Film » BING CROSBY: THE HOLLYWOOD YEARS » 06/8/2022 3:50 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 41

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Dave,
You're just the gift that keeps on giving!!!!!!
Thank you SO much for these continuing gems.

Sounds Like Radio Podcast » Rare Bing Recording on "Sounds Like Radio 104" » 05/8/2022 9:08 am

Archiefit,

It always intrigues me how people such as yourself obtain wonderful rare recordings.This isn't a direct question because I know it can be an invasive one, just a general comment of admiration. What's prompted this, is the charming alternative take you played at the beginning of your "Sounds Like Radio" 104th broadcast of Bing's long familiar recording of "I Can't Begin to Tell You". Firstly, I never knew it was the highly famous Carmen Cavallaro accompanying Bing on piano and secondly, how much smoother I thought his played introduction was than on the officially released take.

However, after hearing your played comparisons, I think I can hear why the released version was favoured, as Bing's performance (to my ears), seemed to be more assured and smoother. Or is this just because this is the version  I have heard for decades? I'd be most interested to know of anyone else's views  who is  familiar (or now familiar) with both versions as featured on your show. Here's the link to it, should anyone wish to compare the carefully provided comparisons.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/2iZBkvpqUHs6bVHjukJh5h

Sounds Like Radio Podcast » A Good Day For All With A New & Rare Bing Show » 03/8/2022 12:54 am

Wonderful news!
I'm very much looking forward to listening to this one, Archiefit, as I adore these short, intimate Bing shows. They  sound so relaxed. Incredible work on transporting your show back to 1950's, so Vera can tune in. Once heard and any questions or comments, I'll be right back at ya!

Sounds Like Radio Podcast » A Mystery: Bing on "Sounds Like Radio" Volume 105 » 02/8/2022 9:03 pm

Archiefit,
Do you mean alongside the recent Sepia CD release of "Kraft Music Hall", is the "Duets" one you refer to officially titled "Guest Star Time 1935-1953" - or is there a third?

Biography » Bing's looks » 02/8/2022 1:50 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 10

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Blonde 56 - and with apologies for my late response. Life sometimes has a habit of getting in the way, doesn't it? Thank you for your kind words but I certainly went crazy over all your fellow New Yorkers. Bing would tell the occasional story of your city's warmth and quick wit and I certainly found nothing to argue with him there.

What a wonderful family legacy for Bing to have indirectly taught your maternal grandmother English. I am so sorry to hear that she died when you were so young. It was an indirect legacy from my maternal grandmother's estate which enabled my lengthy visit to your stunning city and its warm, funny and welcoming people. Funnily enough she was also an admirer of Bing's charms and voice - although she sometimes affectionately complained he sang "far too slowly". We'd have good natured arguments about this.

I'm also so sorry to hear that you were never able to meet your paternal grandmother and of her tragic death. I was blessed enough to know all four of my lovely grandparents intimately with the final one (my maternal grandmother) being gathered when I was then thirty-eight years of age.

All of them were of Bing's original audience generation, with my paternal grandfather being particularly fond of his music. We'd swap records and he had a preference for his 1930's recordings, which he'd remember fondly from his early twenties. He (my grandfather) also viewed Bing's personality and appearance with fondness, commenting that he was, "very watchable". However, he did not at all care for the recordings Bing later undertook for Ken Barnes with Pete Moore's orchestrations, which he once referred to as, "That band!", when declining the offer of the loan of another of these from yours truly.

Just for the record, these are among my very, very favourites of Bing's output, particularly his final LP, "Seasons"  (which was the refused offer). I believe this album was as near a perfect note to have gone out on. Sorry, Grandad - w

Recording » 1939's Whistling In The Wildwood » 01/8/2022 9:56 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 16

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Blonde56 wrote:

Ian, Thanks for that. If my parakeets knew Bing shot birds they wouldn't listen to him anymore. Remember the scene in "Going My Way" when Bing does the bird sound near birdbath ? Awesome!

Oh that's so sweetly apt, Blonde 56. I'm sure you know your Parakeets more than anyone and so at least that part of spoken dialogue won't have ruffled any literal feathers.

I came across this  around a couple of weeks ago - and quite by accident on turning on the radio when settling down to sleep one night. I found it most interesting and very pleasant to hear Bing's mature, natural speaking voice, without the distraction of any visuals, audience pressures or indeed performance in this nicely relaxed and convivial conversation. He had such a pleasant timbre when speaking, was always so articulate and fluid - and devoid of any repetitive verbal ticks. I could have listened to him for many more minutes. 

Does anyone out there have any ideas where I can find or access any more audio interviews with Bing? I'm familiar with the one he recorded with Alan Dell for BBC Radio 2, three days before his final golf game but then I'm struggling. 

Announcements » 'Going My Way' Summer Meeting (Warrington, UK) » 01/8/2022 9:27 pm

That would be fabulous. I was planning to attend this one but for medical reasons, couldn't. I'm looking forward to doing so in the future and really hoping all went well for all who attended?

Recording » 1939's Whistling In The Wildwood » 25/7/2022 10:51 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 16

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Oh fantastic! I thought, other than its long wave radio "World Service",  the BBC had now encrypted all its online content to just Licence Fee subscribers. I'm delighted you managed to hear it. Should you want to "capture" it, Archiefit - I suggest you do so before the BBC take it down before it reaches the end of its current availability within the next five days. I recorded/captured it yesterday, as it's such a unique twenty-five minutes with Bing and his occasional bird whistles.

Biography » Bing's looks » 25/7/2022 9:30 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 10

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One of my closest friends is a staunch admirer of Steve McQueen's. He believes him to have been the "coolest" man on film, ever! Despite him liking some of Bing and Bob's road comedies, Cagney is too much of an historical stretch for him (he's aged fifty-one) but he's bowled over by Steve's magnetism and star presence. He's often told me McQueen doesn't have to "do" anything to appear to be doing everything. I agree.

Thank you for your comments on British men, Blonde56. Although it would be stretching things somewhat placing me in the handsome category, I must confess during a wonderful, never to be forgotten 2009  fortnight in New York, being cornered by so many uber-friendly natives and being asked to repeat certain words. 

Almost forty years ago, Bing's eyes were commented upon by Lesley, a young (in her thirties), recently widowed neighbour of ours. I'd been asked by my parents to show off some of my record collection to her. The novelty value of a twelve year old being a fan of Bing's, affectionately tickled the fancy of my family and their friends - and also produced many a good natured chortle and joshing from my fellow school pupils. One of the LP covers Lesley soon came upon was precisely this one:

 https://i.discogs.com/54Fn1dTU3Ik07QtJiZjQeGSt1SdR9gXBy-bO5rWY20E/rs:fit/g:sm/q:90/h:567/w:600/czM6Ly9kaXNjb2dz/LWRhdGFiYXNlLWlt/YWdlcy9SLTE0MDkz/MDQyLTE1Njc3MDYw/MDEtODYyNi5qcGVn.jpeg


"Oh wasn't he lovely!", she touchingly exclaimed on seeing the above, "He was the very image of my grandfather, bless him - with just the same blue eyes!" She paused, smiled again at the cover she'd tilted further towards her and then carefully returned the handful of LPs I'd placed on her lap.

I could see this had touched my neighbour at an obviously poignant time when her emotions were most understandably running very high. She then went on to speak of how much she loved Bing's personality and "beautiful voice". 

The LP, as with this memory, r

Sounds Like Radio Podcast » A Mystery: Bing on "Sounds Like Radio" Volume 105 » 25/7/2022 3:36 pm

Yes, I too am treading a little more carefully with what I now buy but there still sees to be some wonderful new things being released. It's great that more of Bing's radio performances are again emerging and I'll also certainly be investing in the latest Sepia double CD set "Kraft Music Hall Time" 

By the way, not being of your shores, do you know if is this the same Kraft that sponsored your "The Great Gildersleeve" comedy repeats, as featured on your "Sounds Like Radio" programmes? Surely it would be too much of a coincidence for it not to be? 

You mention two latest Bing Sepia CDs. Is there another set I should know of or - are you merely referring to the the two discs that consist of the already above mentioned Kraft Music Hall Time?

Biography » Bing's looks » 25/7/2022 2:57 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 10

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Blonde56 wrote:

Ian, Thanks for your input. It's funny you mentioned Frank and Elvis. Mom and I never found them attractive. I always thought Bing more sexy than them. His eyes, his voice and speaking voice! Yes, David the way he lit a match. Frank had magnetism but I never thought he was handsome. Elvis was handsome but I never thought he had magnetism.

My pleasure, Blonde56! Of course not named - as Sinatra's "Ol Blue Eyes" were, apparently Bing was also the possessor of as an attractive and effective pair of the same colour. Although his second wife Kathryn spoke in glowing terms of these, she also commented that when angered, they would turn to a steely grey!  I've known a couple of people in my time (one male, one female) who served the late Paul Newman in shops and both strongly testified that his eyes shone so brightly blue, it appeared as if they were illuminated from within. I have no idea as to the colour of Elvis' eyes. 

Yes, beauty (and attractiveness) always seems in the eye of the beholder, doesn't it?
 

Recording » 1939's Whistling In The Wildwood » 25/7/2022 1:52 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 16

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Lobosco wrote:

I just uploaded a bunch of Bing's records from 1939. Some nice music in that year. Probably my favorite record from that year was the understated "Whistling In The Wildwood" which shows off Bing's whistling abilities!



 

What a beautiful record to gently ease me into my musical day. It's a recording of Bing's I don't remember having heard before. It's so peaceful and Bing's whistling is a perfect accompaniment to the gentle orchestration and compliments the subject matter with such ease. As one who cannot whistle, it's always a joy to hear it done so expertly. I've never heard Bing whistling in a recording where his musical judgements on these matters are never less than perfect and superbly appropriate.

The first time I heard him whistle was on his 1940's re-recording of "Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day". It was on a 1971 RCA  compiation LP, "The Best of Bing". I know this is possibly an audio purist piece of purgery but whisting wise, the track sounded all the better for the album having been released in the echo-sounding reprocessed stereo, so often used during the nineteen sixties and 'seventies on mono re-releases. I'm now diving into my record cupboard to see if it's featured on anything my constant absent mind has forgotten. 

Plus it's the perfect companion piece to an archived interview radio programme with Bing I heard yesterday. In "Sounds Natural" (BBC  1976). Bing discusses his lifetime appreciation and love of nature with presenter Derek Jones. During the interview, Bing demonstrates a number of bird calls and whistles and some excerpts of his nature related song recordings are played. For BBC licence fee payers, it's available for another six days on this link:. 
 
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08x2b64

For non - BBC licence fee payers who cannot access the link's contents - or anyone who reads this after the six days have passed, feel free to

Biography » Books 'n' Bing » 25/7/2022 1:16 pm

Hello Dave and everyone,

It seems that once again my acute lack of observational skills have once again surfaced. Even after watching so many of your wonderful series of programmes, I'd still managed to overlook your heavily featured Bing book shelves. Oh dear!

It looks as if we're "on the same page" when it comes to Nathaniel's book. It is indeed a nice one but I must confess after reading, I even considered for the very first time concerning a book on Bing, whether or not to keep it! It's pleasantly written but I was stretched to the point of skipping a number of pages when it came to the corporate and political minutiae of the post Bing golf tournament structures and their corporate arrangements. The book's title emphasised the moments between father and son and it would have been even nicer had there been more pages of this with perhaps additional anecdotes and reflections on the man and their relatively short time together.  

Have you or anyone else on here, read Kathryn's lesser known "Bing and Other Things" from 1966? It's markedly different from her two later books, "My Life with Bing" and "My Last Years with Bing".

Also, never having read it, has anyone anyone done so with "Bing", the 1937 biography by two of Bing's brother's Ted and Larry Crosby - or indeed any books so far mentioned or unmentioned on our favourite singer? 


 

Sounds Like Radio Podcast » A Mystery: Bing on "Sounds Like Radio" Volume 105 » 24/7/2022 10:19 pm

Ah! A Mystery Solved!! I may have have that very same CD as you, Archiefit, featuring "Buckle Down". Is it the double set, "Bing & Rosie: The Crosby-Clooney Radio Sessions"? I purchased this sometime ago, semi-mislaid it before it was even played and have now thankfully found it, atop and within a dark corner of my record cupboard.

My copy contains the precise version you played, orchestra, chorus and all. So this now draws to a close my previous confusion over full orchestral versions of songs, recorded for Bing and Rosie's radio shows which feature more than just Buddy Cole's small group accompaniments. Up until now, I thought such recordings played on your programmes were mainly from uncompleted album projects or "one off" singles.  

Also, thank you so much for the linked clip from the film, "Best Foot Forward" and your explanation. It really placed the song fully in context. Such a hearty and invigorating number. Amazingly, as of this writing and according to YouTube's comment posters, the impressive Tommy Dix still walks among us. Whoever was responsible for the sound and picture restoration, deserves a medal.

This is why I love this forum so much. It really makes one feel part of a true "Bing" community and provides knowledge in such a friendly manner that I doubt I would find anywhere else. 

Biography » Bing's looks » 24/7/2022 4:28 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 10

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Blonde56, this is an excellent subject and one which often amused Bing himself, whom along with Fred Astaire, never thought of himself in those terms. From a male perspective I'd say, even when young, Bing was an extremely pleasant looking chap, with a very relaxed (someone once even said a sleepy) and openly approachable face. I think he had a very easy, non-challenging public presence and the looks to match - but most certainly had that indefinable magnetism of "Star Quality". People who posses this (male or female), automatically draw the eye, don't they?

I know Bing stated on a number of occasions that when still in his very late twenties/early thirties, he believed the film studios were on a hiding to nothing when during his earliest film making years, they attempted to market him as a "heart throb" (glueing back his famously protruding ears, toupées, Etc ). There I tend to agree with him because unlike other singers such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, I don't believe he possessed any sexual magnetism.Then again, I'm no expert.

I think even his widow Kathryn briefly spoke or even wrote about this once or twice, once saying that where all the women in the world wanted to have an affair with Frank Sinatra, they wanted to marry Bing - and that how lucky it was was that she was the one he wished to marry.

Biography » Books 'n' Bing » 19/7/2022 3:25 pm

Hello Dave,

That is mightily impressive, buying Bing's autobiography on Hollywood Boulevard. Perfect! It also surprised me on first reading by its jumping here, there and everywhere. Pleasant though it is (his ghost writer Pete Martin did a wonderful job of conveying Bing's voice from the page) it definitely had the feeling of being a bit rushed but then again I suppose it was there to generally and breezily convey Bing's public persona and history – and not to plunge any particular depths.  I was though, so surprised (just as I was over David Niven's books), that there was virtually nothing mentioned about his wartime activities. Until Gary Giddins' revelations, such was the scarcity, I thought Bing might even have been some sort of foreign service intelligence agent!

I'm so pleased you enjoyed "missing man in action" Charles Thompson's book. There was another version which was published around a year later called "The Complete Crosby", which of course adjusted all the tenses and included Bing's death. Malcolm's book is truly one of the giants!

Yes, Gary's book, “Going my Own Way” is an interesting one. At the time I was riveted - reading it all in just over a couple of days. It certainly was a page turner and I must confess, I am always most keen to read what family members or close associates write in their memoirs of the great and the good. You've also, dmgprod - summed up much of my own feelings about it precisely with yours.  

What Gary Giddins has to say about its authorship is also most informative, going through the book in the 1990's, page by page with Gary Crosby himself, who had little recall or was completely unable to give much credence to great chunks of it. Mr Giddins, after a conversation with Gary's ghost writer, Ross Firestone then learned that Gary was sometimes so intoxicated by the time deadlines were approaching, that Mr Firestone himself with confessed factual licence, had to fill in the so far unprovided gaps, much of it

Television » D.B. Cooper: Where Are You » 18/7/2022 1:31 pm

Lobosco wrote:

So I was watching a documentary on Netflix called "DB Cooper: Where Are You" about the only airplane highjacker in US history to get away with it. It was an odd place to have a Bing sighting but in one episode they talked about the suspect's witness drawing as basically not being detailed enough and being a "Bing Crosby-look a like" composite. They mentioned that a few times in the episode.

It was funny to see Bing mentioned on a documentary that has nothing to do with music or Hollywood. Bing is throughout society!

Unfortunately, David unlike yourself and Dave (dgmprod) I don't have Netflix (my friends constanlty urge) but I too love it when Bing's name randomly pops up in culture or throughout (and not just in “high”) society.  

Sticking with factual television and flight, I can remember being most tickled and delighted when it happened in 1981 within one of the late Clive James' ( Australian born but UK based writer and broadcaster) celebrated weekly Guardian newspaper TV review columns. It was during his critique of the live UK broadcast coverage of the first space shuttle (Colombia) launch - and its delay.

I remember watching this at school one lunchtime on a set the science teachers had especially rolled out for the occasion. However, although due to this delay, we ended up missing the live launch (back to lessons for us), it did a few days later, give cause to the following unexpected comment. It was with regard to the four computers, responsible for its launch: 

“ …When the big moment came nothing happened. The space shuttle just sat there like the Taj Mahal minus the ornamental lake. It turned out that three of its computers were functioning properly, but the fourth was processing tax returns for the population of Pittsburgh....
“…[i]. What continued to happen, however, was nothing. Apparently the fourth computer had given up processing tax returns and started cataloguing old Bing Crosby 78rpm

Sounds Like Radio Podcast » A Mystery: Bing on "Sounds Like Radio" Volume 105 » 17/7/2022 7:28 pm

Archiefit,

In your recent lovely edition of "Sounds Like Radio" (Vol 105), you played Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing the lively, march-time, "Buckle Down". As with many of the recordings you play on your shows from the era we all love on here, it's one I had not heard before. Could you tell me where this was from? It had a full orchestral and chorus backing, so without any evidence of Buddy Cole and his small Bing/Rosie radio related group of musicians - does this mean the recording was originally made for an unrealised album project or something else?

I don't know about you or anyone else who has heard your show or just this recording but "Buckle Down" reminded me so much of the song "Pass Me By", written I believe for the 1960 Lucille Ball starring Broadway musical, "Wildcat" and superbly recorded by Bing's sometime duet partner, Peggy Lee.

If not, I would love to throw this open to anyone else on the forum as to the purpose and origins of this full orchestral and non-radio sounding recording?

 

Biography » Books 'n' Bing » 17/7/2022 6:58 pm

I realise the subject of books on Bing will have previously been discussed many times but I was just wondering if anyone currently on the forum has read any of which they're particularly fond (or perhaps not so fond) and has any views or memories of them? 

I thought I'd get things going by burbling on about the following … 

The first book on Bing I read was at the age of twelve years. It was a paperback edition of Charles Thompson's authorised 1976 biography “Bing”. I was being narrow boat driven at the time, gliding through the beautiful English idyll of the Shropshire Union Canal, overhanging weeping willows and all, during a sun kissed 1981 summer's week and comfortably seated on the boat's bow deck … “busy doing nothing”.  

What was so lovely was that due to the book originally being published the year before his death, everything of course was written in the present tense and for some reason both then and looking back now, that seemed so touching for my first serious reading of anything Bing. 

I found it to be a beautifully intimate, highly accessible and warm introduction to our man's life and career. Bing's own original contributions are quoted throughout and he emerges as most engaging and affable. However Mr Thompson, since the early 1980's (and after a similar biography of Bob Hope), has seemingly disappeared without trace! Having already asked a couple of highly esteemed Crosbyphiles does anyone have any idea as to what became of him?  

The book so far has easily been my most pleasurable holiday reading of all. Due, on that trip to an English waterways shortage on equally appealing books, I ended up reading it twice!

 As many of you will be aware, one of our most distinguished members, Mr Malcolm MacFarlane has authored a most monumentally researched, outstandingly detailed and essential volume on Mr Cros, “Bing Crosby: Day by Day”. Although actual copies are now very hard to come b

Film » BING CROSBY: THE HOLLYWOOD YEARS » 17/7/2022 5:12 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 41

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Good grief! They're pouring in like liquid gold.
Thank you, Malcolm. I hope you're managing to remain cool under these ever warmer temperatures. 

New and Re-issued materials » NEW CD: BING CROSBY - KRAFT MUSIC HALL TIME » 16/7/2022 5:37 am

This looks fabulous, David.  Am I correct, as I don't recognise any of these tracks from previous compilations, that it's a first "hard copy" release for most or indeed all of these?

Recording » 1932's "Lawd, You Made The Night Too Long" » 15/7/2022 6:15 pm

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 14

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Would it be too much of a push to say there was a bit of a jazz sensibility with Buddy Cole's recordings with Bing? I'm a bit stuck with this because I originally came to those after Ken Barnes had orchestrally embellished many of them in the 1970's and 1980's. It was only years later that I heard them within just their original small group setting and thought how similar they sounded to the first sides of Bing's " .. Musical Autobiography" box set. Then of course I discovered why!

Can anyone bring to mind any out and out jazz sides Bing recorded during his Kapp years? The current UK heatwave (well, that's the song I'm sighting), seems to be slowing my recall even further.

Film » BING CROSBY: THE HOLLYWOOD YEARS » 15/7/2022 9:38 am

Ian Kerstein
Replies: 41

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Lobosco wrote:

By the way, here is episode 14!



 

Belated thanks, Mr Lobosco!
Without you and this board, I would never have come across this incredible (and joyfully!), increasing series. 
 

Film » The Big Broadcast » 15/7/2022 9:34 am

Malcolm Macfarlane wrote:

David has prepared another episode about Bing's films. Go to Bing Crosby - The Hollywood Years. Episode 1 - 1933 - YouTube

Thanks. Malcolm - another treat to look forward to.
 

Film » The Big Broadcast » 15/7/2022 9:32 am

Thanks, David.

It is such a shame that Universal hasn't yet released this. I realise in today's world and in the grand scheme of things, with increasingly few exceptions, black and white films from Hollywood's golden age are inevitably retreating from the mainstream with each successive generation -  along with commercially produced "hard copies"

It's always to some degree (particularly since the advent of Rock 'n' Roll) been the way with popular culture, hasn't it -  and yet one can experience with ever increased interest to classical culture without ever once being accused of antiquity.

I have noticed just now, there's a so-so looking copy of the entire film that's been posted on to YouTube -  but I'll hold off for now in the hope my debut viewing of this might one day be the restored version. Thank goodness for people such as you, who through your own excellent works, keep the flame burning. 

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