The Philco series lasted 3 seasons on ABC. The show never achieved the ratings success of the Kraft Music Hall, in part because ABC was a smaller network of stations. To compensate, many radio stations not affiliated with any network were recruited to broadcast the show. They were shipped long-playing discs with instructions of how and when to play them. Unfortunately, many people complained that the sound quality was inferior to a live broadcast.
Sound engineer Mary Howard suggested that part of the problem was the local radio stations:
"Most stations play a hundred records a day, and they play every last one wrong. Take the new Crosby show. Everybody complains that Bing has lost his voice, that the recording is tinny and distorted. That's nonsense. Bing sings about as well as he ever did, and the recording is all right. It's the stations that play it wrong. The grooves in a record are cut at varying angles and depths with styli of varying sizes. Records have to be played back with corresponding needles set for corresponding angles and sizes to fit the grooves. Until radio stations learn that, these big, nighttime transcribed shows are going to flop." (TIME, Dec. 30, 1946).
What follows is a list of the broadcasts, principal guests and songs sung by Bing from the first season of the Philco show. Accompanying Bing from the Kraft show was his announcer, Ken Carpenter, the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the vocal group the Charioteers. Bing's frequent female vocalists included Lina Romay and Peggy Lee. Bing's boyhood idol, Al Jolson, joined Bing for 4 shows, always memorable. There was talk that Jolson might be signed as a regular for the following season, but Jolson instead took over Bing's old haunt, the Kraft Music Hall. Carroll Carroll, the principal writer of the Kraft Music Hall and inventor of the Bing Crosby persona, no longer wrote for Bing. Instead, the Philco show was written by Hal Kanter and Bill Morrow. An asterisk (*) beside a show indicates a particularly great show; an asterisk beside a song indicates a great Crosby vocal.
PHILCO RADIO TIME (10-16-46) w BOB HOPE (1st show) I got sun in the morning; Moonlight bay; Put it there, pal (w Hope); Cynthia's in love "The first of Bing Crosby's $30,000-a-week transcribed series for Philco -- with Bob Hope as guest star -- was waxed last week, but ran two minutes overtime. Producer Bill Morrow put it up to Philco: whose lines should he cut -- Crosby's or Hope's? Philcomen went into a huddle, came out with a decision for audiences to applaud: 'Cut the commercial'." -- TIME (10-14-46) PHILCO RADIO TIME (10-23-46) w SPIKE JONES My heart goes crazy; Hawaiian love chant (Spike Jones); Love in bloom (w Jones); Surplus me (Lina Romay); All by myself*; Boardwalk in Atlantic City (Charioteers); The things we did last summer* PHILCO RADIO TIME (10-30-46) w LES PAUL TRIO I got the sun in the morning; South America, take it away; You are too beautiful; Bye and Bye (Charioteers); Route 66; Blue Skies PHILCO RADIO TIME (11-6-46) w SKITCH HENDERSON, RALPH MENDEZ Give me 5 minutes more; Kentucky Babe; It's Only a Paper Moon; Road River Valley (Charioteers); You keep coming back like a song PHILCO RADIO TIME (11-13-46) w EZIO PINZA My heart goes crazy; Pretending; South America (w Lina Romay); Timber Trail (w Pinza); September song; Should I tell you I love you PHILCO RADIO TIME (11-20-46) w BURL IVES Give me 5 minutes more; Bluetailed fly (Ives); That little dream got nowhere; Careless love (w Ives); Things we did last summer PHILCO RADIO TIME (11-27-46) w JUDY GARLAND * Old Buttermilk Sky; Gotta Get Me Somebody to Love*; Liza (Judy Garland); Wait Til the Sun Shines Nellie (w Judy); All By Myself*; You Keep Coming Back Like a Song* PHILCO RADIO TIME (12-4-46) w JIMMY DURANTE * A gal in Calico*; And then it's heaven*; Start each day with a song (w Durante); Rumors are flying*; Crosby the well-dressed man; Blue skies (w Durante) PHILCO RADIO TIME (12-11-46) w JERRY COLONNA * Give me 5 minutes more*; Old buttermilk sky; If you were the only girl*; Why did I leave Wyoming (Colonna); It's a good day (w Peggy Lee); For you, for me, forevermore PHILCO RADIO TIME (12-18-46) w SKITCH HENDERSON AND PEGGY LEE A gal in Calico; Rumors are flying; The old lamplighter; Everything is moving too fast (w Lee); White Christmas PHILCO RADIO TIME (12-25-46) w SKITCH HENDERSON, THE CHARIOTEERS Adeste Fideles, The Christmas song, Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Silent Night. The last half of the show was a performance of a Christmas play called "The Small One." (This show was repeated in 1947.) PHILCO RADIO TIME (1-1-47) w JOE FRISCO, PEGGY LEE, SKITCH HENDERSON A Rainy Night in Rio; And then it's heaven; Baby, you can count on me (w Lee); The old lamplighter. The comedy skit with Frisco was a repeat from the 2 May 1946 Kraft show. Ken Carpenter announced that W. C. Fields would be Bing's guest next week. Fields died Dec. 25, 1946. PHILCO RADIO TIME (1-8-47) w MICKEY ROONEY, PEGGY LEE Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (from Disney's "Song of the South"); Gotta get me somebody to love; What more can a woman do (Peggy Lee); Gal in Calico; For you for me forevermore PHILCO RADIO TIME (1-15-47) w AL JOLSON Rainy Night in Rio; April Showers (w Jolson); Rosey (w Jolson); Swanee (Jolson); Singing Philco commercial; The One I Love (w Jolson) PHILCO RADIO TIME (1-22-47) w GEORGE JESSEL Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah; If you were the only girl*; Open the door Richard (Jack McVey); Brazil (Lina Romay); Borachita me voy (w Romay); I love you for sentimental reasons PHILCO RADIO TIME (1-29-47) w HOPE & LAMOUR * My heart goes crazy*; Tumbling tumbleweeds; Road to Morocco (w Hope, Lamour); Road to Hollywood sketch; You keep coming back like a song PHILCO RADIO TIME (2-5-47) w BEATRICE LILLIE Huggin' and Chalkin'; medley with Lillie; And so to bed PHILCO RADIO TIME (2-12-47) w GROUCHO MARX * (Bing's talk of finding "LC" related to his and Bob Hope's purchase of substantial interest in the Lime-Cola Company in January.) Rainy night in Rio*; He's Just My Kind (Peggy Lee); Go west young man (w Groucho)*; Oh but I do; The best man (w Peggy Lee); The old lamplighter PHILCO RADIO TIME (2-19-47) w LEO McCAREY, WILLIAM FRAWLEY, JUDY GARLAND Connecticut (w Garland); Huggin' and Chalkin'; Ida (w Frawley); Tearbucket Jim (all); And So to Bed PHILCO RADIO TIME (2-26-47) w ANDREWS SISTERS, JOE FRISCO * Uncle Remus said (w Charioteers); Gotta get somebody to love; South America, take it away (w Sisters); Don't have to know the language (w Sisters); So would I* PHILCO RADIO TIME (3-5-47) w AL JOLSON Getting Nowhere; What am I going to do about you?; Rock a bye your baby (Jolson); Bing-Al medley PHILCO RADIO TIME (3-12-47) w PEGGY LEE McNamara's band; Happiness called Joe (P Lee); Too Ra Loo Ral; Best man (w P Lee); Among my souvenirs THE JACK BENNY SHOW (3-16-47) w BING CROSBY, DICK HAYMES, ANDY RUSSELL * Dear Old Donnegal (Dennis Day); Always (Crosby, Haymes, Russell); Medley (Crosby, Haymes, Russell) PHILCO RADIO TIME (3-19-47) w DANNY KAYE, PEGGY LEE Managua Nicaragua; Linda; Brahm's Lullaby (w Kaye); It's a Good Day (w Lee); Why must love be such a random thing? PHILCO RADIO TIME (3-26-47) w JACK BENNY, MARY LIVINGSTON I Do Like You; For Sentimental Reasons (Peggy Lee); What am I Going To do About You?; Lover (Skitch Henderson); Anniversary Waltz PHILCO RADIO TIME (4-2-47) w AL JOLSON, JOHN CHARLES THOMAS Nobody; Oh Suzanna (w Jolson, Thomas); Goin' to Heaven (Thomas); Medley (w Jolson); Mammy (Jolson); Blue of Night sign off
Many consider this show the best of the Philco series. The entire broadcast, including Philco commercials, was performed as a minstrel show. Minstrel shows were a unique form of American entertainment in which white performers blacked their faces in imitation of Negroes and alternated jokes with Negro songs, many of which became well-known American folksongs. The entertainers, led by a "Mister Interlocutor," sat in a semicircle with "end men" at each flank. Probably the inspiration for the Philco minstrel show came from Jolson, who often throughout his career performed in blackface, rendering many of his performances awkward for later audiences with different sensibilities. The winds of change were already in the air in 1947, as some reviewers were critical of the minstrel format.
PHILCO RADIO TIME (4-9-47) w ALEC TEMPLETON, PEGGY LEE Managua Nicaragua; Linda; Alexander's Ragtime Band; How are things in Glocca Morra? (from Finian's Rainbow) PHILCO RADIO TIME (4-16-47) w JIMMY DURANTE * Uncle Remus said (from Disney's "Song of the South"); Nightingale sings the blues (P. Lee); Durante sings; I still suites me (w Peggy Lee); How are Things in Glocca Morra PHILCO RADIO TIME (4-23-47) w LES PAUL, BURL IVES I do like you; I'll close my eyes (Peggy Lee); Wish I was single again (Burl Ives); Hey la de da dee do / Down the road (w Ives); As long as I'm dreaming; It's a good day (w Lee); Time after time (Bing goofs) PHILCO RADIO TIME (4-30-47) w GROUCHO MARX * Belle of Albuquerque; Guilty of loving you*; Lydia the tatooed lady (w Groucho); Feudin, Fussin (w Groucho); I'll close my eyes* PHILCO RADIO TIME (5-7-47) w AL JOLSON, IRVING BERLIN Country Style; Linda; I Hate to Get Up (Berlin); Lazy (Jolson); All By Myself (w Jolson); Alexander's Ragtime Band (w Jolson); Easter Parade (w Jolson)
The May 7 broadcast was Jolson's fourth appearance on Bing's show during the first Philco season. The ratings success of these broadcasts led to efforts by Bing to secure Jolson for a whopping 10 shows the following season. Instead, Jolson got his own radio show the next season, taking over as host of the Kraft Music Hall, formerly occupied by Bing.
Crosby and Jolson Differ Over Fall Showby Jack Gould NY Times (6-17-47)
Plans calling for Al Jolson to make a series of ten guest appearances next fall on Bing Crosby's transcribed show have been abandoned, reportedly as the result of differences between the two singers. When Mr. Crosby was host this past season to Mr. Jolson, the resultant highjinks on the American network proved one of the successes of the season.
Other than confirmation that their understanding for next season was "off," details of the difficulties between the Messrs. Jolson and Crosby were on the meager side. One report had it that the two were $1,000 apart on what should be the fee for each of Mr. Jolson's appearances; another was that Bing did not enjoy the publicity over the fact that the rating of his show went up whenever Al was a guest.
Whatever the reasons, there was no lack of interest in whether Mr. Jolson now might consider having his own show. It was said that he had not entirely ruled out the idea but that his demands on such matters as network, time on the air, writers, etc., would have to be met. There also is a possibility that a new motion-picture commitment might preclude regular radio work.
PHILCO RADIO TIME (5-14-47) w GROUCHO MARX, HANK GREENBERG, WARREN BROWN That's how much I love you; As long as I'm dreaming; Goodbye Mr. Ball (w Groucho and Greenberg); Glocca Morra PHILCO RADIO TIME (5-21-47) w MAURICE CHEVALIER Smile right back at the sun; I want to thank your folks; Just a bum (Chevalier); New kind of love / My ideal / Hello beautiful (w Chevalier); I'll close my eyes PHILCO RADIO TIME (5-28-47) w MARGARET O'BRIEN That's how much I love you; If this isn't love; Time after time; You won't be satisfied (w O'Brien); As long as I'm dreaming PHILCO RADIO TIME (6-4-47) w FRED ALLEN, CONNIE BOSWELL I do do do like you; My heart is a hobo; Keep on smiling (w Allen); I want to thank your folks PHILCO RADIO TIME (6-11-47) w ALEC TEMPLETON, ETHEL MERMAN If this isn't love; It's a good day; Anything You Can Do (w Merman); Something to remember you by PHILCO RADIO TIME (6-18-47) w BOB HOPE, JIMMY DEMERET Moonface and starry eyed; My heart is a hobo; For what (w Hope); That's my desire \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ END OF FIRST PHILCO SEASON \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\