Biography » Gary Giddins - Volume Two » 30/7/2018 6:48 pm

JimKukura
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I don't know how much effect this would have on the delay of the upcoming War Years book, or any book that would follow, whether to Bing's passing or some other point in his life, but I do remember there being some discussion about the delay due to the fact that the Crosby family had opened the archives of Bing's basement to Gary Giddens to augment his other research. Even if Mr. Giddens had basically finished his manuscript, there would be time needed to rewrite his manuscript based on these new details, not to mention how much time it took to rummage through everything, which I have heard is quite voluminous.  

Television » BEST OF BING CROSBY SPECIALS - TIME LIFE » 30/7/2018 4:45 am

JimKukura
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I just finished watching a half-hour informercial on Fox and I was impressed with what I heard and saw. I know that the Crosby/Sinatra Christmas show was already released (have it myself), but I did see quite a bit of footage I do not remember ever seeing before. It is 8 DVD's of Bing sprecials (23 in all) and 2 DVD's of Bing appearing on others specials and 1 DVD of special interviews with family and others, and finally a 32 page booklet of Bing's career. I cannot wait to get it.

Jim Kukura

Biography » Gary Crosby on "What's My Line" » 19/8/2017 4:46 am

JimKukura
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I keep going to the Game Show Channel to see if they will ever rebroadcast some of the newer, syndicated  "What's My Line" shows from the 1970's when I appeared on one of their airings. I just happened to catch the very end of a show from 1956 which identified the mystery guest as Gary Crosby. The show was over except for the signing off. As John Daly and each of the panelists said goodnight, Bennet Cerf, the last to speak, said he thought that Gary Crosby sounded more like Billy Daniels than his famous father. Does anyone know what the conversation was after the panelists had guessed, or had Gary Crosby's identity revealed to them?

Recording » Official UK Singles Charts Celebrates 60 Years » 18/8/2017 4:12 am

JimKukura
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Thanks, Graham,

That means we have 3 continents covered so far. I think we can forget Antartica, and South America only has one small English speaking country. Can we hear from Africa and Asia?

Film » Bing in the 1945 film "State Fair" » 03/8/2017 4:02 am

JimKukura
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I recently purchased the DVD of "State Fair", 1945 version , in a batch of other DVDs. I wasn't particularly interested in this DVD, but thought I would give it a look see. I was pleasantly surprised to get a little bit of Bing in the film. Very early in the film, Jeanne Crain is singing "It Might As Well  Be Spring" as she packs in her bedroom. She goes downstairs to help her mother and then goes into the backyard on a big swing and reprises the song with some different lyrics. She is daydreaming of "a man she has yet to meet" and describes him as a combination of Ronald Coleman, Charles Boyer, and Bing. I guess it is good that Bing rhymes with spring. We then hear Ronald Coleman speak, then Charles Boyer speak, and then we hear Bing sing one line of the song, then a little boo-boo-boo, and finally some classic Bing Whistling. This must have been specifically recorded for this film. Does anyone know any more details than that.

Recording » Official UK Singles Charts Celebrates 60 Years » 22/7/2017 5:15 am

JimKukura
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Thanks, Richard
It is interesting that "True Love" would rechart in 1983, and in December when Christmas songs are in vogue. I see that Bing charted with "That's What Life is All about", which did not hit the Pop charts in the USA. But, Bing did chart with that record in the USA on the Adult/Contemporary charts up to the number 35 position and charted for 7 weeks.

Recording » Official UK Singles Charts Celebrates 60 Years » 21/7/2017 6:49 am

JimKukura
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I understand that Bing charted in England with "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree", I guess in 1973. I presume that would have been his last chart record anywhere in the world. Does anyone know what the highest position on the charts that recording hit?

Member Introductions » Another Bing Board Alum has come home » 21/11/2016 7:57 am

JimKukura
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Well, guys, I have found that even though I have been able to get all of Bing's films and commercial recordings (except for one that dear Malcolm has provided me a computer file of) there is so much more out there. There are a lot of radio transcriptions, and I am now into sheet music and 45 rpm's if I can get them at the right price. But I am convinced that I will never be able to collect them all. I just recently discovered, and purchased Harry Owens autobiography, "Sweet Leilani", which I will report on in another post. Of course I learned more about Bing by reading that book. But I also learned what a fascinating man Harry Owens was and learned new insights into Hawaiian history and culture. I don't what else is out there that I do not know about yet, but I will keep looking and I am sure I will continue to find other snippets of Bing's life in treasures now not known.

And don't forget, in 2017 we well get to buy Gary Giddins latest book, "Bing Crosby, the War Years". And sometime after that, if we live long enough, the rest of Bing's life as researched by Giddins.

It never stops! There is always something new to discover,

Jim Kukura

Member Introductions » Another Bing Board Alum has come home » 17/11/2016 8:46 pm

JimKukura
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Lee,

Welcome. I remember you as one of the more prolific reviewers of Bing Crosby films when we did that monthly back on the Steven Lewis' Bing Crosby Internet Museum, among other postings. I really miss those monthly film reviews. It forced you to take out something you might not watch for a long time and remember how much you enjoyed those films. Then you would get a healthy and diverse analysis of the films good and bad points. But everyone always liked Bing's contribution, especially the singing. Back then I had to track down copies of the lesser available films so as  not to miss the monthly exercise. I've got them all now, so if we ever resurrect that practice, I'm ready to go.

Jim Kukura

Announcements » Will say Goodbye soon » 16/11/2016 4:33 am

JimKukura
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Carmela,

It has been many a moon since we trod the halls of Hofstra together. Meeting you and so many others back then is still one of the highlights of my Bing involvement and life in general. I hope that someday, somehow, you will be back on the internet again. In any event, is has been a pleasure to share Bing with you at Hofstra, on the Bing Crosby Internet Museum, and here on Crosby Fan World.

Jim Kukura

Film » The King Of Jazz » 14/11/2016 5:29 am

JimKukura
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Richard, that was a really thorough obit of Bobbe Brox, much more than I had ever seen. I had already bought a DVD of "The Hollywood Revue of 1929" because I knew the Brox Sisters were in it.  A lot of big names in that one and a few scenes in color toward the end. It had some great dance routines, but overall I would not rate it as good as the "King of Jazz".

According to Gary Giddens book, "A Pocketful of Dreams", the altercation between Bobbe and Bing was about his drinking, and it was not the first time they were at odds about that. A couple of pages later in the book, Bobbe states that she could not stay angry with Bing and that they were good friends for a long time.

Bing had what I believe is a singular distinction of making a full feature film with three different singing sister trios and also recorded at least one commercial record with each of them. That would be, of course, the Brox, Boswell and Andrews Sisters. Bing also had the Lennon Sisters on one of his TV shows (I think a Christmas show) and I have a record where he introduces the Lennon Sisters before they sing a song without Bing, but I do not know if he sang any songs with them that were not released, or if they were a quartet or trio at the time. Finally, Bing had the Bell Sisters on a few of his radio shows and sang a number of tunes with them, but they were only two sisters. Still, that a lot of Sisters acts to have performed with.

Film » The King Of Jazz » 13/11/2016 10:20 pm

JimKukura
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As I wrote earlier, I did learn a number of interesting details in reading this book. In a earlier post I made in this thread, just after I had viewed the restored film at MoMA in New York City in late June, I questioned why three of the short comedy skits that I have on my VHS version of "The King of Jazz", were not in the restored version that was aired that evening. The answer is that those three skits were cut from the originally released version of the film, but were added to the 1933 released version, when some of the original footage was cut.

This was something I already knew, and posted on the old Bing Crosby Internet Museum, but since we have revisited it now, this was an earlier question about "The King of Jazz" that bewildered me until I had enough information to figure it out. In the film during the "A Bench in the Park" number, The Rhythm Boys come behind the seated Brox Sisters and scat while the Brox Sisters sing the second half of their verse. Bing is directly behind Bobbe Brox, the only blonde of the three. At the very end of the number, The Brox Sisters get one last line to sing, while sitting in the laps of the Rhythm Boys. The Rhythm Boys are in the same lineup as earlier, Bing, Al, and Harry, from left to right, but Bobbe who was on the left in front of Bing, is now in the center sitting in Al Rinker's lap, a direct result of the run in Bing had with Bobbe at the rehearsal.

I remember reading about Bobbe Brox passing away in 1999. I was surprised that she was still alive and that she was still considered newsworthy enough to be in the obituary page of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The fact the she married Jimmy Van Heusen later in life probably helped her status for such coverage.

Film » The King Of Jazz » 13/11/2016 7:23 am

JimKukura
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Quoting page 124 from the book.

"Crosby and the Brox Sisters were at the studio on Saturday, November 2, for a rehersal of "A Bench In The Park". Crosby had a drink or two before arriving and triggered a fight with Bobbe Brox, then walked to the Lodge to join a party celebrating the completion of the first week of production. "They had decorated the club building completely a la Halloween, with corn, and pumpkins and straw and scarecrows with lights inside" , Herman Rosse wrote. "Whitman's orchestra played the music with solos by visitors, the 'Rhapsody in Blue' and so on. As far as parties go it was not a bad party but you know how much I care about parties."

Driving a woman home to her hotel after the party, Crosby crashed into another car, and was arrested. The next morning, James Dietrich found Paul Whitman rushing through the hotel lobby ---"Where can I get $500.00? One of our boys is in the can and needs bail" After the trial the following week, Crosby arrived at the court in fashionable golfing attire, gave a snide response to the Judge's questions about his familiarity with the 18th amendment, and was sentenced to sixty days for drinking. The studio managed to get Crosby transferred to a Hollywood jail, and after two weeks of negotiating, he was given a police escort from jail to the studio each day.

The Herman Rosse quote is credited to: Herman Rosse, undated letter to family, translated from Dutch, Herman Rosse collection, Williams College.

The James Dietrich quote is credited to: James Dietrich, interview with Diane and Richard Kozarski, 1976.

Film » The King Of Jazz » 12/11/2016 2:49 am

JimKukura
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I received my copy of the "King Of Jazz" book and have completed reading it. First of all it has so many great photographs. The book is organized into chapters, short bios if you will, about the major players in the making of King Of Jazz, such as Paul Whitman, John Murray Anderson, Carl Laemmle Sr. & Jr. Whitman's bio is also a bio of his orchestra. You also have the story of the original, unrealized, film as a story line. And then you have the story of the revue which was actually produced. There is a chapter of the film broken down scene by scene, with very short bios of some of the other performers featured in the film.
Finally you have chapters on the critics and audiences response to the film, one on foreign versions of the film, one on the rediscovery of the film, and lastly a chapter on the restoration of the film. There are 8 appendices at the end of the book with various statistics on many facts and figures.

The book is printed on very high grade stock and well bound with hard cover. There is also a stunning dust jacket which should be preserved with a protective cover. It would actually make a great presence on a coffee table.

Having been a "King Of Jazz" groupie for a couple of decades at least, this book has filled in many questions I have wondered about over the years. Although I first wanted to see the film because of Bing Crosby's participation in it, I really took to all the performances and performers in this unique film. I ardently hope that Universal will release this restored version on CD soon.

Recording » The Road to Minnesota, by Bing & Bob, on Buster's Swinging Singles » 15/9/2016 3:52 am

JimKukura
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If you want to learn some interesting behind-the-scenes info about the "Vacation Road To Minnesota" record, go to the "Steven Lewis' Bing Crosby Internet Museum" link, then click on "Discussion Archive" and look under 1999 and see the link for discussing this record. Also, the Oregon record I referred to above, is now on ebay as "Holiday in Oregon". I think I was wrong about Bob Hope being on that record with Bing, but it does refer to Mel Blanc and Jane Powell as on the record. It was issued by Pacific Northwest Bell.

Television » High Tor to be shown in Rockland County, New York » 01/9/2016 7:14 am

JimKukura
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I was able to see this 35mm version in 2006 when it was shown at the Lincoln Center in Manhattan. It is worlds better than the kinescope version that is out there commercially. I am guessing that even though the Crosby family has this 35mm film of "High Tor", they do  not have the rights to produce and sell it commercially. Hopefully, someday, we will all be able to own this version in our film libraries.

Recording » The Road to Minnesota, by Bing & Bob, on Buster's Swinging Singles » 29/8/2016 1:41 am

JimKukura
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I check for "Bing Crosby" on ebay regularly and see the "Road To Minnesota" record often. There is another, but considerably rarer, record promoting "Oregon"  that Bing Crosby and Bob Hope are on also. They are only two of a handful of celebrities on that particular recording, but if you out to collect these offbeat contributions Bing recorded, ebay is the way to go.

Film » Bing on TCM » 04/8/2016 9:44 pm

JimKukura
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I don't know about anyone else, but I had a blast. Got to see almost everything, but only parts of the last three. Like most of you, I have all Bing's films in my private film library and can watch them anytime I want. The problem is that I very seldom do that. But when I know millions of others are watching the film at the same time as I, it just adds a special satisfaction to the viewing. I was a bit disappointed that there were no introductions to the films by TCM hosts until, I think, "Going My Way" was about to be aired. Michael Feinstein certainly showed his true enthusiasm for Bing and his films and singing when he did make opening and closing remarks. And it was very coincidental that I was reading the article about Rhonda Fleming in my newly received BING magazine at the same time as I was watching "Connecticut Yankee"

I always find something new or rediscover something when I watch these films, especially if I have not viewed them in some time. My something new is that in the "High Society" film when Bing and Frank are singing, "Well, Did You Evah?", Bing goes to the bar to refill his glass, which he does, and them he goes to the front of the bar and Frank goes behind the bar and refills his glass, and then Bing picks up the glass Frank had been drinking from and Frank picks up the glass Bing has been drinking from. They march out of the room never consuming anything from the glasses and return from off camera with empty glasses which they then refill. Very trivial, but something I had never taken notice of before.

My something rediscovered was the song, "Our Big Love Scene", from the film, "Going Hollywood". I understand that "Temptation" is the definitive song from that film, but "Our Big Love Scene" is not too far behind it. A really driving song that Bing gets to belt out and raise emotions at a critical point in the film.

When can we do this again?
 

Film » Bing on TCM » 02/8/2016 11:22 pm

JimKukura
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All times are EDT starting 8/3/2016 morning
6:00am Going Hollywood - 1933
7:30am Pennies From Heaven - 1936
9:00am Road To Hong Kong - 1962
10:45am Man On Fire - 1957
12:30pm High Society - 1956 (C)
2:30pm Connecticut Yankee - 1949 (C)
4:30pm Blue Skies - 1946 (C)
6:30pm Rhythm On The Range - 1936
8:10pm Going My Way - 1944
10:15pm The Country Girl - 1954
12:15 am Road To Morocco - 1942
2:00am Sing You Sinners - 1938
3:45am Robin And The 7 Hoods - 1964 (C)

Both Grace Kelly films, both Frank Sinatra films, what many consider the best and worst Road film, two of Bing's Best Actor nominations, Bing's first non-singing role, only 4 in color.

I am partial to "Pennies From Heaven" because it takes place in Union County, New Jersey, where I grew up, but there is  no Middletown in Union County, but there is one in Monmouth County, a little further south, close to where  my wife grew up. I also like "Blue Skies" a lot, great music (Berlin, of course), drop-dead gorgeous Joan Caulfield, Astaire, De Wolfe, San Juan in a great cast, and Bing playing a bit against type as a selfish, unfeeling cad, who comes to his senses at the end. Playing against type would prepare him for "Country Girl" and "Man On Fire" later on. "High Society" was just on TCM on Sunday, but I could watch that every day, as well "Going My Way".

 

Others of Note » Noel Neill » 06/7/2016 8:56 pm

JimKukura
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I do not remember seeing Noel Neill on "Road To Utopia" and she is not credited in my books of Bing's films. But she did have decent billing in "Here Come The waves" (about 6th or 7th) and was very recognizable as the actress who would become Lois Lane in the Superman films and TV shows.

New and Re-issued materials » Nathaniel Crosby book » 01/7/2016 3:38 am

JimKukura
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I also received a copy for Father's Day and have completed my reading. Well written for the most part and a new, informative, and positive look into Bing's life from Nathaniel's perspective. There are many stories and anecdotes I've never heard before. Bing's involvement in the Pirates' signing of Vernon Law is priceless. Nathaniel is also very forthright in his contentions with his mother over the Crosby Pro-Am, after Bing passed away. It is a good look into relationships in general, notwithstanding that it is Nathaniel and Bing in this particular instance. Who else is there to write a book about Bing next? Howard Crosby?

Film » Road to Singapore » 01/7/2016 3:19 am

JimKukura
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I too, have always thought Road To Singapore is an excellent film, and certainly in the running for best "Road" film. The thing I like about Singapore is that it is the only "Road" film where Bing's character has a family, a father and a fiancé. Also, it predates the antics of speaking to the camera and talking camels, etc. It is not that I do not like the zany developments as the "Road" films progressed, but I do like the fact that in Singapore they played it straight. I think the first 5 "Road": films are all excellent. Bali is a step down and Hong Kong a couple of further steps down.

When they had the Bing Crosby Film Festival for a week at the Lincoln Center a number of years ago. I went for two of those days. "Road to Zanzibar" was screened one of those days and I got such a big kick out of hearing people, who had obviously never seen the film before, laughing out loud at jokes and gags that I only smile at now after dozens of viewings of each "Road" film. They are classics and whenever they are on TV, I watch and wonder who out there is seeing it for the first time and laughing their head off.
 

Film » The King Of Jazz » 01/7/2016 3:01 am

JimKukura
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I did get to the viewing at MoMa on June 14th. The restoration is really fantastic. I sure hope they make a DVD available to the public soon. When I walked into the lobby, I saw Gary Giddens standing there and quickly and briefly introduced myself as someone he met very briefly at Hofstra. Gary gave an enlightening and entertaining introduction to the screening. I guess I was expecting too much, because there were some disappointments for me. First, there were still some herky-jerky film flashes at the ends od some of the sequences. The additional footage seems to have been 1. longer version of the Fish Story with Jack White; 2. A new comedy skit with William Kent hiding in a closet (that I did not get); 3. All the nationalities being added to the Melting Pot in the finale, where only two are added in the version at large. I was also disappointed that there was a lot of laughter at much of the film that was not intended to be amusing. Many people at MoMA that evening did not seem to understand that, although this is far from current sate-of-the-art entertaining, what was on the screen was state-of-the-art when this film was made in 1929.

As I was riding the train back to the MetroPark where I left my car, I was rehashing the film as I had just seen it, in my mind. Since I had seen the film about 50 times myself, I was anxious to see what the audience reaction would be to some of the comedy skits. Then I realized that two skits that we have in the current version were missing entirely from the restored version. And the next day, I remembered a third comedy skit missing from the restored version. Perhaps James Layton or someone else can comment on what happened to those skits in the restoration.

If anyone would like to go back to Steven Lewis Bing Crosby Internet Museum and check out my writings about the King Of Jazz those many years ago, You will find I was quite the King Of Jazz groupie even back then. It is like an olive, once you get used to it you enjoy mo

Film » The King Of Jazz » 04/5/2016 3:35 am

JimKukura
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I have checked out the website of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and can find no information about the screening of the restored "King of Jazz". Nothing about viewing times, admission costs, or even acknowledging that the screening will take place. Can James Layton or someone clue me in as to how I can make plans to attend the June screening?

Film » The King Of Jazz » 12/4/2016 3:35 am

JimKukura
Replies: 39

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For James Layton

I would like to know if DVDs of the newly restored "King Of Jazz" will be available for purchase.

Also, what is the content of the ten minutes in this version versus the 93 minute version.

Finally, when will the book be available?

Thanks, Jim Kukura

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