Filled Under: Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby, a multimedia star was among leaders in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses throughout most of his career. As a singer, with over 190 soundtracks and recordings to his credit and over half a billion records in circulation, he was one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century. As an actor, with 1,077,900,000 movie tickets sold, Crosby is by that measure the third most popular actor of all time, behind Clark Gable and John Wayne. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Father Chuck O’Malley in the 1944 motion picture Going My Way, and was nominated for his reprise of the role in The Bells of St. Mary’s the next year, becoming the first of four actors to be nominated twice for playing the same character. He has 85 titles to his credit as an actor in movies and television, and over 100 credits as himself in various television shows and specials. In 1963, Crosby received the first Grammy Global Achievement Award. Crosby is one of the 22 people to have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In his career, Crosby performed with some of the biggest names in entertainment. These are just a few:
“There is nothing in the world I wouldn`t do for Hope, and there is nothing he wouldn`t do for me… We spend our lives doing nothing for each other.” ~ Bing Crosby
“Frank (Frank Sinatra) is a singer who comes along once in a lifetime, but why did he have to come in mine?” ~ Bing Crosby
“But when you`re in a picture with Astaire, you`ve got rocks in your head if you do much dancing. He`s so quick-footed and so light that it`s impossible not to look like a hay-digger compared with him.” ~ Bing Crosby
“The most talented woman I ever knew was Judy Garland. She was a great, great comedienne and she could do more things than any girl I ever knew. Act, sing, dance, make you laugh. She was everything. I had a great affection for her. Such a tragedy. Too much work, too much pressure, the wrong kind of people as husbands.” ….. “There wasn`t a thing that gal couldn`t do, except look after herself.” ~ Bing Crosby
“She`s a great lady, with great talent and kind, considerate, friendly with everybody. She was great with the crew and they all loved her.” ~ Bing Crosby on Grace Kelly
“The best way to get along with Bing was to forget first of all that he was Bing Crosby. It was not always easy.” … “Bing had a brilliant mind and an original wit. That casual delivery combined with an unexpectedly wide vocabulary. It was a great device for comedy and also an effective way of communicating with an audience or with a person.” ~ Rosemary Clooney a 1978 comment about Bing Crosby
“A lot of people think that Bing was a loner, but Bing was a very loyal friend.” ~ Bob Hope
Ready For Fun, Fight, or a South Seas Romance!!
“Road to Singapore” is a 1940 Paramount Pictures film starring Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, and Bob Hope, and was the first of the seven successful “Road” movies starring the three actors. The movie also stars Judith Garrett, Charles Coburn, Anthony Quinn, and Jerry Colonna. Josh Mallon (Bing Crosby) and Ace Lannigan (Bob Hope) are sailors and best friends who are always together. As their ship returns to the U.S. they see all the trouble their fellow sailors have with their wives and girlfriends and the two friends make a pact to never get involved with women again. That pact is soon put to the test after they return home when Josh’s father, a very rich shipping magnate, tires of Josh’s ways and commits Josh to an office job and a marriage to socialite Gloria Wycott (Judith Garrett). On the night before the wedding Josh and Ace get in a brawl with Josh’s future brother-in-law which causes a scandal, so Josh and Ace decide to skip town. The two buddies head to Singapore, but wind up in Kaigoon, poor yet happy, and resolve to remain bachelors forever. Their resolution is short-lived when they meet Mima (Dorothy Lamour), a dancer in a local bar. Of course the meeting ends in a fight with Mima’s jealous dancing partner, Caesar (Anthony Quinn). That night, Mima leaves Caeser to move in with Josh and Ace, and promptly begins to domesticate the boys, who both fall in love with her, although neither will admit it.
Then Josh’s father and Gloria show up, Ceasar causes all the trouble he can, Mima has to decide between the two friends, the local law gets involved, and Josh and Ace are caught up in the middle of everything. Which leads to a funny, song filled, fist fighting adventure for all. Songs include: ‘Captain Custard’ sung by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, ‘The Moon And The Willow Tree’ sung by Dorothy Lamour, ‘Sweet Potato Piper’ sung by Hope, Lamour, and Crosby, ‘Too Romantic’ sung by Crosby and Lamour, and ‘Kaigoon’ sung by chorus with the words in Esperanto. The movie was a huge success and Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour went on to make seven of these so called “Road” movies.
Hope, Crosby, and Lamour were always clowning around together. During one lunch break from filming, Bob Hope threw a handful of soap suds (that were being used in a scene from the movie) at Dorothy Lamour and soon Bing Crosby became involved. The fight ended when Lamour cornered Hope and Crosby and threw all she had at them. The director was not very happy with the trio as it would take hours to repair their hair, makeup, and clean their clothing.
Bob Hope and Bing Crosby perform Captain Custard
In the climactic dance number, the natives of Kaigoon sing in Esperanto: “Behold, the new moon shines only love. A woman delights a man according to nature. So choose someone now and dance with him. A true heart beats indeed in each of us, ready and able and willing for you. Don’t just stand there, come here.”
Blue Skies (1946 Paramount Pictures) is a star studded musical comedy starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Joan Caulfield, Olga San Juan, and Billy de Wolfe. The music, lyrics, and story are by Irving Berlin.
The movie is narrated by Jed Potter (Astaire) as he looks back on a love triangle between himself, Johnny Adams (Crosby), and Mary O’Hara (Caulfield). Potter and Adams are great friends who both love O’Hara. O’Hara chooses Adams who cannot stay commited to anyone or anything in life for very long. The story is told by Potter in flashbacks over the course of several years and between musical numbers.
The storyline is pretty routine and is secondary to showcasing Irving Berlin’s songs and the talents of Crosby, Astaire, Caulfield, and San Juan. There are 17 song and/or dance routines in Blue Skies, with several other Berlin tunes as background music. Some of the best are; Crosby and Astaire do a comedy song and dance routine to “A Couple Of Song And Dance Men”. Fred Astaire solos to “Putting On The Ritz”. Crosby sings “Blue Skies” to Joan Caulfield. In the films major production, Olga San Juan and Fred Astaire are featured in a latin themed setting to the song “Heat Wave”.
If you love musicals and Irving Berlin’s music, you will enjoy Blue Skies. Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire easily breeze through their numbers with a flair only they can show. Olga San Juan does some of the best work of her career in her routines, Joan Caulfield is beautiful as the love interest, and Billy de Wolfe is good in his role of providing much of the comedy.