19/12/2010 11:24 pm  #1

Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

Ron has asked me to post a picture he has of himself and Bing on the golf course at Turnberry in Scotland on Friday 4th. July 1975.

I gladly do this and understand that Ron will be adding his reminiscences.

Last edited by Richard Baker (21/12/2010 12:29 am)


20/12/2010 7:33 pm  #2

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

Some of you have probably heard or read parts of my interest in Bing Crosby but as this is a new site I will present some info for you. I hope you won't think that I'm being 'big headed', but more like I've been a very fortunate Bing fan.
I'm a 1934 model and I guess that I became interested in Bing in about 1944. At that time some of us kids used to write to the film stars asking for signed photos. They used to come but usually a post card size photo.
One day a letter arrived for me from Bing Crosby stating what his latest film was and advised that a photo had been sent under separate cover. Sure enough a day or two later the photo would arrive - a 10" x 8" one at that in a yellowish coloured envelope supported with a sheet of cardboard.
Well, I thought, this will do me. Also, one could see Bing in pictures and hear him on the wireless. So I would write at least once a year and the same thing always happened. It got to the stage that the postman would say to me -  another letter/photo from Bing.
In 1949 I started work (fortnight before my 15th. birthday) at 20th. Century Fox. I was there for 3 months, had another of couple of jobs and then in October I joined Hoyts Theatres, 156 theatres throughout Australia. Unfortunately we didn't show Paramount films. Paramount had their own theatre - The Prince Edward - and we didn't show Paramount at our suburban outlets.
During the early to mid 50's I would look at the picture listings around suburban Sydney for Bing films. I travelled all over Sydney and often would ring the lady across the road asking her to tell Mum that I wouldn't be home for tea. Strangely,  I'm still friends with that lady although I must have been a pest.
In 1957 I decided to travel to Canada to catch up with a mate of mine. I left Sydney Friday 12th. July arriving in Vancouver Monday 29th. July. My mate had moved east to Toronto and later on when I finally got to Toronto, he'd gone to Europe.
Prior to leaving Australia I had bought a string of Greyhound Bus tickets - nearly 5 foot long, I'm sure.
Thursday 1st. August I decided that I should use up some of my Greyhound tickets and headed to Seattle.
Walked a round the area and remember seeing "Silk Stockings". Friday morning I was going to leave to head to Kelso but happened to see the paper and there was a photo of Bing and he was in Seattle for the Annual Seafarer's Carnival and he was to be Head Marshall.
I asked the bloke at the little hotel where I was staying where would Bing stay. I thought that if Bing was in town I had to try and meet him.
I was told that he would be at (I think the Washington) what is now the Olympia Fairmont.
I wrote Bing a note, saying I'm an Aussie and member of The Southern Cross Branch of The Club Crosby.
I left the note at the hotel.
Well, as providence had it, I was just walking around Seattle and a big limo pulled up outside a restaurant
and Bing, Phil Harris and two lovelies got out (they were part of the parade "Miss This or That".
I thought, do I go to him now or after. I thought that a hungry man could be an angry man, so I bided my time and waited and I think I remembered every piece of clothing, shoes etc in the nearby windows. I dared not leave the street.
Anyway, Bing and co finally came out and thought 'this is it'. Heart pounding like a hammer, I approached him, told him who I was. Bing responded by saying he had received my note. Asked what I was doing, where I was going, how long was I staying in North America.
He then asked me if I was going to Los Angeles and I said 'yes' and Bing said 'go and see my brother'.
We parted and I thanked him and he said it was alright.
Next day - day of the parade - I was walking along the street and blow me down if Bing wasn't in a door way waiting for the parade to start. I had a Mamiya 120 roll film camera (2 1/4" x 2 1/4" slides). Bing looked straight at the camera for me and I took several photos. (Quite some time later I had the slides produced and you can imagine my horror when I inspected the slides. I turned the film too fast and about 4 photos or so were on the one frame. Bing had a cigarette poking out his ear, out his nose, out his mouth. I just about cried.
I continued my journey by Greyhound. The bus stopped at Tacoma so I got out to take a couple of photos of the street, seeing that Bing was born in Tacoma. When I went to get on my bus, it had taken off. I asked about it, they wanted to know why I got off. Told me to catch this bus and it will catch up in Olympia, which it did so. When I got on a girl was sitting in my seat and told her so. She wasn't moving so I sat next to her as my stuff was above that seat. She got off in Centralia. She eventually got married and I eventually got married and then in 2003 we got married, so it was Bing's fault.
I finally got to Los Angeles. Saw a TV fund raising show on the Sunday and brother Bob was the host. Had a photo taken with him. The next day I went to the Crosby office on Sunset Boulevarde and met brother Larry. Had a good chat with him. Larry asked if they could do anything for me and I declined as I didn't wish to impose. Had offered tickets to Disneyland but couldn't get me to a studio as Bing wasn't contracted any more.
That's way too much for now and I can add more a little later. But, I was a very lucky, fortunate Aussie fan to meet Bing within a week of landing in North America.


21/12/2010 12:28 am  #3

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry


Most interesting - and exciting. A bold young man you must have been! Look forward to the next instalment.

Last edited by Richard Baker (21/12/2010 12:28 am)

     Thread Starter

21/12/2010 3:14 pm  #4

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

In the early 50's in Sydney, Brian Howard used to present 2 shows a week called "Bing and Swing" on radio station 2KY. Brian used to have delivered to him a newspaper cutting service. Items from various newspapers would be sent to him on and news items about Bing. Brian gave me a lot of these cuttings.
He also had a rugby league team - called 'Bing and Swing' playing in the Balmain District Junior League competition. The team colours? , what else but 'blue and gold'. I never saw them play as I was playing in the St. George district league comp.
About 1953/54 Gary Crosby toured with Louis Armstrong. Being shy I never ever dreamed about trying to contact Gary, but I saw him perform with Louis at the White City Stadium (boxing, wrestling. It was here that heavyweights Jack Johnson and Tommy Burns fought, think that was about 1906).
Bing asked Brian to keep an eye on Gary as he was a bit wild, so Brian did.
Bing had a little trouble pronouncing 'Brian' and Brian told Bing that his was a silly name. I just can't recall how they referred to one another now.
Brian was also involved with Trotting (harness racing). One night at Harold Park was to be the running of the Inter Dominion and it had being raining most of the night. Brian said it would not be raining when the race was due to start. Race caller Johnny Tapp had made a comment that it wouldn't happen. Brian said that Bing 'up there' will look after events. Come race time it wasn't raining.
Bing gave Brian a money clip and told him he would never need. Once again Brian claimed that Bing was looking after him.
But, in a way, sadly, Brian did all this as a business venture.
One more thing. Also on 2KY there was a presenter named John Harper. He disliked the Andrews Sisters. He would start playing a 78 and next thing the record stopped and you could hear it smashing against the studio wall. One of the girls came to Sydney and he met her. After that John would play their records as 'she was a nice lady'.


12/1/2011 7:34 am  #5

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

They were interesting recollections Ron. Like you, I was born 'Down Under' in 1934 (in Melbourne) but didn't develop a real interest in Bing until the early fifties when I heard some of his early 1930s recordings on radio. Until I heard them I thought Bing was passe and preferred the 'newer' singers such as Frankie Laine and Eddie Fisher. Those early 30s records won me over but, unlike you, I never met Bing although went I went to the USA in 1956 (to study at the Uni of Chicago) I had a letter of introduction to Bing or his brother in LA but I couldn't afford to visit that city and thought that there'd be no likelihood of Bing agreeing to meet a nonentity from Auistralia anyway.


12/1/2011 11:01 pm  #6

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

A great opportunity lost. The Crosby's were just ordinary people. When Bing said go see my brother, it was a bit like when one is on holidays and meet people and you do meet up again later either at their place or your own - just like you and me.
I rang Bing at his hotel and I was put through to his room and he answered the phone. Bing rang me, which amazed me.
But in 1957 I was shy and wondered also about meeting them.  Larry was in reception and when I mentioned things he just invited me into his office.


10/2/2011 9:17 pm  #7

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

Well, after being in Canada 1957-59, with a meeting of 3 Crosby brothers, a stint at the Banff Spring Hotel and meeting Walt Disney and NSW Premier, Joe Cahill (pronounced carl and NOT k-hill), a tour around Europe on a Lambretta it was back to Australia. Worked down on the Snowy Mountains T2 power station, 6 months in New Zealand (with the scooter) it was off to England again in September 1966.
Working for Alcan at Wembley I saw a photo of Bing on the front page of 'The Daily Mirror'. So I rang them and asked - where would Bing being staying?. They told me the hotel (may have been the Connaught) and so I rang and asked for Bing. I was connected to Bing's room and he answered the phone. We spoke for a few minutes and he said that he was going out to play some golf at Wentworth.
Well, I knew where Wentworth Falls was located near Sydney or Wentworth in the far south west of NSW, but no idea of where this Wentworth was. (I did get there in the 70's and played golf). Also, I never had a car so I couldn't get out there. That would have been a tremendous experience. That would have been in 1967.
Later on in '67 Bing was back and I did get to say hello at his hotel and he signed a booklet for me. I couldn't spend any time with him as he was meeting friends and he had no 'rug' on or a hat, so I guess they may have been staying at the hotel. He was tanned and his blue eyes were really very blue. Once again I think this was The Connaught (I have the booklet back in Australia).


24/8/2011 6:31 pm  #8

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

Phil Crosby came to Australia, about 1964/65, remembering correctly. He was performing at the Hilton Hotel at Kings Cross.
I got to meet Phil at the hotel at lunch time and we had a beer. I also gave him a book called 'The Ampol Book of Australiana'. (Ampol was an Australian owned oil company, now owned by Caltex).Often wondered if he had kept the book.
I did write to Phil a couple of years before he died but I never did hear from him.


07/9/2011 6:14 pm  #9

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

Ron, Fabulous stories of Bing - you were indeed "A Lucky Man" - You show that "BING" was as nice a guy as I thought he was - Wow!


19/10/2011 5:56 pm  #10

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

In 1968 I was off to Montreal and played rugby for the Town of Mount Royal  I soon became their PR man and got us air time on a local English Station and wrote match reports for the local TMR paper.
I wrote to Bing about the possibility of helping us buy some new rugby jumpers. They were blue and gold stripes. I never did hear back so I can only assume that the letter never reached Bing as he always responded.
As PR man I arranged for the Australian manufacturer of the AUSSIE rugby ball to give us one if we bought one, which did happen. Then I asked Qantas for free shipping, which they kindly did.
Two seasons with TMR and off to Vancouver and I played with the Meralomas, then back to Aus in 1970.
In 1972 back to England. (I had married a Pommy girl in Montreal in 1969, beautiful sunny Wednesday at 25oF (that was warm as a day or two earlier it was about 15oF.)
Back in England I finished up working for British Rail and played rugby again with Wembley (LM) Club. I moved around transferring to SeaLink, then the Great Western Royal Hotel, then British Transport Hotels HQ at St. Pancras (which is now a Marriott Hotel. I just stayed there when visiting for the Leeds meeting. Well worth a visit to see what the place is like. A few of us gathered in the Booking Office Bar. I wouldn't stay there again as it is too expensive). Then from St. Pancras  to the Midland Hotel, Manchester. I returned to Australia in 1979 after a split up as the wife wished to be a single woman (this lasted until after the divorce when she re-married).
So, during the period 72-79 Bing was in the UK a few times.
I think I've related this part previously - leaving him some info on Calcot Park Golf Club in Reading (where I lived) and he ringing me to say he didn't have time for golf on this trip (1975-recording with Fred).
Saw opening night in 1976 and again a few days later as we were going to Montreal for the Games. Then opening and closing nights in 1977.
On the way back to Aus in 1979 I hired a car and got outside the Crosby home in Hillsborough and the car played up. Knowing nothing about car engines etc I put the bonnet up to have a look, as one does, and at that time Kathryn drove out but I didn't see her until she was going down the street.
Back in Australia I had a nice letter from Kathryn, re the above, and Nathaniel sent me a nice photo of Bing.
I moved from Sydney to Thirroul, about 40 mile or so south of Sydney and became involved with Community Radio Station 2VOX/FM where I presented a programme called "Mainly Bing". In 1976 I moved further south again to Bermagui and became involved with EDGE/FM in Bega and was able to present "Mainly Bing" once again.
Thirroul  - was where D.H. Lawrence stayed for 6 weeks and wrote 'Kangaroo'.
Bermagui - a deep sea fishing community. Sir Harry Lauder visited in the late 20's and Zane Grey visited in the late 30's - both for the fishing. In the local there are pictures of both gentlemen with their catches.
In 2002 I attended Hofstra and in 2003 Gonzaga where I met further members of the Crosby family.
So, that just about sums up my Crosby connections since about 1944.
I'm still very keen on all things Bing but wonder what is going to happen to my collection? Perhaps my niece may like them.
Bing sent me sheet music from 'Riding High' and strangely enough, after the Crosby pro-am (probably May time) Bing sent me some stuff from his pro-am, a ticket, an armband. Strange as that proved to be his last.
I've been a very lucky bloke and Bing was just an ordinary man. You'd never think that he was the super star that he was compared to today's lot. Well, even Frank was surrounded with guards, but not Bing.
All I can say is That I'm happy that I grew up during his lifetime.


08/11/2011 12:40 am  #11

Re: Ron Field and Golfing with Bing at Turnberry

Ron, that's an interesting tale of some aspects of your connection with Bing and golf. As you'd know, the Australian Open will be held soon and if you were in Australia I'll bet you'd go to it, as Bing would if he were here. The newspapers have devoted a lot of attention to the remarks on Tiger Wood by Adam Scott's caddy.


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