25/5/2020 9:47 pm  #1

Bing sings on film in the '30s

Bing Crosby sings on film in the '30s

A selection of film clips of the younger Bing Crosby - the "crooner of the century". As Bing sang in "Takes Two to Make a Bargain": "I would like a junior, I'd bring him up to be a croon(y)er".

The film clips are from various shorts and movies dated between 1930 - 1938 with the fine voice evident that the young Frank Sinatra later had to try to follow though not quite so strong in 1938.

Bing indicated in a British TV programme many years ago after a film clip was played back to him (to much applause from the studio audience) that his voice in "Down by the River" (from "Mississippi" 1935) was one that he was pleased with. A couple of years earlier, Bing's voice was even more powerful i.e. singing Ray Noble's "Goodnight Sweetheart" in 1931 - although, as has been noted by TV SciFi fans, a famous award-winning episode of "Star Trek" with a young Joan Collins and William Shatner (as Captain Kirk) time-shifted it back by one year to 1930!  Note Marion Davies (who is said to have been Orson Welles's real "Rosebud" for "Citizen Kane"!) in the eleventh film clip.

So The Bluebirds and The Blackbirds Got Together” (King of Jazz - 1930)

Just One More Chance” (short: One More Chance - 1931)

Out of Nowhere” (Confessions of a Coed - 1931)

For You” (Billboard Girl - 1932)

Here Lies Love” (The Big Broadcast - 1932)

Dinah” and “Please” (The Big Broadcast - 1932)

"Please" (short: Please - 1933)

You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me” (short: Please - 1933)

Snuggled on your Shoulder” (short: Sing Bing Sing - 1933)

Going Hollywood”  (Going Hollywood - 1933)


Our Big Love Scene” (with Marion Davies in Going Hollywood - 1933) 

Temptation” (Going Hollywood - 1933)

We’ll Make Hay While The Sun Shines” (Going Hollywood - 1933)

Beautiful Girl” (Going Hollywood - 1933)

Lovable” (short: Sing Bing Sing - 1933)

Where the Blue of the Night” (short: Blue of the Night - 1933)

I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance” (short: Please - 1933)

Thanks” (Too Much Harmony - 1933)

The Day You Came Along” (Too Much Harmony - 1933)

Moonstruck” (College Humor - 1933)

Learn to Croon” (College Humor - 1933)

Love In Bloom”  (She Loves Me Not - 1934)

June in January” (Here Is My Heart - 1934)

With Every Breath I Take” (Here is My Heart - 1934)

Love is Just Around the Corner” (Here is My Heart - 1934)

With Every Breath I Take” (short: Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove [in colour] - 1934)

Without a Word of Warning” (Two for Tonight - 1935)

Takes Two to Make a Bargain” (Two for Tonight - 1935)

From the Top of your Head” (Two for Tonight - 1935)

I Wish I Were Aladdin” (Two for Tonight - 1935)

Down by the River” (Mississippi - 1935)

It’s Easy To Remember” (Mississippi - 1935)

Pennies from Heaven” (Pennies from Heaven 1936)

I Can’t Escape From You” (Rhythm on the Range - 1936)

I’m An Old Cowhand” (Rhythm on the Range - 1936)

Sailor Beware”/”Moonburn”/”My Heart and I”/”You’re the Top” (Anything Goes - 1936)

All You Want to do is Dance” (Double or Nothing - 1937)

The Moon Got In My Eyes”  (Double or Nothing - 1937)

"It's The Natural Thing To Do" (Double or Nothing - 1937)

Sweet Leilani” (Waikiki Wedding - 1937)

Blue Hawaii” (Waikiki Wedding - 1937)

Sweet is the Word for You” (Waikiki Wedding - 1937)

My Heart is Taking Lessons” (Dr Rhythm - 1938)

On the Sentimental Side” (Dr Rhythm - 1938)

The Funny Old Hills” (Paris Honeymoon - 1939)

Joobalai” (Paris Honeymoon - 1939)

What an ouput of songs on film from Bing!  Amazing!  Only Elvis Presley perhaps had so many songs filmed for his 31 movies - it was once said "An Elvis Presley picture is the only sure thing in Hollywood". Elvis recorded some 710 songs in all.

Following his death on 16th August 1977 at "Graceland", Memphis, Elvis's past recordings plus outtakes and alternative versions and a few special creations (one of which taken from a earlier movie and called "A Little Less Conversation" was popular with football fans) have no doubt garnered many more millions of dollars - similar to the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson, who also later died in unhappy circumstances on 25th June 2009.

In the twenty-third Crosby film song above, Bing sings "June in January" with himself and it is a cleverly shot scene. In those days, there were no multi-track tape machines like The Beatles excelled with in some of their later recordings at the Abbey Road Studios with George Martin. I was wondering if therefore any of Bing's scenes were actually sung live?    Frank Sinatra benefited greatly from the improvement in recording technique and his mid-1950s Capitol recordings are very clear.  I remember reading that in the earlier days singers like Judy Garland and the orchestra would be effectively giving a complete live performance and there were only a few takes since the band played better after a first performance whereas Judy sang best straight away!

I have read that Bing was known as "one take Crosby" and looking at the Jonzo CDs, you can see that for most of his hundreds of recordings there are only rarely second or third takes used as the main release. One wonders how did Jonzo's owners find the alternative records and whatever happened to whole mint collection from which the Cds series were copied. They did a brilliant job and without introducing some kind of reverb which for me spoilt a recording of "You're Dangerous" created by another party, The Empress Recording Company, in 1993 on their Cd "Bing Crosby - Only Forever" (RAJCD 802).  I actually first joined your Forum to try to get Volume 29 of the Jonzo series, which I thought would have the unadulterated version of Bing's performance.

Elvis on the other hand managed 29 takes of his gruelling recording of "Hound Dog" before selecting the chosen take.  RCA kept virtually all the unused tapes hence a mass of recordings have been released post-16th August 1977 (the day Elvis "left the building" for the last time) and are still coming out to this day 43 years later for us Elvis fans to listen to and compare with the original releases.

Last edited by VictorM (10/11/2021 2:30 pm)


04/6/2020 1:19 am  #2

Re: Bing sings on film in the '30s

Another wonderful selections and memories.I have a couple of questions: when Bing sang 'You're the top' Porter's lyric included reference to Dizzy Dean. Who was he? Also, in Going Hollywood, was the scene in the railway station/ railroad terminal filmed in the studio or an actual station? Incidentally, when Going Hollywood was screened in Australia it was titled Cinderella's Fella.


04/6/2020 5:48 pm  #3

Re: Bing sings on film in the '30s

Think Dizzy was that short bloke that did a lot of things with Bing and remembering he gets a bit of space in book about Bing.


05/6/2020 6:00 am  #4

Re: Bing sings on film in the '30s

Ron, Dizzy Dean was a baseball pitcher. You are thinking of Barney Dean.


05/6/2020 5:16 pm  #5

Re: Bing sings on film in the '30s

Thanks Malcolm. Think I must be becoming dizzy in my older age. Dizzy doing nothing, working the whole day through.......


07/6/2020 1:08 am  #6

Re: Bing sings on film in the '30s

Graham Pascoe wrote:

Another wonderful selections and memories.I have a couple of questions: when Bing sang 'You're the top' Porter's lyric included reference to Dizzy Dean. Who was he? Also, in Going Hollywood, was the scene in the railway station/ railroad terminal filmed in the studio or an actual station? Incidentally, when Going Hollywood was screened in Australia it was titled Cinderella's Fella.

The railway station was based off of some New York train station I believe, but instead of going there to film they recreated it on the MGM backlot,

Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.

08/6/2020 12:37 pm  #7

Re: Bing sings on film in the '30s

Dear Graham,

Referring to Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman's very lively performance of "You're The Top" from the movie "Anything Goes" (1936), just after the "Dizzy Dean" line, Bing also sings ".....you’re the great Mr Einstein’s noodle and your waist - well let’s see - an apple strudel" (I can't make out the word before this).  I always remember that line about Albert Einstein E=mc² (1879 - 1955).  It seems that the lyrics in Bing & Ethel's filmed version were quite different in parts to Cole Porter's original version, which presumably was as per his own rendition of his composition which was on the Web at one time. In fact, the verses seem to be endless to take in the passage of time.

In Cole Porter's song "I Get A Kick Out Of You" (very well sung by Frank Sinatra), they changed the line about "cocaine" & "whiff" to "perfume from Spain" & "sniff" you may recall.

Last edited by VictorM (10/11/2021 2:00 pm)

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