Lena Horne

Stan Walker posted 04/18/05 03:26 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Last October I asked if Bing and Lena Horne had ever performed together. Except for a radio broadcast from 1945 (which according to Martin McQuade is on cd, but I havn't found it yet, and they don't sing together), it appears that they only sang together (with Dean) on the Dean Martin Show (which I haven't seen).

According to some members of a Lena Horne webpage who have seen the program, it appears that Bing doesn't like Lena (or visa versa). My question is - does anybody know if Bing didn't like Lena Horne? Thanks for any insight.

Brian R. Johnson posted 04/19/05 06:44 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
October 19, 1967- Show #66
Lena Horne, Bing Crosby and Dean Martin - medley finale: "There Will Never Be Another You," "They Can't Take That Away from Me," "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries," "I Want to be Happy" and "Together"

Never saw it but there's a good chance that they harmonized together.
Arne posted 04/20/05 11:47 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
INteresting to read the comments re: the Lena page claiming some Bing - Lena "disharmony" based on this show. It's a little juvenile to pre-suppose anything just from appearances, but I've seen the Bing-Lena-Dean segment many times. It's a fine medley, but Bing and Lena certainly don't seem to be "connecting", visually. She stands between Dean (on her right) and Bing (on her left), and performs the entire medley facing AWAY from Crosby.

Possible reason: She's doing her "Lena" thing... You know, she picks an off-camera point to glare at and focuses on it throughout the medley. Also, Bing seems a little detached and distracted, perhaps he's thinking about his golf game or his bursitis. Who knows? But, I would be less than honest if I didn't admit that I too had noticed a sense of "non-connection" between Crosby and Horne here.

I have seen only two references to the two of them in print: Gary Crosby (in "Going My Own Way") states that he overheard a conversation as a child during which Bing and some cronies were talking about Lennie Hayton (Lena's husband) in a way that suggested they were not approving of the Hayton-Horne interatial marriage. This seems uncharacteristic of Bing, as many of his co-workers - Sammy Davis and Pearl Bailey, to name two - were similarly hitched, and Bing certainly seemed to continue to delight in their friendship and company. It's possible that the guys were, instead, feeling sorry for Lennie because they knew that Horne was really in love with Billy Strayhorn!! (Just call me "Slatzer").

The only other reference I've seen is in Lena's own autobiography. I can't remember the specifics right now, but I DO remember that she speaks of Bing in one passage of her book with warmth, respect, and high regard.
Stan Walker posted 04/20/05 08:17 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Thanks Arne. It was my opinion that if Bing really didn't like Lena, he wouldn't have appeared on the show with her or, at least, not in the medley. I don't think Bing had to do anything that he didn't want to. Maybe he was upset because he wanted to do a duo with Lena but Dean wanted in (it was his show).
Brian R. Johnson posted 04/20/05 10:48 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
As the songwriter wrote, "I'm beginning to see the light." Didn't Lena once tell Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes that she regreted "using" Lenny Hayton as her entre into so-called "white society?"

Bing and Lenny went WAYYYY back, to the days when Hayton was an arranger for Whiteman's Orchestra. And Hayton arranged and conducted a lot of Bing's earlier, more jazz-oriented records (like "Million Dollar Baby")
Lee posted 04/21/05 01:07 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
With all this Lena/Bing/Dean talk, I can't help but think of the 2 DVDs that are now out by the Best of Dean Martin Variety series of Dean show DVDs. I think there are at least 2 of them with clips from the very show you are all talking about. Unfortunately there are scenes of Lean singing by herself and Bing by himself but the one with all 3 together I don't remember seeing on the DVDs. Maybe I have and just forgot, or maybe it will be on a future coming DVD. But I just watched on last night with Lena/Dean/and Bing.
arne posted 04/22/05 01:22 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Bing Crosby believed, from all available evidence I've ever seen or heard, that everyone should be able to live and believe in whatever political value system they choose. He had friends and colleagues from all over the political spectrum, certainly the highest regard for democrats and liberals like Frank Sinatra, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Groucho Marx, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney, etc. - So, I don't think that's the case here. Remember, we're just talking about a physical attitude as seen in one TV song medley.

By the way, Lena Horne was not a Com-yew-nist. She is a (gasp) lib-ral.....

In the hey-day of Lena and Bing, the 40s, republicans were generally more attuned to civil rights issues, and the rights of blacks to live life without getting "strung up" anyway. So perhaps Bing (who frequently demonstrated his progressiveness on racial issues) and Lena would have had some beliefs in common. Democrats didn't get all fired up over civil rights until my fellow Minnesotan, Hubert Humphrey, burst onto the scene in the late '40s, and then all Hell broke loose.

Left-leaning (NON-COMMUNIST) African-Americans like Horne generally had one issue principally in mind as regards these things: how they could live as full-class citizens in their country.
Arne posted 04/22/05 06:20 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Jimmy Cagney was one of the extreme "fighting" liberals in the 1930s, often refered to by Jack Warner as the "Professional Againster". At some point in the 40s, he switched his viewpoint, and grew progressively more conservative as the years went on. By the 1970s, he was quite reactionary-conservative.

I don't care; I love him anyway, from "Public Enemy" to "Ragtime", and everything in-between.

I don't know if he turned officially "republican", but Sharon's political "fact-file" above seems to indicate this! - Sharon, what's the source? I'm not doubting you, just curious as to where this came from.

And Sharon, lots of people were blacklisted in the 50s for a variety of reasons, only vaguly related to their so-called "communist views" Don't get started on this vile, cruel phenomenon of the 1950s with me, please.
Chuck K. posted 04/22/05 09:51 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
The Steven Lewis Bing Crosby Internet Museum, and in particular, this great discussion board, is really not a suitable place for political diatribes. All too often, simple discussions take off on a tangent and get out of control. I personally find Sharon's statements about blacklisting distasteful and incredibly offensive, but everyone has as a right to their own opinion. I just would prefer not having to read it here. It really is not at all appropriate. Our country is poitically divided enough already. Let's try to act more like Bing and show a little more personal grace and respect for fellow Bingsters.
Tom K posted 04/22/05 10:30 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Sharon I would just like to point out Frank Sinatra was called as a witness during the McCarthy turmoil of the early fifties.He was under suspicion because of his starring in and recording of The House I Live In.Probably one of the most patriotic short subject films ever made.I believe Frank when asked to turn over names of communists in hollywood his only reply was Shirley Temple.
Arne posted 04/23/05 01:50 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Sharon, you're a closet Sinatra troll! -- Hiding behind a smokescreen of "blacklisting" screed!

The very idea! Harumph! and all that sort of thing!

-- Anyway, thanks for sourcing the Cagney political info for us. Actually very interesting.

anyone interested in a VERY FAIR book about the subject of this period in our country's history might want to check out "Washington Gone Crazy", by Michael J. Ybarra. While critical of blacklisting, and the general practice of ruining innocent people's lives for purely political-partisan reasons, the book does not shy away from the fact that there was a communist presence in the arts and in Hollywood during the 30s, 40s, etc. The book focuses mainly on the life and career of Nevada Senator Pat McCarran, but covers a lot of other ground.
Stan Walker posted 04/23/05 12:23 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
So, we can't really be sure if Bing had something against Lena or not (or visa-versa). Maybe their entertainment paths were so different that there were no opportunities to sing together - it was "Just One Of Those Things".

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