rand’s esoteric otr

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Bing Crosby Show - February 12, 1953

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.

transcription label

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.

  • otrhead

    It is a shame that Radio Spirits continues to abuse the copyright system by making unwarranted claims of ownership. It is a bigger shame that you have choosen to subjugate yourself, your fans and listeners to their bullying.

    Feb 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm