Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bing Crosby on Radio, Pt. 3

Reprinted in the March, 2008, Old Radio Times.

Bing Crosby – The Radio Directories
(out of print)
compiled by Lionel Pairpoint

Bing’s fifteen minute sustaining series for CBS, Presenting Bing Crosby, had pitted his talents against the top ranked Amos 'N Andy show and in spite of a $3000 a week price tag sponsors were showing more than a passing interest in the young singer. The tab was picked up by the American Tobacco Company and rather than Lucky Strike cigarettes, the president, George Washington Hill, chose to promote another of the Company’s products, Cremo Cigars.

The fifteen minute programme was moved up a quarter of an hour from 7:00 to 7:15 p.m. Eastern time to avoid competing with Amos ‘N Andy, with a second "live" broadcast at 11:00 p.m. to catch prime time listeners on the West coast.

It is regrettable that so few examples of the series survive, as air time was used to its maximum advantage to provide an ideal showcase for the emergent crooner. Naturally, the commercials were obliged to make their intrusions but there was no chat, simply brief introductions and titles. Crosby sang two songs, followed by an orchestral item, and closed with another song.

“Bing Crosby is scheduled to begin his new series of night-time broadcasts over the Columbia network on Monday, November 2. The hour is 8 o'clock, P.S.T. However, since the opening night is Monday, and since the Blue Monday Jamboree has the 8 o'clock spot, it is a certainty that Bing's opening night for us will be Tuesday, November 3.” (Ray De O'Fan, Los Angeles Examiner, 26th October, 1931)

“Baritone Bing Crosby begins a new series of programs tonight, sponsored by the people who put Arthur Pryor's band on the air. But Bing Crosby appears at 8 pm, and in the west this period on Mondays can mean only one thing - the Blue Monday Jamboree. Station KHJ promises the Crosby-loving public that it will take his programs every other night except Sundays. With Crosby's new program, a new orchestra, under direction of Carl Fenton, makes its debut on the air. Favorite at eastern society functions and college parties, Fenton has been recording music for 11 years, promises big support for Crosby.” (Kenneth Frogley, Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News, 2nd. November, 1931)

“8 pm KHJ Bing Crosby - (CBS) has moved up to make more hearts miss a beat. With the moving of Bing Crosby from a four o'clock spot to eight at night, those of his West Coast audience who work days will let out a cheer. With this change should come an initial programme well worth hearing if you are an admirer of his type of ballad singing. This, also is on KHJ's schedule." ("Los Angeles Times" 3rd November 1931)

“You who mourned when Bing Crosby's programs were changed to an afternoon hour may smile now in earnest. Bing not only returns at night, but on a sponsored broadcast so that there will be no change in his schedule for some time at least. He is to be heard every evening except Sunday and Monday at 8 over KHJ.” (Zuma Palmer, Hollywood Daily Citizen, 3rd November 1931)

“Certified Cremo Cigar Company must have stepped high to corral Bing Crosby, the rage of the radio hour, for their WABC broadcast. But, judging by his work, he's worth it. This must be a tough week for him, however, for he is doing four shows a day at the Paramount Theatre which, on top of his radio work in the evening, puts a heavy strain on his voice. Monday night, when caught, he showed no effects of hard usage, however, his tones being clear and vibrant as ever. On the air Monday night he used, "Now That You're Gone", "Then She's Mine”” (sic) and “Goodnight, Sweetheart". All these he threw off in the manner that has brought him forward so fast in the favor of the public. It is highly individual, belongs to him alone and he need stand in no fear of competition, because, while he may have imitators, there will be only one Bing Crosby.””(Variety, November 10, 1931)


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