American Masters (1985– )
7.9/10
53
2 user 1 critic

Bing Crosby Rediscovered 

American Masters looks at one of the most prolific entertainers in history; Bing Crosby. The special looks into his family life and into a career that spanned decades over film, music, and live entertainment.
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Dennis Crosby ...
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Gary Crosby ...
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Harry Crosby ...
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Lindsay Crosby ...
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Nathaniel Crosby ...
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Phillip Crosby ...
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American Masters looks at one of the most prolific entertainers in history; Bing Crosby. The special looks into his family life and into a career that spanned decades over film, music, and live entertainment.

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2 December 2014 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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The Greatest Entertainer Ever
5 January 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Whenever I was asked about my opinion on some matter I always used to demur saying that I was an expert in only two things, my old job with NYS Crime Victims Board and the life and career of Bing Crosby. No way was I not going to give anything other than 10 stars to a film about the man I consider the Greatest Entertainer Ever.

There's few enough folks around who were Bing's contemporaries so second family and Michael Feinstein, Tony Bennett and biographer Gary Giddins fill in for him. If the recordings and film clips of Bing are not exactly in strict chronological order they are presented in a logical manner. I remember seeing the kids at the Uris Theater in New York City and it was interesting to see them now as adults. Not to mention Kathryn who some 10 years ago I met on a book tour where she was selling another memoir of her marriage. It's reputed she's had health problems in recent years.

This program touches on a talking point I always used talking about Crosby. At the height of his career which would be post World War II, Bing Crosby sold more records, had the number one radio show, and was number one at the movie box office. No one has ever pulled off a Trifecta like that and I doubt anyone ever will again. The most interesting thing I learned was his attitude toward television, he was somewhat afraid of it. But as film roles declined he got around to embracing the new medium more and more. I remember he had a short lived situation comedy that never did him justice at one point. His variety specials especially at Christmas time were where we saw him most.

His long running faux feud with Bob Hope bolstered the careers of both of them. Unlike Hope, Crosby who was a Republican politically steered very clear of partisan politics. I remember him helping Shirley Temple Black who was running for Congress from where he lived in the San Francisco suburbs and also in 1940 he endorsed Wendell Wilkie for president because Bing didn't believe in a third term for anyone. We passed the 22nd amendment post FDR because we agreed with Bing.

After the troubles with first wife Dixie and the kids it was no accident he moved away from Hollywood because he saw it as a corrupting influence on the new family. It sure did a number on that boys town he raised the first go round. Bing made two mistakes going to extremes with the first family. He was both too strict and too indulgent at the same time. The possibility of all of Dixie's kids having fetal alcohol syndrome was raised because of her drinking. It would explain a lot.

One thing the program didn't mention and surprised Gary Giddins didn't bring it up was how he was able to become as rich as he did. He had a good business manager in his eldest brother Everett and brothers Ted and Larry were also involved in the management of his career. It was team Crosby early on. All of them had their own livelihoods attached to his and they made sure he got rich.

I didn't all that much about a man whose career I followed since my teens and whose records I have a ton of. But any chance you get to hear Bing croon a mellow tune should always be taken.


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