May 2 was used from childhood so that a younger sister, Mary Rose would have a birthday to herself.
May 29 Leslie Townes Hope is born in Eltham, London, England. He later changes his name to Bob Hope.
May 31 Is baptised Henrieum Lillis Crosby at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church at 1123 North J Street in Tacoma.
Oct 3 Catherine Cordelia Crosby, a sister, is born.
Spring Father, who had been an auditor to Pierce County, loses his job at the courthouse apparently due to a change in administration and he moves 350 miles inland to Spokane to be a book-keeper for the Inland Brewery Company. He leaves the family behind temporarily whilst Kate awaits the birth of her next child.
Apr 6 The Crosbys sell their house to Kate’s sister and brother-in-law (Edward J. Walsh) and rent a property at 1214 South I Street, Tacoma.
May 3 Mary Rose Crosby, a sister, is born at 1214 South I Street.
Jul The family is reunited in Spokane and they rent a house at 303 East Sinto Avenue.
Fall Father buys first phonograph.
Fall Young Harry enrolls at Webster Grade School in East Sharp Avenue, Spokane.
Harry’s playmate, Valentine Hobart (who lives two doors away on East Sinto Avenue) dubs him ‘Bingo’ after a comic feature called ‘The Bingville Bugle’ in the Spokesman-Review newspaper. The ‘o’ is soon dropped and Harry becomes ‘Bing’ for the rest of his life, although his mother continues to call him Harry until her death in 1964.
Nov 4 Wilma Winifred Wyatt is born in Harriman, Tennessee. She later changes her name to Dixie Lee and marries Bing on September 29, 1930.
Theatrical debut at North Central High School auditorium. One of 12 children bouncing up and down on pogo sticks as part of a story called ‘Beebee’.
Apr 15 R.M.S. Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic and over 1500 die.
Apr/May Bing plays on Webster School baseball team.
Sep Bing enters the fifth grade at Webster and his teacher is Miss Agnes Finnegan.
Jul The Crosbys move into a nine-room house at 508 East Sharp Avenue, Spokane, which they have had built.
Aug 25 George Robert ‘Bob’ Crosby is born, the youngest of the seven children.
Sep 7 George Robert Crosby is christened at St. Aloysius Church.
Bing appears in black face in a benefit to raise money for the Webster school.
Aug 4 Britain declares war against Germany and the First World War begins.
Sept Bing goes into the seventh grade at Webster and this time his teacher is Miss Nell Finnegan.
Bing fights Jim Turner after he has insulted Mary Rose Crosby.
Nov 4 Bing attends the birthday party of his friend Gladys Lemmon.
Dec Bing’s class presents a Christmas play taken from the Ladies Home Journal and Bing plays the part of a girl.
Has a summer job as a locker boy in the municipal swimming pool in Mission Park.
Believed to have given first public performance at Parish Hall singing ‘Ben Bolt’, ‘Rover’ and ‘One Fleeting Hour’.
Jun Overseen by his mother, Bing wins seven medals at a local swimming gala. (Firsts for diving and plunging, several seconds in the 100 and 220 yard events and some thirds in others.)
Prohibition is introduced in the State of Washington. Bing’s father becomes unemployed until early 1917 as his employer, Inland Brewery, is virtually put out of business.
Bing has a job as a lifeguard at the municipal swimming pool in Mission Park as well as other jobs such as selling eggs, mowing lawns and delivering newspapers in order to get pocket money.
Sep 6 Enters Gonzaga High School as a ‘commuter’.
Elected as ‘Sergeant-At-Arms’ in First Year High School, Division One.
Becomes an altar boy at St. Aloysius. He has to attend the service at 6:30 a.m. each day during every third week. This continues throughout his time in Gonzaga High School.
Nov 3 Reads his own original composition at First Year High Class Specimen of Work.
Jan Bing’s father returns to work as Inland Brewery changes name to Inland Products. At first they manufacture near-beer and vinegar and soon they add pickles and other products as well.
Mar 15 The Annual Elocution Contest at Gonzaga High School. Bing recites ‘Old Watermelon Time’ in the Junior Division.
Apr 6 USA enters the First World War. Larry Crosby applies for the officers’ training camp at the Presidio, San Francisco and leaves within the week. He goes on to Camp Funston and trains recruits. Everett enlists in the Cavalry and is eventually posted to France where he becomes a sergeant in an artillery battery.
Bing achieves distinctions in History, English and Christian Doctrine in First Year High, Division One.
Jun 14 Commencement day (i.e. the beginning of the Summer vacation).
Jun 19/20 Al Jolson appears at the Auditorium, Spokane in ‘Robinson Crusoe Jr’. Bing has a job back stage.
Sep 12 Opening of classes at Gonzaga High School.
Sep Bing is elected as Consultor in Second Year High School, Second Division.
Captains the ‘Dreadnoughts’ football team against the ‘Submarines’ in the Junior Yard Association Midget League.
Oct Joins High School Junior Debating Society.
Nov 2 Takes part in Second Year High School, Division Two Specimen Public Speaking Competition. He is one of four reciting Poe’s poem ‘Bells’.
Nov/Dec Takes part in last debate of semester.
Mar 5 Takes part in the Annual Elocution Contest at St. Aloysius Hall and recites ‘Romancin’.
May Bing makes the Junior Yard Association baseball team.
Achieves ‘First Honors’ in English in Second Year High School, Division Two and ‘Next in Merit’ behind the gold medal winner in Elocution.
Jun 12 Commencement day.
Obtains a part-time job as a caddy at the local municipal golf Course.
Sep 11 Opening of classes at Gonzaga High School.
Oct 13 The influenza epidemic reaches Gonzaga and a member of staff dies. Classes are suspended on October 24 because of the continuing influenza outbreak.
Oct 28 Classes re-start.
Nov Bing plays on the Junior Yard Association football team.
Nov 11 Germany admits defeat and signs the armistice to end the First World War.
Jan/Feb Member of Junior Yard Association basketball team.
Feb Elected as Sergeant-At-Arms in Third Year High School.
Feb 24 Bing has a small part as ‘second citizen’ as the Third Year High School class present ‘Julius Caesar’ at St. Aloysius Hall.
Apr 14 Bing recites ‘In Freedom’s Cause’ in the Annual Elocution Contest held in the Parish Hall.
May 31 On Junior Yard Association baseball team.
Jun 5 Takes part in the Grand Concert held in St. Aloysius Hall which is presented by the Glee Club and Orchestra. Bing delivers an elocution selection called ‘As You Like It’ with two others during the intermission. Achieves a distinction in Elocution and a merit in the Senior Academics Debating Society.
Jun 19 Commencement day
Sep 10 Opening of classes at Gonzaga High School.
Dec 19 Gonzaga Night (described as an annual ‘fun-fest’) takes place in the Parish Hall. Bing takes part, with other members of the fourth year high school class, in a burlesque on Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’.
Dec Works at the local post office.
Jan. 16 The Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol, comes into force. Prohibition had already been introduced into Washington State in 1916.
Bing is the janitor at the Everyman’s Club (for loggers and miners), working between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. until Summer.
Bing’s a member of the ‘Bolsheviks’, a group that takes part in elocution contests and debates against ‘The Dirty Six’.
As part of Fourth Year High School Section A, Bing achieves distinctions in Christian Doctrine, English, Latin, History and Civics.
Awarded Premium Place for Elocution in the High School Contest, Senior Section. (This is the second place)
Jun 9 Graduation Day ceremonies at Gonzaga High School begin at 2:30 p.m. and Bing is the first speaker with a graduation exercise called ‘The Purpose of Education’. He graduates in the Classical Course.
Jul Works on a farm at Cheney with his friend Buck Williams but after a week or two they stow away on a train to Portland to try to see Bing’s brother, Everett. They cannot trace him so they stow away on a train again, this time the ‘Shasta Limited’ to Roseburg in south Oregon, where they are spotted and put into a cattle car returning to Portland. They do eventually find Everett but later spend a night in jail after failing to pay for a Chinese meal.
Bing badly cuts his knee with an axe whilst working with the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, near Westdale.
Sep 15 Enters Gonzaga University and becomes Assistant Yell Leader on the Advisory Board.
Sep/Oct Sings as a member of the ‘Republican’ quartet.
Oct 27 The Gonzaga Dramatic Club presents the comedy ‘The Dean of Ballarat’ in St. Aloysius Hall. Bing plays a coloured aristocrat.
Nov 29 Gonzaga Glee Club presents ‘A Study In Tone and Colour’ at St. Aloysius Hall. Bing plays one of the coloured ‘end’ men.
Mar 15 The Gonzaga Dramatic Club presents a three-act Irish playlet entitled ‘The Curate of Kilronan’ at St. Aloysius Hall. Bing has a supporting role.
Apr 19 Sings ‘vocal selections’ at the annual ‘Gonzaga Night’ held at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Music is provided by the Dizzy Seven. (During this period, Bing occasionally joins the group as drummer.)
April / May Plays varsity baseball at Gonzaga.
May Takes part in the Junior Philhistorian Debating Society annual banquet.
May 4 The Dramatic Club of Gonzaga present ‘Gonzaga’s Chief’ at the Auditorium Theatre.
Jun 5/6 Al Jolson in Spokane appearing in ‘Sinbad’ at the Auditorium. Bing has a part-time job in the props department and is heavily influenced by Jolson’s performance.
Jun 9 Commencement day.
Bing plays for the Ideal Laundry baseball team in the Spokane City League.
Sep 15 Opening of classes at Gonzaga.
Acts as librarian for The House of Philhistorians in the first semester.
Jan 8 Sunday night vaudeville shows begin at Gonzaga University and continue until May. Bing appears in the first show and sings comedy songs as well as taking part in a comedy skit. The audience of 600 helps raise $150 for the University’s athletic board.
Bing is the Recording Secretary for The House of Philhistorians in the second semester.
Feb 8 The sophomore class play ‘It Pays To Advertise’ is presented at St. Aloysius Hall. Bing receives a favourable review “Harry Crosby as the genial press agent ‘Ambrose Peale’ kept the audience in constant uproar”.
Mar 30 Plays at third base in a baseball game which is a trial for the Gonzaga team.
May 5 Acts in ‘The Bells’ for the Henry Irving Dramatic Society of Gonzaga University at the Woodward Theatre. Bing plays the part of a villager.
Receives a ‘Distinguished’ in English.
Jun 9 Commencement day
Works in the pickle factory where his father is a manager.
Jul Joins week-end party at Honeymoon Bay on Newman Lake
Sep 18 Begins his junior year at University and declares a pre-law major. His classes are in the morning and evening and he works afternoons for Colonel Charles S. Albert, local attorney for the Great Northern Railway for $30 per month.
Feb 12 Acts in ‘Seven Keys to Baldpate’ presented by the Gonzaga Dramatic Club at the American Theatre. Bing plays ‘Lou Max’.
May 3 Bing takes part in ‘Letter Night’ at Gonzaga and performs in a comedy skit. Also sings as a member of the Gonzaga Harmony Trio at the event.
Jun 13 College and Law Commencement day at Gonzaga.
Summer Bing has a singing lesson with Professor Martucci.
Sep 19 Bing enrolls for the Fall semester and attends classes at Gonzaga.
Nov 8 The Gonzaga Dramatic Club presents the three-act comedy ‘It Pays To Advertise’ at the American Theatre and Bing again receives a favourable mention as he reprises his performance as ‘Ambrose Peale’.
Fall Buys a set of drums. Has two singing lessons with Professor Krantz.
The Charleston becomes the biggest dance craze of the decade.
Bing joins the Musicaladers as drummer and singer. Al Rinker is the band’s pianist and the other members of the band are James Heaton, Miles Rinker, Robert Pritchard and Claire Pritchard. They make their debut together at the Manito Park Social Club, appearing on Sunday nights. Also they are used as part of the “Frank Finney and his Laughlanders” presentation at the Auditorium Theater.
Mar 28 The Musicaladers commence a week’s engagement at the Casino Theater where they are described in the billing as “Masters of Jazz”. The Musicaladers go on to obtain an engagement on Friday and Saturday nights at the Peking Cafe, a second-story Chinese restaurant in the Fidelity Mutual Building, W518 Riverside Avenue.
April (possibly) Bing decides to drop out of University on realising he earns more money singing than he would as an assistant lawyer.
Jul - Aug The Musicaladers play at Lareida’s Dance Pavilion at E4902 Sprague, Dishman, receiving $25 for three nights a week.
Nov 4 President Calvin Coolidge is re-elected.
The condenser microphone replaces the acoustic horn and the Columbia Company becomes the first to issue electrically recorded discs.
Spring The Musicaladers disband.
Bing and Al Rinker learn to play golf at Downriver Park.
May 9 The gala reopening of the Clemmer Theater in Spokane features the film Raffles starring House Peters. The new manager, Roy Boomer, takes on a vocal trio called ‘The Three Harmony Aces’ which includes Bing, with Al Rinker accompanying on piano from the pit, to entertain between the films.
“The manager of the theater got a quartet together and wanted us to do a little stage presentation. We did, but the quartet wasn’t very good. I was in the pit playing piano for the guys. The manager finally let the quartet go but he kept Bing. He thought he’d let Bing try it alone. I played in the pit for Bing and he did songs like ‘Red Hot Henry Brown’. He’d sing and dance a little. We did this for a couple of weeks and then Bing came down into the pit and we started doing duets. Bing had a little cymbal and I’d play piano and sing with him. We stayed at the Clemmer Theater for a few more weeks. We were each making $30 a week. That was big money for us.” (Al Rinker)
Bing and Al continue at the Clemmer Theater for several months often with three other men - Wee Georgie Crittenden, Frank McBride and Lloyd Grinnell - and they are billed as ‘The Clemmer Trio’ or ‘The Clemmer Entertainers’ depending which men are used.
Fall Bing and Al shuttle between odd jobs, party engagements and parties and then decide that they must move on if they are to succeed in show business.
Oct 30 Bing and Al leave Spokane for Seattle in a 1916 Model-T Ford and play a weekend with Jackie Sounders’ band at the Hotel Butler there before deciding to go to Los Angeles. They are said to play a week at a movie theater in Tacoma and sing in several speakeasies at Portland and San Francisco en route.
Nov 7 They arrive in Los Angeles and make contact with Al’s sister, Mildred Bailey, who lives at 1307 Coronado, and with Bing’s brother, Everett, who is acting as a truck salesman as a front for selling liquor.
Nov 9 Bing and Al are driven down to Tijuana, Mexico by their friend Jimmy Heaton. On the way back, Bing and Al take a short ride in the rear cockpit of a plane from Ryan airfield, San Diego. They are both terrified!
Nov ? Bing and Al have a tryout at the Cafe Lafayette where Harry Owens recommends they audition for Rube Wolf at the Boulevard Theater.
Dec 7 The Fanchon and Marco Time Agency hire them for 13 weeks to take part in a revue called The Syncopation Idea, starting at the Boulevard Theater in Los Angeles and then on the Loew’s circuit. They each earn $75 a week. The revue includes a troupe of dancing girls called ‘The 16 California Flashes’.
Dec 30 The silent film Ben Hur has its New York premiere at the Cohan Theatre, New York.
Bing and Al Rinker began as a minor part of The Syncopation Idea, a short revue put out by the Fanchon and Marco agency, and it was there that they started to develop as entertainers. They had a lively and individual style and they were particularly popular with college students. After The Syncopation Idea closed, Bing and Al obtained work in the Will Morrissey Music Hall Revue which must have been fascinating if insecure. However, their skills were further honed during their time with Morrissey and when they subsequently had the chance to present their own independent act, they blossomed and were quickly spotted by the Paul Whiteman organization. At that time, it was felt that Whiteman needed something different and entertaining to break up the musical selections he was presenting and Crosby and Rinker filled this requirement admirably. After less than a year in full-time show business, they had become part of one of the biggest names in the entertainment world. We can imagine their pride when they returned to Spokane to entertain for a week at the Liberty Theater before going off to join Whiteman in Chicago.
Initial successes with Whiteman were followed by disaster when they reached New York and for a while Whiteman must have thought of letting them go. Possibly Bing might have been retained as Whiteman was already using him as a solo performer on record, but the prospects for Rinker must have been bleak. However, the addition of Harry Barris made all the difference to the act and the Rhythm Boys were born. The additional voice meant that the boys could be heard more easily in the large New York theaters and they quickly became a real success. A year touring with Whiteman provided valuable experience and then they were sent out on tour alone. Much has been written about the escapades of the three men during this period and clearly they were living life to the full. Despite all of this, Bing was continuing to develop and when the Rhythm Boys rejoined the Whiteman troupe in 1929, he had matured considerably as a performer. He was constantly in demand as a solo artist on record and radio. An offer to go out on his own was, however, refused by Bing and he stayed faithful to the Rhythm Boys. Perhaps he simply felt more secure as a member of a group and a similar trait was exhibited some years later when he refused to accept single star billing in films.
The famous trip to Hollywood in mid-1929 aboard the Whiteman Old Gold Special followed and Bing started to become noticed in Hollywood. Early screen tests were unsuccessful but the Rhythm Boys carved out a reputation as they starred at the Montmartre Cafe for several weeks. The delays in filming King of Jazz led Whiteman and the Rhythm Boys to return to the east coast for a while, but then they all returned to California at the end of October 1929 to finally begin filming. Around this time, Bing was jailed following a car crash as he had been drinking and he lost a solo spot in King of Jazz to John Boles. The Rhythm Boys did however have a couple of featured spots in the film and Bing also sang over the opening titles. After completing filming, Whiteman took his troupe up the West Coast to Seattle prior to returning east for the New York premiere of King of Jazz. However, the lure of his girlfriend, Dixie, and of the sunshine in California proved too strong for Bing, so he and the Rhythm Boys left Whiteman in Portland, Oregon, and returned to Los Angeles.
Although some books indicate that the act then went into the Montmartre, there may be confusion with their earlier appearance there in 1929. They did appear on local radio and sing for film sound tracks, but it was not until they went into the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel in July 1930 “that the action picked up a little,” to quote Bing. Singing with the Gus Arnheim Orchestra, Bing’s solos began to steal the show, while the Rhythm Boys act gradually became redundant. His apprenticeship was well and truly over. Marriage was to change him too.
Jan 9-15 The Syncopation Idea revue appears at the Balboa Theatre, San Diego.
Jan 18-24 The Syncopation Idea at Long Beach.
Jan 25-31 Show goes on to Santa Ana for week.
Feb 1-3 The show is at San Bernardino.
Feb 4-12 Appearing at the Boulevard Theatre in Los Angeles, Crosby and Rinker are billed in Variety magazine separately from The Syncopation Idea.
Feb 13-19 Show at Loew’s Warfield, San Francisco.
Feb 20–26 The Syncopation Idea moves on to the Oakland T & D Theater for another cine-variety show.
Mar ‘The Syncopation Idea’ closes in Sacramento, after performances in Oakland, Pomona and Glendale. Bing and Al return to Los Angeles where they rent an apartment.
Apr Bing and Al are hired for Will Morrissey’s Music Hall Revue at the Orange Grove Theatre in Los Angeles at $150 weekly for the act. Rehearsals take place in readiness for the planned opening on April 29.
Apr 30 - Jun 19 Will Morrissey’s Music Hall Revue at the Orange Grove Theatre. The show is scheduled to open April 29, but is postponed one hour before curtain time to the next day because of a lack of costumes.
May Bing and Al perform at a Hollywood party for the cast of ‘Charlot’s Revue’ (including Bea Lillie, Jack Buchanan and Gertrude Lawrence). Bing makes an impact singing ‘Montmartre Rose’.
Jun 20 - Aug 4 Will Morrissey’s Music Hall Revue at the Majestic Theatre, Los Angeles. During this period there is publicity about Morrissey being arrested for drunken driving and also about cheques payable to the cast being dishonoured. Part way through a show on July 27, Morrissey tells the audience that the performance cannot continue as he has not been paid by his partner. The agent Edward Small is in the audience and he puts up $1,000 to allow the show to be completed.
Jul 27 Bing and Al take part in a huge entertainment evening for the American Legion at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Aug 9-12 Will Morrissey Music Hall Revue at Spreckels Theatre in San Diego, including a matinee performance August 11.
Aug 13/14 Will Morrissey’s Music Hall Revue at the Lobero Theater, Santa Barbara. Bing and Al are advertised in the local newspaper as “Corsey and Rinker.”
Aug 16 - Sep 11 The Revue moves to the Capitol Theatre in San Francisco.
Aug 23 Rudolf Valentino dies in New York at the age of 31.
Sep 16 - Oct 15 Paul Whiteman and his orchestra at the Million Dollar Theatre in Los Angeles. Bing and Al go to the railway station to see the orchestra’s arrival in Los Angeles.
Sep 18-24 Under contract to Paramount-Publix, the duo appears at the Granada in San Francisco in Jack Partington’s ‘Purple and Gold Revue’. They are billed as “Crosby and Rinker - Two Boys and a Piano—Singing Songs Their Own Way”.
Sep 25 - Oct 1 The boys continue at the Granada in another Partington revue called ‘Bits of Broadway’ and receive favourable comment: “Crosby and Rinker delight with their repertoire of songs, beginning with ‘Mary Lou’.”
Oct 6 Favourable review of the act also seen in Variety.
“Two boys from Spokane and not new to show business but new to picture house work. They appeared with Will Morrissey’s Music Hall Revue and were a success in a show that was a flop. Bringing their methods to the Granada, they registered solidly and on the crowded Sunday performances practically stopped the show. The duo works with a piano and minus orchestral accompaniment. Blues of the feverish variety are their speciality. They are well equipped with material, presumably their own. Young and clean cut, the boys found a quick welcome. When they have completed their weeks locally, they will unquestionably find a market for their wares in other presentation houses. Wherever the public goes for ‘hot’ numbers served hot, Crosby and Rinker ought to have an easy time.”
Oct 8-14 Bing and Al sing at the Metropolitan Theatre in Los Angeles in a cine-variety show which is also called ‘Bits of Broadway’ and stars Eddie Peabody. They do four shows a day and five at weekends. Paul Whiteman’s manager, Jimmy Gillespie, sees the act and the boys are called to meet Whiteman at the Million Dollar Theatre. To their amazement, Whiteman hires them for $150 weekly each. They are to join Whiteman in Chicago in December when the duo will have completed their existing commitments.
Oct 15-21 Bing and Al continue at the Metropolitan and the show this week is called ‘Russian Revels’.
Oct 16-30 Paul Whiteman at California Theatre in San Francisco.
Oct 18 Bing and Al make their first record, “I’ve Got the Girl”, singing the chorus without label credit with Don Clark’s Biltmore Hotel Orchestra in the grand ballroom of the hotel in Los Angeles for Columbia Records.
Oct 22-28 The show at the Metropolitan is called ‘Joy Week’ and although Eddie Peabody is still the star, Crosby and Rinker are billed second.
Oct 30 - Nov 5 Crosby and Rinker back at the Granada in San Francisco in another Partington show called ‘Dancing Around’. Peggy Bernier is also in the show.
Nov 6-12 Bing and Al continue at the Granada in a show called ‘Jazz a la Carte’. Peggy Bernier is again in the show.
Nov 13-19 Crosby and Rinker continue at the Granada, San Francisco and this time the revue is called ‘Way Down South’.
Nov 15 NBC Radio goes on the air.
Nov 22 Bing and Al arrive back in Spokane. His mother says that Bing has put on weight.
Nov 24-28 Starting at 11 p.m. on November 24 for the ‘midnight’ performance, Bing and Al perform at the Liberty Theatre in Spokane (alternating with the film) earning $175 each. Their act is called ‘Let’s All Go Now’ and is said to be ‘their own original novelty’.
Nov 27 Bing and Al appear once at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane. They are billed as ‘Two Boys With a Piano and a Voice’.
Nov 29 - Dec 4 Paul Whiteman at the Chicago Theatre, Chicago.
Dec 6-11 Bing and Al open with Whiteman at the Tivoli Theatre in Chicago and are a hit. They give four shows a day. (During his years with Whiteman, Bing performs with Bix Beiderbecke, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Red Nichols, Andy Secrest, Frank Trumbauer, Roy Bargy, Lennie Hayton, Eddie Lang and Matty Malneck, among others.)
Bing sees Louis Armstrong perform at Sunset Cafe, Chicago.
Dec 13-18 The Whiteman show moves to the Uptown Theatre in Chicago.
Dec 22 (2 - 5:20 p.m.) In Chicago, Whiteman produces Bing and Al’s second record, ‘Wistful and Blue’, for the Victor Talking Machine Company.
Dec 27 - Jan 8 Whiteman ensemble at the Missouri Theatre, St. Louis where they break all house records. They had only been booked for one week but they are held over because of the demand to see them.
Jan 9-15 Whiteman at the Allen Theatre, Cleveland
Jan 16-22 The Whiteman troupe moves on to the Hippodrome, Youngstown, Ohio.
Jan 23-29 Whiteman at the Circle, Indianapolis. The show is put on four times daily.
Jan 30 - Feb 4 Whiteman at Castle Farm, Cincinnati.
Feb 7 Whiteman troupe arrive at Grand Central Station, New York in the morning and Whiteman is taken by motor parade down Broadway to City Hall where the Acting Mayor greets him. The parade goes on to the Paramount for a “grand ballyhoo” and then to the Hotel Astor for a welcome home lunch.
Feb 10 Bing and Al are part of a vocal group which records with Paul Whiteman in New York for Victor.
Feb 12-18 Whiteman is at the Paramount Theatre in New York in a cine-variety show. The show opens on February 12 and Bing and Al receive favourable comment in Variety magazine.
“...From the coast, he has brought in Rinker and Crosby, a smart two man piano act who sing pop ditties differently and are of the Van and Schenck class. After Whiteman gets through grooming the boys, they will be plenty in the money. At the Whiteman restaurant, they will be even more impressive…Rinker and Crosby vocalised two numbers and accepted as many encores.”
Unfortunately the Crosby and Rinker act cannot be heard in certain parts of the theatre and is withdrawn after only three performances. Thereafter Bing and Al sing in the lobby to the overflow crowd waiting to enter the theatre.
Feb 18 Paul Whiteman’s ‘Broadway at 48th.’ Club opens on the site of the former Trianon at 11 p.m. in front a host of celebrities. The orchestra is advertised as playing during dinner and supper. Crosby and Rinker are hardly noticed when they perform during the intermission and they are eventually relegated to fill in as stagehands raising and lowering the curtains.
Feb 25 More group work for Bing and Al at a recording session in New York with Whiteman for Victor.
Feb 28 Bing and Al record ‘Pretty Lips’ with Whiteman.
Mar 3 Bing and Al record ‘I’m Coming Virginia’ but all four takes are rejected.
Mar 7 Bing records ‘Muddy Water’ with Whiteman in New York for Victor. His first solo, albeit only a chorus, and without label credit.
Mar 9 Variety quotes the cabaret bill at the Paul Whiteman Club as being the Paul Whiteman Orchestra and the Whiteman Boys. The latter act presumably includes Bing and Al Rinker.
Mar 22 - May 21 The Whiteman troupe are featured in the musical comedy Lucky starring Mary Eaton at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Ruby Keeler and Skeets Gallagher are also in the cast. The Whiteman band appears each night for 25 minutes at about 11 p.m. in a New York cabaret sequence late in Act Two and plays five numbers. Bing and Al sing ‘Sam, the Old Accordion Man’. High prices have to be charged to cover the cost of including the Whiteman Orchestra. The show, which has matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays, lasts for 71 performances. The orchestra also continues to perform at the Whiteman night club during this period.
Apr 13 The new floor show at the Paul Whiteman Club opening today is said to include “the following entertainers from Whiteman’s Orchestra: Henry Busse, Jack Sperzel, Wilbur Hall and Big Crosby (sic).”
Apr 29 (1:30 - 4 p.m.) Bing and Al again record ‘I’m Coming Virginia’. This time it is a success. They also record ‘Side By Side’.
May 6/9 Further recording sessions with Whiteman as part of a vocal group.
The duo becomes a trio when Harry Barris joins them on Matty Malneck’s suggestion and the new group becomes Paul Whiteman’s Rhythm Boys one month later.
May 22 Whiteman gives a one hour concert at the Century Theatre as a benefit for Saranac Lake Day Nursery.
May 24 (1 - 4:40 p.m.) Harry Barris joins Bing and Al to record ‘Magnolia’ with Whiteman. They are not yet billed as ‘The Rhythm Boys’.
May 24 The Paul Whiteman Club closes for the summer. In fact it is sold during August and the name is changed.
May 25 Variety states that Charles B. Dillingham has suffered a net loss of $270,000 on his production of Lucky which closed on May 21.
Jun 4-10 The Whiteman troupe return to the Paramount in New York and their show is called ‘Rhapsodyland’. It alternates with the film. The “new vocal trio” of Bing, Al Rinker and Harry Barris receives a favourable review.
Jun 11-17 Whiteman continues at the New York Paramount and this time the show is called ‘Rushia!’.
Jun 18-24 Whiteman still at Paramount and the show is now called ‘S.S. Syncopation’.
Jun 20 The Rhythm Boys make their first ‘official’ records, including ‘Mississippi Mud’, in New York.
Jun 25 - Jul 1 Whiteman continues at the Paramount in a show entitled ‘Jazz A La Carte’.
Jul 2-8 Whiteman remains at the Paramount with a show called ‘Fireworks’.
Jul 6 Bing and Al are again part of a vocal group which records with Whiteman in New York.
Jul 9-15 Whiteman’s “grand farewell party” at the New York Paramount in a show dubbed ‘Ali Baba’.
Whiteman takes his troupe on a highly successful tour around east coast ballrooms playing one night at each.
Aug 16/19/20 Bing is involved in morning recording sessions with Whiteman starting at 9 a.m. in Camden, New Jersey, some jointly with Al Rinker and Harry Barris and one as part of a vocal group.
Sep 10-23 Whiteman and his ensemble appear at the New York Paramount as the first part of a tour on the Publix circuit.
Sep 18 CBS Radio goes on the air.
Sep 21 (2 - 4:10 p.m.) Bing records with Whiteman in New York as part of vocal group.
Sep 25 - Oct 1 Whiteman at the Metropolitan, Boston.
Oct 6 The film The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson premieres at the Warner Theatre, New York.
Oct 9-15 The Whiteman troupe appears at the Michigan Theatre in Detroit.
Oct 16-22 Whiteman at Castle Farm, Cincinnati.
Oct 23-28 Whiteman at Indiana Theatre, Indianapolis. Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer join him there on October 27.
Oct 29 - Nov 4 Whiteman in St. Louis at the Ambassador Theatre. Bing is introduced to Estelle Shaffner and they go with Bix Beiderbecke and Ruth Shaffner on a tour of the night spots ending up at ‘The Wedge’ where Bing sings with the band.
Nov 7-13 Whiteman performs in Chicago at the Chicago Theatre.
Nov 11/17 Recording sessions in Chicago for the Rhythm Boys.
Nov 14-20 Whiteman moves to the Uptown Theatre, Chicago.
Nov 18 Bing in recording studios as Hoagy Carmichael records ‘Washboard Blues’ with Whiteman. Bing is the stand-in vocalist just in case problems emerge.
Nov 21-27 Whiteman at the Tivoli Theatre, Chicago. Tommy Dorsey leaves the band.
Nov 23 Bing records with Bix Beiderbecke for the first time as they both contribute to ‘Changes’ with the Whiteman orchestra at the Victor Studios in Chicago.
Nov 25 Bing records ‘Mary’ with Paul Whiteman and the Orchestra.
Nov 29 Whiteman troupe gives performance at Memorial Hall, Columbus, Ohio.
Nov 30 Performance by Whiteman orchestra at Land o’ Dance, Canton, Ohio.
Dec 1 Whiteman presents a four hour programme at Madison Gardens, Toledo, Ohio.
Dec 2 Similar programme at Prudden Auditorium, Lansing, Michigan. Rhythm Boys featured.
Dec 4-11 Whiteman at Allen Theatre, Cleveland.
Dec 12-16 Whiteman at Loew’s Penn Theatre, Pittsburgh.
Dec 19-24 The Century Theatre, Baltimore is the next venue for the Whiteman entourage.
Dec 26 Whiteman entertains at Coliseum Ballroom, York, Pennsylvania in front of 2,500 people.
Dec 27 The musical ‘Show Boat’ opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York.
Dec 28 Whiteman gives concert at Town Hall, Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Dec 29 Another concert at the Armory, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
Dec 30 Orchestra performs at the Kalurah Temple, Binghampton, New York.
Dec 31 Whiteman ensemble provides the stage show for the New Year’s Eve festivities at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia.
Jan 1 The Whiteman band travel from Philadephia to New York by train.
Jan 4 Whiteman and his troupe star in a new nation-wide NBC radio broadcast sponsored by Dodge Brothers Automobile Co. and known as the ‘Victory’ hour. Bing takes part but is not mentioned much to the chagrin of his family listening in Spokane. Will Rogers acts as m.c. and joins the programme from the West Coast as does Al Jolson.
Jan 11 Whiteman records Ol’ Man River for Victor at Liederkranz Hall in New York. Bing sings the vocal chorus, still without label credit.
Jan 12 Rhythm Boys record ‘From Monday On’ in New York.
Jan 14-20 Whiteman at Mosque Theatre, Newark, New Jersey. Rhythm Boys take part. Bing still earning $150 per week.
Jan 20 Bing records a solo of ‘From Monday On’ in New York with Frank Trumbauer and his Orchestra for Columbia but it is not issued. At the same session, Bing records another version of ‘Mississippi Mud’.
Jan 22-28 The Whiteman band performs at the Stanley Theatre, Philadelphia.
Jan 27 Bing records ‘Make Believe’ with Whiteman in Camden, New Jersey.
Jan 30 Whiteman troupe does one nighter at Mealey’s Auditorium, Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Feb 1 Whiteman at Coliseum Ballroom, Harrisburg for one performance.
Feb 2 Whiteman group arrives at Cathaum Theatre, Penn State College for one nighter.
Feb 3 Whiteman gives performance at Auditorium Dance Hall, Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Feb 4 Whiteman ensemble returns to New York.
Feb 7 Recording date at Liederkranz Hall in New York with Whiteman.
Feb 8 Bing takes part in the recording of ‘There Ain’t No Sweet Man’ with Whiteman at Liederkranz Hall.
Feb 13 (1:15 - 4 p.m.) Bing records ‘Sunshine’ with Whiteman.
Feb 18 Another recording date with Whiteman for Victor at Liederkranz Hall. ‘Mississippi Mud’ is recorded.
Feb 20 Whiteman gives performance at Altoona, Pennsylvania.
Feb 21 Orchestra performs at Youngstown, Ohio.
Feb 23 The Whiteman troupe moves on to Fairmount, West Virginia where they give a concert.
Feb 25 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the next stop for the Band.
Feb 28 Bing records ‘From Monday On’ and ‘High Water’ with Whiteman in New York.
Mar 1/12/14/15/16 Recording dates in New York, some with Whiteman and some with Rhythm Boys.
Mar 3 Paul Whiteman gives the band a week’s vacation.
Mar 18-27 Sundry one-nighters undertaken by orchestra.
Mar 28 Orchestra performs for the Woman’s Pay Club in New York.
Mar 29 Whiteman takes part in second Dodge Brothers radio show which is entitled ‘Film Star Radio Hour’. An un-named vocalist is mentioned as singing with the orchestra and this could have been Bing.
Mar 31 - Apr 6 Whiteman at Paramount, New York in cine-variety bill and his show is entitled ‘Rainbow Rhapsody’.
Mar 31 Whiteman’s ‘Ol’ Man River’ (with Bing’s vocal) is the most popular record of the week and it eventually reaches No. 1 in the charts.
Apr 7-13 Whiteman continues at the Paramount in New York and this week his show is called ‘Say It With Music’.
Apr 14-20 In their final week at the Paramount, the Whiteman troupe is featured in a show called ‘Broadway Blues’.
Apr 21-25 Bing is involved in more recording dates with Whiteman for Victor at Liederkranz Hall in New York.
Apr 27 - May 10 Whiteman show at Loew’s Metropolitan Theatre, Boston.
May 12 Whiteman and the Rhythm Boys begin recording on the Columbia Records label in New York.
May 13/17/21/22/23/25 Further recording dates for Columbia in New York.
May 14-19 Whiteman at Loew’s Metropolitan Theatre in Brooklyn.
May 26 - Jun 1 Whiteman company, including Rhythm Boys, at Capitol Theatre, Detroit.
Jun 2-8 The show moves on to Shea’s Buffalo Theatre, Buffalo.
Jun 10/17/18/19 Recording dates in New York.
Jun 11-15 Whiteman at Lincoln Theatre, Trenton, New Jersey doing four shows a day at 3, 6, 8 and 10 pm.
Jun 19 Rhythm Boys take part with Whiteman in a coast-to-coast radio broadcast over NBC between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. and sing ‘That’s Grandma’. After the programme, which originates from station WEAF in New York, the orchestra travels to Hastings-on-Hudson to play for Mayor Jimmy Walker’s birthday party starting at 12:01 a.m. on June 20.
Jun 23-29 Whiteman (including Rhythm Boys) at Minnesota Theatre, Minneapolis giving four performances daily. The show does the greatest business in the history of the city.
Jul 2-8 The show is at the Chicago Theatre, Chicago.
Jul 9-15 Whiteman at the Uptown Theatre in Chicago.
Jul 16-22 The Tivoli Theatre is the next venue in Chicago for the Whiteman ensemble.
Aug 1 It is announced that the Rhythm Boys, without Whiteman, will be going on the Keith-Albee, Orpheum and Proctor vaudeville circuit (subsequently known as Radio-Keith-Orpheum from October) throughout Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Whiteman is to be allowed to recall the trio at will. On tour, they are introduced by a cardboard cut-out of Whiteman and a recording of his voice. Bing earns $300 a week. The trio reportedly becomes lazy and misses travel connections.
Aug 6-8 Rhythm Boys at Proctor Theatre at Yonkers, New York.
Aug 9-12 Rhythm Boys at Keith’s 81st Street, New York.
Aug 20-26 The act is at the Palace in Cleveland.
Aug 27- Sep 1 St. Louis is the next stop for the Rhythm Boys.
Sep 2-8 The Rhythm Boys appear at the Palace in Chicago.
Sep 13-16 The Rhythm Boys move on to Keith’s Theatre at Youngstown, Ohio for more appearances.
Sep 17-19 The trio’s next venue is Keith’s at Toledo, Ohio where it is said that the theatre manager rings the curtain down in their faces following an off colour joke.
Sep 20-23 Rhythm Boys perform at Keith’s in Grand Rapids.
Sep 24-26 They go on to the Uptown Theatre at Detroit, Michigan.
Sep 27-30 Rhythm Boys at the Hollywood Theatre in Detroit.
Oct 1-3 Appearing at Keith’s in Dayton, Ohio.
Oct 4-7 They go on to perform at Keith’s in Louisville.
Oct 8-13 Rhythm Boys at Albee Theatre, Cincinnati.
Oct 15-17 The act is at the Keith-Albee Palace in Columbus, Ohio. Jack Benny is the master of ceremonies. The boys miss their advertised performance on October 14 as they had gone to Nashville by mistake.
Oct 18-21 Rhythm Boys at the Palace in Canton, Ohio and again Jack Benny is on the same bill.
Oct 22-28 The trio is at the Princess Theatre in Nashville.
Oct 29-31 Erie, Pennsylvania is the next location for the trio’s performance when they appear at the Erie Theatre.
Nov 5-11 Back in Chicago, the Rhythm Boys appear at the State-Lake Theatre. Bing dates Peggy Bernier whom he first met at the Granada in San Francisco in October 1926.
Nov 6 Herbert Hoover is elected President of the United States.
Nov 10 Rhythm Boys record ‘My Suppressed Desire’ and ‘Rhythm King’ in Chicago for Columbia Records.
Nov 12-18 The act moves on to the Palace, Milwaukee.
Nov 19-21 Rhythm Boys perform at the Palace Theatre in Rockford, Illinois where Bing is supposed to have spent a day in jail on arrival as he was drunk and the Rhythm Boys miss four shows.
Nov 22-24 The trio are on the bill at the Orpheum in Madison, Wisconsin.
Nov 26-28 At Orpheum Theatre, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Nov 29 - Dec 1 The boys move on to the Orpheum, Sioux City, Iowa.
Dec 3-9 Rhythm Boys at the Orpheum in Omaha, Nebraska.
Dec 10-16 The act performs for a week at the Mainstreet Theatre in Kansas City.
Dec 17-19 Rhythm Boys at State Theatre, Jersey City. Their baggage arrives late and they have to perform without costumes at the first show.
Dec 20-22 Act performs at Fordham Theatre in New York City.
Dec 22 Bing records ‘Makin’ Whoopee’ with Whiteman in New York.
Dec 23-29 Rhythm Boys at Palace, New York. Bing receives a good review in Variety: “The ballad idea by Bing Crosby is great for a change of pace, his ‘When Summer Is Gone’ going well. The youngsters, they look as though they have barely attained their majority, work smoothly and politely for all their freak modulations and with a nice presence and address, particularly Crosby who is the balance to Barris’ torrid inhibitions.”
Dec 28 Bing records ‘I’ll Get By’ and ‘Rose of Mandalay’ with Sam Lanin’s Ipana Troubadours in New York for Columbia Records.
Dec 31 - Jan 2 Rhythm Boys at Ritz, Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Jan 3-6 The trio performs at the Regent Theatre in Paterson, New Jersey.
Jan 7-9 Rhythm Boys move on to Majestic Theatre, Easton, Pennsylvania.
Jan 10-13 The act is featured at Colonial Theatre in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Jan 25 In New York, Rhythm Boys record ‘So The Bluebirds and the Blackbirds’ but this version is never issued. Then Bing makes three tracks with Sam Lanin and his Orchestra, ‘I’m Crazy Over You’, ‘Susianna’ and ‘If I Had You’ for Okeh Records.
Jan 26 Still in New York, Bing records for Okeh Records and sings ‘The Spell of the Blues’, ‘Let’s Do It’ and ‘My Kinda Love’ with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra who use Glenn Miller’s arrangements.
Feb 5 (9 to 10 p.m.) Whiteman makes his first radio broadcast for Old Gold Cigarettes over WABC in New York. Eddie Cantor guests. The Old Gold people especially request the presence of Bing and the Rhythm Boys on the show and Whiteman re-employs them at $900 per week. The Rhythm Boys sing ‘Makin’ Whoopee’ and Bing has a solo on ‘Let’s Do It’.
Feb 6 - Apr 27 Whiteman reopens atop the New Amsterdam Theatre in the Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic with Helen Morgan as the main guest star. Many celebrities attend the opening night. The show starts at 11:30 p.m. each night after the theatre shows have finished. The Whiteman band also double in the stage show of Whoopee in the New Amsterdam Theatre. It is probable that the Rhythm Boys sometimes formed part of one or both of the shows. Maurice Chevalier makes his New York debut in the Frolic on February 18.
Feb 12 Another Whiteman Old Gold radio show is broadcast but Bing does not appear on the show.
Feb 14-17 Rhythm Boys featured at Palace, Rochester.
Feb 19 Whiteman’s Old Gold radio show. The Rhythm Boys perform ‘Where the Shy Little Violets Grow’ and Bing sings ‘When Summer is Gone’.
Feb 26 Another Old Gold show is broadcast and Bing sings three solos in addition to two songs by the Rhythm Boys.
Feb 28 Bing records ‘My Angeline’ and ‘Coquette’ with Whiteman. The first song is not released.
Mar 2-8 Rhythm Boys top the bill in a cine-variety show at Fox, Brooklyn.
Mar 5 Whiteman’s Old Gold radio show.
Mar 7 Bing records ‘My Angeline’ again with Whiteman, this time successfully.
Mar 12 Old Gold broadcast. Bing sings ‘Louise’.
Mar 14 For Columbia Records, Bing sings ‘My Kinda Love’ and ‘Till We Meet’ for his first record where his name appears on the label as a solo artist with orchestral accompaniment.
Mar 15 Bing records ‘Louise’ with Whiteman in New York.
Mar 19 Old Gold Broadcast. Bing sings ‘I Kiss Your Hand, Madame’. Bing rejects an offer by an agent, Lou Squires, to go solo.
Mar 26 Old Gold Broadcast. Bing prominent.
Apr 2/9 Old Gold Broadcasts.
Apr 5/10/25 Recording dates with Whiteman in New York.
Apr 16 Another Old Gold broadcast. Bing has two solos as well as joining in Rhythm Boys numbers.
Apr 23 Old Gold broadcast.
Apr 26 Orchestra appears at Star Casino, New York.
Apr 27 Whiteman troupe makes final appearance in the Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic.
Apr 30 Weekly Old Gold Broadcast. Bing continues to be featured.
May 3/4/16 Bing records with Whiteman in New York.
May 4-18 Whiteman appears at Pavillon Royal, a well known restaurant on Merrick Road, Valley Stream, Long Island.
May 7/14 Old Gold Broadcasts.
May 19 Orchestra appears in ‘Friar’s Frolic’ at Metropolitan Opera House, New York. Eddie Lang joins the band.
May 21 Last Old Gold broadcast from New York. Bing has two solos. The Whiteman troupe hold a farewell party at The Tavern.
May 24 Bing records two solos in New York ‘I Kiss Your Hand, Madame’ and ‘Baby, Oh Where Can You Be’ accompanied by Eddie Lang (for the first time) and two other musicians, Matty Malneck and Roy Bargy.
May 24 Old Gold leases a special train for Whiteman to take him to Hollywood to film The King of Jazz. The train is to stop at 16 cities across the nation. Rhythm Boys on board with Whiteman Orchestra. Performance that night at Metropolitan Opera House, Philadelphia.
May 25 Orchestra broadcasts from the Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh over station WJAS. Bing prominent.
May 26 Whiteman in Cleveland at station WHK (10 am) before going on to Toledo for appearance at the Armory (2 p.m.). Goes on to Detroit for concert at the Olympia (8:30 p.m.).
May 27 Arrives at Fort Wayne, Indiana and plays a short concert at Pennsylvania Station in driving rain.
May 28 Weekly Old Gold broadcast from Chicago radio station WBBM. The orchestra also performs at a benefit concert at the Auditorium Theatre, Chicago.
May 29 Orchestra performs at the State Arsenal, Springfield, Illinois.
May 30 Whiteman ensemble at Indianapolis where they appear in connection with the Memorial Day races.
May 31 Whiteman gives concert at St. Louis in the Washington University Field House. Also makes radio broadcast from station KMDX.
Jun 1 (7 - 10 p.m.) Whiteman troupe give show at Convention Hall, Kansas City, Missouri. A radio broadcast takes place from station KMBC.
Jun 2 At Omaha for concert at City Auditorium in front of 4,500 (2 pm.) and then to Lincoln, Nebraska for a 30 minute concert at Burlington railway station at 6:30 p.m. before a crowd of 5,000.
Jun 3 The Old Gold train arrives in Denver, the home of the Whiteman family and there are major festivities. In the evening, the Whiteman family entertain the troupe at their farm.
Jun 4 Rehearsal at Shirley-Savoy Hotel, Denver. Free concert at Municipal Auditorium (3-4:30 p.m.) and weekly Old Gold broadcast from Denver station KLZ. (6-7 p.m.). Departure for Salt Lake City at 8:30 p.m.
Jun 5 Whiteman performs at Granada Theatre in Salt Lake City.
Jun 7 The train arrives at Los Angeles’ Union Station at 3 p.m. and the whole ensemble are guests at a reception at Universal City before going on to San Francisco.
Jun 8-13 Whiteman performs at Pantages, San Francisco.
Jun 11 (5-6 p.m.) Weekly Old Gold broadcast from station KYA.
Jun 12 The orchestra plays for the Optimist Club Luncheon at the Bellevue Hotel, San Francisco.
Jun 15 (9:30 a.m.) Whiteman and his party arrive at Central Station, Los Angeles where they are greeted by a crowd of 500.
Jun 15-22 Whiteman appearing at Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles.
Jun 17 The orchestra plays for the Chamber of Commerce benefit dinner at the Majestic Theatre.
Jun 18 (5-6 p.m.) Weekly Old Gold broadcast from station KMTR, Los Angeles continues each Tuesday until August 27. Bing and Rhythm Boys always involved.
Jun 24 Whiteman reports to Universal to film The King of Jazz but incredibly the script is not ready. The troupe are under salary to Universal but have nothing to do except enjoy themselves and take part in the weekly Old Gold broadcast.
Jun 25 Weekly Old Gold broadcast. The announcer is Harry Von Zell and Bing has a solo as well as two songs with the Rhythm Boys.
Jul 2 Another Old Gold broadcast with Bing having three solos.
Jul 3 Rhythm Boys open at Eddie Brandstatter’s Montmartre Club, on the second floor of 6757 Hollywood Boulevard, as a separate act. The Master of Ceremonies is Danny O’Shea. Bing first meets Dixie Lee at the Montmartre Club when she is dating Frankie Albertson.
Bing, Kurt Dieterle and Mischa Russell rent a house on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. They also join Lakeside Country Club and golf daily with other members of the band. Bing really gets the urge to play better golf and from then on works very hard to improve his game.
Jul 9/16/23/30 Old Gold broadcasts. Bing prominent.
Jul 29 - Aug 4 Rhythm Boys appear at Orpheum Theatre for one week in addition to their Montmartre Club engagement.
James Ryan, the casting director at Fox, tells Bing to forget movies because of his protruding ears.
Bing makes screen tests for MGM.
Jul 31 A car accident involving two of the Whiteman troupe occurs. Mario Perry dies from his injuries whilst Joe Venuti, who was driving, is badly injured and sustains a broken arm.
Aug 3 Al Rinker’s sister, Mildred Bailey, throws a ‘home-brew’ party for the Whiteman band. She sings and Whiteman decides to sign her as the first regular female vocalist with a nationally-known orchestra.
Aug 6/13/20/27 Regular Old Gold broadcasts over KMTR.
Aug 7 Rhythm Boys headline in ‘Show of Shows Night’ at Club Montmartre.
Bing appears at Curtis Mosby’s Apex Nite Club together with many other stars. He sings two songs accompanied by a pianist from the Whiteman band, probably Lennie Hayton.
Aug 16 Whiteman and the orchestra play at the Santa Barbara Fiesta Day.
Aug 27 Last Old Gold broadcast from Station KMTR.
Aug 28 Whiteman’s film The King of Jazz is still not ready to go before the cameras and Whiteman sets off with his group back East. Hoagy Carmichael hitches a ride, bunking with Bing on the train.
Aug 31 Whiteman opens at Pavillon Royal, Long Island.
Sep 3 (9-10 p.m) Whiteman begins broadcasting his Old Gold show from New York station WABC; Bing has solos and the Rhythm Boys duet with Mildred Bailey.
Sep 6/13/27 Bing records with Whiteman in New York.
Meets a man called O’Connell in Loretti’s one Monday night and after a tour of several bars, Bing wakes up on Wednesday morning in an apartment amongst gangsters. Whilst he is in the bathroom, there is shooting and Bing hides until there is silence and then leaves quietly.
Sep 10/17/24 Old Gold broadcasts from Station WABC, New York. On the September 17 show, the ‘Old Gold Trio’ makes its debut. This is a ‘sweet’ trio comprising Bing, Al Rinker and Jack Fulton.
Oct 1/8/15/22 Weekly Old Gold broadcasts from station WABC, New York.
Oct 9 Bing records ‘Great Day’ and ‘Without a Song’ with Whiteman in New York.
Oct 16/18 Bing again records with Whiteman in New York. Whiteman leaves for Hollywood and is followed a few days later by the rest of the troupe.
Oct 24 Wall Street crashes.
Oct 25 The orchestra and Bing arrive back in Hollywood.
Oct 29 The Old Gold broadcast comes from station KMTR, Los Angeles.
Nov 2 Bing drives a girl home from a studio party after the Southern California versus California football game and has a car accident in which the girl is slightly injured. He has been drinking and is arrested and held overnight before being released on bail. A week later he is sentenced to 60 days in jail, but he is released under escort for filming. Loses a featured solo ‘Song of the Dawn’ to John Boles, and the movie is slightly delayed. Bing’s sentence is eventually commuted to 40 days.
Nov 5/12/19/26 Weekly Old Gold broadcasts continue. Bing may have missed the show on November 26.
Nov 8 Filming of The King of Jazz commences in Hollywood. Whiteman pays Crosby $400 a week.
Dec 3/10/17/24/31 Old Gold broadcasts. It is not known whether Bing engaged in the broadcasts of December 3 and 10, but he is back on the show of December 17.
Dec 28 ‘Great Day’ is at No. 1 in the charts.
Jan 7 (6 - 7 p.m.) Paul Whiteman broadcasts his Old Gold Show from Station KMTR in Los Angeles. Bing is a featured soloist.
Meets Dixie Lee again at a house party thrown by her friend, Marjorie White, and drives her home. They begin dating nearly every night.
Jan 14/21/28 Further Old Gold radio broadcasts.
Feb 4/11/18/25 Old Gold broadcasts.
Feb 5 Paul Whiteman and his entire ensemble are the guests of honour at Curtis Mosby’s Apex Club.
Feb 7 The main filming ends for The King of Jazz.
Feb 10 Bing records ‘Happy Feet’ with the Rhythm Boys.
Feb 13-19 Whiteman troupe (including the Rhythm Boys) at Loew’s State, Los Angeles. They give five shows daily.
Feb 20-23 Whiteman at Fox, San Diego.
Mar 4/11/18 Weekly Old Gold broadcasts from station KMTR, Los Angeles.
Mar 6-20 Whiteman returns to film studios for retakes for The King of Jazz.
Bing films songs for the MGM production ‘The March of Time’ but the film was never issued in its intended revue type format. Scenes from the film are used in a film called ‘Broadway to Hollywood’ which was issued in 1933, but Bing’s spots are not included.
Mar 21 Bing records ‘Song of the Dawn’ with Whiteman.
Mar 22/23 Recording dates in Los Angeles. Bing’s final recording dates with Whiteman for Columbia Records include ‘A Bench in the Park’.
Mar 25 Final Old Gold broadcast from station KMTR in Los Angeles.
Paramount wants a singer for a film called ‘Honey’. The song writer is Sam Coslow and through him Bing is offered the engagement. Whiteman refuses to release him as the orchestra is about to start a tour.
Apr 1 Old Gold broadcast comes from station KFRC, San Francisco.
Apr 4 Whiteman arrives in Vancouver and is amazed to find that Canadian immigration authorities refuse to allow his orchestra to perform at two dance dates although they can perform at a concert. Whiteman says ‘all or nothing’ and pulls out of the dance dates.
Apr 6 Leaves Vancouver for Seattle.
Apr 7 Whiteman and his team rehearse in Seattle.
Apr 8 Whiteman’s Old Gold broadcast comes from the Civic Auditorium, Seattle over station KOL and Bing is prominently featured with two solos, ‘It Happened in Monterey’ and ‘Alice In Wonderland.’
Apr 9-13 Whiteman performs at the Spanish Ballroom of the Olympic Hotel in Seattle. There is a matinee show and dance on April 12 and a grand concert on April 13.
Apr 14 Whiteman and his entourage arrive in Portland, Oregon during the late afternoon by car and check into the Benson Hotel. They had been expected by train and a civic reception committee had been waiting at the railway station. (8:30 - 10:00 p.m.) Whiteman performs at the auditorium and the concert includes a “comic sketch by the Rhythm Boys.” The whole Whiteman ensemble then goes to Cole McElroy’s Spanish Ballroom where they play until 1:00 a.m.
Apr 15 (6:00 - 7:00 p.m.) The Old Gold broadcast comes from the KOIN studios at the New Heathman Hotel, Portland. The Rhythm Boys sing ‘So the Bluebirds and the Blackbirds Got Together’.
April Whiteman and his troupe (excluding the Rhythm Boys) travel to New York. Bing, Harry Barris and Al Rinker return to Los Angeles.
Apr 21 Bing telephones Dixie (who is on the West Coast) from his hotel room. Trumbauer returns later to find Bing asleep with the phone in his hands. The call costs $130 as the connection had not been broken!
Apr 30 The Rhythm Boys appear at the $100-a-plate Sportsman’s Banquet at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
May 2-8 New York premiere of The King of Jazz at the Roxy and it grosses $102,000 first week. Takings rapidly fall to $62,000 second week. Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra appear on stage with George Gershwin playing the piano for ‘Rhapsody in Blue.’
“...This Technicolor potpourri of songs, dancing and fun is a marvel of camera wizardry, joyous color schemes, charming costumes and seductive lighting effects.”
(New York Times, May 3 - The Rhythm Boys are not mentioned at all in the review)
May 11 A daughter, Mary Sue, is born to Everett and Naomi Crosby.
May 23 Rhythm Boys have final recording date for Columbia Records in Los Angeles.
Jun 2 Pathé finishes Two Plus Fours, a two-reel film short featuring the Rhythm Boys. The film was shipped to theaters July 7. The picture cost $19,689.
Jun 26 Bing hires agent Edward Small.
Jun 27 (8:30 p.m.) Rhythm Boys begin a new NBC radio series from station KFI. The show is sponsored by the Union Oil Company. Walter O’Keefe is the m.c.
Jul 5 (8-10 p.m.) Rhythm Boys appear in a two hour revue over Station KFWB.
Jul 15 Gala opening night at the Hotel Ambassador’s Cocoanut Grove as Gus Arnheim returns to the venue. Bing becomes a singing sensation when the Rhythm Boys are featured with the Arnheim Orchestra at $100 each a week. Bing develops his mastery over the microphone, and his solos steal the show. Nightly two hour radio broadcasts from the Grove on Station KNX between 10 p.m. and midnight increase Bing’s fame in California during his ten month stint at the Grove. Performances at the Cocoanut Grove are nightly and at Saturday teas. Star Night is Tuesdays and College Night is Fridays.
Aug 10 Bing films songs for an MGM film Those Three French Girls but the songs are cut from the final print.
Aug 26 The trio records ‘Three Little Words’ with Duke Ellington for Victor which is used in RKO’s film Check and Double Check with members of the band lip-synching to it.
Sep 3/4/5/8/10/11/15 Rhythm Boys star in radio shows over Station KFI at times varying between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m.
Sep 4 (2 p.m.) Rhythm Boys entertain at the Eighth Annual Radio Show at the Ambassador Auditorium.
Bing sings ‘When the Folks High up Do the Mean Low Down’ in Reaching for the Moon, the first film with Bing speaking a line and singing a featured solo. Filming takes place in the early hours after Bing’s Cocoanut Grove appearance. The film stars Douglas Fairbanks and Bebe Daniels.
Sep 18/19/22 Rhythm Boys again appear in morning radio shows on Station KFI.
Sep 29 Bing marries Dixie Lee (born Wilma Winifred Wyatt) at Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, Sunset Boulevard. Brother Everett acts as best man. The Los Angeles Times of September 30 recorded the event as follows:
Dixie Lee weds Bing Crosby
Another romance in Hollywood culminated in marriage yesterday when Dixie Lee, under contract to Fox, was wed to Bing Crosby, a member of Gus Arnheim’s Orchestra and one of the original Rhythm Boys. Although the two have been going together ever since last January, they were able to keep their plans to wed secret and even Mrs. M. M. Wyatt, Dixie’s mother, did not know of the projected marriage until yesterday morning. The wedding took place in the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood with Father Stack performing the ceremony. Betty Zimmerman, an old school friend of Miss Lee’s was bridesmaid, while Edward (sic) Crosby, the bridegroom’s brother was stood up as best man.
It was through her chum Marjorie White that Miss Lee met Crosby. They were introduced at a party given by Miss White last January. Miss Lee’s real name it was revealed was Wilma Wyatt and thus it was possible for she and her fiancé to apply for a wedding licence without being discovered. There isn’t to be any honeymoon trip as both young people are too busy in their professions at this time to be able to spare time to go away.
The reception is held at Everett Crosby’s new house in Nichols Canyon. Bing and Dixie soon move into a house at 4961 Cromwell Avenue in the exclusive Los Feliz section which is loaned to them by their friend Sue Carol.
Oct 14 Fox loans Dixie Lee to Paramount to appear in a Clara Bow picture to be made at Astoria Studios, New York. Dixie leaves for the East that day.
Bing and the Rhythm Boys film songs for the Universal production Many A Slip but the songs are cut from the final print.
Oct 29 Bing makes his first recordings with Gus Arnheim including ‘It Must Be True’ for Victor.
Nov 20 Recording session with Gus Arnheim in Hollywood. The Rhythm Boys sing ‘Them There Eyes’, their last recording together.
Nov 25 Another recording date for Bing with Gus Arnheim.
Nov 29 ‘Three Little Words’ reaches No. 1 in the charts.
Nov 30 RKO’s Check and Double Check released.
‘It Must Be True’ is number one in Los Angeles.
Dec 5 Rhythm Boys begin a three week run at the Paramount, Los Angeles, playing matinees and Sundays in addition to their Cocoanut Grove commitments.
Dec 29 World premiere of Reaching for the Moon at Criterion, New York.