posted 10/22/04 12:33 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Here is a list of films either intended for Bing, proposed for him, or sought by him. There is a lot to tantalise here. More additions would be most welcome. This should put to rest the misconception that Bing wes not considered a " hot " film property after High Society.
1) Alice In Wonderland 1933.
2) Vienna Nightingale 1935 planned operetta.
3) Fly by Night 1936.
4) The Story of Will Rogers 1944 (eventually made with Will Rogers, Jr.).
5) Comin' through The Rye 1946 (the life of Robert Burns).
6) Adventures of a Ballad Hunter ( life of folk singer John Avery Lomax ).
7) Road To Brooklyn 1946.
8) Untitled Film 1947 to be produced by Alexander Korda, scripted by Damon Runyon in England.
9) Friendly Persuasion 1948 scheduled to be Frank Capra's first Paramount film, planned for Bing and Jean Arthur,project cancelled due to budgetary limitations.
10) The Silver Whistle 1949, part originated on Broadway by Jose Ferrer.
11) Pardners,1950 with Hopalong Cassidy, remake of Rhythm On The Range, eventually filmed with Martin and Lewis.
12) Road To Paris 1950
13) Come Back Little Sheba 1952, role went tp Burt Lancaster.
14) Guys and Dolls 1952,with Bob Hope.
15) Road To The Moon 1953 with possibly Marilyn Monroe taking Lamour part.
16) The Rainmaker 1955, part again went to Burt Lancaster.
17) Untitled film 1957,with Jackie Gleason about songwriters Dubin and Warren.
18) The Music Man 1958, Bing became interested after seeing the play, part went to Robeert Preston.
19) Two For The Seasaw 1958, again Bing became interested after seeing the play, part went to Robert Mitchum.
20) Bachelor's Baby 1959, Fox project to be produced by Dick Powell.
21) The Jimmy Durante Story 1959, with Dean Martin playing Durante and Frank Sinatra playing Lou Clayton. Bing was to portray Eddie Jackson. Frank Capra was to direct and produce. The plan fell apart when Capra became displeased with contractual arrangements.
22) The Brothers Grimm 1960, Bing asked to play whichever brother he wanted.
23) The Great Western Story 1960,to be produced by Cinerama and Bing Crosby productions,which owned the rights,eventually became How The West was Won.
24) Tender Is The Night 1960, Bing considered for part which went to Jason Robards, Jr.
25) Advise and Consent 1961,Otto Preminger wanted Bing who was at the time commited to The Road To Hong Kong.
26) The Art of Llewellyn Jones 1961.
27) By The Beautiful Sea, planned for Bing and Judy Garland.
28) The Devil's Advocate, Dore Schary wanted Bing to play the lead in the film of Morris West's book for Warners Bros. with Fredric March and Sophia Loren.
29) Road To Calcutta 1962.
30) All The Way Home 1962,producer David Susskind wanted Bing, part went again to Robert Preston.
31) Never Too Late 1962, Bing attempted to buy the rights to play and would have played Paul Ford part.
32) Untitled film 1963 with Lucille Ball.
33) Musical version of The Rainmaker 1963.
34) Here's Love 1963 film version of Meredith Wilson musical.
35) Choice of Violence 1963, a murder melodrama.
36) Popi,1965, part went to Alan Arkin.
37) Say It With music 1965 with Julie Andrews with Irving Berlin score.
38) Bloomer Girl 1966, with Katherine Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, based on Arlen and Mercer musical.
39) The Absence of a Cello 1966, musical with Vivien Leigh.
40) Rocket to the Moon 1966 ,Bing to play P.T. Barnum in Jules Verne story.
41) Mad Dogs And Englishmen 1966.
42) The Family Band 1966, part went to Walter Brennan.
43) The Great St. Bernard 1967, a story about a monk in the Alps.
44) Untitled film with Fred Astaire 1967.
45) The Detective, with Frank Sinatra 1967.
46) Road To Christmas 1968.
47) Paint Your Wagon 1968, part went to Lee Marvin.
48) Spofford 1968, film of play.
49) The Birds Wore Blinkers, with Hope and Gleason and John Wayne to be made in Ireland.
50) The Sunshine Boys 1973 with Hope, parts went to Walter Matthau and George Burns.
51) Road To Tomorrow or The road To The Fountain of Youth 1975, with Lamour and Hope and Mae West.
posted 10/24/04 06:55 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
A couple of others that I've read about over the years:
1. "Columbo" - I have read the part was created with Bing in mind, however it's always vague as to when. For those who may not know is that writers Richard Levinson and William Link first created the character for a episode of the Chevy Mystery Show (in 1960 or 1961) in which an actor by the name of Bert Freed played the part. This episode became a play titled "Prescription: Murder", which later became a television movie in 1967 with Peter Falk which led to the series.
2. "Scrooge" 1970 musical
posted 10/25/04 05:40 AM Central Time (US) no email address given
While I'm aware of the rumoured offer of the part of "Columbo" to Bing and even more aware of his ability to make a success of the role, I'm less sure of his suitability for the part of Scrooge, whether in a musical or a straight play. That Bing could play the role is not in doubt, his genius extended in all directions, but surely his playing of the heartless and snarling Ebenezer Scrooge in the early part of the play would have hurt his reputation for kindness and geniality among his less knowing followers.
It would be somewhat like having him play the leading role in a "Jekyll and Hyde" film. I know he came over as wimpy and unpleasant at times in "The Country Girl" but his vulnerability in the part leavened the negative impact that I felt viewing it. I don't know if the grim and overbearing greed of Scrooge could be shaken from his image so easily. It would certainly have been a risk, and one that I'm glad he didn't take.
posted 10/25/04 02:20 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Probably in the wrong arena, but what was that show (they played part of it at Hofstra and apparently was Nathaniel's favourite show) where Bing played all the parts - judge, lawyer, Father Christmas etc??
That must have been a hard piece of work.
Is it available at all. Should contact Bob Deflores I expect.
posted 10/25/04 03:03 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
DEAN, I disagree with you regarding Bing Crosby starring in SCROOGE(1970). I think he would of much better in the role than Albert Finney. Don't get me wrong, I loved Finney in BIG FISH (2003), and I know he's one of your poor countrymen, but it would of been interesting to see a mean Bing (ala Dr. Cook's Garden) turn into a happy and kind Bing at the end. Bing would be much better with the melodies that poor Finney was.
Your American Wealthy Friend,
|Greg Van Beek||
posted 10/25/04 03:38 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Ron, this was "The State vs. Santa Claus", a sketch that was part of Bing's TV special "Christmas With The Bing Crosby's" which aired on NBC December 15, 1974.
posted 10/26/04 04:36 AM Central Time (US) no email address given
My point is that, having built a mega career on his basic easy going and kindly public persona, it would (in my view) have been a sad mistake to spend his declining performing years in parts that illustrated human evil and degredation plus overwhelming greed. Many younger cinemagoers of the time might only recall him in these parts which would have lent even more weight to the "Hollow Man" authors.
"Dr Cook's Garden" allowed Bing to commit evil deeds whilst believing he was acting in everyone's best interests, which is a different thing.
posted 10/26/04 12:47 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
One of the marks of a good actor is versatility. Bing Crosby's versatility did not stop with his music. I believe Mr. Crosby could have played any role put before him. Also, please understand that unlike many things things in this world, the last film role an actor plays does not define his career. A modern generation would not define Mr. Crosby by one role in one of his later movies. In fact, it could be argued that the properness of his day probably robbed us all of a whole different wonderful aspect to Mr. Crosby's acting talent.
posted 10/26/04 02:26 PM Central Time (US) no email address given
One of the most endearing things about this site is the willingness of the majority of posters to admit their fallibility. I now confess mine, but I still feel that if you attended parties for years and displayed charm and easy going tendencies, and then at your last party you behaved rudely and aggressively and sneered at everyone in sight---then this is the image you would leave etched on the minds of those who witnessed your behaviour. Those who had never seen you in your pleasant phase would not be interested in going back to study your earlier activities.
As for Bing's ability to take on evil roles, well we all know he was well capable of doing anything he set his mind to. I just questioned the wisdom of his playing such parts.
Just my opinion and it carries no more weight than yours.
posted 10/26/04 05:51 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Item #21, The Jimmy Durante Story, was announced by Bing and Frank Sinatra at the end of Sinatra's Timex special of the fall of 1959. The grand finale of that show was a tribute to " Schnozola" with Bing, Frank, Dean Martin, Mitzi Gaynor, Nelson Riddle's orch., and a cameo by Durante himself. Bing and Frank seem prety much in earnest when they mention their project. What a pity it did not materialise. By the way, the " Trial of Santa Claus" from the Bing Christmas show of 1974 was shown at Hofstra as part of the compilation of TV clips which I presented during the evening of film memories on Nov. 14th, 2002.
posted 10/26/04 06:25 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I think the strangest proposed Bing Crosby film was "The Story Of Will Rogers". There were even scenes filmed with Bing in make-up. It was the strangest make-up I ever saw. Bing did his best to capture the essence of Will Rogers, but the make-up made Bing look like some live action character from a Disney movie. It looked pretty bad.