Film version of "Going My Way"

Candace Scott posted 02/18/06 10:48 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I watched "Going My Way" all the way through last night. I usually skip all the sections with Rise Stevens and the subplot with the young couple (dullsville).

Since I recorded it, I was able to watch Bing sing "Going My Way" 4 or 5 times. It pains me to say it, but Bing actually is off key in several spots here. It's one of the very few times pre-1950 I've ever heard him singing in less than outstanding voice. His high notes strain and he wavers here and there. A fascinating performance because of these obvious flaws. Anyone else notice this?

My theory is that he didn't much care for this throw-away song and didn't put particular effort into it. His version of Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral is outstanding, however, just beautiful!!
Harley posted 02/19/06 05:08 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I've got the dvd of "Going My Way," and I enjoy it from time to time, despite some extreme goofiness. As Candace mentioned, some of the stuff with Ted Haynes can be painful. Rise Stevens, however, provides one of the greatest highlights of the film, whilst in character as Carmen. Rise Stevens is rightfully renowned as one of the greatest, most passionate Carmens ever. On the other hand, "Going My Way," as performed by Ms. Stevens, is quite cringe inducing. I had a friend who sang opera, and she even sang for the pope once, but nothing was as horrible as when I heard her try to sing "Can't Find My Way Home" by Blind Faith, a 60s super-group, in my living room one day. Pop music is simply not meant to be sung in that fashion.
Shannon posted 02/23/06 09:38 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Harley and Candace I'm with you on Rise Stevens. I do not care for her singing of Going My Way. Actually, I find it hard to understand the words because of her style. As an Opera singing she is amazing, however she needs to leave the rest of the singing to Bing.
I am glad I have it DVD as I usually speed through that scene to "Swinging on a Star" with the boys choir and then go on with the movie from there.
Harley posted 02/24/06 03:05 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given

I don't know how Candace feels about the Carmen segment, but I've popped the dvd in a couple of times just to see and hear it. I think "Ave Maria" was so-so (Perry Como's rendition with Robert Shaw is my favorite, incidentally). As for Rise's acting and pop singing, well...
howard crosby posted 02/24/06 07:05 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I don't care how many times I watch this movie, and its been a bunch, I always get teary eyed at the end when Father Fitzgibbon's ninety year old mother walks up the center aisle to give him a hug....

"Field of Dreams" can also do this to me, but I can't think of any others.
Steven Lewis posted 02/24/06 11:15 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
"Going My Way" gets more than its fair share of criticism today. Of course it is a dated movie, it was made during WWII and reflected values of that era. To judge it by "modern" standards it may not seem like it should have been the Oscar winner that year, but historians worth their salt (from which the word "salary" is derived) are aware of this and call such practices "anachronism." Film critics often aren't historians, just film reviewers. Another aspect of "Going My Way's" success both at the box office and the Oscars was the enormous popularity of Bing Crosby at the time. If you listen to the Oscar broadcast of 1945 Bing got by far the largest response from the audience, it was if they could care less if he was really the greatest actor; they loved this man and clearly wanted him to win the award.
Harley posted 02/24/06 12:52 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Just to be clear, I love the movie, and I love the interaction between Fitzgibbon and O'Malley. Some of the other performances seem tacked on, or like fluff, but the heart and soul of the movie, which is the acting between the two priests, is very durable.
Jon O. posted 02/24/06 01:00 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I think “Going My Way” is a much stronger movie than many are willing to give it credit for being. As Steven points out, it is of another era, and shouldn’t be judged according to modern tastes and whims. Nevertheless, it was aimed at a WWII audience, and as such was designed to draw its viewers in by comforting, reassuring means, like the casting of Bing. But those who see it as amounting to nothing more than gratuitous sentimentality fail to go beneath the surface—it’s more subtle and multifaceted than it appears to be, saying much about the need for people from different backgrounds and age groups to pull together, not only in time of war, but all the time. Over the years, what I once perceived to be weaker scenes featuring subordinate characters (like the young couple) have, well, “grown on me”, to borrow a phrase from the movie. McCarey moves us along at a leisurely pace, forcing us to slow down and accept the film on his terms, if one is open minded and willing. Similarly, Bing is often unfairly shortchanged for what I see as a VERY strong performance, despite the charge (perpetuated by Bing and others) that he was merely “playing himself.” Whoever his character was modeled on, whether it was Bing, Harry Sr., or the milkman, doesn’t really matter. It’s a compelling, amazing job of acting, as well as *interacting* with the other characters on the screen, weak and strong—one of the stronger, of course, being professional scene-stealer Fitzgerald, with whom Bing more than held his own, deftly playing off of Barry’s strengths. It’s frustrating and annoying that more than a few (younger? Immature? "Double Indemnity"-loving?) Internet and mainstream critics and reviewers, cited frequently on the What's New(s) page, have failed to look beneath the comfort food surface of this great film, and simply written it off.
Arne posted 02/24/06 03:05 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I daresay that "Double Indemnity" is a far more dated film than "Going My Way" in several key ways: It's dialogue is more stilted and corny, and the movie is more "of it's time", whereas "Going My Way" is a more idiosyncratic picture, with a far more unconventional plot and structure, making it far more akin to post '70s independent films, to my point of view. However, "Indemnity" has a far grittier, cynical world-view, and is therefore more palatable to certain factions of the critical intelligentsia, if not the general public. Jon is right in bringing up the Wilder film, in that most critic's negative remarks about "GMW" these days seem to be bound up with a general feeling that "Indemnity" should've been the big winner in '44.

Another factor to remember is that the severest remarks against "GMW" have been generated by David Thomson, a critic and historian who has demonstrated a very specific anti-Crosby viewpoint (see his "Biographical Dictionary Of Film). He feels that Bing was a man of limited talent whose popularity is quite unfathomable today. So it figures that he'd trash Bing's most popular picture. In a more general sense, then, I feel that Steven's remarks about Bing's sheer popularity being a factor in his winning the Oscar back in the 40s continues to operate as a factor today, but in a mirror-like sense: His very LACK of popularity today amongst such "tastemakers" as David Thomson causes these critics to dump on a quirky, beautiful little film that would have been more acceptible to them today had, say, Spencer Tracy played Father O'Malley.
Harley posted 02/24/06 03:29 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Bing's acting was so natural and breezy, maybe it's a case of him hiding his artistry too much for some critics. I'd like to see any actor, from any time period, be able to pull off such smooth, natural, light, cool acting as Bing's. Bing's humour and naturalness elevate even poor films. I believe that such mellifluousness is not as easily acheived as some would suspect.
Ronald Sarbo posted 02/24/06 04:25 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Rise Stevens has always spoken about Bing with warmth and affection.

Bing's scene with Miss Stevens in her dressing room where he realizes that she never received his last letter informing her of his decision to become a priest is one of the best scenes in the film.

Ron Field posted 02/24/06 06:41 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
The scenes with Bing and Frank McHugh were good as well, especially when Bing asked Barry if he could have some more money for a couple of balls and Frank's green fee.
They seemed to have got along well together.
Ron Field
Steven Lewis posted 02/25/06 01:16 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
For me watching "Going My Way" is like wrapping up in a warm blanket on a cold winter's day. I suppose that is why cable usually broadcasts it around Christmas, even though it is not a Christmas movie and was originally released in May of 1944. Bing's casting as Father O'Malley was a stroke of genius for the role fit him to a tee, despite Bing's initial reluctance to play a priest. Bing was at the time "Uncle Sam without whiskers" and Father O'Malley was probably most American's perception of Bing in real life. The role and the script were a natural for Bing and played off his personality. I think that is why Bing is so endearing in the role.

Bing's evolution as an actor continued through the rest of his career, although his choice of scripts often wasted his talents. My fav Bing dramatic movie, "Little Boy Lost," reveals that Bing was more than just a crooning light actor, although in one scene Bing seemed to be acting. The "Country Girl" continued Bing's development of his range, and his Oscar nomination was well deserved, although I would not have voted him "best actor" that year.

By the time of "Stagecoach" Bing's skills as an actor seemed to have reached their peak. Although it was merely a supporting role, he clearly stole the movie. And in Bing's last film, "Dr. Cook's Garden," his dramatic performance was flawless and completely convincing.

We can only lament that Bing wasted so much of his talent in his later years on such fluff as Bing Collins and the Hollywood Palace when he could have been doing roles like Inspector Columbo.
Bob Handy posted 02/26/06 03:42 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Steven, with all due respect, I do not think that the practice of judging the past by the standards of the present (which is something a lot of do a lot of the time)falls within the definition of "anachronism." An anachronism is anything that is or seems to be out of its proper time in history. Thus, "Going My Way" was anything but an anachronism in 1944, but it most definitely would be if it were filmed today.
Shannon posted 02/27/06 10:36 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Steven, I love your comment about wrapping up in a warm blanket. How very true.
It really is a lovely film that touches the heart in so many ways. It's a shame we have so few of these types of films today.
Personally I'm a fan of the "classics" and I wish that we still carried the same type of ethics and morals in today's movies. You really don't need sex, nudity, drugs, foul language and violence to tell a story although today's Hollywood would have you think differently.
To me GMW is like a fresh breath of air that just brings you back to a very warm and loving place.
Actually I feel this way about a lot of Bing's movies and Bing in general. Whenever I hear him sing or watch his movies I just feel like I've gone home. I don't know how else to describe it. Just comfortable and content.
Steven Lewis posted 02/27/06 10:49 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Anachronism can mean anything you want it to mean. Meanings are in us, not in words. Nevertheless, "anachronism" is widely used by professional historians to refer to the uncritical application of current values, standards, wishes onto the past. Anachronism, for example, is evaluating Bing as a child abuser because he spanked his kids. In Bing's era, or course, most parents spanked their errant kids. It was considered good parenting.
Bob Handy posted 02/27/06 12:43 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Steven, I'm hope you don't really believe what you said in the first two sentences of your reply to my post. Just imagine what would happen to our ability to communicate if everybody suddenly chose to decide for themselves the meaning of any given word. We might as well throw the dictionary out the window. And you needn't lecture me about historians. I have doctorate in history.
Steven Lewis posted 02/27/06 03:47 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Since the first English dictionary wasn't written until 1604, I wonder how Shakespeare managed to communicate to his audiences? And if you don't believe that the meanings are in us, try reading Shakespeare today and making sense of the many obscure terms even with your trusty modern Webster's by your side. When Shakespeare wrote that Hamlet arrived "incontinent," he didn't mean Hamlet was urinating uncontrollably. In Shakespeare's time "incontinent" would have meant "in a hurry" to his listeners. In Shakespeare's time a hospital was more like a hotel for travelers instead of a place for treating the ill. Dictionaries are useful in helping us understand the many ways people use words today, but they too become outdated as meanings evolve with human culture. Do you dig me? Of course, as a doctorate in history I'm sure you knew this.
Arne posted 02/27/06 05:28 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Shannon, I'm not so sure that the amount of "sex, nudity, drugs, foul language and violence" in a film is the only arbiter of quality - or lack thereof - in a film, or the only difference in quality from the classic Hollywood years as compared to our own age. I think it is more a matter of how artfully made a film is, how uplifting an experience it is to view it. I can think of scores of films from recent times that contain elements of the above, but not gratuitously so, and are wonderful movies. By the same token, there are several movies from the "Golden Age" that are incredible bores, and are not redeemed by the fact that they had no "sex and foul language" in them. They're just lousy movies.

"Going My Way" is a charming film and a classic piece of American cinema for many reasons - none of which have anything to do with the amount of sex or drugs, etc. in the script. - Or that's how it seems to me, anyway.

Steven,I always thought an anachronism was when something appears in a film, for instance, that is out of historical context, and therefore, renders the work in error, chronologically, i.e. the scene in the movie "Swing Shift", supposedly taking place during WWII, wherein Goldie Hawn entertains her party guests by putting a LP (33 and 1/2 rpm) record on the Hi-Fi! - Anyway, never having looked the word up in the dictionary, I always thought that's what it meant. That's how I've used it, anyway. I guess it has a more general meaning than I'd assumed.
howard crosby posted 02/27/06 06:02 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
In Shakespeare's day, the adjective "nice" was only used to refer to a sword with a freshly sharpened edge. It was said to be a "nice sword". Hardly the modern day meaning of a tremendously overused word.
Steven Lewis posted 02/27/06 07:03 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Arne, "anachronism" may mean what you say to some people. That is my point. To communicate effectively we need more than a dictionary. Our experiences are different, and so are our meanings. Don't call a person with a foot fetish a "pedophile" for you are likely to get sued after they get out of jail.

BTW, one of my favorite all-time movies, Glengary Glen Ross, starring Bing's buddy Jack Lemmon, set the record for a major motion picture using the f--- word. No doubt Bing would have been shocked at how times have changed.
Jon O. posted 02/27/06 07:31 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I seem to recall learning in a Language Arts class many, many years ago that Shakespeare would create a new word now and then to get his meaning across.

I would have thought the Brian de Palma-Al Pacino version of "Scarface" held that record. What a far cry that film was from the Howard Hawks-Paul Muni 1932 original (which was censored, by the way--there was no nudity or profanity, but lots of pre-Hays-Code-enforcement violence, and some fairly overt hints of an incestuous relationship).
Arne posted 02/27/06 11:49 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
your remarks about how Bing would have received "Glengary Glen Ross" (great picture) jogs my memory, as to a comment Bing made in an interview in the 1970s. He was asked (for the millionth time it seems) about "moral" issues in American entertainment, and I remember that he singled out the then-recent "Dog Day Afternoon" as a film that was "exceptionally foul-mouthed" (or words to that effect), but that he didn't mind because it was a "great film"! So, he was maybe a bit more flexible in these matters than we sometimes think.

It seems to me that, to consider all of Bing's published remarks throught the years, that he retained this flexibillity and a live-and-let-live attitude towards some of these controversial issues (politics, language, drugs, etc.) - but was considerably more strict - and INflexible - when the subject of sex was the focus. That's what happens when you suddenly have a teenage daughter to be watchfull of!
Steven Lewis posted 02/28/06 12:31 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
It turns out there is formal research on the use of f--- in the movies. Neither "Glengary Glen Ross" nor "Scarface" are anywhere near the top. According to Wikipedia, "Scarface" comes in 29th, "Glengary" comes in 49th on the all-time list. All of Bing's movies would be tied for last place on the list, although I suspect the druggist in "Welcome Stranger" uttered the word several times under his breath.
Steven Lewis posted 02/28/06 12:46 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Another example of Arne's use of "anachronism" comes from the Kirk Douglas / Burt Lancaster 1986 film "Tough Guys." The film opens with Burt in prison playing Bing's 1977 recording of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" as a 78rpm record!
howard crosby posted 02/28/06 08:09 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly

The best way to understand Bing's attitude in these matters is to remember that he was a lifelong practicing Roman Catholic. He NEVER missed Mass on Sundays, and he said his prayers every night. My Dad was the same.

So if the Church took a strong stand on something, like pre-marital sex, then he would be inflexible. If it was something like politics or marijuana smoking, where the Church didn't have much to say, then he'd be a lot more relaxed about it. Everything was viewed through the prism of a Catholic world view, which went all the way back to the Jesuits at Gonzaga. And of course, I'm mreferring to the Jesuit worldview of 1923, not the modern one...
Kevin Doherty posted 02/28/06 10:19 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Back to the original observation, Bing was somewhat weak in the movie rendition of the title song. The Decca version was better. Don't forget this was a very busy period for Bing, particularly with his wartime activities. He really strained his voice through overactivity at a time it was probably changing due to age (he was 40-41). we know he made some of his worst records during this perios, such as "I Love You" from Mexican Hayride, etc. We also know the voice bounces bank wonderfully by '46-'47. Bing even made reference to his "oversinging" during the mis '40s in "Call Me Lucky", noting that Dixie pointed it out!
Steven Lewis posted 02/28/06 10:27 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
And as we will find out in Gary Giddins' forthcoming "Swinging on a Star" bio of Bing, Bing didn't divorce Dixie to marry Joan Caulfield because the Church refused his request for its permission.
Shannon posted 02/28/06 10:31 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly

I do agree that not all classics are great. I especially dislike the ones where the women speak in shrill, high-pitched almost shouting type voices. (which I know was at one point the "ideal" for woman actors) I also strongly dislike Going Hollywood (Shudder - a Bing fan disliking a Bing film) but it wasn't anything to do with Bing's acting. It had everything to do with that little annoying Fifi girl and with the overacting of Marion Davies. Her dramatic movements when she's packing her bags to leave the girls school are annoying and her constant strange stares at Crosby are downright creepy. Again, I understand that was considered normal in that time period but watching it today just gets on my last nerve. It's very dated.
Of course Going Hollywood is not the only "classic" that I don't care for, there are many others that don't include Bing at all that I dislike for all the reasons I listed for GH and then some.
And, I do understand that sex, nudity, violence, foul language are not all terrible. I am a fan of Scarface, Die Hard, etc, etc. I guess I didn't make my point very clear. I just think it's in overabundance today. It's as though Hollywood thinks that's the norm for selling a movie. You look at movies that shyed away from the gratuitous scenes and they ended up being incredible films! (Ie: A Beautiful Mind)
When we live in a world of "Get Rich or Die Tryin" type of films or horrible high school mean people or avoiding death only to have death find you, etc, etc, etc. then there's a problem. These types of films would never have been made in the past and it's a shame they are so popular today. Although, maybe that's just an indication of society's decline?
And, I'm not saying all violent films are terrible. I think that Black Hawk Down (although I didn't stop crying the entire time I watched it) and Silence of the Lambs to name a few are at the top of their game. However, although I greatly appreciate them, I will never, ever watch them again because they sucked the life right out of me and scared me half to death. I don't care for that type of feeling.
So, for me, I'll stick with most of the classics and some of the great films of today that I truly enjoy. And, of course, I'll keep watching my Bing films because I enjoy those the most. (even when Bing gets smacked around in The Country Girl by Holden - first time I saw it I gasped. I wasn't prepared for that!)

Arne posted 02/28/06 12:21 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I can't remember Bing actually getting "smacked around" by Holden - Maybe I'm not remembering this scene. But he certainly is humiliated. I just keep remembering that the REAL Bing is gracing us with his amazing talent, and therefore his less-than-honorable personality in the film is just an example of that.

Don't feel bad about disliking a Bing film - Although I enjoy "Going Hollywood", I certainly have other Crosby movies that I generally can't bear to watch: "Say One For Me", "Road To Bali", "Just For You" are my three LEAST favorites. I guess "Say One" is strongly in the lead; I truly hate that movie, whereas the other two I've just mentioned, I can sit through occasionally.
Bill posted 02/28/06 12:34 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Bing was strict with his daughter when it came to sex but with himself- he had premarital sex and committed adultry. He wasn't such a strict Catholic in my book. I rather someone who beleived in God and didn't go to church. Going to church don't make you a good Catholic. It's how you behave/live and what you beleive.
Steven Lewis posted 02/28/06 12:58 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I suppose most young music-hollywood stars are promiscuous. It's those damn raging hormones of youth -- like a kid in a candy store with unlimited funds. I guess we can blame it on God for the curse of youthful indiscretion combined with powerful sex drives. Some, like Hugh Hefner and Jack Nicholson, seem to never outgrow it. Bing did drink too much in his youth. That has been well established, even by Bing. But I don't know of any evidence that Bing was a Cassanova even in his early Hollwood days. His female co-stars typically report that Bing was rather aloof. There is far more evidence of Bob Hope's marital infidelity than there is of Bing's. I don't know of any evidence that Dixie threatened or sought to file for divorce because of Bing's real or imagined marital infidelities. Perhaps Gary Giddins will enlighten us in "Swinging on a Star." Compared to modern stars Bing seems quite well-behaved. Of course, as he aged and the hormones waned and he grew wiser he behaved more and more like a "good Catholic," whatever that might mean to you. According to Kathryn, she and Bing did not have sex before they were married. Even Britney Spears couldn't resist this, although she may be a Unitarian.

I'm not a Catholic, and don't play one on the internet, but it seems to me Bing did more for the Catholic church than the combined effects of thousands of Catholics who go to mass regularly. His role as Father O'Malley is still recognized as the quintessential example of a Catholic priest. The Catholic church could use some good PR like Bing gave them as Father O'Malley.
Shannon posted 02/28/06 01:57 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
You're right Arne - he didn't get really "smacked" around but it was the first time I ever saw someone grab at him like that and I was startled. Especially since I grew up watching the boy meets girl, girl is with someone else, boy wins girl films that poor Bing was constantly thrown in.
I think that's why The Country Girl is one of my all-time Bing favorites. It's gritty for him and I like that. I always felt he had true acting talent even if (especially in the beginning of his career) most of Hollywood didn't.
He's an extremely talented man and I appreciate his work.
As for the Road films I know some people don't like them. I actually do, especially the early films. They are silly and the story lines are contrite, but I love watching Bing and Bob on the screen. They work so well together.
I also feel the same about him and Astaire. They are a good match and I enjoy their films together.
Arne posted 02/28/06 03:35 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Just so you don't misunderstand, Shannon, I'm a big fan of the "Road" pics too. All but one. Save for my (irrational, to some people) dislike of "Bali", I love all six of the others... even "Hong Kong", which was essentially my introduction to Crosby fandom at age 13.
Shannon posted 02/28/06 07:12 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
LOL! How funny that you like Hong Kong and not Bali because I'm the exact opposite. I don't care much for Hong Kong although I don't dislike it, it's just not one that I care to see again.
Although, this definitely goes to show that part of people's joys in movies comes from their own memories or experience. Example - Hong Kong introduced you to Bing so you really enjoy the movie. Holiday Inn introduced me to Bing and I can watch it over and over and never tire of the picture. However, because it was my introduction to him I ended up not being a huge fan of the White Christmas movie. Even though the story line is different I felt it did a bit of injustice to Holiday Inn. Since Holiday Inn was my first Bing film, I'm a bit protective of it. It holds a special place in my heart. That may sound silly but I've always had a hard time with the White Christmas movie because of Holiday Inn. I don't dislike it - just not one of my favorites.
Arne posted 02/28/06 10:27 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Shannon, I'm not nuts about "White Christmas" either, but everyone else in the world is so crazy about it that I must be wrong. I also totally prefer "Holiday Inn", which, along with "The Big Broadcast" and "Road To Morocco" is one of my three favorite Bing Crosby movies of all time.
Pat posted 02/28/06 10:59 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Steven, we woman have sex drives too! I'm sure Natalie Wood felt she was in a candy store. She dated and slept with all the hot men in Hollywood! I think most woman control it better than men [maybe because we get pregnant]. I just hate it when men think only they have sex drives and that makes it alright to rape and molest.
Steven Lewis posted 02/28/06 10:59 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I'm not too fond of "The Road to Hong Kong" either, but part of my problem is with Joan Collins and the nasty stuff she later wrote about Bing after his death. I suspect Bing was his usual aloof self and didn't show Joan the affection she probably thought she deserved from the King of All Media so she dissed him in her autobiography. Bing shares part of the blame, though, in that he wanted a young gal to star with the boys instead of Dorothy Lamour. I would have preferred Lamour. The feeding scene in the spacecraft was a riot, however. One of the ironies of the Road pictures is that Bing usually got the girl, while it reality it was Bob who got the girls!
howard crosby posted 03/01/06 07:58 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly

I haven't watched "White Christmas" in about twenty years, and never a year goes by that we don't watch "Holiday Inn." It is obviously a much better movie, but I think the blackface scene on Lincoln's birthday offends some tender modern sensibilities...

Too bad, because forgetting Bing for a minute, Fred Astaire's dance scene with the firecrackers is, for my money, the second best solo dance routine in movie history. (Topped only by Donald O'Conner's "Make 'Em Laugh")
Lee posted 03/01/06 12:19 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
You'd have been happy then with AMC's horribly edited version that they showed at Christmas time. They cut out the blackface number entirely, in addition to other essential scenes. I hate censorship, esp. when it's for politically correct reasons. I stopped watching AMC ever since they started littering their movies with constant commercials and on-screen promos during the movie, so I didn't see this, but it was reported to me by someone foolish enough to still watch AMC.
Ron Field posted 03/01/06 04:40 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I too, don't like 'Hong Kong' a lot.
Was sorry to see that Dottie had been, more or less, 'dumped'.
'Bali' is much better - firstly, it is supposed to start in Melbourne and they soon got out.
We from Sydney (read that as New South Wales) say that the best thing about Melbourne is the road out to Sydney.
Also, 'Bali' has better songs that 'Hong Kong'. 'Chicago Style', 'Hoot Mon' for a couple.
Ron Field
jane s posted 03/01/06 04:42 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I have always favored Holiday Inn over White Christmas until one of our children married into the Joe Lilley family and they bought me White Christmas because of his work in the film. Actually I know he worked on Going My Way and maybe Holiday Inn during that time. It took me a year to watch it and was surprised that I found it enjoyable. But what influenced my view of it was watching it a second time with Roseamry Clooney narrating the film. Seeing it through her eyes flavored my view of it. She identified each time Bing went off script and described what was going on during each scene and musical number. Of course, being a Rosie fan as well as a Bing fan helped to see it in a different light.
Ron Field posted 03/01/06 04:50 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Ah, Joan Collins.
When I worked at the Midland Hotel, Manchester (it is where Rolls first met Royce), Sophia Loren stayed there and was there for a book launch.
A reporter told her she was very famous, to which Sophia answered (and I like this) - I am not famous. I am a well known person.
A couple of weeks later Joan Collins showed up for something or other - probably a book. My mate was the Deputy Manager and showed Joan to her room/suite. He said she was 'all woman'.
The head dining room waiter said one day that - yesterday at lunch she said there were no men. He said, come dinner time there were some men. Word must have got out.
Ron Field
Dieter Beier posted 03/01/06 05:47 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
A Bing quote:"My first 25 years in show business,I was just having a good time.I loved what I was doing with good actors and musicians.It never seemed I had any goal or anything.Later on,I tried to get into good things.I tried to diversify and play different characters.Some were nice little musicals.Your favorites are things that you might have been good in,like The Country Girl,High Society,White Christmas,Holiday Inn."(Bob Thomas,p.107)
My favorite is certainly underrated Little Boy Lost,where Bing shows much emotions without getting too sentimental and Bing acting very dramatically at quiet scenes.Some of the the best and deepest parts of this films are Bing taking nothing-he only looks into the camera or walking on the road or standing on the railway stadion.On Country Girl or Man On Fire Bing shows more "action" for dramatizing instead of the quiet of Little Boy Lost,that is even more difficult to express.That was even planned to film LBL without Bing singing songs,but Paramount didn´t wanted to risk it at that time.
Road To Bali and To Hong Kong are the only two Road pictures that are televised on German TV-Hong Kong is most televised certainly because of the high popularity of Joan Collins in Germany-Bing is often even not mentioned on TV papers,but Collins,Sinatra and Martin(the same by High Society only Armstrong,Kelly and Sinatra are named and Bing is most forgotten,Bells Of St. Mary named mosttimes highly popular Ingrid Bergman and Going My Way is not televised since more than 30 years-Fitzgerald is a noname for German viewers nearly as Bing got in the last decades.But a DVD of GMW was issued last year with a cruelful German syncronisation,Bing would never got an Oscar if he had spoke that way in English).
Dieter Beier posted 03/02/06 11:44 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Paramount´s promotion for Little Boy Lost was mad in such fine way:
"In all great movies there are vital little things so bit in human understanding that they have the power to move you deeply.You know that pictures like "Come Back Sheba," "Shame," "Stalag 17" and "Roman Holiday" are richly endowed with these qualities.And so,too, does "Little Boy Lost" possess the same common denominator,humanness.It presents Bing Crosby in his most unusual,most dramatic role with a unique cast drawn from the best of French cinema.
Even more than its successful precedessors,"Little Boy Lost" is bound to be a motion picture you will never forget!
Little things...
Straight from the heart...
Make great movies that go to your heart..
Such as "Come Back,Little Sheba","Shame,""Stalag 17," "Roman Holiday" and now "Little Boy Lost".
Bing Crosby,Claude Dauphin with Christian Fourcade as the little boy."
THAT`S RIGHT!---Dieter.
Steven Lewis posted 03/02/06 12:56 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
As I've said before, "Little Boy Lost" is my favorite Bing drama (in second place would be "Dr. Cook's Garden." Usually when I visit my father I bring movies I think he might like to see. My father hardly ever watches movies, however, and usually falls asleep in the chair or leaves frequently to puff on his pipe. When I put on "Little Boy Lost," however, he watched the entire movie, never dozing or going for a smoke. So I guess he feels the same about this movie. Too bad it has not been released on videotape or DVD.
Sue Horn posted 03/02/06 03:08 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
What a great thread this has turned out to be.

I love GMW, for many of the human moments and tiny touches. I agree with Steven that it isn't a Christmas movie, but since Bing has become Mr. Christmas, that's probably why his films get more of a workout at that time of year.

I also prefer Holiday Inn to White Christmas, though I have a renewed appreciation for the latter. When I was a rebellious college student, everything having to do with the military and the establishment was bad. Since I've gotten a bit older, my thoughts have changed on the actual people who serve in the military, and the comeradery of the scenes in WC is nice. I too listened to Rosemary Clooney's commentary the last time I watched the movie, and I gained a new appreciation of many of the scenes. Plus, I just love the Sisters number with Bing and Danny Kaye.

Little Boy Lost is my favorite dramatic performance of Bing's, and I admire the way the young French actor performed, very realistically, not at all calling attention to himself or trying to be cute.

As for the Roads, my favorites are Zanzibar, Morocco, Utopia and Singapore. I like the others well enough, but my least favorites are the one that is in color (Dottie looked way to heavy and old in that one to be wearing the outfits she was in) and Hong Kong (for Joan Collins, not for Bing and Bob, who are wacky and fun as always).

On Catholics... This is complicated. The religion does not require one to be perfect, especially since it has a sacrament built right in that provides for confession, forgiveness and trying to do better next time. Bing's opinions and thoughts have been much distorted. I wish he could come around and clarify them for us, but barring that, I think he'd be the first to admit that he'd tripped up a time or two in a variety of areas in his life, but that he always did his best to be a decent guy. He tried to see that in others, and held the ones he loved to high standards, but no higher than those he aspired to himself. For all his harsh posturing, I think he'd be the first to forgive and forget the transgressions of those in his circle.

My two cents (more like 2.50)!
Shannon posted 03/02/06 07:07 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Howard, I couldn't agree more on the firecracker scene with Astaire. I absolutely love that scene. I actually find that when he's realized he has to go on alone I start to really tune in thinking "Oh, here comes that wonderful dancing!"
Of course, I am an Astaire fan. I think he's fantastic and I never pass up an Astaire and Rogers film.
As for my Bing faves, I'd have to say Holiday Inn, Road to Morocco (I'm with you Arne),Pennies from Heaven and The Country Girl. I haven't had the honor to see The Big Broadcast or Man on Fire yet.
I tried very hard to stay awake when TCM played Man on Fire but I just didn't make it. And, I don't have that Tivo thingy so I couldn't record it.
Hopefully one of these crazy days I can catch up on some of my missed Bing films.
Also, I don't care for Hong Kong because of the same reasons. As usual I adore Bing and Bob (especially Bing) but other actors ruined it for me. Joan Collins was to HK what Marion Davies was to GH in my book. It's a shame too because I really like to watch anything Bing is in.
Speaking of, I just rented A Bing Crosby Christmas from my Netflix and although I thought the actual Christmas stuff wasn't edited very well and not that well done (I did like Bing dancing with the snowman though) I got a complete kick out of the Edsel show with him and Frank Sinatra. They also had a very small bio on there and a Mack Sennett short. Those last three things really made that DVD. Especially the Edsel show. It was great to see him in his form - singing, joking and just having a good time.
Steven Lewis posted 03/02/06 08:40 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I'm trying to visualize Sue as a "rebellious college student." Could she have been the one who set fire to the student union at Kansas? Was it she who burned the flag in front of the ROTC building? Was she in on the raid on the athletic dorm to steal the guy's athletic supporters? At least in one respect I can vouch that Sue hasn't changed: she still breaks the law when she is behind the wheel. At Gonzaga I had the white knuckles to prove it.
jane s posted 03/02/06 10:18 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I agree with you, Sue, about the Sister number with Bing and Danny Kaye in White Christmas. The fact that Bing was uncomfortable with filming that scene and then he just let loose thinking they would do another take. It's priceless.
Steven posted in "What's New" an article in late December concerning GMW. The article is "When Liberalism Was, Well, Liberal." The last line of the article is "Going My Way is one of those rare movies that is actually more substantial than it seems."
Jim Kukura posted 03/03/06 11:41 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
A. "Going My Way" is a great film in any day and age, even if some are so caught up in today's negativism that they can't deal with a postive and hopeful message.

B. While "Holiday Inn" may be a better film in the purest terms of movie appreciation, "White Christmas" has its own attributes, especially if you can admit that its hokey, but hokey can be okay also. My family, who would not care if they never saw "Holiday Inn" again, believe that Christmas is not complete unless they have viewed "White Christmas" during the Christmas season. I believe this is a common trait among the younger folks, and thus "White Christmas" keeps Bing in their sense of entertainment.

C. The difference between's Bing's marital transgressions and those of some others, Sinatra for instance, is that Bing never rationalized why it was okay to sin and live his life in sin without admission of guilt or repentance. I've heard Bing criticized so often for not owning up to his sins. He did so because he was not proud of such and was not about to justify something that cannot be justified. He straightened himself out in the end, which should be the goal of all of us, but we know there are many to go to their grave rationalizing how their sins are excusable, maybe even admirable. Thank heaven Bing was not like that, and I give him the credit he deserves for getting past whatever faults his weaknesses fell victim to.
Joshua michael stewart posted 03/03/06 01:36 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly

A: What Jim says about GMW is dead on. Where in film today it is all about making it as realistic as possible, during the golden age it was "make believe" and made to be "make believe" nothing else. like a Rockwell painting (earlier work) it was to depict what could be, or should be or at least strive to be. The world sucks is no new news. I don't need Bing to tell me that. I need Bing to forget it, even if for a while.

B: I'll choose White Christmas over Holiday Inn anytime. On the matter of White Christmas being a bit Hokey, that's about 99% of why I (and I believe others) watch it. In todays standards everything Bing did was hokey, and again that is the point: "make believe."

C: it's funny how people can't except the "make believe" (are you noticing a theme) of a film, yet they expect the actors to be the wholsome characters they play in the film, to be the same in real life. Bing was a man that's all. If Grace Kelly came on to any man in this forum, who would be the wack-job to turn her down? Also the man's been dead for almost 30 years, who cares what he did. enjoy his life within his ART. enjoy the "make believe."
SC posted 03/04/06 01:41 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
To Jim Kukura and Joshua Michael Stewart, right on.

I have always thought, to bring this up AGAIN, that Bing being a singer of "variety" (e.g.,baseball, Irish,cowboy, island,etc.) general fluff "bottom of the barrel" novelties vs others (Frank, Ella, Mel, so forth) plus the fact that Gary and other victims of Bing's allegations from their OWN accounts HAD angered Bing to perhaps bring it on (just iMHO at least) and that Bing was the AUTHORITY figure,a nd the anti-counter culture, pro Spirow Agnew Vietnam War (a war he actually was againast,but not in the Jane FOnda-like wya of treason), p0lus Bing's homey dress (racing trck jacket,etc.) and such made him too if Bing opposed to war (I mean publicly and bruned the flag like FOnda and Bill Clinton), wand grw his hair long..hmm
Todd posted 03/04/06 11:28 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I've read a few of the comments and am a little surprised about all of the responses regarding fluff (time filler) scenes. I think often "filler scenes", like the boys singing "Swinging On a Star" and the "Carmen number" and the "Young Couple" scenes, are not really to be cosidered, "fluff". I think all of these scenes and sub-plots, if you will, are used to strengthen the characterization of the very unusual and versatile preist, O'malley. I love reading comments from the folks on this page, but sometimes when reading, I just want to dial "S" for "Shut up, already". Going My Way is outstanding from start to finish.
Candace Scott posted 03/05/06 09:45 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Wow! I've been distracted by real life issues and haven't been online much and have read all the comments on this thread with interest. Only one or two people actually answered the original question (did anyone else think Bing was off key when singing the song "Going My Way?"), but the other comments were engrossing, whether they were totally off topic or not. :)

Many of Bing's movies are dated now. I don't particularly care since I enjoy watching him on film. I have to strongly disagree that Double Indemnity is somehow more dated than Going My Way. Double Indemnity is one of the great movies of the 20th century and is widely regarded as such. Whether Fred MacMurray's dialogue is corny or not, the plot, acting and script is leagues ahead of Going My Way. The film still resonates today.

As for the film Going My Way, the film (for me), is dreadful whenever Bing is not on the screen. I mean it's truly painful, campy, meandering and boring. Frank McHugh and Barry Fitzgerald are both fine, but the rest of the cast can take a permanent powder, especially the "young couple" subplot. Rise Stevens doesn't belong in the film and I agree that I'd rather have Perry Como singing Ave Maria than this woman any day of the week. In fact, Perry can permanently move in and seranade me whenever the mood strikes.

Having said that, my all-time favorite moment in any Crosby film occurs when Barry asks, "Father, do ya happen to know 'Too Ra Loo Ra Loo?" and then Bing sings this song. Now that is pure magic. Bing's performance is fabulous, effortless and quintessential Crosby. I also like the curly wig he wears as Chuck. Has anyone else noticed his wig was at its all time "curly-ness apex" in this film?

Switching gears on the womanzing issue. Come on, now, Bing was quite the womanizer. This is well documented and well known. When Joan Fontaine used to have her one woman shows, I went to one when I was a kid. She talked about Bing being nothing like he was on screen and added, "the ladies loved him and he loved them back, believe you me. Just don't count me on that list." Other Hollywood insiders have spoken at length about his womanizing. He was in an unhappy marriage, he was tremendously famous, attractive and he had every opportunity in the world to screw around. I don't blame him one bit.

It would probably boggle the mind to think how many women he bedded pre-Dixie, when he was a Rhythm Boy. Obviously he had many affairs during his marriage as well. I would not call him a womanizer like Bob Hope, Gary Cooper, Gable and others, but Bing had his share of ladies. What about the story of Ray Milland finally telling Bing to stop bringing over his woman to his (Ray's) house and fooling around with them? He said something like, "Do this at your own house, Bing."

I used to see the Hollywood Columnist Jim Bacon at the Hambuger Hamlet on Hollywood Blvd. I used to go there in the 80's waiting to see Dean Martin drop by, which he did regularly. Jim Bacon has written numerous books over the years and he knew Bing quite well. In fact, he was even with Bing the night of the Academy Awards when BC lost to Brando.

Anyway, Jim left no doubt that Bing had many, many affairs and that people in the industry believe he "deserved a good time because he was married to Dixie." (Bacon's words, more or less). Jim liked Bing and disliked Bob Hope intensely. I wish now I would have had the nerve to talk to Jim Bacon more, but I was a dopey kid who was overrawed by the whole thing. But I got in the womanzing question right off the bat because that angle of Bing interested me then and now.

Candace Scott posted 03/05/06 11:26 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I also found the discussion of Bing's acting skills fasincating, especially his evolution as an actor. For me, Bing has always been extraordinarily underrated in this area. It's a pity that his enormous fame and public persona limited him in the roles he could (or would) play. For instance, Bing might have been a convincing heavy in various pictures of the 40's, but you know Paramount wouldn't have cast him in such a role, nor would the public have wanted him to play against type. When Cary Grant played a bad guy in a 1944 movie, it was a critical and financial bomb.

So Bing was never able to fully show his full range on film, we can only imagine what that might have been. He was able to play comedy and well as dramatic roles with equal aplomb, but he never gets credit for this. Two of the finest actors in cinema were undoubtedly Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, both of whom could play drama and comedy with superb skill. Bing could do the same but would never be mentioned in the same breath as Lemmon or Matthau.

I agree with Steven that Bing's performances in Stagecoach and Dr. Cook's Garden were among his finest and most natural. Obviously the 1966 version of Stagecoach is an agonizingly bad movie, yet Bing's performance is absolutely stellar. People contrast it unfavorably to the great Thomas Mithchell original performance, but this is unfair. Mitchell was surrounded with greater actors, a better script and John Ford was directing the action. Bing had to settle for the lackluster version in all respects.

Finally this comment by Steven is right on the mark:

"We can only lament that Bing wasted so much of his talent in his later years on such fluff as Bing Collins and the Hollywood Palace when he could have been doing roles like Inspector Columbo."

For years I bought into the canard that Bing was essentially "retired" after 1960 or so. But when you see the Crosby diary and how busy he really was, it's painful. Had he made better recording decisions and avoided TV tripe God knows what might have been. But if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. I just wish the time he spent on the "Bing Crosby Show" in 1964 and "Hey Jude" would have been spent in serious dramatic roles.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/05/06 11:34 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
James Bacon has is known for his tendency to exaggerate. Kathryn Grayson called Bacon a liar on the doc.: "Mario Lanza: The American Caruso".

Candace Scott posted 03/05/06 11:43 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
The info that Bing had plenty of affairs isn't just limited to Jim Bacon. There are plenty of others who have spoken or written about this. I don't doubt that Jim didn't exaggerate things, but that was what him so much damn fun!
Candace Scott posted 03/05/06 11:45 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Jim Bacon wrote this about Bing last year:

"Speaking of Crosby, I am often asked how I wrote so many feature articles about him despite his well-known reticence about interviews. Bing was a superstar of the ’30s, a box-office champion, but he hated all the trappings of superstardom... Whenever I spotted Bing on the Paramount lot, I would talk sports with him, mostly Notre Dame and USC football. Occasionally, I would slip in a profile question amidst the sports talk. I would do this over a period of six months or so, and I always came up with enough stuff for an A.P. Sunday feature.

Bing got a kick out of reading them. He knew my modus operandi, and often kidded me about it. But he never stopped our talks.

Bing once tried to make me a millionaire, but I was too dumb to take advantage of it. One day he showed me a new invention that would revolutionize radio and TV: magnetic tape. This was long before it was ever used by the broadcast industry. The stock of 3M was ridiculously low at the time. His publicist, Maury Foladare, was present at the demonstration and he too didn’t act on it. Maury and I often talked over the years how we missed out on making a fortune.

USC fans will be thrilled to learn Bing was a big Trojan fan, except when they played Notre Dame. When Bing and Al Rinker motored down to Los Angeles from Spokane in the ’20s, they formed the Rhythm Boys with songwriter Harry Barris. Their first engagement was at the Fox Boulevard theater near the USC campus, and their biggest fans were students. Paul Whiteman, the King of Jazz, heard them too and soon hired them to sing (with his band playing the Cocoanut Grove at the time).

With Whiteman, the Rhythm Boys had a hit record, Mississippi Mud. The Whiteman band moved to the East Coast, but Bing and the Rhythm Boys stayed behind with the Gus Arnheim band at the Grove. Gus gave Bing a solo spot and a hit record ensued called It Must Be True, which, I believe, Barris wrote as an obligato to the hit song If I Could Spend One Hour With You. He also wrote two more songs for Bing called I Surrender Dear and Just One More Chance. And the rest, to borrow a cliche, is history."
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/05/06 11:48 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
They write about it AFTER the person they are talking about has passed. The dead cannot defend themselves or sue for libel.
Jon O. posted 03/05/06 12:57 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
"As for the film Going My Way, the film (for me), is dreadful whenever Bing is not on the screen. I mean it's truly painful, campy, meandering and boring."

Wow, strong words. To each his or her own, but for my money, it's Double Indemnity that's "campy". It's a fun film to watch (once), but the thing about it that most "resonates today" is the inspiration for parody the self-conscious, stilted dialogue provides SNL-type comedy writers. Overall it's as dated as any other film of its era, but the dialogue pushes it over the edge.

"Double Indemnity is one of the great movies of the 20th century and is widely regarded as such."

Well, the prevailing wind is currently blowing from that direction in cynical Hollywood, probably in part because in advanced age Wilder made himself available to Cameron Crowe and others (he WAS an interesting, witty interview, after all, in all his world-weary glory), who were more than willing to worship at his feet--thus perpetuating the recent myth of his infallibility. He reportedly kept a sign on his desk that read, "What Would Lubitsch Do?" He was a fine writer-director, but he was no Lubitsch. And in the case of "DE" vs. "GMW", I feel that McCarey bested Wilder.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/05/06 02:18 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Bing said that Fred MacMurray was a "fine actor". MacMurray also played a heel in "The Caine Mutiny" and "The Apartment".

The public would never have accepted Bing in that type of part.

But from what I am reading TODAY perhaps he would have given a convincing performance.
Jon O. posted 03/05/06 02:20 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
It appears that the word "indemnity" begins with the letter "i", not "e". I'll assume, though, that no one thought the abbreviation "DE" was a reference to the state of Delaware. Then again, in "DI", MacMurray and Stanwyck were involved in a "Diabolical Endeavor."
Steven Lewis posted 03/05/06 02:28 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
You should be suspect of celebrity biographies. Usually the biographers aren't trained historians and don't differentiate between gossip and fact, especially since salacious gossip sells books, regardless of its truth. I don't think there is any doubt that Bing had an affair with Joan Caulfield while he was married to Dixie. I suspect this affair is what Gary Crosby was referring to in his book "Going My Own Way," although he didn't name names. Gary Giddins will document the affair and Bing's attempt to get his marriage annulled to marry Joan in his forthcoming biography. But the statement made by Slatzer in "The Hollow Man" that Bing had an affair with every female co-star who appeared in more than one movie with him has been emphatically disputed by Kitty Carlisle, who starred with Bing in two movies in the 1930s, and Mary Martin, who starred with Bing in two 1940s movies. Kitty says Bing hardly spoke to her during their movies except to ask her opinion about a gift for his wife. Ingrid Bergman wrote a very honest biography about her affairs. She expressed admiration for Bing but no affair. She, too, said Bing hardly paid her any attention during the filming of "Bells of St. Mary's" and that she never really got to know him.

Rosemary CLooney loved Bing, but there is not a shred of evidence they had an affair, before or after Dixie's death.

Bing actually opposed the casting of the sex goddess Grace Kelly as his co-star in "Country Girl." He argued Grace was too glamorous for the part. Does this sound like the actions of a typical promiscuous Hollywood star? Eventually Bing did develop a relationship with Grace (as well as Inger Stevens, his costar in "Man on Fire." But this was after Dixie's death and before his marriage to Kathryn. One biographer of Grace Kelly claimed Bing was stepping out on Dixie with Grace. Yet in reality Dixie was long dead and buried before Bing even met Grace Kelly.

Joan Collins autobiography discussed her many affairs, yet she did not have one with Bing. She seemed, in fact, to resent Bing's aloofness to the "beauty queen" on the set of "Road to Hong Kong." She was cast in the movie only to draw a younger audience. Bob showed Joan much more attention and so Bob was spared Joan's wrath in her autobiography.

I suspect if Bing was as promiscuous as some have implied he would not have spent so much time hunting, fishing and golfing with his male buddies and instead would have toured the world and military bases with Hollywood starlets and beauty queens.
Jon O. posted 03/05/06 03:25 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
To anyone who believes what they read in celeb bios, I recommend purchasing a cassette of Gary Giddins' fascinating and informative keynote address at the Hofstra conference, available from the university. In it, he cites many examples of how false information about Bing has made its way into several books, including Slatzer's deceptiveness and sleight of hand with "facts", including nonexistent tapes of a celeb's alleged anti-Bing testimony which he, Slatzer, lied to other writers about having, etc.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/05/06 05:16 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Gossip, hear-say, and rumors are spread from book to book.
These so-called "authors" all copy from each other.

Perhaps Bing's "aloofness" was part of his way of dealing with women who were too aggressive.

Arne posted 03/05/06 05:57 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
There's nothing controversial about "Double Indemnity" - It's a great film, an American classic, and, as an example of fairly early Hollywood "film noir", it's dialogue and exposition are somewhat dated. that doesn't mean it's "bad", Candace. Charlie Chaplin is "dated". The Boswell Sisters are "dated". Harold Lloyd is "dated". Glenn Miller is "dated". Does that mean that any of the above are not worthy of our admiration or of classic status? of course not! But it's a fact that some objects of artistic expression show their age and era in an obvious, overt way.

Going My Way certainly dates as well, thematically, but as a piece of film-making, if looked at objectively, it is forward-looking. It's very dis-jointedness, episodic, relaxed, off-the-cuff structure is inherently "modern". The fact that the subject matter is old-fashioned, and that it stars Bing Crosby, have served to fuel the notion that it's a quaint old relic. However, I'm speaking purely in terms of the film's style. Once again, look at where the "criticism" is coming from: As I've stated before on previous threads - there are some people, "tastemakers", in some cases, unfortunately, who simply DO NOT LIKE BING CROSBY, and will find reasions to cast aspersions upon any of his works, validating their gut-level dislike with a rational about the nature of the film in which he appears (in this case), for instance. Other times it's his "coldness" as perceived in his song choices, his arrangements, etc.
Arne posted 03/05/06 06:22 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Oh, and by the way, James Bacon's widely syndicated article on the occasion of Bing's 100th birthday in 2003 was pathetically rife with factual error, totally unbecoming a professional journalist. I sent in corrections to my newspaper, which failed to acknowledge them. I also posted them here, by the way.
Candace Scott posted 03/06/06 07:31 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Arne, I praised Double Indemnity. You must have been addressing your remarks about this film to someone else who was trashing it here. I love Double Indemnity (kudos to Edward G. Robinson, a truly great actor).

I strongly disagree that Charlie Chaplin is dated, or Glenn Miller. How can you possibly compare Chaplin to "Going My Way?" Chaplin was a genius, his films hold up beautifully and are still screened world wide to appreciative, rapt audiences. City Lights is a masterpiece, it's perfection. "Going My Way" is pleasant because Bing Crosby appears in it, nothing much else, IMO.

Just because something dates from the 20's, 30's or 40's doesn't make it dated. Very few songs that Sinatra recorded with Capitol sound dated, they hold up remarkably well. Most of Bing's jazz recordings aren't dated either. Casablanca isn't dated, nor is Rear Window or The Third Man or many other films that are 50 or 60 years old.

In my view, Going My Way would have been a very pleasant film had the script focused on the relationship between old priest and young priest and eschewed all the young couple sublet, Rise Stevens and the Dead End Kids. When I said it was "meandering," that is a good description of it. Father O'Malley meanders between Barry, the young couple, Rise, the Dead End Kids and God knows who else. Stick to Bing and Barry and throw in Frank McHugh, but lose all those other loose ends. I would have been perfectly content to have Bing stand up in church with his priest's collar and warble Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral on an endless tape loop for 2 hours. That alone would be worth the price of admission.

I do agree with everyone else about Fred Astaire's firecracker dance. It's my favorite dance he ever did. It's a pity that Astaire doesn't get his due. He was a magnificent dancer.

As for Jim Bacon being a liar, the man is currently 92 years old. His books from the 70's contain fewer errors because he was only in his 60's there. There's no doubt he was pals with Bing, there are plenty of photos showing them in the same frame, laughing and having a good time. Because he said Bing was a womanizer, we just casually throw out everything he's ever said about the stars he knew?

Something else to consider: Kathryn Crosby left no doubt that Bing was sowing plenty of wild oats in the period 1952-1957 up until the time of their nuptials. The captures in her book are hilarious, and telling. Bing judged all these beauty contests and she includes dozens of unintentionally funny photos of Bing with various babes and beauty contestents. Re-read her captions and tell me she wasn't saying Bing was fooling around with them all. Again, who cares? Bing deserves to have had a good time. Any woman who would have said no to Bing Crosby was either blind, mentally ill or a lesbian.
Candace Scott posted 03/06/06 07:49 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Now I'm not defending poor old Jim Bacon in this instance, but in his 1976 book "Hollywood is a Four Letter Town," he does claim that Bing and Ingrid had an affair. Again, I'm not saying he is correct, merely repeating what he claims.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/06/06 08:33 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
What Bing did when he was a widower and single I have no problem with.

When we talk about his "alleged" affairs while he was married to Dixie we give credence and ammunition to those who claim that his image as a "devoted husband and father" was a deception and a lie.
Bill Torpey posted 03/06/06 09:19 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I greatly enjoy reading all the comments on this site about Bing, "Going My Way" and "Double Indemnity" as well as all the rest. It is truly great to have such a web site. Having just read through the latest comments, I feel compelled to add my two cents. First, I can't help but wonder why so many of us feel it to be important to defend Bing's behavior. If the people who comment on this site have anything in common it is, no doubt, that we all love and admire Bing's voice, his acting and his talent. To my knowledge, no one has put his name up for sainthood. Nor do we need to. Who among us is perfect? I admired Bing's personality and character as much as his music, but I never felt he had to be flawless. To me, the most important thing is that I can still listen to his music and watch his movies nearly three decades after he left us. I only wish we had such "live" entertainment today. For the record, I would not have enjoyed "Going My Way" half as much if it had starred any other singer-actor. And, by the way, if anyone cares, you can count me among those who could watch reruns of "Double Indemnity" over and over again without ever getting bored.
Arne posted 03/06/06 09:30 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly

I know you weren't dissing "Indemnity" - I was trying to make the point that elements of this great film have "dated" (as I understand the term), but that doesn't make it bad, whereas, "datedness" seems to be a negative in your book.

Chaplin, et al have dated in that they are absolutely, obviously, "of their time". Chaplin's victorian values and primitive film-making techniques are the principal reason why Buster Keaton is often judged his superior today (and Harold Lloyd is catching up fast). BUT HE IS STILL A TIME-HONORED, BELOVED, UNFORGETABLE TREASUARABLE GENIUS. That's the point.

We can argue till doomsday about semantics and the philolsophical use of the term "dated" as it applies to objects of creative expression. What a bore. I vote that we stop, now.

James Bacon's prominently syndicated 2003 article about Bing Crosby was a shameful mess. Whether he's a "liar" (which I did NOT say), Careless, or senile, is of little interest to me.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/06/06 09:56 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
There are times here, when drinking and womanizing are discussed, that I feel I am on the forum of Errol Flynn.

Candace Scott posted 03/07/06 11:03 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I disagree that it's giving Bing's detractors ammo by merely stating the truth. Bing was who he was and deifying him isn't the truth, it's hagiography. Bing was not a devoted father to his first four kids, he was gone most of the time. He was also most decidedly not a devoted husband to Dixie for most of their marriage. People who are happily married don't absent themselves from their wives the vast majority of the time.

Bing's detractors can think what they like about him as a human being. He could have been the male version of Mother Theresa and they'd still hate him. The difference between them and us is we recognize his great singing voice and contribution to popular music, they don't.

I''ve enjoyed this thread! Man great insights!!
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/07/06 11:18 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
There is "the truth" and then there is gossip, rumor and hearsay.

Even Gary in his book stated that his CAREER kept Bing away and busy most of the time.

Errol Flynn fancied himself a journalist and in one of his articles in Photoplay in the late 30's he described an afternoon spent at the Hillcrest Country Club.

He talks of Bing spending his time playing tennis with Pat O'Brien and talking sports and taxes with various other male friends.

The Swashbuckler says he was also looking for a "partner to play with" but that his favorite sport was not tennis or golf.
Candace Scott posted 03/07/06 11:54 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Actually his career was the primary reason that kept Bing from being with his family. Who was making the decisions regarding Crosby's career? Bing was. Did he say "no" to the Kraft Music Hall, 18 holes of golf with his buddies, going to Europe in '44 without his wife or making 4 films a year?

Dixie didn't want to socialize with him and preferred to stay home. He asked for her years to accommpany him and got sick of her declining, so he went out by himself.

I just love the Message Board police around here who complain when the subject veers from anything they don't wish to discuss. Then everything becomes "trite, tiresome or boring." The original post on this thread was about Crosby's vocals in a film and somehow it veered off into another realm. If people don't like a particular subject, don't contribute or post. Seems very simple.

Ron Field posted 03/07/06 03:34 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
One would hardly take one's partner to war torn Europe. And Bing was in enemy territory for a short time.
There were bombings going on in Europe and England, so that is not a fair comment.
I met an engineer who worked on the P and O Liner 'Iberia' which sailed between England and Australia and the journey took 6 weeks each way.
He worked out with his mates at the local pub, that he actually spent more time with his wife than his mates who were home working.
The 'bread-winner' of a household is going to be away for long periods and during the war Bing was very busy with Bond drives and appearances, as were other stars of Hollywood.
Sometimes he may have been away when he could have been home but the family spent the summer at the ranch in Elko.
Ron Field
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/07/06 04:31 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
The original subject of the thread veered off course or "switched gears" by a post made by it's originator.

That being said on the subject of Dixie Gary also said that while she may have expressed her anger at Bing she brooked no criticism of him by her relatives, friends, or anyone else.

She could have divorced him and taken him to the cleaners. Perhaps she loved him MORE than he loved her. Or she KNEW that while he may have thought about what it would be like to be free he NEVER would have gone through with it. Bing KNEW who he was and more important what he REPRESENTED.
Dean posted 03/07/06 05:25 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Candace, you might suffer from multiple personalities. On the one hand you say Bing was a bum for being away from his family so much. Then in your very next post you extoll Bing's virtues for constantly asking Dixie to accompany him but then giving up when Dixie preferred staying home close to the bottle. Seems you can't figure which side of the fence you want to hop on. Personally, I'm glad Bing spent so much time on his career, with all that he did, recording radio shows, movies, if it weren't for this his legacy would have been forgotten. None of us here would have anything to remember him by. If Bing had spent every waking hour at home gardening and doing the dishes none of us would enjoy listening to him today. The flesh is mortal and Bing's entire first family is dead now, but Bing's recordings live on forever for future generations (like us) to enjoy. As far as history is concerned, Bing was better off recording than playing patty-cake at home.
Steven Lewis posted 03/08/06 12:30 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
From the evidence I have seen it seems to me that Dixie suffered from depression and social withdrawal even before she met Bing. These conditions seemed to worsen as Dixie grew older, which is not uncommon. There were no medications (no SSRIs, no tricyclics, no MAO inhibitors) for depression and social withdrawal in the 1940s, unless you consider alcohol a medicine, which Dixie eventually succumbed to. Dixie was hospitalized in the 1940s. I've not seen an official account of why she was hospitalized, but I suspect it may have been related to her depression and/or alcoholism. Perhaps Gary Giddins will enlighten us. Bing did not appear to have problems with depression and had difficulty understanding the disease. He quit his excess drinking and later smoking by sheer will power, and seemed to have difficulty understanding why Dixie and his sons couldn't do the same. Clearly, some of the problems of the family were due to Bing's career and his lack of understanding of his family's problems, but Dixie knew she was marrying an entertainer, although she couldn't have anticipated at the time of the marriage Bing's eventual massive fame and the demands that would be placed on him by World War II.

None of this is to "blame" anyone for anything. It is simply an attempt to understand. Bad things happen to good families. Fame and fortune is no guarantee of happiness, and may instead be a road to perdition.
Ron Field posted 03/08/06 12:54 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Not too long into their marriage, Dixie took off and they were apart for a few months because of Bing's drinking.
They got back together and Bing did cut down on his drinking and only now and again would he have a couple of 'extra' drinks.
Didn't Lindsay drive a car load home one night at the Pro-Am because Bing and some mates were all too drunk to drive?
Now and again he would go 'over the top' but not like he did when with Whiteman. Dixie took over that roll.
Ron Field
John J. Murphy, Jr. posted 03/08/06 10:42 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly

What have you wrought? (lol) I have not been on the board in a while but you really brought them out. One learns a lot if they listen, or, in this case, read.

"Going My Way" is an enchanting film with all the 1940's ideals, including Paramount's Irish mafia: Bing, Barry Fitzgerald, and Frankie McHugh. (In real life, Pat O'Brien could have been the bishop--but I digress). I think it is actually a useful film and wonderfully entertaining. I think it stands up on its own merits as well. I have not seen the film, however, in quite a few years so I cannot judge Bing's vocals accurately except that I liked them.

We sometimes have the tendency to view films in the context of hindsight and by measuring them against key films of the era that we are most familiar with from viewings on TV. "It's a Wonderful Life" could be used to explain what I mean since it has been one of the most televised films in broadcast history. Could we be using this benchmark film or other key movies of the period as a reference for the value of Going My Way? I hope not. This could create an anachronism where there isn't one. But now I am getting long in the tooth.

Anyway, guys, let's leave the Irish Catholics alone (lol). Poor Bing was one, and it is indeed learned behavior! The good Jesuit Fathers do make compelling arguments for their version of life. See everyone on St. Pat's Day.

Good thread Candace. I enjoyed the full arena of ideas.
pat bonner posted 03/09/06 07:19 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I remember mom telling us that it was well-known at the time (around '46) that bing was divorcing Dixie. Mom used to read hedda hopper and louella parsons. I have trouble with bing going the annulment route. Back in '46, i should think it would have been, prima facie, out of the question; after all, four children and sixteen years married... but, then again, that's off the top of my head. Gary's diligence should bring out, as paul harvey would say "the r-rest of the story.
Jim Kukura posted 03/09/06 11:04 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I believe that "It's A Wonderful Life" was televised so often, other than it being an excellent film, was becasue it slipped into public domain. I believe that it then was taken out of public domain on some technicality. That is not the case for GMW.
howard crosby posted 03/09/06 04:18 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
To echo what Steven said about fame being, in many casa, "the road to perdition," I have always said that I was very fortunate to be Ted Crosby's son, and not Bing Crosby's. Nothing against Uncle Bing, it's just that I had all the benefits of having a famous Uncle, and none of the downside of having a famous father to try to live up to.

Gary and the boys aspired to entertainment careers, but let's face it, if they had been as big as say, Tony Bennett, people would have said, "yeah, but he wasn't as good as his Dad." It was a no wion proposition.

None of that excuses Gary's behavior as a mean, pathological liar.
Wayne Martin posted 03/10/06 10:42 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Jim, I remember reading somewhere that "It's A Wonderful Life", because of some slip-up at the studio, was never submitted to the Library of Congress for copyright. That would account not only for its frequent appearance on TV, but for the many video tapes by different companies that have been available.
Candace Scott posted 03/10/06 12:07 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
No, no, no... please quote people correctly when you attempt to psychoanalyze them.

"On the one hand you say Bing was a bum for being away from his family so much."

Sorry, I never said this or intimated this. Mr. Sarbo mentioned Bing's career and I merely stated the facts: he was away a lot. He chose to be away. Making films, traveling, cutting discs and golfing were more his priorities than Dixie and the boys. I don't pass judgment on this, Bing can do whatever he wants and he'll get a pass from me. Bing could have taken out a tommy gun and peppered Jimmy Cagney will shrapnel and I'll be first in line making excuses for him.

"Then in your very next post you extoll Bing's virtues for constantly asking Dixie to accompany him but then giving up when Dixie preferred staying home close to the bottle."


I never extolled Bing for asking Dixie to go anywhere, nor did I mention her alchoholism.

Since you can't get straight what I *did* say, I will repeat it: Bing was not a faithful husband. It's other people on this Board who throw a hissy fit when this is mentioned, not me. My contention is that Bing deserved a good time and he had one. His circumstances are unique and normal rules of decorum don't apply to him. Generally I dislike womanizers and adulterers rather intnsely, but Bing was in a special category unto himself:

1. He was Bing Crosby, the most famous (and debatably) desirable man on the planet between 1933-1949.
2. His wife was depressed, drunk and they had little in common.
3. He was Catholic and couldn't get divorced so he was stuck in an untenable position.

Was he some kind of saint that was supposed to remain faithful to a wife when he had an unhappy marriage and felt divorce was impossible? Can any of us imagine the opportunities that Bing had? I stand by my original contention that any woman who would have said no to Bing Crosby was either blind, mentally unstable or a lesbian. I know Carmela will agree with this.

I accept Bing with all his foibles and faults. He had his full share of human frailties and bad qualities, as we all do. I find it amusing that he's deified by some in attempt to somehow discredit people like Robert Slatzer and other naysayers. I think it's more historically accurate to paint a truthful picture of Bing instead of white-washing his character.

Obviously Bing was not a womanizer of the caliber of people like Sinatra, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton, Gable, Gary Cooper and many others. There are many leading ladies he never pursued and he also was tied up with business enterprises, golfing, fishing and other non-womanzing enterprises. But he did have many affairs. Listen to Rhonda Fleming's interviews and read what she has to say about Bing and there's no doubt she was another of his paramours (another example of Bing's good taste in women). :)
Candace Scott posted 03/10/06 12:26 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Not to open up another can of worms by quoting the odious and pathological liar, Eddie Fisher... but on page 119 of his book "Been There, Done That," the lyin' weasel writes of Bing as "one of the most legendary womanizers in Hollywood." Eddie claims he stole Pat Shean from Bing, a Tropicana showgirl from the Groaner. Ouch!
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/10/06 01:06 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
We are told that Bing was not a devoted husband, was a womanizer, did not have a happy marriage, chose to neglect his wife and children and then we are told by the same poster that she does not pass judgement on him.

If this is a "truthful picture" of Bing his naysayers do not need to be discredited. His supporters are in agreement with them.
Dean posted 03/10/06 01:07 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
No doubt, you are now exhibiting your 3rd Eve personality, that is the one who denies the existence of the other 2. You clearly DID state what I said you stated (though no mention of a bottle, that was my own editorial contribution). and you clearly stated each opposite opinion on Bing and his being there or not there and being a "bum" or being a wonderful guy for inviting Dixie along on his trips. Your conflicting personality messages are there in b/w for any level headed observer to read. Now we are witness to the 3rd of your personalities, deny deny deny. Well, you can't argue with what you wrote, nor can you deny it and expect anyone to fall for your denials when the facts are still on display. Now, how about showing us the 4 side, perhaps this is the side that says she witnessed Bing mowing down Jimmy Cagney? At any rate, you're still fun to read.
Ron Field posted 03/10/06 04:27 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
How about an ordinary woman who turned Bing down being of the "no sex until the Wedding night" brigade???
There were and still are a lot of females who think this and rightly too.

Ron Field
Sue Horn posted 03/10/06 04:49 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Wow!! How this thread has morphed.

Lest I be accused of ignoring the "original question", no, I do not think Bing was off-key in GMW. I do think he was off-key on some of his other recordings at times (especially those taken from radio performances, but very few in terms of the whole of his production), infrequently, and it always surprises me to hear it.

Now, to address some of the other twisting and turning that this thread has taken, which, by the way, is the nature of this type of exchange. It "meanders" hither and thither with a mind of its own. I'm thankful for that, how boring it would be if we had to conform to the confines of one person or another!

As to the intimacies of Bing's personal life, I don't think any of us can say with certainty what did or didn't happen between Bing and others during that period. As Steven has said many times, Gary Giddins' book will illuminate the facts. He is in a position to do so with the research that he has put into his writings. The first tome is more than ample evidence of how serious and conscientious he is. From Gary's own account, we know that Bing was involved with someone around the time that GMW was made, and all seems to point to Joan Caulfield. I think that was a serious relationship in Bing's life (yes, an affair and something that was against his princciples, but a serious one all the same). Personally, I think the fact that he wanted to get an anullment, which is not all that uncommon, just look at the former president of Colombia who was anulled after a half dozen kids and then became the ambassador to the Vatican (in the 70s, what a difference a fdew decades makes), proves that he was not given to superficial affairs and conquests. But, that is my opinion, and I wait with bated breath to read more by one who has done the research.

I'm surprised that my feeble attempts at explaining how one's faith can coexist with human failings and frailties were mistaken for being terrible to people on this board!! What a hoot. Bing never claimed to be perfect, yet that imperfection did not negate the depth of his beliefs. That is all I was trying to state, with no aspersions meant to anyone else.

I find it funny that none of the many affairs that Bing supposedly had have come to light by the women he was supposedly with. In this age of tell all, you'd think someone would have come forward and confessed. On the contrary, many have said that they didn't have an affair with him. What he did or didn't do is not my concern, I just tend to believe corroborated tales and not ones made of whole cloth by those who weren't there.

I am in agreement with those who love GMW. I like its sub-threads, especially with the kids and the "toikey". I like the golfing match. I like the vignettes and even the saccharine couple who "do the right thing" when he goes off to war. The only bit I would cut out (not that I have any right to do so) is the version of Goiung My Way by the operatic star, Rise Stevens. I love the movie as a whole, and I think it holds up well.

I also love Double Indemnity! I think as a film noir it is flawless. I even love Barbara Stanwyck's terrible wig!!

Candace Scott posted 03/10/06 09:36 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Sue, I agree with you about Double Indemnity, including Stanwyck's horrible peroxide wig. I positively detest Fred MacMurray, but love him in this movie anyway. Fred was so cheap he wouldn't even purchase a newspaper, but fished out day-old copies from the dumpster!

Ron's question has me genuinely perplexed. He asked, "How about an ordinary woman who turned Bing down being of the 'no sex until the Wedding night' brigade???"

Now this is something I hadn't previously contemplated but it's an excellent question. First, we know that the vast majority of female Hollywood starlets and stars were promiscuous, even supposed "ice maidens" (ha!) like Grace Kelly were bedding down with Coop, Gable, Bill Holden, Milland, Der Bingle, Oleg Cassini and endless others. I must say that Grace had extremely good taste in men, except for that Cassini chap. So I doubt Bing was propositioning chaste virginal types who would be likely to turn him down. Bing was classy after 1932 or so and wouldn't have approached a woman had she not given him the eye or the vibe. So I seriously doubt he was ever rejected on the basis of "no whoopee till marriage."

If we could get ahold of a time machine and be magically transported back to the Cocoanut Grove circa 1929, I think the Rhythm Boys would have been surrounded by bathtub gin and about 50 wild flappers. There's no doubt Harry and Al were getting about .0002% of the female attention when Bing was around.

Besides, even the most old-fashioned and moral woman in the world would break down these barriers if Bing Crosby casually sauntered across her path to give her the eye. Let me reiterate my avowed belief that any woman to turn down Bing Crosby would have to have been either a nun, sight-impaired or 100% lesbian.

When Bing did pursue the virtuous types like Miss Olive Kathryn Grandstaff, he married her after a torturous, fractured and extremely odd four-year courthship.

A question that has consumed me since I was 11 or 12 is why Dorothy Lamour never really hit it off with Bing. My dad used to know Greg Baulzter casually; he was a lawyer who had affairs with Lana Turner, Dottie and countless others. Greg said that Dottie much preferred Bob to Bing, whom she felt was "cold" much of the time to her. Dottie confirmed this feeling in her book. It's very hard to fathom how she could have spent so much time in his presence between 1940-1947 and never warmed up to him.
Candace Scott posted 03/10/06 10:00 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Mr. Sarbo, it seems to bother you that I make the claim (supported by overwhelming evidence) that Bing was not a devoted husband to Dixie, and did not have a happy marriage.

You obviously disagree with this. I would be most interested to hear why you believe he was happily married to Dixie and evidence to show he had a happy marriage. I doubt you will respond to this with specifics because it's impossible. The anecdotal and concrete evidence is basically conclusive that the marriage was "strained," to put it mildly.

It is not passing judgment on Bing Crosby to state facts about his personal life. If I posted, "Bill Clinton sure doesn't spend any time with his wife," it's posting a fact, it's not passing judgment.

I guess when Gary G. publishes volume 2 and prints salacious details about Bing wanting to dump Dixie for Joan Caulfield, then then will be much hand-wringing and fears that "this will be ammo for the legions of Bing detractors." I hope I read then that Gary G. is "passing judgment" on Bing, even though he's merely writing facts.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/10/06 10:16 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Candace: Feel free to call me Ron.

I did not claim Bing had a happy marriage. I did not claim he was a "devoted husband or father".

These are my FACTS:

Bing did NOT divorce Dixie.

Dixie did NOT divorce Bing.

Dixie rose from her "death bed" to greet Bing when he returned home from Europe.

I am waiting, along with everyone else, to read what Gary G. will say and what FACTS he will present to support his conclusions.

Ronald Sarbo posted 03/10/06 10:30 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Candace: Could it be that Dorothy Lamour was one of those women who feel that a "married man" is off limits?
Don Lamb posted 03/11/06 01:35 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
The issue of Bing Crosby's alleged extra-marital escapades while Dixie Crosby was alive is an intriguing one. The rumors of such conduct on Crosby's part have been widespread and persistent as long as I can remember. As Candace has very ably pointed out, the circumstances of Crosby's life during this period would almost compel the conclusion that the rumors are true. The main factor militating against this conclusion is his well-known Irish-Catholic conscience, which would have considered such conduct to be mortally sinful. At the same time, isn't that what Confession is for?

What is interesting about this question is the lack of any hard or specific evidence on the subject. In the case of other well-known Hollywood bed-jumpers of the time, such as Gary Cooper and Erroll Flynn, etc., the evidence is specific and irrefutable. In Crosby's case, the evidence is extremely amorphous, amounting to little more than second- or third-hand hearsay. As someone pointed out above, it's amazing that none of Crosby's supposed female partners have ever come forward with their stories. It's equally amazing that none of the Hollywood gossip columnists of the time ever produced specific information on the subject.

The only thing approaching "hard" evidence on the issue -- to my knowledge -- comes from such "unimpeachable" sources as Gary Crosby, Robert Slatzer and Eddie Fisher. The credibility of these gentlemen, however, is shakier than a hung-over jack-hammer operator with Parkinson's Disease.

So, did Bing Crosby engage in extra-marital dalliances during his marriage to Dixie? I really don't know and frankly don't care. I would be neither surprised nor shocked at the answer, whatever it is. I remains for a compent and conscientious biographer such as Gary Giddins to resolve this issue one way or the other, assuming that it's possible after all this time to do so.

Kevin Connelly posted 03/11/06 07:07 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Mmmm... I've been away a long while and not all that interested in old gossip. In my position I have to deal with gossip regularly and find it harmful, voyeuristic and tiresome. It focuses almost exclusively on the negative, expecially in human nature and cares little about accuracy. Did Bing have affairs? Certainly I don't know, nor do I think knowing will elevate my being. What I do know is that there are many people striving to be virtuous in this world with success and true joy. They are not prudish or old fashioned. Rather, next to promiscuity moral chaste living is positively modern. It would be nice for Bing if he was one of them. The alternative is generally a very unhappy person.
Candace Scott posted 03/11/06 12:11 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Ron, you're right that Dixie and Bing never divorced but we know why: Bing was a Catholic. He knew divorce would spell doom for him in the public eye since the publicity machines churned out stories of him being a devoted hubby and daddy. So he was stuck. I don't argue that Dixie didn't love Bing deeply, but she suffered from a disease that made it difficult for her to be an effective wife, for lack of a better term. I also think Bing loved Dixie, but they grew apart and her alcoholism obviously played an enormous role in their marital problems.

Even under the best of circumstances, Bing and Dixie would have had a hard time because of the enormity of Bing's fame, his work schedule and the constant temptations that crossed his path in the recording studio, Paramount lot and everywhere else he went. Another salient point is that Dixie was only 19 years old when they were married, just a kid. Within a few years of their marriage Bing was a superstar with enormous demands placed on him.

We can all agree that Gary Crosby's book was a piece of trash, but I do think his insights into his parent's marriage hold some weight. I don't think he made up out of whole cloth the segments of his book relating solely to Bing and Dixie's personal life together.

Bing was an extremely complex, enigmatic man and it would be hard being married to him, no matter how adorable and talented he was. Kathryn's books make it abundantly clear that marriage to Bing Crosby was a difficult, though rewarding, endeavor. When you add Dixie's alcoholism into the mix, then it becomes even more impossible to maintain a happy marriage.

It's to Bing's credit that he became a better and more attentive father to the later three kids. I think he also tried harder in his second marriage, though all credit to Kathryn for adroitly handling Bing in marriage-- by all accounts, a cery hard road to hoe. Because Dixie was an alcoholic, she wasn't able to put forth the enormous effort required to be Mrs. Bing Crosby. Dixie's story is really a very sad one: a prematured death, an alcoholic, a mother unable to really be a true mother to her sons and pathologically shy. A beautiful woman with many demons.
Candace Scott posted 03/11/06 12:24 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Ron, it didn't matter to Lamour that Bob had Dolores, did it? That shoots down that theory.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/11/06 12:27 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Candace: I certainly agree with the points you make in your post about Dixie. I also agree with you that we cannot TOTALLY discount Gary Crosby's account.

About Dorothy Lamour you previously atated that Bautzer said she "preferred" Bob to Bing. Now you infer something else. Do we KNOW that Hope and Lamour had an affair or is this another rumor?
Ron Field posted 03/11/06 12:39 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Dixie was a convert as too is Kathryn and many, many times converts are stronger in faith than the actual 'born into' person.
Ron Field
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/11/06 12:45 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I believe Dixie was baptised a Catholic as she lay dying. She was then given the Last Rites.
Ron Field posted 03/11/06 12:46 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
It didn't matter to Bob that Bob had Dolores.
I heard that at the Palm Springs house Bob had a 'special room' for such encounters.
Ron Field
Candace Scott posted 03/11/06 12:47 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I guess if and when Gary Giddins prints that Dottie and Bob had an affair, then it will be accepted and sanctified, until then it will be disparaged as a "rumor." :) Actually, it may be that Bob and Dolores never were actually married and this is a fact, not rumor. No record of their 1934 marriage is known to exist. So if Dottie was bugged by the marriage factor, then Bob was free game since no one has ever been able to produce proof of their nuptials.

For years it was "rumor mongering" and lies that Bob Hope was married in '33 to Grace Troxell. Only when Bob was forced to admit to it 60 years after the fact did people finally believe it.

But this is a Board dedicated to Bing and not Bob, so that's another story for another day.
Candace Scott posted 03/11/06 12:52 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
All joking aside, it's very well known that Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour had an affair in the 40's. They remained friends after that, which is amazing since Hope's ex-girlfriends invariably had nothing good to say about him. Asking someone to prove all these "rumors" is ridiculous, Dottie didn't admit it, nor did he, but plenty of people close to them have talked about it for years. Bob Hope was a rapacious womanizer and this was established fact for years, yet people still deny it and denied it during Bob's lifetime.

Bing "defenders" strenuously denied the Crosby-Kelly affair until Kathryn herself admitted it, then they all sat in stunned silence.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/11/06 12:58 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Bing was a widower and single at that time.
howard crosby posted 03/11/06 01:38 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I believe you can safely reject almost anything Gary Crosby had to say on the subject of his father. Don't take my word for it, his brother Phil, recently deceased, said the same thing.

Why anyone gives a scintilla of credence to Gary's book at this point boggles the mind...
Steven Lewis posted 03/11/06 01:50 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Dixie's shyness, no doubt related to her growing depression and alcoholism, kept her from appearing with Bing at his performances. Her only appearance with Bing on radio was the 1950 Christmas broadcast. On another radio show Bing said he had tried to get Dixie to guest on his show many times but that she refused. Bing's sons with Dixie, of course, appearend frequently on Bing's radio and TV shows, occasionally all together but often separately because they couldn't manage to get along with each other, often resulting in fisticuffs. One could hardly blame the son's inability to get along with each other on Bing.

On the other hand, Kathryn regularly appeared with Bing on radio, TV and at his concerts following their marriage, as did their 3 kids. She obviously didn't suffer the demons that haunted Dixie. (On the other hand Mrs. Hope rarely traveled with Bob.) Alhough there is evidence of some rancor amongst the kids and between the kids and Kathryn (for example, when Kathryn chose to drop Bing's name from the Pebble Beach tournament and the absence of her children at the Gonzaga centennial) they haven't fallen victim to the alcoholism and depression of the first set of kids, at least as far as I've heard.

Bing was voted "Father of the Year" by a Hollywood magazine in 1945. Granted this was in part to sell magazines at the height of Bing's fame. Yet if the rumors of infidelity were truly well-documented and taken seriously I doubt that the magazine would have annointed Bing with this honor.

Regardless, even if Bing were proven to be a gay member of the communist party in the 1930s, I would still be playing his music daily on my car stereo. It don't mean a thing if it don't sound like Bing.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/11/06 02:14 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Candace: I just read that Hope NEVER admitted that he had a prior marriage but then this was asserted by Arthur Marx so we almost in the same "situation" as a bio by Charles Higham.
Dieter Beier posted 03/11/06 02:19 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
If only 10% of all showbiz and high society rumors are only near reality,then congratulations.May I wrong if I say rumors are a own "industry"-long awaited is the Gossip Nobelprize.And aren´t moral statesments are really asked,if you could buy your yellow press paper or scandal book to read how unmoral celebrities lives and get totally indignant:that´s unmoral,sin,bad,criminal!The voyeur in you get,what he wants,if their must be loked through the keyhole of a sleeping room and if the celebrities are too boring and plain,than helps the growing and endless phantasy of the gossip writers.The credences with 100% success are beating children,beating wifes,drugs eccesses,homo-,lesbian-,bisexuality,womanizing(mananizing)-best on your honeymoon--oooh,oooh.They haven´t lost all rights of privateness and and to solve problems-so far they exist and not the resulting of these rumors journalism-with their wifes and husbands.That is the prize they must pay staying in the lamplight-they got outlawed!!!And there exists so many pages of papers,books ,"TV documentaries" that must be filled that the marsh stay ever wet.And because you must stay an informed people such things can live forever and ever.
So far I heard Dottie have had complainted heavy about Bob Hope´s regular advances-I don´t believe they have had an affair together.
Bing wasn´t certainly unattractive and have had a lot of charme of his own,but I think no women must be lesbian or blind,if she did not fascinated from Bing.Every woman(man) wth a maturity of character have own likes and mislikes and priorities against of consider someone:some likes red-haired,other only slim persons,some thick,some blue eyes(wether thick or thin,blonde or red)some intellengence,temperament-other search social security or revoluzzers.So have most of us the change to find friends or partners.Celebrities have too the "aura" of fame and richness,that makes them more attractive to a lotof people-especially to many unmatured girlies.Some of these prominents have reported,how less success they have to get anything of a woman and how dramatically it changed with that "aura" of fame.
I am personally not listen to girl singersand actress how attractive or sexy they are,but how they can handle a song to go to my heart or act their part convincing in a picture.
I like to read biographies about Bing,but it´s not important to me to be congruent with all his life style.The real joy for me is his body of work-his songs.films,shows.That´s for me Bing-the one and only I like.
Ronald Sarbo posted 03/11/06 02:21 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Howard: Can we give any credence to what Gary wrote about Dixie?

Ronald Sarbo posted 03/11/06 04:20 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Dieter: I agree. Women don't know what they want.
Dieter Beier posted 03/11/06 04:34 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
One of the many reasons Bing liked Kathryn was,that she wasn´t a fan of him.To love a girl,that was a fan,would have been cruelfull for such a personality as Bing.
Grace Kelly-Kathryn:I believe Kathryn was a very jealous woman,so her remarks about Grace.Jealousy let someone not been objective.Bing was also very jealous on Kathryn(scenes on his Bing Crosby Show soap or in Spain with the torrero).
Ron Field posted 03/12/06 09:17 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
At Gonzaga, Kathryn did some reading from her latest book and there was a bit of venom in her when talking about, remembering correctly, Inger Stevens, as I think she was a bit keen on Bing.
Ron Field
Sue Horn posted 03/15/06 01:23 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Dieter wrote: "Bing wasn't certainly unattractive and have had a lot of charm of his own, but I think no women must be lesbian or blind,if she did not fascinated from Bing. Every woman (man) wth a maturity of character have own likes and mislikes and priorities against of consider someone:...

Wise, wise words, my friend. Just because Bing was at the top of his game, it does not mean that he would have wanted to bed everyone nor that everyone would have bedded him when asked. I'm surprised at the amount of print that this highly speculative topic has taken up here.

No one is sayingthat Bing was ever-faithful. I just happen to think that his relationships (marital, extra-marital, inter-marital, and the like) were entered into seriously. I want to read about his whole life, professional contributions, human struggles, triumphs, problems, but by sources that I feel are trustworthy. I don't think this means that I have blinders on, I just don't have the inclination or the time to read every unsubstantiated rumor about Bing or anyone else for that matter.

I am a huge fan of Bings, but I wouldn't have accepted romantic advances by him. I am a huge fan of Errol Flynn's, but I wouldn't have accepted romantic advances by him either. Not that either would have come my way, but I agree with Dieter's reasoning.

Now, let's talk about something real!!

Candace Scott posted 04/29/06 12:59 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
When I wrote, "any woman who would have said no to Bing was either blind or a lesbian," it wasn't meant to be taken literally, obviously. It was a flip remark which essentially means that Bing was adorable and could have his way with most women. Obviously there would be exceptions and women who would decline Bing's overtures: nuns (most of them), happily married women, 90 year old women, 11 year old girls, frigid women, etc.

Let's just say that I doubt Bing was rejected by very many women in his lifetime and the ones who did say no probably fit into one of the above categories.

Now, Ron suggests we shouldn't accept what Gary wrote about his mother to be true. I would never argue that Gary Crosby didn't lie and stretch the truth about a lot of things. But there is ample corroboration about Dixie's alcoholism and other problems from other sources. This includes interviews with Denny and Lindsay. Gary's portrayal of his father was a hatchet job and has been disputed by many. As we all know, he was motivated to sell books and to paint Bing with the blackest brush imaginable.

But no one bought the book because of what he said about Dixie, who is a non-entity to most people. There was no financial motivation for Gary to smear his mother since the focus of the book was on Bing. Gary wrote sympathetically of his mother in many places. I see nothing in the book which reeks of mendacity when he writes about his mother, nor were his comments about Dixie disputed by Denny or Linny.
Ronald Sarbo posted 04/29/06 03:43 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Candace: I did NOT suggest any such thing. I merely asked a question.

I have just read Carolyn's book and she is very kind to her Aunt Dixie. It is a great "first-hand" account by a family member. She is also very forth-right and FAIR when she writes about her cousins. The personal photos from her collection are also wonderful. I cannot recommend it enough.

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