27/11/2016 12:33 pm  #1


Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

https://sites.google.com/site/crosbyfanworld/home/images/variety%20band%20box%201.jpg

https://sites.google.com/site/crosbyfanworld/home/images/variety%20band%20box%202.jpg

I was recently given a small batch of original BBC and Hollywood studio publicity shots, including this one of Bing and celebrated UK comedian Tommy "It's That Man Again" Handley, broadcasting Variety Band Box from London's Queensbury Club on 27th August 1944.

I've seen the image before, but never the BBC "blurb" on the reverse. This mentions a subsequent transmission of a recording of the programme for the troops on the Western Front. Does anyone know if this acetate survived? Has anyone ever heard it and - most importantly - is it available anywhere?!

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I hope the images do now display! 
Richard Baker

 

Last edited by Richard Baker (29/11/2016 2:22 pm)

 

27/11/2016 2:16 pm  #2


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

Some of the show was picked up on shortwave by a ship in the Indian Ocean (or so the story goes) and a recording was made. Tommy Handley is heard introducing Bing to a tremendous ovation. There is some corny dialogue and Bing sings "Long Ago and Far Away" and "Moonlight Becomes You".

 

27/11/2016 2:36 pm  #3


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

Thanks Malcolm - fascinating stuff...

I know it's unlikely - particularly given that it was wartime - but I suppose it's just possible that there is an acetate lurking in some dusty vault at Broadcasting House or Maida Vale Studios.

     Thread Starter
 

27/11/2016 2:54 pm  #4


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

This is how  Melody Maker reported on the show.

…Six o’clock. The red light on the stage flickered its warning and then glowed steadily. The  BBC  announcer told the world “This is Variety Band-box” and we were off to an hour’s recording of this popular broadcast…And then Tommy’s (Handley) voice took on an excited, serious note. He announced the next artist, and, before the words were out of his mouth, the audience rose - for there he was ... the one and only Bing Crosby - the man whose voice has brought pleasure and sanity into every corner of a mad world at war.
He bounded on to the stage and stood there, beaming while the biggest reception ever accorded to an artist in my memory thundered through the vast hall. The minutes ticked by but the volume of sound didn’t diminish, even though producer Stephen Williams vainly tried to stem the tide. Finally, after many minutes, order was restored, and Tommy Handley welcomed Bing to England and presented him with a pipe, to which Bing made the rejoinder: “Well, isn’t that nice. What is it?”
And so the badinage went to and fro until Bing ejaculated, “Well, for ever more” and the stage cleared and it was song time. Accompanying him at the piano was Private James Rusin, second pianist of the Glenn Miller Band and a smashing ivory-tickler. Bing and Rusin had never met one another before this show. They had not rehearsed - just talked over the numbers for a few minutes beforehand - and neither of them had any music. But it didn’t matter. Rusin is a first-class pianist, able to tackle anything, and Bing is no slouch, either. Oh! But I’m running ahead. The female fans are dying to know what Bing looks like - and here I am talking music! Well, he looks much younger in the flesh than he does on the films, and he’s much slimmer. He’s baldish, but not gleamingly so, and he’s taller than you imagine. His eyes are just about the most vivid blue I’ve ever seen - and his tie was pretty vivid too! Then he sang and I don’t have to tell you what that was like.
First “San Fernando Valley” - then (and what a gasp of joy when he announced it) “Long Ago and Far Away” and finally, in response to requests “Moonlight Becomes You”. He said he wasn’t sure of the words of that one so, in the middle, he suddenly sang “Does anyone know the words to this song?” - and this ad lib fitted the music, and it was terrific. And so, with a nice little speech from Bing to the boys fighting overseas, the broadcast ended, amidst tumultuous applause, and we all sat back well satisfied.
 

 

27/11/2016 3:15 pm  #5


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

Thanks again Malcolm - that really brings it to life...

     Thread Starter
 

27/11/2016 4:58 pm  #6


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

Back in the land of Aus, I have a tape of Bing with Glenn Miller. A bloke I worked with was a Glenn fan and he made a tape for me.
Did I do a tape for you Malcolm way back last century?

 

27/11/2016 6:06 pm  #7


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

No Ron but the broadcast was issued on LP years ago.

 

28/11/2016 9:43 am  #8


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

Does anyone have difficulty viewing Jeremy's two photos?
There is a suggestion that Macs will not show them.
 

 

28/11/2016 10:56 am  #9


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

The links don't work for me. I'm on a PC.

 

29/11/2016 12:43 pm  #10


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

Thanks for taking so much trouble with this, Richard. It's a mystery..!

     Thread Starter
 

29/11/2016 2:06 pm  #11


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

Malcolm Macfarlane wrote:

No Ron but the broadcast was issued on LP years ago.

Broadway Intermission BR-114

The story is that the unique original record of the broadcast was rescued from a rubbish tip or something similar, and I fear that the sound is not very good but it is a very important record that brings together Bing and Glenn Miller and his American Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces when both were "tops".

https://img.discogs.com/9bqyFoFvWZ5qPi-feNbbtFM0ask=/fit-in/600x609/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3694616-1340658947-5997.jpeg.jpg
 

 

29/11/2016 3:11 pm  #12


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

jeremyrose wrote:

Thanks Malcolm - fascinating stuff...

I know it's unlikely - particularly given that it was wartime - but I suppose it's just possible that there is an acetate lurking in some dusty vault at Broadcasting House or Maida Vale Studios.

I would think it unlikely. In the past BBC turned out a lot of material that they later regretted. 

The reasoning at the time was that it was unimportant and of a "transient" nature and was unlikely to be of lasting interest. Much that was not "Classical" fell into this pit.

More recently there has been a change of attitude and they have appealed for anyone who has copies of certain specific items to come forward in order that the archives might be improved. On both radio and TV they have broadcast "rediscovered" items.
 

 

30/11/2016 4:42 am  #13


Re: Variety Band Box. 27/08/44

That's the album I bought years ago of the historical broadcast with both Glenn Miller and our boy Bing.  This is not the broadcast Jeremyrose brought up though, but it's as close to the type of broadcast he mentions.

 

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