Member Introductions » BBC 'Mastermind' contestant » 16/2/2012 6:36 am

Hi, Steve

Thanks very much for your welcome, and greetings from Gloucestershire!

You are of course absolutely right about the diversity of Bing's career and it would be amazing if all Crosby fans liked every aspect equally. I also agree about the 'dramatic depth' part, so often overshadowed by his success as a light comedian. The ability to make your performance appear effortless is one of the hallmarks of a great artist.

All the best and thank-you to you and fellow-contributors for the dedication which clearly makes this the 'definitive' site.


Announcements » Bing on Mastermind » 15/2/2012 8:47 am

Thanks very much  – yes, that’s absolutely fine, though I won’t hold you to this in the likely event of more interesting material becoming available! Will send you contact details separately.

Coming from someone whose ‘Day By Day’ guide must be the ultimate in showbiz scholarship, your comments are much appreciated. Once again, the material assembled on this site (and the vigilance / dedication of its contributors) is surely the envy of museum curators and university archivists everywhere ...  ‘a veritable cornucopia of Crosby curiosities’ as the great man himself might have put it!

Announcements » Bing on Mastermind » 15/2/2012 7:17 am

Thank-you very much to Jeremy and Richard for their kind comments regarding my appearance in the BBC’s ‘Mastermind’ quiz (10 / 2 / 12). The broadcast is still available to watch online on the BBC i-player but only until the next episodes are aired on Friday evening (17th Feb) at 8 o’clock!

As requested, I have posted (in the ‘Members Introductions’ sub-forum) a bit of an intro to my lifetime interest in Bing. Regarding the quiz – I was a reluctant contestant on ‘Mastermind’ but when a friend had a go last series and did quite well, I got nagged by my family to send in an online application. It seemed like one way of using the store of pointless ‘general’ information that some of us tend to accumulate over the years, but which specialist subjects to choose? You have to submit four (in case you make it through all three rounds of the contest) with reasons for your choice and evidence of knowledge in the form of a ‘reading list’. The subjects you choose (not too obscure or too broad) also presumably play a part on whether you get selected to audition.

As a more worthwhile ‘challenge’, I originally intended to choose subjects where I had an interest but only limited knowledge. However, with pressure on for the first round, I had to make a quick choice so opted for a subject where I was semi-confident. Wise decision, as the recording took place last July just days after the end of school term! Had ordered three ‘set texts’ (biographies by Charles Thompson, Michael Freedland and Richard Grudens - no time to tackle the exhaustive and masterful 'early life' by Gary Giddins!) With roughly three days to prepare, I had to start ‘predicting’ likely topics. Bing starred in over 60 full-length films, usually playing interchangeable versions of himself with names like Jeff or Jim, so decided I would (and could!) only memorise his roles in the more famous films or the ‘character’ parts that he played ... which paid off with the question o

Member Introductions » BBC 'Mastermind' contestant » 15/2/2012 7:00 am

First of all, a big-thank-you to Richard for getting in touch and his extremely kind ‘welcome’ to the club. I was the fortunate contestant who won the BBC ‘Mastermind’ heat on February 10th 2012 with Bing as my specialist subject, as mentioned elsewhere on the forum. I have been truly overwhelmed by the vast compendium of material which has been assembled on this site, besides which my own knowledge pales into total insignificance! A real labour of love and surely the ultimate source of information. I actually checked in here several times during my (brief) period of research and preparation for the quiz when I needed to verify some obscure or disputed fact.

Having been asked for a bit of an ‘intro’ to my interest in the greatest popular singer of the twentieth century, here goes ... sorry if it’s a bit of an ‘essay’. The habits of an erstwhile English teacher die hard!

British TV in the 1970s – only three channels, and invariably (Sunday afternoons on BBC2) a black-and-white film, often shown as part of a series – the Fred Astaire /Ginger Rogers musicals were the catalyst for a fascination with 1930s Hollywood. Irving Berlin famously preferred Astaire as an interpreter of his songs, but easy to transfer one’s loyalty to Bing. The combination of romantic glamour, easy-going insouciance and masculine banter makes it easy to understand how Bing’s demographic was so broad for so many years. (I’m sure the Crosby-Hope-Lamour triangle provides ample material for many academic theses, but the girls always gave as good as they got when they were allowed into the act!) And Bing was still around in my teenage years, continuing to make recordings; ‘That’s What Life Is All About’ (however homespun) a gentle antidote to the self-proclamation of ‘My Way’.

I was lucky enough to go up to Oxford in 1977; while half the student population were marching against Thatcherism, the ‘Brideshead revival’ was also in full swing, harking back to a

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