Thursday, January 01, 2009

Bing Crosby on Radio, Pt. 4

Reprinted in the April, 2008, Old Radio Times.

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

Bing and the Rhythm Boys left Whiteman in April or May 1930. Most biographers indicate that the parting took place in Portland, Oregon, but there is evidence to indicate that it may have been in New York. It has been suggested that whilst in New York they were approached by John Wiggin to appear on the Camel Pleasure Hour show on radio.

However, the boys returned to Los Angeles where they obtained a contract to appear on a new NBC radio series from station KFI. The show was sponsored by the Union Oil Company with Walter O’Keefe as the m.c. The show was first broadcast at 8:30 p.m. on June 27, 1930, and little is known about it. However, part of one broadcast is extant and on this the Rhythm Boys sing “A Bench in the Park,” and “Everything’s Agreed Upon.” The songs appeared on the LP Arcadia 5001 - Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys.

In July, the Rhythm Boys were signed to be part of the entertainment at the Hotel Ambassador’s Cocoanut Grove and the show was broadcast each night over station KNX, whose transmissions could be picked up as far away as Portland, Oregon. Bing’s solo work became the real attraction at the Grove and on the radio show, but sadly we have few examples of it at that time. The LP Take Two TT112 - Gus Arnheim and his Cocoanut Grove Orchestra 1931, contains the tracks “Out of Nowhere” by Bing and “What Is It?” by Bing and Loyce Whiteman, both of which come from radio performances broadcast live from the Cocoanut Grove.

Bing continued at the Grove until May, 1931, when he, Al Rinker, and Harry Barris failed to turn up for performances on May 16. Within days Bing was making a solo radio appearance on the Sunkist Musical Cocktails programme which was broadcast nationally on CBS from station KHJ. Accompanied by Raymond Paige and his Orchestra, he sang “Just One More Chance” which was apparently its first rendering on air.

During the summer months, contact was made with Bill Paley of CBS who signed Bing for an unsponsored radio show due to commence on August 31st, 1931. The story of Bing’s failure to appear on August 31st and September 1st due to what was said to be laryngitis is well known and will not be repeated here. Suffice to say commenced at 11 p.m. on September 2nd, 1931, and continued daily (except Sundays) with Bing giving an extra broadcast at 8:45 p.m. each Tuesday. By September 22, the daily broadcasts were switched to the earlier time of 7:00 p.m. to put Bing in direct competition with Amos ‘N Andy.

To summarise, an outline of Bing’s radio appearances following the ending of the Old Gold series and leading up to the Cremo show is given below.

June 27 (8:30 p.m.) The Rhythm Boys commence broadcasting a new NBC radio series from station KFI. Walter O’Keefe is the m.c. The Rhythm Boys are said to have a 13 -week contract.

July 5 (8 - 10 p.m.) The Rhythm Boys appear in a revue over station KFWB sponsored by Sanders Chain Stores.

July 14 - May 15, 1931 (10 p.m. - midnight) Bing and The Rhythm Boys are frequently featured in the Gus Arnheim broadcast over station KNX.

September 3/4/5/8/10/11/15/18/19/22 The Rhythm Boys are thought to have appeared in further shows over station KFI at times varying between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.

October 7 The Rhythm Boys guest on the RKO Radio Pictures Hour on NBC and sing “Three Little Words.”

May 20 (4:30 - 5:00 p.m.) Bing appears on the Sunkist Musical Cocktails programme.

September 2 - October 31 Unsponsored radio show for CBS.

December 15 (5:15 –– 5:30 p.m.) Bing is interviewed by Bob Taplinger on station WABC in New York. Details of these programmes are sketchy and the following represents the only details of their content that has, so far, come to light. Acknowledgements are made to the research conducted by the late Larry F. Kiner.


Post a Comment

<< Home