Behind the Scenes 1933, with Crosby

by Ed Sullivan, 1944

In 1933, Bing Crosby filled out a questionnaire which CBS then asked of all performers on its network and, 11 years later, the answers that Crosby gave in 1933 form the best picture of him that I've seen in any gallery of celebs.... He lived then at 160 West 59th; his phone number was Circle 7-0300; his private press agent, Jay Faggen.... Harry Lillis Crosby Jr. gave his birth date as May 2, 1904, the event happening at Tacoma, Wash.... Mother's name before marriage Catherine Harrigan; his childhood ambition, "to be an actor."

Crosby, in 1933, said that his heroes in fiction were Robin Hood, Robinson Crusoe, and Francois Villon.... His real life hero? "Theodore Roosevelt".... Did he belong to any college fraternity? "No fraternities at Gonzaga, a Jesuit college." .... Where did he make his radio debut? "As Crosby and Rinker, station KFI, Los Angeles, 1927.".... His first job? "Selling Saturday Evening Posts, as a kid. I was paid 1 cent per copy.".... Married? "Yes, to Dixie Lee, on Sept. 28, 1930. We met at the Coconut Grove, Los Angeles." .... Children? "None." (A few months later, Gary Evans Crosby was born.)

Whom do you consider the five greatest characters in history? "Jesus Christ, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Napoleon, Disraeli, Abraham Lincoln.".... Whom, in 1933, do you consider the outstanding figures in the world? "In sports, Babe Ruth; the theatre, John Barrymore; as a writer, G. B. Shaw; in music, Ravel; as a political figure, Mussolini."

Your favorite stage actor? "Alfred Lunt".... Favorite stage actress? "Katherine Cornell".... .In the movies? "Helen Hayes, Lee Tracy".... .Favorite comedian? "Jimmy Durante".... Favorite dish? "Lobster diavolo"…Flower? "Gardenia".... Jewel? "Diamond".... Favorite axiom? "Take it easy".... To what color do you feel an aversion? "Lavender".... Do you get a deluge of fan mail? "I would say a slight sprinkle".... Of what comment are you most proud? "Ring Lardner wrote me, saying he was glad I was returning to the air. My wife generally comments favorably on my efforts -- and my Dad maintains that I sing better than Jolson. Coming from this unbiased source, I treasure this highly."

Your weight? "165 pounds. Height 5'9".... Favorite fan? "My mother, because she is very sincere, and never hesitates to criticize when she figures criticism is due.".... Did you ever miss a broadcast through any unusual circumstances? "On various occasions, while broadcasting in California, I found the thoroughbred delights of Caliente superior to the prospect of facing the mike."

If you were able to retire, what would you do? "I would go nicely to California -- buy a home, a boat, a car. I'd take up some light business (i.e., buy a piece of a prosperous business); travel abroad a bit; fish and golf in the interim, and visit the various racetracks. And raise a small family"

Is your memory good? "Quick memory, but retentive power bad" ... Do you remember people's names? "No, forget them readily" .... Are you prompt for appointments? "Prompt; that is, lately".... Pet expressions? "'Yeah, man,' is one of them."

What radio artists do you most admire? "Burns and Allen." What broadcast of your own do you recall with most pleasure? "Opening night on the Chesterfield program. After all hope had been abandoned, it was infinitely pleasurable, after many months, to get a break again."

Your favorite popular song? "Sweet Sue" .... Favorite classical number? "L'apres Midi d'un Faun".... .Any composition you actively dislike? "No dislike for anything musical, but Beethoven and Wagner leave me unresponsive."

What would you consider the three greatest books ever written? "'Of Human Bondage', 'Point-Counter-Point', 'Farewell to Arms', 'The Roundup'".... Your favorite poets? "Keats, Browning, Shelley, Longfellow".... Favorite quotation? "'Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air,' etc.".... Any eccentricities? "In dress, tend slightly to the bizarre.".... Do you believe in hunches? "Sometimes bet a hunch on a horse. A horse named Bingo won at Latonia and paid 40 to 1. Professionally, I don't go by hunches."

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