Archive for the 'Bing Crosby' Category

Bing Crosby Show - March 26, 1953

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

We come to the final entry I'll be posting in the series of "Bing Crosby Show" aircheck discs in my collection.

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Bing returns to sing a bit and give us a soft sell for GE home appliances in this show from March 26, 1953.  After kicking off the show with "Bye Bye Blues" (a song that, oddly, he performed just a few weeks ago on the series), Bing talks with announcer Ken Carpenter about the crooner's upcoming GE sales trip to Europe on the Queen Elizabeth.  Guests on the show are Rosemary Clooney and the ever-present Joe Venuti.

The program was transferred from an original Radio Recorders lacquer aircheck recorded from KCBS/KCBS-FM, San Francisco.

Listen Now:


Music Hall - Pgm 108

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Bing Crosby returns to the blog this week in a rare episode of "Kraft Music Hall".

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AFRS, ever vigilant in eliminating advertising from programs, broadcast the series as "Music Hall".  Heard as program 108 in the series on AFRS and originally broadcast December 28, 1944, Bing is joined by John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra, announcer Ken Carpenter, Eugnie Baird, Beatrice Kay, the Les Paul Trio, and the Charioteers.  First song up is "Accentuate the Positive" with some fine harmony and vocal jive work by Bing and the Charioteers, Les Paul shows off his guitar chops on "Dark Eyes", and there's much more fun in store in this smooth, fast-paced half-hour.

According to Goldin, the show exists in a network version, but doesn't appear to be in circulation.  The program was transferred from an original AFRS transcription; program date is from the disc matrix.

Hats off to blog listener Michael Utz for his donation of the disc to the collection!

Listen Now:


Bing Crosby Show - March 5, 1953

Friday, July 24th, 2009

The old crooner ambles his way in to the blog again this week as we hear the "Bing Crosby Show" broadcast of March 5, 1953.  It's one of a set of KCBS/KCBS-FM airchecks I came across a couple of months ago on Radio Recorders lacquers.

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The first tune on the show is "Bye Bye Blues" and guests Jimmy Boyd and Joe Venuti show up for the proceedings.  Announcer Ken Carpenter and Bing engage in the usual banter, mentioning UFOs, and Venuti gives us a spirited version of "I Got Rhythm" later in the program.  You might not remember Jimmy Boyd too well today, but he was pretty famous in the early 50s with his hit record "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".  Boyd doesn't do that number here, but gives us a taste of the country-western music he would pursue in his later career.

Being an aircheck, the show has an interesting "extra".  The start of the show is delayed for a special CBS news bulletin on the death of Stalin, noting that the President is sending his condolences to the Soviet Union.  (I guess the condolences weren't too warm since we were in a Cold War at the time.)  Also, since Bing's show was transmitted from tape, you get to hear some dropouts and other anomalies with the master recording as it was originally heard on the network, no doubt causing Ampex execs all manner of distress.

The mp3 was transferred directly from an original KCBS/KCBS-FM aircheck recorded on a Radio Recorders lacquer.

Listen Now:


Bing Crosby Show - February 26, 1953

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Bing is back this week, engaging in some light banter, singing a bit, and selling GE kitchen appliances.

In the program of February 26, 1953, the guests are Peggy Lee and the ever-present Joe Venuti.  Bing and announcer Ken Carpenter talk about 3d movies and Bing and Bob Hope's next picture, "The Road to the Moon", before Bing gives us the first number, "Lady of Spain".

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The show was transferred from an original Radio Recorders laquer transcription set that appears to be an aircheck of KCBS/KCBS-FM, San Francisco, based on other discs in this group.

Listen Now:


Bing Crosby Show - March 12, 1953

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

This week, we turn back to Bing Crosby's show for General Electric, originally broadcast on CBS.  The program of March 12, 1953 features guest Jimmy Stewart.

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In the show, Bing sings a swingin' version of "Jeepers Creepers" as the first tune, then a big chunk of the program is taken up by banter and an extended comedy sketch/GE commercial with Jimmy talking about being on Jack Benny's television program and then shopping for a General Electric washer for his wife.

The program was transferred from an original Radio Recorders laquer transcription set.  These are a group of KCBS/KCBS-FM, San Francisco, airchecks that I obtained recently of Bing's show.  At the opening, you'll hear the station ID and a bit of a fun singing Burgermeister Beer commercial.

More Bing pitching for GE in the coming weeks in the blog.

Listen Now:


Command Performance, Pgm 162

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

We continue our look at the work of Bing Crosby this week with what may be the most famous program on AFRS that he appeared in.  It's program 162 in the series "Command Performance", the comic strip operetta, "Dick Tracy in B Flat".

The once-in-a-lifetime cast includes Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Jimmy Durante, Judy Garland, Cass Daley, Frank Sinatra, Frank Morgan, Bob Hope, Jerry Colonna, the Andrews Sisters and announcer Harry Von Zell.

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There are several unusual aspects to this episode of "Command Performance".  The show was usually a half-hour and it's not clear why they expanded it to an hour for this show that was distributed at that particular time.  In fact, if you listen closely, it sounds like it may have been originally recorded as a "two-parter", since there's a break in the middle telling you to tune in next week.  This reference falls a couple of minutes into side three of the transcription set, so I don't think it's there to give the local stations flexibility in programming it on their schedule.

I'd also like to know how the show originated - who came up with the idea and if it was the work primarly of one or more writers on the "Command Peformance" staff.

Our digital file was recorded directly from an original vinyl AFRS transcription set.  This may be an upgrade for your collection, since at least one popular version of the recording that's floating around in mp3 format sounds as though it was transferred from a second generation tape and was dubbed too slow, making the cast sound like they have a bad cold.

Listen Now:


Bing Crosby Show - February 12, 1953

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Note:  This program has been removed from my site, as of August 21, 2010.  Recently, Radio Spirits has issued take-down notices to archive.org and other sites concerning claims they have on particular series and shows.  These claims not only include exclusive license for particular series, but also claims on images, likenesses and recordings of particular personalities.  Since Radio Spirits doesn't publicly provide a list of shows they license or estates they represent, I'm taking preventive action and removing some programs from my site, based on forum posts and archived news articles I've seen on their claims and the estates they say they represent. - rand

Before I started collecting radio transcriptions, I really wasn't that interested in Bing Crosby.  I enjoyed his early 30s recordings, especially with Paul Whiteman, but didn't pay much attention to his later work.

Now that I'm hearing what Bing could do on a weekly basis in high quality sound, I'm beginning to understand what made him such a remarkable performer and a steady presence on radio for so many years.

Take, for example, the February 12, 1953 episode of "The Bing Crosby Show", sponsored General Electric, originally broadcast on CBS.  It's a prime example of Bing's voice, smooth and cool, and his laid back style with guests sounding almost effortless and improvised.  Bing isn't so much entertaining us as he is inviting the audience in for some relaxed fun.

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In the show, it's guest Jack Benny's birthday and we finally discover Jack's real age when Bing gives him a cake in an extended comedy sketch that takes up most of the show.  Bing sings "Glow Worm", with special lyrics in praise of GE light bulbs, and Joe Venuti plays "Body and Soul" in the music segements of the program.  Ken Carpenter is our faithful announcer, giving us the pitch for GE ranges and engaging in banter with Bing about a series running in the "Saturday Evening Post" about Bing's life.

The mp3 is a direct transfer from a rather odd disc I picked up recently.  It's from a set of airchecks made of Bing's show on KCBS/KCBS-FM in San Francisco.  They bear Radio Recorders labels and there are a couple of things about them that are strange.  Two are recycled parts from NBC reference acetates that have a blank side used for the Crosby show.  They're cut with a microgroove stylus, rather than the usual 78 stylus, and have trail-off grooves at the end of each side that look like they were done by manually moving the cutting head.

Of course, Bing's show was recorded on tape at the time - at the show opening, you can hear something go badly wrong with the tape.  (I'm sure that made some network and ad agency execs and Ampex employees cringe.)

In the recording, there's also a brief incorrectly cut section of the transcription that skips over a line of Jack's dialogue at the beginning of the second side - I never could get it to track right, so I just left it in "as is".

More of this series of Bing's shows will be posted in the blog in the coming weeks.