Crosby Christmas Tidbits

While most people were around the Christmas tree (or around the spiked bowl of eggnog) enjoying a relaxing Christmas with family and friends, Bing Crosby was hard at work.  Hardly a Holiday went by that didn't find him singing carols on radio and television.  He has left behind a wealth of Holiday cheer for all of us to enjoy.  See what the man was up to during the Christmas season from childhood to his death in 1977.

December 1914 - Young Bing plays a girl in his school Christmas play.

12/25/34 - Bing sings 'Silent Night' on the Woodbury Radio show and for  the first time he is included on Hollywood's Box Office top 10 stars.

12/24/36 - Bing hosts his first Christmas Radio Show for the Kraft Music Hall

12/25/37 - Bing spends Christmas at the Santa Anita Racetrack and takes part in a radio broadcast with W.C. Fields.

12/25/38 - Bing was host of an NBC broadcast at his home.

12/25/41 - Debuts 'White Christmas' on the Kraft Music Hall.

12/24/43 - Appears on the 'Christmas Roundup' radio show

12/25/43 - Appears on the 'Elgin Watch Show' with Bob Hope.

12/24/44 - Stars in Philco Radio Hall of Fame - he joins Orson Welles in reading 'The Happy Prince.'

12/25/44 - Joins Bob Hope, Jack Benny on the 'Elgin Christmas Party' radio show.

12/24/46 - Appears on Bob Hope's show and the ABC Christmas Party show

12/24/47 - Bing donates $60,000 to Gonzaga for their Library.

12/25/47 - 'Road to Rio' opens.

12/25/48 - Bing takes part in Christmas Festival radio show and Christmas Command Performance.  He receives male vocalist of the year from Downbeat.

12/24/50 - Bing is guest star for Louella Parsons' ABC show and a guest on Bob Hope's NBC show.

12/25/51 - Guest star for Bob Hope.

12/27/52 - The Dixie Lee Crosby Memorial Foundation is established for cancer research.

12/24/55 - Bing plays host for 'A Christmas Sing with Bing' radio show.

12/24/56 - Bing does the sequel to 'A Christmas Sing with Bing.'

12/24/57 - Must have been an enjoyable gig...'A Christmas Sing with Bing' part 3.

12/24/58 - Yes, another 'Christmas Sing with Bing'

12/24/59 - Surely, it's getting old by now.  'Christmas Sing with Bing' 5

12/24/60 - One more.....

12/24/61 - And another....

12/24/62 - Bing still has a few carols left in him.  'Christmas Sing with Bing' 8

12/24/63 - Okay, last one.  'Christmas Sing with Bing' takes its final bow.  Bing narrates 'The Promise' for TV.

12/25/65 - Bing and son Harry take over the Hollywood Palace.

12/24/66 - Bing and family take the Hollywood Palace stage together for the first time.

12/25/66 - Bing speaks direct from his home to the 'Late, Late Show' in Ireland.

12/25/67 - Orchestra Big man Paul Whiteman takes his eternal bow.

12/25/68 - Bing spends Christmas snowed in at his Rising River Ranch.

12/24/70 - Bing and family spends Christmas at the Hillsborough house. At least 45 guests show up for the shindig.

12/19/73 - Ted Crosby, Bing's brother, dies of a heart attack.  He is 73. Insert your own eerie premonition comments here.

12/25/73 - Dixie's father dies.  Bing is unable to attend the funeral due to illness.

12/15/74 - 'Christmas with the Bing Crosbys' airs on NBC.

December '72 - December '76 - Bing takes part in the annual Laguna Honda Hosiptal for Disabled and Chronically Ill Christmas show.

10/14/77 - Bing bids farewell to this earth.  Finally, some rest!

Bing Crosby was the host of his own Christmas specials from around 1962 to 1977.  These specials featured stars of the time who mixed and mingled with Bing and his family.  The programs are remembered fondly by those who watched them when they originally aired and became part of a Christmas tradition.  Crosby taped his last special, guest starring David Bowie and Twiggy among others, only a month before he died.

Bing used a sizable portion of his wealth to contribute to numerous charities all year around, but possible his most charitable act occurred because of the holiday season.  Crosby was reluctant to make his first  recording of 'Silent Night' and 'Adeste Fideles' in 1935.  He felt that a singer of popular music should not record religious songs for profit.  He was, of course, convinced but only when Decca agreed to donate all royalties to charity.  Bing recorded several versions of the two songs over the year and they became two of the best selling singles of all time.

*Information from 'Bing: A Diary of a Lifetime' compiled by Malcolm Macfarlane, an ICC Publication.


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