posted 07/13/05 12:46 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Another one has now departed. Bing and Frances made 2 recordings, remembering correctly (9/12/38, that's December, Gypsy Love Song; I'm Falling In Love With Someone) and appeared on his radio shows as well. In the paper announcing her death Hope gets mentions, fair enough as she toured with Bob, but no mention of Bing. Only saw her the other day in a film, may have been the Kay Kyser one I mentioned. Anyway, she was in uniform and appeared as herself, if I remember correctly. Being 27, one's memory seems to fade quickly.
posted 07/13/05 05:42 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
That's so strange. Just two days ago I was playing for someone the recording she made with Bing and Louis Armstrong, Pennies From Heaven. I was asked if she was still living and I didn't know. Now I do.
posted 07/13/05 07:29 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Frances Langford was one of the truly great female singers of our time. She was a true patriot, touring with Bob Hope and doing so much for our troops. I highly recommend her recording of "The Moon Was Yellow" from late 1947 with Earle Hagen's orchestra. I highly recommend that recording as well as so other gems like "I'm In The Mood For Love", "Easy To Love", and "Swingin The Jinx Away" among others.
The world is less musical with Frances Langford gone now.
posted 07/13/05 10:58 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I'm so saddened by this loss. My dad was a G.I. in Europe and was fortunate to see Frances many times entertaining the troops. He always told me that Frances and Eddie Bracken, along with Edward G. Robinson, were the "most real" and nicest of all the stars he saw. He had so many stories about these great entertainers.
I was able to meet Frances Langford in the mid-80's at a benefit to preserve films. What a lovely woman she was. She related the story of going into burn units during WWII and trying so hard not to break down in tears when she sang for these desperately injured boys.
The most poignant story she told (and she was crying when she told it), was when she went into a hospital tent with soldiers who had lost their arms or legs from granades. She was very emotional and nervous, and in front of one soldier, she started softly singing, "Embraceable you" when she realized the boy had no arms. Frances said she steeled herself and continue singing and then ran out of the tent and broke down.
I will never forget her telling that story. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
posted 07/13/05 11:07 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
In "Yankee Doodle Dandy" it is Frances Langford who sings "Over There" with James Cagney.
At that time Langford was married to Jon Hall who starred in "The Hurricane" with Dorothy Lamour.
posted 07/13/05 11:45 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I was really saddened to read of this. Frances' voice was so sweet and pure, whether she was singing or speaking. She will be missed.
posted 07/14/05 12:03 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Sue, I had to laugh a bit when you described Langford's voice as "sweet and pure" - She was, indeed, a wonderful singer, but everyone seems to be forgetting what for many people will serve as her major legacy to the entertainment world: the series of radio shows and albums under the title of "The Bickersons", the very funny series she did with Don Ameche, as Mr. and Mrs. Bickerson. In these recordings, the brassy, bitchy Frances is anything but sweet and pure!
posted 07/14/05 12:20 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
When I was in high school I used to occasionally listen to a "middle-of-the-road" FM Rock station (one of very few in my area at the time) that would switch to Progressive Rock every night after midnight. However, the late night DJ must have really liked the Bickersons, because in the summertime when I would get in late (I had a night job), there would always be a Bickerson's episode on at about 1:30 a.m. This struck me as odd, since these shows were way out of context in a Progressive Rock format...but nevertheless I enjoyed them, and came to look forward to hearing them each night. It was years later that I found out the characters were played by Don Ameche and Frances Langford.
By the way, Carmela--this DJ also must have really liked Elton John's "Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding", because he'd play it practically every other night, right after The Bickersons. Either that or he played it just to take advantage of its length (9 minutes or so?) to take a cat nap.
posted 07/14/05 12:49 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I've never heard the Bickersons, Arne, though I wish I had. Sounds like fun. I was thinking about her participation in radio programs with Bing and Bob as a guest. That's where the sweetness and purity came in. It would be fun to her the more spirited and edgy side as well.
posted 07/14/05 12:52 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Don Ameche and Frances also put out 2 albums in the early '60's of The Bickersons. They re-recorded many of their funniest bits for these 2 albums.
posted 07/14/05 03:34 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Jon, as a DJ on an "oldies" station in the early 80s, on the "overnight" shift, I and others in a similar job always knew to have two particular Oldies on hand: "Hey Jude" and "American Pie". Not for cat-napping, but for "answering the call"! These tracks, for those who are unaware, are among the first hit singles to clock in at over seven minutes in length.
posted 07/14/05 03:40 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Arne, you must have had a copy of "MacArthur Park" on hand as well.
"Answering the call" was the first thing that occured to me--but if that were the case for that "Funeral/Love Lies" DJ, well...let's just say he must have had a chronic condition. He played it so often the station's copy of the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" LP must have been worn flat.
posted 07/14/05 03:56 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
"Chronic condition"? But Jon - when you gotta go, you gotta go!
Anyway, I'm glad that you and Lee, and perhaps a few others, have good memories of "The Bickersons". I was very surprised to see that none of Ms. Langford's obits mentioned them (that I saw, anyway).
Reminds me of Paul Winchell's obituaries a week or so ago - were there any other baby boomers besides me who were surprised to see that Winchell was reportedly "best remembered" for his "Winnie The Pooh" voice? My gosh, when I was growing up, Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney (his dummy) were amongst the biggest stars on TV for several years. Hard to believe that this wouldn't be his most famous legacy, at least for my generation.
posted 07/14/05 04:05 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Arne, then this guy must have been a big Euell Gibbons fan, and "regularly" had too many bowls of Grape Nuts (wow--I'm having a Johnny Carson flashback)...
Paul Winchell also was the voice of Bob Cat in former Warner Brothers animator Friz Freling's "Goldilocks", starring the Crosby family, in 1971. Robert and Richard Sherman (also of Winnie the Pooh fame) provided the music.
posted 07/14/05 09:50 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I think "Gypsy Love Song" is one of the best recordings Bing ever made. I understand that such material is hardly ever commercially sucessful, but I could listen to that recording every day and never get tired of it.
posted 07/15/05 11:59 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Jim, I like it too, as well as the other Victor Herbert songs Bing recorded with Frances. Some consider them beyond old-fashioned, and I suppose they are...but I find them liltingly appealing, as they conjure up a bygone era. I imagine few, if any, other popular singers could have tackled this type of material and pulled it off as beautifully?
posted 07/16/05 10:51 AM Central Time (US) no email address given
Sinatra could, as he proved with that absolutely beautiful album "Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim" (arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman).
posted 07/16/05 01:21 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
"Gypsy Love Song" is from an Operetta from 1898 (Victor Herbert's "The Fortune Teller"). The Sinatra-Jobim album is a horse of a completely different color. It's beautiful all right, but it's of an altogether different genre.
posted 07/17/05 09:30 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I was making a tape tribute to Frances Langford for some of my friends and two duets stood out to me as really good work. They are her duet with Bing on "I'm Falling In Love With Someone" and with Tony Martin on "Why Do I Love You". Frances held her own with these two mega star recording stars and sounded great. I highly recommend these duets as well as many other Frances Langford recordings. "I'm In The Mood For Love" is truly Frances Langford's song as well.
posted 07/17/05 07:21 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
"I've never heard the Bickersons" -Sue
Sue, that Battling Bickersons were a radio show that preceeded The Honeymooners. Same format... a couple that fights as an only mean of communications. When they made a television pilot of The Bickersons, they even used a set that was later adapted for The Honeymooners.
posted 07/17/05 07:39 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Just a little postscript to The Bickersons/Honeymooners discussion, Frances Langford appeared on a Christmas episode of the honeymooners, where she sang "Great Day", and did a funny song and dance to "I Love Paris" with Ed Norton (aka Art Carney).