Hi, I'm Mo from Iowa. Iowa City to be more precise. I've been interested in Bing for several years. I was only 10 when he passed away, so I knew him mainly for orange juice commercials and Christmas specials. About 5 years ago I was watching White Christmas (for the first time!) and I thought Bing had an interesting way with language. I decided I'd like to know more about him. I stumbled on Gary Giddins book and I've been hooked ever since. I re-read the book last month again and decided to attempt to put my music into a playlist of all the songs in the discography. Of course I discovered there were many I didn't have, but for the most part I'm good from 1926-1935, with the exception of that Adeste Fideles/Lift Up Your Hearts/Stabat Mater that I can't find digitally anywhere. That's how I found you lovely people, I was searching the Chronology discs and wound up here. I'm terribly excited! I don;'t know anyone else who loves Bing the way I do, so I'm hoping to learn and to chat. I feel very lucky to be included! Mo
Welcome aboard Mo and I'm sure you will have a good time with us and hear from the many Bing fans.
Thanks, Ron. I look foward to it!
I, too, was about 10 when I discovered Bing - last century.
I always wrote to Bing and would receive a letter from Bing about his latest picture and a day or two later a 10x8 photo would arrive. There was also a piece of cardboard in the envelope to keep the photo in good unbent condition.
The postman would say to me - another from Bing.
The postage, envelope, photo, cardboard must have cost heaps.
Bing was probably the only star to send a 10x8 as others sent postcard size or a bit larger but not 10x8. Bob Hope only sent about a 6x8, strange as he used to emulate Bing - buy oil wells etc (but no horses).
Ron--Wow--that is so fantastic!! I can't believe you got pictures of Bing in the mail!
So you saw the films in the theatre, huh?
Did people 'wait' excitedly for the next Crosby film? Was it a big deal? I imagine it must have been.
Just noticed that the mini iPad changed your name to Bing of. Darn things they are.
When I started to work I would look through the Sydney suburban listings to see if a Bing movie was showing. If there was I would ring the people over the road and asked them could they go and tell Mum I wouldn't be home for tea as I was off to see a Bing movie.
Those poor neighbours - thankfully we remained friends forever.
First run movies in Australia during the 40's and 50's and early 60's could run for up to 6-8 weeks showing 4 times a day. Some were less as well. Theatres held between about 500 to 2,000 patrons. Attendance controlled how long a movie would run.
Bing usually did quite well.
Graham Pascoe will be able to give you more info on this matter.
Hullo Mo. Like Ron, I'm an Aussie but still live here, in the small city (population about 40 000) some 130 miles west of Sydney, Australia's largest city (on our east coast). I've been interested in Bing for about 60 years but, although I've visited the USA several times, I did not meet or write to Bing although in 1983 I visited Tacoma and Gonzaga U. and in 2002 attended the Hofstra U. conference during my last stay in USA.
Hi Graham! I just got my first copy of BING magazine and noticed your name while I was reading this morning. I haven't seen "The Emperor Waltz" but it's on my list to see. I'm kind of bad because I'm so accustomed to streaming and downloading films that ordering a DVD almost seems like an obstacle in my media world. I did get a nice disc with several Bing movies for Christmas, though and many more are on my Amazon wish list. It's nice to meet you!
Welcome to the forum! It's always nice to hear from new members and to know how they got into Bing's music.
Coincidentally, I was also about ten when I first encountered Bing, and it was through one of his movies—in my case, it was Holiday Inn, with Fred Astaire, who was (and still is) one of my favorite actors. So I saw Bing in a movie before I actually heard one of his records. I loved his on-screen persona and delivery, and like you, I was also fascinated with the way he had with words. And when I heard him sing I was absolutely hooked. Not long after that I began to get interested in jazz of all kinds (swing, bebop, hard bop, etc.) and little by little I started to realize how great a jazz singer Bing really was, how many jazz elements contributed to making his singing so special. Critic Will Friedwald talks at length about Bing's importance as a jazz singer in one of the chapters of his wonderful book Jazz Singing. And talking about books, I agree with you that the book on Bing by Gary Giddins (who is, in my opinion, one of the best jazz critics of current times) is a fantastic biography. As you may know, Mr. Giddins has been working on the second volume of this biography for years now, but unfortunately it hasn't been published yet, and it's not clear when it will see the light of day...
Okay, I will leave you with one question. I won't ask you what your favorite song by Bing is, but I'd like to know what your favorite albums are, among the ones that you have. Welcome again!
Anton--it's interesting that a Bing film led to your interest, too. In learning about him I've become more interested in Jazz also--though I'm an absolute novice. I grew up loving the 1920s. I never knew why, it was just some part of me. In terms of music, the 20's-40's are my favorite. I like Old Time Radio, too. An 'old soul' I suppose one might say. Incidentally I've been in radio my entire adult life--as an audio production director/commercial writer and DJ. Somehow I think all of this fits together, but it hasn't all come together just yet. I work for a Top 40 FM and a Sports AM.
As to the Gary Giddins book--I'm well aware of the second volume and have been waiting impatiently for four years since I originally read it. I used to get excited when I saw 'mentions' of progress on the Gary Giddins' Facebook page, but I don't much anymore. I am still very anxiously awaiting the release, but I realize it's going to take more time than I originally thought. Perhaps you (or anyone else here) might have a recommendation for other good Bing reading? I'd like to learn more.
Ha! my favorite album--I don't think I can even answer that. Much of my music is on a 'single song' basis. As I mentioned, I've been working on a playlist as a companion piece to the Giddins book. I wanted to listen to each referenced song as I re-read the book. So, as far as albums, I don't have a 'favorite' at this point. I'm just learning about the Chronological Crosby and the Mosaic set from you lovely people. At this point, my preference is for Bing's early work (up to 1940), but the more I learn, the more I'll get a better feel for his full body of work.
It's very nice to meet you!
Last edited by Bingmo (13/3/2016 2:42 pm)
When I first discovered Bing's music, I was also mostly a fan of his early stuff, though it didn't take me too long to discover the rest of his output, and even though I'm still quite partial to his early material, I really love his later stuff as well.
Regarding books, I have quite a few volumes on Bing, though I don't think any can compare with Giddins's biography, which is excellent. I love Bing's own Call Me Lucky, from 1953, and I bemoan the fact that he never got around to writing another autobiography towards the end of his life. Malcolm Macfarlane's book Day by Day is fantastic if you want to know absolutely everything that Bing did chronologically throughout his life. It's a very valuable book, though it's quite expensive now that it's gone out of print. Fortunately, the ICC's website offers its contents for free online, and it's a source I constantly consult. Then, I also like the late Ken Barnes's The Crosby Years, which discusses his later period quite a bit in depth and deals with his work, which is what really fascinates me about Bing's life. Will Friedwald never devoted a whole book to Bing, but one of the chapters of his fine book Jazz Singing is devoted to Bing and Louis Armstrong. and I think every Crosby fan should read it.
Thera are quite a few biographies that aren't too interesting and that paint what I believe to be an unfair, biased picture of Bing. A very charming novelized biography of Bing is the one written by his brothers Ted and Larry, though it was published in the mid-1940s and is therefore very incomplete. It's a good summer read if you'd like to learn a little bit about Bing's life up until that time told in the form of a novel. The book The Rise of the Crooners also has a whole chapter about Bing that is very well written and well worth reading. That book is interesting because it also talks about other early crooners like Johnny Marvin, Nick Lucas, Russ Columbo, and Rudy Vallee, all of whom I also enjoy.
And that's just what I can think of right off the bat, although there are several other books that I haven't mentioned, and I am sure everyone on this forum has his or her favorite.