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American Masters: Bing Crosby


midwestan
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It may have been shown earlier this year, but I just caught the PBS series Saturday night that took a look at Bing Crosby's career.  I knew he had been married twice, but I didn't know what happened to his first wife.  Sad that his four sons from that marriage all died well before they should have.  I think his career was the epitome of what many of us think about Hollywood and the fame machine that drives people in the entertainment industry.  The guy was seemingly away from home a lot to keep his name out there for people to consider for various gigs as well as to provide a good life for his family.  Tragically, things didn't turn out that way.  He was famous and well-respected by the public and earned a comfortable amount of money to support his family, but the consequences of his career even had him lamenting that he could have done a better job at raising his kids and helping his first wife (Dixie Lee) with her alcoholism.  Anyone else catch this show?

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It may have been shown earlier this year, but I just caught the PBS series Saturday night that took a look at Bing Crosby's career.  I knew he had been married twice, but I didn't know what happened to his first wife.  Sad that his four sons from that marriage all died well before they should have.  I think his career was the epitome of what many of us think about Hollywood and the fame machine that drives people in the entertainment industry.  The guy was seemingly away from home a lot to keep his name out there for people to consider for various gigs as well as to provide a good life for his family.  Tragically, things didn't turn out that way.  He was famous and well-respected by the public and earned a comfortable amount of money to support his family, but the consequences of his career even had him lamenting that he could have done a better job at raising his kids and helping his first wife (Dixie Lee) with her alcoholism.  Anyone else catch this show?

I did! No, just kidding, I hated the man.

 

Funny thing, we were discussing old cereals, and the Sugar Crisp bear was based on Crosby. Smart me, I hated the Sugar Crisp bear way back when and I didn't even know Crosby was a rotten father.

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I didn't catch the broadcast.  Too bad, I never really minded Crosby all that much.  Oh, sure, his music wasn't MY type of music, but I've always found his mellow vocals kind of easy to listen to, and his seemingly knowledge of music and musicianship was respectable in my mind.  Could be, I just like the "laid back" kind of personalities.

 

I never put too much stock in what slanderous remarks, spoken or written, are made about people after they've been long dead.  Like, I don't put too much belief in the claims made by women whom claimed to have had sexual affairs with JFK because nost of them were made 20 or more years AFTER he died.  Same with "Mommie Dearest".  Since both Crawford and Kennedy weren't able to defend THEIR position, or offer a side, I can't take them much seriously.  Same with Crosby's kids from his first marriage.  Since there's been the same sort of "distancing" between the children of my Stepfather's first marriage and my BROTHER and I, mostly on THEIR part, I sort of know where that's coming from, as far as Crosby's situation.  

 

 

Sepiatone

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It may have been shown earlier this year, but I just caught the PBS series Saturday night that took a look at Bing Crosby's career.  I knew he had been married twice, but I didn't know what happened to his first wife.  Sad that his four sons from that marriage all died well before they should have.  I think his career was the epitome of what many of us think about Hollywood and the fame machine that drives people in the entertainment industry.  The guy was seemingly away from home a lot to keep his name out there for people to consider for various gigs as well as to provide a good life for his family.  Tragically, things didn't turn out that way.  He was famous and well-respected by the public and earned a comfortable amount of money to support his family, but the consequences of his career even had him lamenting that he could have done a better job at raising his kids and helping his first wife (Dixie Lee) with her alcoholism.  Anyone else catch this show?

His second wife (Kathryn Grant) played the daughter of the supposed rapist in ANATOMY OF A MURDER, soon before she retired from the screen to marry him.

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It may have been shown earlier this year, but I just caught the PBS series Saturday night that took a look at Bing Crosby's career.  I knew he had been married twice, but I didn't know what happened to his first wife.  Sad that his four sons from that marriage all died well before they should have.  I think his career was the epitome of what many of us think about Hollywood and the fame machine that drives people in the entertainment industry.  The guy was seemingly away from home a lot to keep his name out there for people to consider for various gigs as well as to provide a good life for his family.  Tragically, things didn't turn out that way.  He was famous and well-respected by the public and earned a comfortable amount of money to support his family, but the consequences of his career even had him lamenting that he could have done a better job at raising his kids and helping his first wife (Dixie Lee) with her alcoholism.  Anyone else catch this show?

 

I watched the Crosby special on PBS and found it interesting.   I didn't know about his early career as a back up singer and drummer. 

 

The guy made 900 78 singles.   That is a lot of songs to record!      How Hope and him hooked up was also interesting. 

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I caught this when it aired earlier this month.  I found it really interesting.  Although, I really like most of the American Masters programs, so I was expecting it to be good.  I don't really care what Bing may have done (or didn't do) to his children.  I try to just judge people based on the type of work they do on the screen.  While I can't say that I go out of my way to see Crosby, I've always enjoyed his performances.  I like his "lingo" that he uses in White Christmas and Holiday Inn.  Like when he tells Rosemary Clooney in 'Christmas' to "bring the cow" (i.e. milk) over to the table. 

 

While I knew that he had been arrested for crashing his car after an evening of drinking very early in his career (the late 20s), I also didn't realize that he was a drummer prior to being a crooner.  I also didn't realize he had such a prolific singing career before getting into movies.  It's a shame that his first wife had so many problems and died so young. 

 

I also found his friendship with Bob Hope interesting.  I knew that they were friends and figured that they socialized outside of their films.  I was surprised to find out that they only got together when shooting a movie or appearing together in something that was business related. 

 

I haven't heard much of Bing's music outside of his Christmas songs and handfuls of some other of his songs that I've heard, but like Sepiatone, I do find his music relaxing.  Much of the "crooner" music (Crosby, Sinatra, Martin, etc.) is very calming and I enjoy most of it.  Some of the songs don't "grab" me, but I love their voices.

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Have you ever heard the Sugar Crisp bear?

 

Do they still make Sugar Crisps?

 

Actually primos, when I was a kid and watching that cereal commercial, I always thought the bear was supposed to be patterned after and sounded more like Perry Como.

 

(...and no, most all cereal manufactures today refrain from naming any of their products with the word "Sugar" in them...that's sooooo "un-PC" now days, ya know.."Tony the Tiger"'s old "Sugar Frosted Flakes" being re-labeled as just "Frosted Flakes" for quite a while now, as just one example of this)

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Have you ever heard the Sugar Crisp bear?

 

Do they still make Sugar Crisps?

As a connoisseur of junk cereal, I can confirm that Sugar Crisp is still around.  I cannot remember what the bear sounded like however.  I remember there being Sugar Crisp commercials when I was little, but it seems like crappy (but delicious) kids cereal commercials aren't as prolific as they once were.

 

I think this cereal is now known as Golden Crisp.

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Has a connoisseur of junk cereal, I can confirm that Sugar Crisp is still around.  I cannot remember what the bear sounded like however.  I remember there being Sugar Crisp commercials when I was little, but it seems like crappy (but delicious) kids cereal commercials aren't as prolific as they once were.

 

I think this cereal is now known as Golden Crisp.

Thanks, speedracer.

 

Under the heading of 'how exactly did kids from the 1950s make it to adulthood?', I used to eat Cocoa Krispies with Reddi-Whip. :o

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My memory of Sugar Bear is primarily of a laid back singing bear who kept singing, "Can't get enough of that sugar, sugar crisp . . ."

 

Here he's in a haunted house . . .

 

[media]

[media]

 

Oh, and just to try to get the thread back on track again . . .

 

[meda]

[media]
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Guest TCMModerator1

No, this is fine, you are discussing if a classic TV Cartoon bear was based on Bing Crosby, who was the subject of the original topic.

 

 

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After I watched this American Masters program on Crosby, I have to say I actually felt a little sorry for Bing TOO, Vautrin. 

 

It must have been tough being the driven man that we was, driven to work as much as he did, and to then do his whole "Catholic duty" thing by having a number of children, THOUGH which he wouldn't be around enough to help raise, but instead would pretty much leave the rearing of them to his alcoholic wife. And then when he WAS home, would discover the little tykes to be spoiled little rich brats with no real role models to follow.

 

(...yep, I actually feel kind'a sorry for the guy somehow, alright!) 

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Do I detect a hint of sarcasm? I guess he wasn't the best role

model for his kids, and then turned around and did it a

second time. Maybe he was a better father by then. Show

biz. It's tough out there.

 

Yeah, but just a little sarcasm, as I do actually feel sorry for the guy a little bit.

 

And yeah, as is often the case, people seem to be better parents when they're a little older and wiser. And, as was shown in this very program, the kids from his second family seemed much better adjusted than those from his first one.

 

(...though one of 'em from his second family DID shoot J.R. Ewing, ya know)  ;)

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Darn! My Mom told me about this but I had missed it!

 

I used to loathe Bing but am actually starting to warm up to his movie roles and see what was so endearing about him to audiences. I had read Bob Hope's autobiography over the summer and realize they were both professionals just doing a job. But even with a job, it's great to mesh with your coworkers, isn't it? I think they respected each other's talents and just worked well together.

 

I also just finished reading Don Knotts autobiography and it was the exact same way; father concentrates on nurturing his show business career and has very little involvement with his family. To put this into perspective, fathers weren't the "nurturers" you see today. Many American fathers were "distant" or "unemotional" in the first half of this century. Remember, "real" men were stoic breadwinners that never changed diapers.

 

They felt responsible for supporting their family at all costs, and sometimes the "cost" was their time. Show business is probably the toughest career for anybody, since you are always scrounging for that next gig. And if you have a wife & kids who want sprawling mansions & ponies, the pressure must be huge. 

 

Possibly these show business Dads looked back and felt like they missed out on nurturing their kids. It may not have been their choice to be away working. Then again, they may have preferred working over being home. We don't really know.

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I watched the Crosby special on PBS and found it interesting.   I didn't know about his early career as a back up singer and drummer. 

 

The guy made 900 78 singles.   That is a lot of songs to record!      How Hope and him hooked up was also interesting. 

If it's so interesting, please tell us about it.

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Have you ever heard the Sugar Crisp bear?

 

Do they still make Sugar Crisps?

First, I'm with Dargo on the Sugar Bear/Como connection----I thought so, too

 

And, YES---They still make the CEREAL, but call it "GOLDEN CRISPS" now!  Well, you CAN fit the word "golden" into the meter of the SONG easier than, say, trying to sing,

"Start up your morning with Super HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP CRISPS!  Put a bounce in your morning!"

 

Now, I read somewhere that supposedly, it was TV icon CARL REINER who supplied the voice for the cartoon bear.  But a quick search on WIKI failed to give forth any info on that.  But they DID try to lump DEAN MARTIN into the type of PERSONA they were trying for(as well as Crosby) when they created him!

 

 

Sepiatone

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Do I detect a hint of sarcasm? I guess he wasn't the best role

model for his kids, and then turned around and did it a

second time. Maybe he was a better father by then. Show

biz. It's tough out there.

I think some of that had to do with Kathryn's abilities to help raise the kids moreso than Dixie.  The program said Bing was one of those people that could drink a lot the night before and you couldn't really tell it the next morning.  Dixie tried to keep up with him after they got married, and she couldn't do it.  She fell into the alcoholism camp.  He apparently was a binge drinker who did not drink all the time, but when he did, he could hold his own throughout the night.  At least, that's the impression I got.

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I think some of that had to do with Kathryn's abilities to help raise the kids moreso than Dixie.  The program said Bing was one of those people that could drink a lot the night before and you couldn't really tell it the next morning. Dixie tried to keep up with him after they got married, and she couldn't do it.  She fell into the alcoholism camp. He apparently was a binge drinker who did not drink all the time, but when he did, he could hold his own throughout the night.  At least, that's the impression I got.

 

Then isn't it a shame Mancini gave his "The Days of Wine and Roses" song to Andy Williams to sing and NOT Bing???

 

(...'cause Bing might have added a little more "emotion" to the song by way of personal experience, huh!) 

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Yes. Not a good idea to have an alcoholic raise the kids, however well meaning.

I got that impression too. The program made it clear that he could hold his booze

a lot better than she could, and it also seems to say that she started drinking to

have something in common with him, and then she couldn't control it and he could.

A sad story all the way around.

I agree with your post.  That's the very impression I got when watching this special on Bing. Very sad all around. It seems that many of the really great talents, especially singers, have lead complicated lives that have involved sad events and or scandal. Judy, Frank, Bing, Doris. I truly admire the few very famous performers who managed to have fame, fortune and a solid, healthy family life.

( I'm sure this post will spawn some thread about this, and post it as an original thought) LOL

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Then isn't it a shame Mancini gave his "The Days of Wine and Roses" song to Andy Williams to sing and NOT Bing???

 

(...'cause Bing might have added a little more "emotion" to the song by way of personal experience, huh!) 

Bing apparently was able to use that personal experience in his role as an alcohoiic in THE COUNTRY GIRL, his best screen performance.

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