Bing and Lucille Ball

Candace Scott posted 03/18/05 10:48 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I never recall seeing a photo of Bing and Lucy together, or read a reference about them working together on radio, a benefit, etc. Does anyone know if Bing and Lucy did work together in any capacity and if so, when? Thanks in advance.
Jon O. posted 03/18/05 12:17 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
A quick check of the indexes "The Radio Directories" and "The Chronological B.C. on Television" reveal that between 1939-46
Lucille Ball appeared on KMH with Bing eight times, and once on Command Performance USA. She was on seven TV programs on which Bing appeared, though they didn't always appear together. (One of the TV appearances, a 1965 ep of "The Lucy Show", featured only Bing's voice: Lucy was a DJ, and she announced, "here's Bing Crosby, singing Stephen Foster", after which Bing's voice was heard on the radio, singing a cappella--to the tune of "Camptown Races"--"dum dum dum dum dee dee dee, Ste-phen Fos-ter".)
Jon O. posted 03/18/05 10:15 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Upon closer examination of the TV book it has become clear that Bing and Lucille didn't perform together on a single one of those 7 TV shows--nor did they even once appear together on camera.

OK, here goes:
1. Hollywood Premiere of The Emperor Waltz, broadcast on a local LA station, 5-26-48. Lucy attended the premiere, as did Bing--separately.
2. Muscular Dystrophy Foundation Thanksgiving Party,11-25-53, ABC. Bing and Lucy were two of many celeb guests.
3. Ed Sullivan Show (14th Anniversary), 6-24-62, CBS. Bing sang with Kate Smith and Teresa Brewer, but not Lucy.
4. Bob Hope Show, 10-24-62, NBC. Again, Bing performed with everyone but Lucy. (The Milwaukee Journal reported, "...except for Bing it was almost a total loss..."
5. The aforementioned episode of The Lucy Show, 4-12-65, CBS.
6. The Magic of Broadcasting, 5-1-66, CBS. Although Bing co-hosted this program with Arthur Godfrey and Lucy, his contribution was taped separately.
7. Swing Out, Sweet Land, 11-29-70, NBC. A celebration of America and its history, hosted by John Wayne. A whole mess of stars portrayed historic figures in various individual sketches. Bing played Samuel Clemens and I forget who Lucy was, but, needless to say, never the Twain met.
Arne posted 03/19/05 02:37 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Incidentally, Jon, the second of your TV listings - the Muscular Dystrophy Thanksgiving show, is in error in the Bing TV book. Neither Lucy nor Crosby appeared on the show, which was hosted by Martin and Lewis. I have already passed this info on to Greg Van Beek several weeks ago.

So, strike it from your list, Lucy+Bing-watchers!
Candace Scott posted 03/19/05 10:05 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Jon, thanks for the updated information, all very interesting.

I have an L.A. Herald Examiner newspaper from the Hollywood premiere of "The Emperor Waltz" and they mention Bing attending and then leaving in the first reel for unknown reasons. I doubt he and Lucy saw or met one another at this time.

The 1962 Ed Sullivan show I have seen and Bing and Lucy were not on state together. He also taped a lot of his segments and acted as if they live. In fact, the Beatles' last show in Feb., 1964 was taped, as was their August, 1965 appearance on the show: both taped, yet the audience wouldn't have suspected a thing. So Bing and Lucy probably didn't see each other on this occasion either.

So I guess we can assume the only times Lucy and Bing met in a professional capacity were on his radio show?

I wonder if Bing ever taped anything at the Desilu studios for any reason?
Jon O. posted 03/19/05 12:31 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I just read a 1966 article about Bing in which he is quoted as saying that his son "Dennis is doing well in the production end of Desilu Studios."

I have also read of Bing saying in the early 50's that if he were ever to do anything on television he would do it on film, like Desi Arnaz was doing with "I Lovy Lucy", which he cited as an example. Bing did in fact film his first TV special (in 1954)--I don't recall if it was at Desilu though. I'll have to check the credits the next time I watch it.
Jon O. posted 03/19/05 02:38 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Arne, a few years ago, when Bob Costas had his short-lived late night interview show, he had Jerry Lewis on as a guest. One of the things that came up was Martin and Lewis's appearance on the 1952 Olympic telethon, which was hosted by bing and Bob. Costas showed a clip from that telecast, in which Dean and Jerry came running onto the stage to join Bing and Bob, bringing with them their usual live television energy level and hijinx. I think Jerry jumped on Bob, Dean was running around or something, and after a few seconds of this Bing exited, stage left. After someone noticed he had disappeared all three turned and tried to coax him back from offstage.

After the clip, which lasted a minute or so, was finished, Costas asked Lewis why Bing didn't return, Lewis seemed to brush the question aside with what sounded like a contrived answer, saying that it was because he had knocked Bing's toupee off. If that's what happened, it wasn't visible in the clip, and surely Bob, Dean and Jerry would have known better than to try and persuade Bing to come back on without his rug, or with it hurriedly repositioned. So I have never bought Lewis's story.

Since you're a fan of both Bing and Jerry Lewis, perhaps you know the real story about what happened that drove Bing off-camera and kept him from coming back?
Arne posted 03/19/05 08:14 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Jon, funny you should ask, as I do have a little bit of extra insight into the story....

I've seen the clip as well; Lewis used it in one of his Martin and Lewis documentaries on the Disney Channel in the 90s. Clearly, in the clip, Bing wants no part of the proceedings, as you say, and Hope tries to get Bing to come back, as do Dean and Jerry.

The clip reveals a young Jerry Lewis at the top of his game: In other words, stand clear, or suffer the consequences. Hope looks foolish and suddenly quite old-fashioned during the moments they share on screen; even Dino, who usually kept up beautifully with Jerry and kept him in check, is oddly subdued during Jerry's antics here.

Now.... The way I heard it, from a very knowledgeable source who has interviewed Lewis several times, and with whom I've discussed this specific event, Bing stayed away because he was AFRAID that Lewis would "knock his toupee off" during the chaos. - not that it had actually happened. In fact, my source tells me that Lewis, all those many years later, expressed a sense of hurt that Bing would think that he (Lewis) would do such a thing to him, and he never could quite warm up to Bing after that. Before this, he, Hope, Crosby, and Martin had been good friends on the Paramount lot. Dean and Bing, of course, remained close friends for the rest of their lives.

Incidentally, Jon, regarding the Thangsgiving MD show: I have this entire broadcast on tape. Some of the names in the Bing TV book DO participate, it's just that Lucy and Bing are not among them.
Greg Van Beek posted 03/20/05 01:32 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
On October 14, 1977, Lucille Ball gave the following statement to UPI following the death of Bing Crosby:

"I never worked in a movie with Bing, but I was around him quite often socially. I always enjoyed being in his company because he intrigued me with his vocabulary and knowledge. He was a brilliant man. I saw him about two years ago at a charity function and he seemed happy and looked great and then he did a surprising thing - 'I thank God I had a chance at a second family because I'm not sure I did all I could have with the first.'"

As quoted from the Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper, October 15, 1977
Sally posted 03/20/05 06:58 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
What a nice quote from Lucille Ball.

As a real "I Love Lucy" fan, one of my favorite episodes is when the gang is in California and Lucy's friend, Carolyn Applebee, comes to visit. Lucy wants to show her some "real" stars, but Ricky won't provide any. So, Lucy and Ethel plot to steal Carolyn's glasses. Without her glasses, Carolyn is blind as a bat, so Lucy proceeds to dress up as and imitate different stars--John Wayne, Clark Gable and, most famously, Harpo Marx. The reason I mention this episode, is that Lucy and Ethel tell Carolyn that she just missed Bing Crosby. She, of course, is absolutely devastated. I always thought it was odd that Bing was the only star who is referred to without Lucy actually imitating him. I always wondered why. She never does the voices of the other three, just clothes and masks, so it can't be that she thought she couldn't do his voice. Anyway, it's a classic episode, but even as a kid, I always loved it for the reference to Bing Crosby.
Arne posted 03/20/05 08:13 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I just remembered two more fun references to Bing by Lucy over the years...

On one of the hour-long Lucy Desi comedy hours, she had Rudy Vallee as a guest. The hour consisted of a "flashback", supposedly of the early days of the Ricardo romance, and I remember that they were all on a ship. As this was supposed to be in the 20s or early 30s, I remember Lucy saying to Vallee, in star-struck manner:, "I like you better than that newcomer, Bing Something-or-other..." - the quote and situation may not be exactly right; I haven't seen this show in over 45 years!

IN 1975, LUCY HAD A SPECIAL ON NBC near Christmas time. She was plugging it on the Tonight Show, and I recall her saying (with a sense of respect and gratitude) that her show was on right after the Bing Crosby Special with Fred Astaire, and that she was extremely happy about this lead-in.

GREG - Surprised to see the errors I sent posted on the billboard here - Boy, am I picky, picky, picky! But I hope you realize that I feel VERY fortunate to own a copy of this wonderful work, and that I think you guys did a gorgeous job on this book.
Candace Scott posted 03/27/05 07:38 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Greg and Arne: many thanks for sharing your knowledge. Those stories about Bing and Lucy are fabulous! The Lucy quote from the Milwaukee newspaper is something to treasure. Thanks so much.
david pomerantz posted 03/31/05 03:12 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Re: Bing and Lucy. I recall a Hope special where he, Bing and Lucy (and possibly another participant) are locked in their office building. I'm guessing it's from the 70s. A rather anemic sketch as I recall.

Lucy played the Statue of Liberty on the all-star special.

Interesting that Bing never had Lucy on after the Kraft shows, altho Hope had her on in 1946 when Desi was bandleader, and in 1949 to promote Little Miss Marker.
They also did a 1951 Lux show of Fancy Pants shortly before Lucy started her series.
Ally posted 04/12/05 03:08 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Hope and Ball also perform "Sorrowful Jones" together on Lux. Too bad Bing never was on SUSPENSE.
Lars posted 04/12/05 08:54 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Yes considering almost everybody in Hollywood (even Hope or Benny) was on Suspense one or several times it's too bad our man Crosby never was. I love Suspense. It's my favorite Old Time Radio show!

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