The Centenary Campaign

Malcolm Macfarlane posted 04/12/02 10:24 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
As we look ahead to the centenary of Bing's birth in 2003, it has been suggested that we ought to have an action plan to make sure that the maximum amount of publicity is generated and that we bring back Bing to the public's notice as much as is possible in the twenty-first century. What follows are ideas and suggestions and we need members to volunteer to help with the actions needed. New ideas will be welcomed too. We are however conscious that in all types of clubs, there is a core of 5% of the membership which makes things happen while the remainder are mainly passive. This is not a criticism but it is merely a fact of life. There is no reason why our club should be any different but if we can get just 10% of our membership contributing to our efforts to have a major push to promote Bing in the next year or so, we shall have a real success on our hands...We start with a sound foundation as much work is already on going, for example that undertaken by:..

1. CDs - Wig Wiggins with Universal (formerly MCA) in the USA, Jim Reilly with Universal in the UK, David Currington with Universal in Australia. Ken Barnes as an independent. John McNicholas with his Jonzo series...

2. Radio - Ernest Sutkowski, Jay Diamond, Arne Fogel and others in the USA, Stan White and Maggie Ryan in the UK, Ron Field, Bob Neate, John Funnell and Bill Bennett in Australia...

3. Books - Gary Giddins book has received widespread publicity, Norman Wolfe has a good book ready to be published, Wig Wiggins has prepared a new discography and my diary is being published by Scarecrow Press...

4. DVDs - Ken Barnes is working on some Crosby issues for the UK with Road to Rio being negotiated at present...

5. Hofstra event - Wig is working closely with the organisers...So how do we build on this? In the UK, if the government is considering legislation, it issues a 'green paper' to solicit comment and then this is translated into a 'white paper' which is then debated and passed by Parliament. A similar 'green paper' exercise has now been done with thirty-two key players in the Crosbyana field and the outline plan below has been revised in line with the comments and suggestions received...

PURPOSE - to improve Bing's profile in the entertainment business, to build on the success of Gary Giddins' book and increase the focus on Bing ahead of the centenary of his birth in May 2003...


(a) Audio.CDs.

1. Wig Wiggins has drawn the attention of Universal in the USA to Bing's centenary but sadly it appears that they have no plans to commemorate it..

2. Jim Reilly has drawn the attention of Universal in the UK to Bing's centenary but they too seem reluctant to do anything about it. Jim suggests that we write to Universal asking if they have any objection to other companies licensing their tracks. The possibility of the ICC licensing tracks was also discussed but it was thought that this might not be viable commercially as we lack the sales outlets..

3. David Currington to draw the attention of Universal in Australia to Bing's centenary and seek their plans to commemorate it..

4. Regarding Bing's recordings for other labels, we need help from members with the following:.Can Ken Barnes get Seasons issued on CD? Any chance of the Poems appearing? Ensure long awaited BMG CDs issued...Capitol in the USA - someone to write with suggestions? (Extracts from That Travellin' Two Beat, Bing and Louis, Man on Fire, Phil Crosby tracks?. Do You Hear What I Hear, The Great Country Hits?). Get unissued sing along issued - who owns this? Greg Van Beek tried to find out via Bob Thompson's son without success. Suspect either Warner Brothers or Columbia have it. (David Currington thinks it may be Capitol)..Columbia - they purchased Project Records. (Say One For Me, Straight Down the Middle, How The West Was Won). They have reissued The Bing Crosby Story, Vol. 1 recently following the Gary Giddins book..Golden Records - childrens albums. How do we contact this company or its successors?.Verve - Bing Sings While Bregman Swings. Reissued recently due to Gary Giddins book..RCA - Bing With A Beat. (Fancy Meeting You Here has just been reissued on the RCA Bluebird label).Reprise / Warner Brothers - much material in their files. Concepts needed. (America I Hear You Singing / 12 Songs of Christmas / Return to Paradise / Reprise Repertory / various singles, some unissued / Sing-a-longs / I Wish You a Merry Christmas).United Artists - to reissue their material? Ken Barnes to draw their attention to the Centenary?.MGM - El Senor Bing, Bing and Louis, The Second Time Around..Amos Records re Hey Jude. Who to contact?.Daybreak Records (part RCA?) re Bing 'N' Basie, A Time To Be Jolly. Who to contact?.BBC - The Final Chapter and other material in their files. E-mail sent to William Naylor of BBC (Walk On By team) and he put me in contact with Roly Keating, Head of Arts programmes but he did not reply to my e-mail. Separate letter sent re The Final Chapter and also Stan White is alerting an independent record company about the album as they do sometimes license material from the BBC..Jasmine - Geoff Milne has completed Going Hollywood vol. 3 for 2001 release and will be working on vol.4 in due course. A possible Bing country and western CD is being considered..Longines? Who owns the tracks?.Pickwick? Draw their attention to the centenary and encourage them to reissue their Thoroughly Modern Bing album..Disney (Goldilocks, plus Sleepy Hollow songs?) They won't accept ideas. Write with request?.Early Brunswick? Out of copyright so independent record companies (e.g. Rhino) could put together issues. They probably need ideas for compilations. Which companies should be approached? Jim Reilly already in touch with ASV and suggestions submitted. Stan White advises that Avid will release a special CD of Bing material for the centenary. Other ideas for compilations? A CD linked to Gary Giddins book might be appropriate...Contact John Newton (Personality on Parade series) and David Kiner to see if they have any plans? Paul Taylor Choristers material - any progress?.I have written to the BEAR FAMILY people but no response has been received as yet..We are asked not to seek additional publicity for the Jonzo series..

5. Select Circles, Footlight, Collectors Choice, The Record Centre, Tower Records, Virgin, HMV (any more?).- to be made aware of Centenary so that they can use this in their own marketing efforts..Radio - all existing actions to continue. More members to help. Major stations to be encouraged to mount special features on Bing. Who should be approached and when? Need help with USA and Canada radio stations...Stan White has contacted Desmond Carrington re a special centenary tribute and Desmond is submitting a proposal to the BBC for a series of six one hour programmes. Desmond's producer, Dave Aylott has been in touch with me and once they get a go-ahead from the BBC, he will visit me for ideas on the format. (Also keep in mind BBC 15 part series from 1978 plus possible involvement of Roy Oakshott). Trevor Wagstaff has suggested getting Bing's photo on the front of the Radio Times as part of any broadcast tribute. I have also written to a Kevin Hewlett, an independent radio producer about a radio tribute. FACT (per Trevor Wagstaff) "Bing Crosby heard over the BBC airwaves more than any other singer in the 20th century" (quote regularly). Attempt to have Bing as Radio 2 artist of the week (May 3, 2003)...Arthur Blood will contact Radio Derby re a special tribute to Bing around the centenary date. Maggie Ryan suggests an approach to Sarah Kennedy of BBC Radio 2 as she is a Bing fan. Trevor Wagstaff suggests a special tribute by the Cliff Adams Singers "Sing Something Crosby" similar to the one broadcast on December 25, 1994...Ken Crossland, Jim Reilly and Seamus Kelly to seek air time through their various contacts? Jazz FM to be approached? For other Ken Crossland suggestions, see Letters section. Jim Reilly will continue making programmes on Bing for Angel Community Radio. Keith Parkinson will contact Spencer Leigh at Radio Merseyside. (Keith suggests that November 2002 would be the time to contact the radio stations and says that we should all be ready to take our own CDs along as cassette tapes are not always welcome.) I will contact GMR in Manchester...Special CD to be prepared by a member with a CD writer for issue to all radio stations with full details of songs for Recording Rights purposes?.David Currington to prepare Community Radio tribute and also special programme for Sydney and satellite stations of their weekly nostalgia radio show in Australia...Publish list in magazine of correct addresses for members to write re Bing season of songs / films. Help from members would be particularly appreciated with this...

(b) Visual.Internet - to be based on Steven Lewis's site. Get Steven's site linked with more related sites?.Advise major news web-sites (AP, Reuters etc.) of centenary. Give link to Bing Crosby Internet Museum...DVDs / Video.Contact Universal in USA with suggestions (through Wig?). Bob Hope will be celebrating his centenary too and a reissue of the Road films still owned by Paramount would seem to be a 'must'...Contact MGM re High Society, Man on Fire and Going Hollywood, (and Starnight at the Cocoanut Grove?).ditto other film companies and TV companies..Ken Barnes, independent - various issues planned in UK. First one is Road to Rio with supplementary items packaged with it such as The South Bank Show. Ken is talking about Pennies From Heaven too...Bing - Life and Legend to be re-issued on DVD? Greg Van Beek did have talks with a Los Angeles based firm about this some years ago. Can he revive this dialogue?.Pasadena concert / other TV shows / Kathryn Crosby apparently has the rights. Can George O'Reilly seek her views about reissuing some? Do the family have any plans to celebrate Bing's centenary with any special projects? Would they object to more of the Buddy Cole material having new backgrounds added as Ernest Sutkowski is interested in pursuing this..Hollywood Palace compilation?..TV programmes..Contact TV stations. AMC to have a special season?.Re-run old programmes - run special on Bing's life for 2003. Have season of Bing's films shown? (Jim Reilly interested in writing to UK TV companies). Stan White suggests contacting Katherine Macmillan at WTTW (Channel 11) Chicago, 5400 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625 (312-583-5000) to see if they will repeat their "Remembering Bing" special from 1987..Can the old TV shows of Bing be repeated by the Nostalgia channel? (see Wig's reviews in 1995/6).Mini series - ABC, CBS or NBC? THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN DO TO PROMOTE THE CENTENARY. I wrote to ABC first in view of the recent Judy Garland series and letters have also been sent to CBS. NBC does not accept unsolicited ideas and I have therefore sought the assistance of a literary agent in New York but without success so far. If not a mini-series for Bing alone, how about a joint one with Bob Hope?.BBC in the UK to be approached to prepare special and / or repeat existing material. E-mail sent to Roly Keating, Head of Arts programmes. Can the Parkinson shows (or an amalgam of them) be shown?.Independent Television network in UK - It is understood that ITC still have the Pasadena show in their files. Get this re-shown? Jim Reilly to contact Chrysalis TV re special on Bing..Australia - David Currington to get his members to write to the national broadcasters?..Books.Gary Giddins (promote his book).Norman Wolfe (find him a publisher).Bing Crosby - Day by Day (Scarecrow Press - published now. Push them hard to promote it).Magazine / newspaper articles..Write to all major newspapers drawing their attention to the Centenary. Variety / Billboard / Downbeat to be approached..Prepare syndicated article for members to send to magazines and local newspapers? Which magazines / newspapers? (UK - Saga, Yours, Evergreen, etc.?)..Members to write to their local papers (prepare specimen letter?).Solicit 100th anniversary tributes in National press..Major collectors to seek press coverage for their collections? (Greg Van Beek has been dodging a local reporter but may weaken in 2003).Gord Atkinson to mention centenary in his column for Canadian newspaper? Who else do we have in the media who could help?.Roger Osterholm to prepare article for his media contacts..Guinness Book of Records - Pete Cakanic and Trevor Wagstaff to continue campaign to get many of Bing's achievements recognised in the book.?.Stamps - USA to reissue Bing stamp? Notice already put on Bing Crosby Internet Museum for fans to write to appropriate body. What about Antigua, The Grenadines and Mali reissuing their stamps? Who to contact them? Arthur Blood will prepare a special centenary stamp...

(c) Other.HOFSTRA event - publicise this widely as the start of the Crosby Centenary celebrations and support as much as possible..Gonzaga celebration for May 2003 - Correspondence underway between Malcolm Macfarlane and Father Spitzer, President of Gonzaga and the idea of a Crosby Centennial Celebration is supported. Arrangements being progressed with Stephanie Plowman..The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held a major celebration dinner for Gary Cooper in May 2001. Bombard them with requests for a similar event for Bing. I have written an initial letter. The Academy's address is Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy Foundation, 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1972.UK celebration? Australian celebration? European celebration? Irish celebration?.Publicity to be arranged for all events..I have written to Kathryn Crosby seeking her views on the centenary celebrations but no reply has been received..Greg Van Beek to contact Bob Hope's publicist to draw his attention to Bing's centenary..

Golf - Pebble Beach. Make sure that they are aware of centenary and use the information as publicity..

Horse racing - Del Mar - Santa Anita. Make sure that they are aware of centenary and use the information as publicity..

Baseball - Pittsburgh Pirates. Make sure that they are aware of centenary and use the information as publicity..Spokane, Tacoma and Elko to recognise the anniversary?.Bing Crosby Information File to be issued to all people contacted?.Library of Congress? Bob Hope has had a special event there recently. Contact them re a special Crosby event?.Special Bing centenary note paper to be produced?.Special Bing postcard? (Stan White looking into this).Special bumper issue of the magazine? All members to pay 2 ($3) more to cover cost? (Eric Jackson suggestion).Centenary Calendar? Ties and badges?.Keith Parkinson to make a presentation about Bing to the Lancashire branch of the Sinatra Music Society in May 2003. ICC fliers to be available at such meetings?.Seamus Kelly to continue his talks to various clubs in the Midlands..I intend to seek speaking engagements about Bing in my locality. (Revisit organisations previously addressed?).Trevor Wagstaff undertakes to lay a wreath on behalf of the ICC membership at the Bing Crosby Memorial Plaque at the London Palladium on May 3, 2003. (media coverage desirable)..Any volunteers to pick up any of the above? Any thoughts on the timings of these various actions? Please feedback to me..My thanks to those who have responded with suggestions. We badly need the help of as many members as possible to make many of the ideas and suggestions a reality. Please volunteer to undertake any specific task which appeals to you. No one person can make Bing's centenary a success but the Crosbyana movement as a whole can really make 2003 something special. I hope these ideas will help to start a "revolution."

Sue Horn posted 04/13/02 10:03 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Thanks so much for this outline, Malcolm. I've just posted it to two fot he Yahoo Groups that I belong to where there are Bing fans. I've also cut and pasted it to send it to my tow e-mail addresses, so that no matter where I am, I'll be able to reference it. I think it's important for all of us to do our share, no matter how small...Sue
Maria posted 04/13/02 04:42 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Malcolm, thank you for giving us a foundation on which to build. Have any of you Bingers written requests to any of the companies? Of course my say is worth nothing at all by itself, nevertheless I wrote to Del Mar and the Pirates (still awaiting possible replies); I would have tried Universal as well but they don't have a public e-mail address. .Maria
David Foe posted 04/15/02 04:18 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
One would certainly think the Crosby family would want to help out in this effort, if for no other reason than to make some more money down the line...Looking at the list of the record labels, many of which are now defunct, makes you wonder if anyone ever kept track of all this stuff. Hate to say it, but Bing really botched his latter-day recording career by jumping all over the place. I guess at the time he recorded when and where he wanted to, but in hindsight it leaves a mess...Dave
Jim Kukura posted 04/24/02 11:13 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I noticed that the Turner Classic Movies cable channel is showing 5 Bing films on his 99th birthday, May 2, 2002. Since Turner has access to many films, has several TV cable stations that show movies, and has shown a propensity to commemorate Bing's birthday, is there anyone with connections with the Turner organization. who can start the ball rolling on an even more expanded offering of Bing on his birthday centeniary on May 2, 2003?
Elizabeth posted 05/02/02 04:05 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Regarding those record companies: United Artists Records is now part of the Capitol/EMI conglomerate and MGM Records is part of the Universal Music Group...Incidentally, Universal currently has a "no licensing" policy in effect. They do license individual tracks for compilations, but are not licensing single artists compilations or original albums.

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