bing crosby

Star Wars Episode XIV: Frank Sinatra Through 1945 by Karina Longworth

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Old Blue Eyes was once a young, skinny kid from Hoboken, and his rise to fame coincided almost exactly with the end of the Depression and the run up to and fighting of World War II. Unlike so many young men, famous or otherwise, Sinatra didn't enlist, and the controversy over whether or not he was a "draft dodger" hung over his head, even as he suited up in films like Anchors Aweigh.

Show Notes:

This episode is one of a miniseries within the Star Wars series: Three Who Didn't Go. The original idea was to make these mini-episodes, but With Frank there's always a lot to say; the next two might end up be shorter than usual, though. 

The primary source this week was Frank: The Voice, by James Kaplan, a beautifully written biography on the first half of Sinatra's career. There are many other sources out there arguing the details of Sinatra's draft status. but Kaplan's seems to be the best researched and most up-to-date by far. That said, you can look at excerpts from Frank's FBI file on their site.

This Paley Center article on Sinatra's impact on teenagers was also useful. 

This episode includes a clip of Sinatra singing 'I Fall In Love Too Easily" in the film Anchors Aweigh.

Discography:

What Time Does the Next Miracle Leave? by FrankSinatra

Preludes for Piano No. 2 by George Gershwin

Preludes for Piano No. 1 by George Gershwin

Misty performed by FrankSinatra

Stardust performed by FrankSinatra

Dances and Dames by Kevin MacLeod

Je T'aime...Moi Non Plus by Serge Gainsbourg

The Operation by Morrissey

I Had the Craziest Dream by FrankSinatra

I Knew a Guy by Kevin MacLeod

Faster Does It by Kevin MacLeod

Tikopia by Kevin MacLeod

Au coin de la rue by Marco Raaphorst

I am a Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor by Chris Zabriskie

My Way performed by Elvis Presley

Star Wars Episode XII: Bob Hope vs. Bing Crosby by Karina Longworth

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 Bob Hope is remembered as the 20th century celebrity most devoted to entertaining the troops. Bing Crosby, Hope’s partner on seven Road to… films, sang the song that became an unlikely alternate national anthem during World War II. This is the story of Hope and Crosby’s partnership, their rivalry, and the different ways they endeared themselves to the boys overseas. Included: Hope’s embrace of multi-media celebrity and his mastery of hosting the Oscars; and Crosby’s road from drunk driving to blackface, to being voted the most admired man in America.

Show notes:

I debated whether to make this one episode or two, and ultimately I decided to combine them because a) there was maybe not enough to material to do a standalone show on Crosby, and b) I frankly didn’t have enough enthusiasm to do a standalone show on Hope. But in going the double-episode route, I made the decision to condense the section on the Road to… films, in order to include a section on Holiday Inn. I did this primarily because I really enjoy Holiday Inn, but also because the things about it that are problematic (cough, blackface) also peg the film to its exact time in a way that seemed worth exploring within this series, which is all about what Hollywood was like during this specific moment when the makeup of the planet was under threat. 

This week’s primary texts were Richard Zoglin’s recent Bob Hope biography Hope: Entertainer of the CenturyJody Rosen’s book on "White Christmas"; and the American Masters documentaryBing Crosby: Rediscovered, directed by Robert Trachtenberg.  This episode contains clips from the films Going Hollywood (this video clip is incredible, I highly recommend it) and Holiday Inn, and this clip of BobHope hosting the Oscars.

This LA Times article recaps the details of Crosby’s DUI arrest.

Discography:

Love Walked in performed by the Louis Armstrong Orchestra

Thanks for the Memory performed by BobHope and Shirley Ross

Balcarabic Chicken by Quantum Jazz

Dances and Dames by Kevin MacLeod

Two Fat Feet by Fiery Furnaces

Rub Alcohol Blues by Fiery Furnaces

Barbara performed by US Army Blues

White Christmas by Irving Berlin, performed by Bing Crosby

Au coin de la rue by Marco Raaphorst

OLPC  by Marco Raaphorst

Danse Morialta by Kevin MacLeod

Silent Lucidity by Queensryche

White Christmas performed by Otis Redding