19/11/2013 10:25 pm  #1

Bing's 1963 Christmas TV Special

With the (believe it or not!) 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination this Friday, it brings to mind some questions that the esteemed Crosby experts here may have the answer for and insight regarding.

I have read (or heard) over the years that Bing taped his 1963 Christmas Special on Sunday November 24, 1963. Is this a fact? With all that had already gone on, PLUS the murder of Oswald on what would have been in California mid morning, I find it incredible that the taping did occur that day. Bing was no Kennedy fan but everyone with any common sense put all politics aside for 4 incredibly mournful days. If it was in fact taped that day it must have taken a great deal of strength and courage for all involved to pull  it off successfully! 

I'd love to hear any information on it that anyone here might offer. Is there any video of the program? It must have been one of the least cheerful Christmas specials ever.   

Thank you in advance for any responses.

All the best,
Paul M. Mock

20/11/2013 11:40 am  #2

Re: Bing's 1963 Christmas TV Special


I admit to almost total ignorance when it comes to information about TV shows, and I'm sure others are a zillion times better qualified to provide a definitive answer, so I regard my little contribution as a means of keeping the topic alive.

Reference to Malcolm Macfarlane's massive on-line work "Day By Day" 

produces the following for November 24th - two days after the assassination - 

"November 24, Sunday. Bing tapes his part in Bob Hope’s Christmas special, and because of Bob’s eye problems, he acts as cohost with Jack Benny as well as lip-synching to his recording of “Do You Hear What I Hear.” The show is televised by NBC on December 13"

There is no reference to a Bing Crosby Christmas special for that year, either in Day By Day, or in the listing of TV shows, but the listing of the Bob Hope Show, co - hosted by Bing - http://www.bingmagazine.co.uk/bingmagazine/BingTV.htmshow
(scroll down to 13 December 1963) 
says in a quote from "Variety" - "The show was noticeably a patchwork of tapes and almost totally devoid of the immediacy and spontaneity that is normally felt in a Hope broadcast"

I do not recall mention of any disruption of recording of TV shows involving Bing following the assassination of JFK, though certainly there have been reports that the filming of "Robin And The Seven Hoods" was adversely affected.

But there is an old show business maxim - "The show must go on"!




20/11/2013 2:14 pm  #3

Re: Bing's 1963 Christmas TV Special

Not to take away from the Sunday in question, but yes..."Robin" production was shut down until the day after JFK's funeral. Mr. S is quoted in several books as having gathered the entire cast and crew together and giving a short but impassioned speech about the then-current negative comments being said about Texans and the city of Dallas in particular. He pleaded for togetherness and support of the Johnson administration. The filming continued but not for long. Mr. S had another horrible event awaiting him just around the corner...Frank Jr's kidnapping!

Last edited by paulmock (20/11/2013 2:14 pm)

All the best,
Paul M. Mock
     Thread Starter

20/11/2013 2:16 pm  #4

Re: Bing's 1963 Christmas TV Special


Many thanks. Perhaps that is what I once read and misinterpreted it into it being Bing's Annual Christmas Special. Still maxim or not, that had to be avery rough thing to pull off!

All the best,
Paul M. Mock
     Thread Starter

20/11/2013 7:54 pm  #5

Re: Bing's 1963 Christmas TV Special

In an earlier notice I stated that the year and days of 1957 are the same as this year. I remembered the day I left Sydney, arrived in Vancouver and met Bing.
I have just realised that 1963 and this year are also the same.
I turned up at Muirfield golf course in Sydney, to play golf with an 11.00am tee off, or about then. I had the car wireless on 2CH listening to music.
On arriving at the 1st. tee (Saturday morning 23rd. November) my playing partners advised me that President Kennedy had been killed.
I told them I didn't believe them as I had had the wireless on and no mention did I hear (2CH was/is known as The Music Station).
I didn't realise that same day/dates would turn up after 6 years (1957 to 1963) as I thought it was a 7 year, 11 year gaps, plus the other odd one (maybe 4).
Lot of JFK on the TV here in the Pacific Northwest.


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