E! Channel's Biography of Bing

Posted by Jack Mallon on December 21, 1998 at 19:30:01:

"E"'s Bio of Bing not only gave us a chance to see a more objective perspective of Bing and being a normal old fashioned father, which is something that I can relate to and my five children can relate to, it also gave us a chance to see Steven, etc. All my children are doing fine, thank God, they know work and don't know drugs, etc.

My theory on Dennis and Lindsey is that since they didn't come to their fathers defense, as Phillip did, it wore on their conscience to a point of depression.

The way the program MC, Mr. Benza, presented his material kinda rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe that is show biz?

All in all, the program was too short.

Posted by Arne Fogel on December 22, 1998 at 03:57:21:

In Reply to: "E"'s Bio Of Bing posted by Jack Mallon on December 21, 1998 at 19:30:01:

Jack, I agree with you on most of your points, particularly about the host. I think it was his "tone"... I guess we have to remember that the name of the series is "Mysteries & Scandals", therefore the host and his director feel obligated to add an edge of "scandalous" judgemental attitude to the script and delivery of the host's comments and remarks. All & all, I think it was fair in that Phil Crosby certainly got an opportunity to defend his Dad, (I was intrigued by his closing statement regarding the possibility that Lin and Dennis's deaths were not suicides -- would like to have heard more of what he had to say on this...) I'm not so sure about what you said about Lin and Dennis and the guilt, leading directly to the deaths. I think its better to consider the thought that the suicide of a middle-aged man (or two middle- aged men in this case) would, in most circumstances, not neccessarily be directly related to that man's relationship with a father who's over 10 years dead, and then apply this logic to the specific case of the Crosby boys. Anyway, it was good to see Steven, and I agree that he did a great job, as did my friend Bob DeFlores. Bootom line: Bing was acknowledged as the great artist he was, and that's a good thing.

Posted by Jane FitzGerald on December 22, 1998 at 09:49:28:

In Reply to: Re: "E"'s Bio Of Bing posted by Allison M. on December 21, 1998 at 19:47:36:

I think we all agree that Bing was portrayed as a great entertainer (who could argue that?). I was especially taken by the way E! presented him as a human being with his share of imperfections, but with the guts and grace to learn from mistakes and try to correct them. I, too, gained more respect for Philip; glad he had a chance to speak out finally.

Posted by Jack Mallon on December 22, 1998 at 20:05:16:

In Reply to: Re: "E"'s Bio Of Bing posted by Jane FitzGerald on December 22, 1998 at 09:49:28:

Jane, I don't think anyone could be naive enough to think Bing was perfect. Nobody is. As an example, I never liked to hear and still cringe when I hear Bing take God's name in vain, but I understood that he was human.

Also, if you look at his recording schedule in the 40's and early 50's, it is difficult to be in New York Recording Studio and be at home the same time. Even traveling from NY to LA wasn't like it is today. And I heard Bing was reluctant to fly after Rockne and Rogers lost their life in flying related accidents.

Having the guts and grace to learn from his mistakes and try to correct them is accepting the notion that he knew he was doing wrong.

I tend to believe he was a shy guy away from the camera who did not wear his heart on his sleeve. I believe that when duty called he would come on strong. After all, discipline worked for him and his brothers and sisters. It was the tried and true way, it worked for millions and millions of families, so why shouldn't it work for his son$.

Furthermore I tend to believe what Phillip had to say, He was a wonderful father, who did all the things a father is supposed to and he taught them golf, how to pitch, etc. Read some of the letters Bing sent to John Scott Trotter expressing his concern about Gary. Truly touching and carring.

As for key hole peeper Sue Cameron with an evil glint in her eye and a wrinkled nose that just detected a skunk, she joyfully related her dirt as though she was AN EYE WITNESS and later would say, "Gary told me". Billy Daugherty , a Charter Member on these pages, said that he had talked to Gary Crosby in his later years and Gary confessed to Billy that he had to make the book sensational or else the publisher wouldn't buy it.

Sure Bing put the breaks on his career in the late 50's and we complain today because he did. His second family was the beneficiary of his laid back schedule. But Bing still never wore his heart on his sleeve. He expressed his feelings with actions not words. Like Mary once said, he would squeeze your hand or the way he would touch you. .

Imagine if Bing was a stay at home husband and father all of his life. The Museum probably would not exist and I wouldn't have written this.

I promise I wont say anymore!

Posted by Steven Lewis on December 22, 1998 at 22:09:51:

In Reply to: posted by Jack Mallon on December 21, 1998 at 19:30:01:

I'm pleased the E! biography turned out well. The biography was produced and aired in record time. Bob DeFlores and I were interviewed October 31 at the E! studios along Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles and Phillip was interviewed at his Los Angeles home the following week by Roger Osterholm. Bob and I were interviewed on camera for about two hours each, yet only a couple minutes ended up in the show. So much more could have been included if Bing had had the two hours that was devoted to Steve McQueen's biography after the Monday broadcast.

Originally I was told not to expect the show to be broadcast until January, but, appropriately, E! decided to premier the show Christmas week.

In my initial contact with E! last October I was told only that E! wanted to do a biography of Bing. Would I be willing to help? A week later I decided to withdraw my assistance when I heard that Bing's bio would be part of a series called "Mysteries and Scandals." But the producer, Danny Schwartz, convinced me he was no hatchet man -- that he wanted to put a balanced program together, and I thought he accomplished that. The rather dark set-up to the program lifted near the end, replaced by the spirit of redemption. The host, by the way, displays the same attitude in each episode.

Phillip is quite a contrast to Gary -- day and night. Gary portrays his father as Darth Vader, Phillip calls him the most wonderful dad in the world. Gary blamed the suicides of his siblings on Bing, Phillip denies they were suicides at all. Does he think they were accidents? Murders? I have suggested to E! that the raw footage of Phillip's interview be donated to Gonzaga for use by future historians.

Phillip's perspective reveals that the boys' troubles were more than merely the result of harsh treatment by a distant father. The whole world treated Bing Crosby's sons different from other boys, and as Phillip revealed this was not necessarily good news for them.

Today I talked to the producer, Danny Schwartz, and congratulated him on his work. My one complaint regarded the inclusion of a statement in the program that Dixie may have known she was dying of cancer as early as 1948. Dixie was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer as a result of exploratory surgery in June of 1952. She died within 6 months of the diagnosis.

Posted by Ralph Laswell on December 24, 1998 at 16:55:57:

I enjoyed the show. I think they did well with the time restraints. It was good to see Phillip come to his father's defense. Steven Lewis's comments were good and the photography was good. I do hope something is done with the out-takes, as Steven suggested. I watch a lot of biographical material on TV and "E" is doing a pretty good job of keeping the shows interesting. Bing Crosby's music, radio programs and films made him very popular with my generation. I miss the light-hearted comedy, romantic music, and the family entertainment that Bing and Bob Hope were instrumental in bringing to the world in their careers. I just regret that so many of the subsequent generation of folks rejected the simple life and the traditional values that produced Bing and Bob as entertainers. On the other hand, I know that many still appreciate the values and the artistry of Bing and Company.

Posted by HOBIE CATHIE WILSON/BING'S FRIENDS COLLECTORS on December 31, 1998 at 02:50:06:

Late in November Steven Lewis mailed us to let us know that the "E!" channel was planning to do a documentary on Bing and would we like to offer any help in the project? ~ I called the "E!" office at Steven's suggeston and spoke with producer, Danny Schwartz. After the usual formalities Mr. Schwartz was anxious to utilize certain elements from my 50+ years of Crosby collecting as well as my personal experiences with Bing and his family. I agreed to help provided that the program would present Bing in a fair and unbiased light. That is to say that any negativity be equally balanced with positive insights. Mr. Schwartz assured me that was the intent of the program and I felt over the 6 or 7 hours of phone conversations with him that he would not go back on his word.

Between trying to get out the 100th issue of BINGS FRIENDS AND COLLECTORS SOCIETY NEWSLETTER and the pressures of planning/participating in family holiday celebrations Cathie and I were able to provide "E!" with over 4.5 hours of taped Crosby music and scanned photos of Bing and family that are not widely known or seen. I also recommended to Mr. Schwartz that he contact Bob DeFlores and the COLLECTORS COLLECTOR Vern Wesley Taylor for other insights and informaton on Bing. ~ Since we are not able to get "E!" channel in our area our daughter taped it for us and we were finally able to preview it on Christmas Eve.

All in all I felt that the program did a fair job in presenting Bing. Steven was articulate and succinct in his answers and I wish there had been more opportunity to hear from him

I was impressed with Phillip for his revelations about his dad,Gary and the twins. I only wish he could have been more vocal when Gary was touting his book way back when.

Cathie and I met Gary on several occasions prior to his publishing of his book. In fact we spent several hours with him at Kathryn's auction and while he was personable and friendly I have to agree with Phillip that he tended to be a bit of a "whinner" when talking about his past and that while the Crosby name got him work in the entertainment field it also held him back from going further. ( He didn't say whether the lack of talent had anything to do with his lack of work ). Cathie and I became close friends of Bing's sister Mary Rose Poole and her husband Jim and during our visits she confirmed that Gary had on more than one occasion caused his own hard luck by blowing appointments for rehersals dates, cutting classes and tutoring sessions and ultimately blaming all his misfortunes on Bing. Despite the fact that Bing was at the helm encouraging him to succeed and using his influence to assist Gary in what he wanted to do. Gary never did seem to get it! I guess the guy was more to be pitied than scorned. I think he ended up a very unhappy man.

I think at this juncture I have added my two cents to the list of "E!" channel opinions. Not that I recall anyone asking me for my opinion! I believe that "E" did a fair job in doing the bio of Bing but as with folks we admire it was not nearly long enough. Bing's life may be ended..but damnit...THE MEMORY WILL CONTINUE TO LINGER ON and arn't we glad of that. Hobie Wilson, President Bing's Friends & Collectors Society

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