posted 10/24/05 07:12 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I just started reading the new biography of Bing entitled "Troubadour." So far it seems pretty good, but I'll alert you all to any obvious mistakes.
Number One: Early in the book, the author implies that Kate thought Bing might someday become a priest. Not true....that was the role that Kate had carved out for my Dad, Ted.
Number Two: The author states that Dixie died at a young age due to her excess drinking. I was not aware of any evidence whatsoever linking alchoholism to the onset of cervical cancer...
posted 10/24/05 08:47 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
As with most Bing bios it is heavily weighted to Bing's early years. Half way thru you are still in the early 1930s.
It states that Larry Parks won an Oscar for "The Jolson Story". He did not.
It also seems to waver back and forth on the subject of Bing's wealth. It states that Bing's wealth was poorly managed. This is at odds with other bios.
If anyone taught other "Stars" fiscal responsibility it had to be Bing.
posted 10/24/05 11:49 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Howard, I read many years ago that Bing was to be lined up to go into the priesthood. As you say your Dad was going to be lined up for that position. Kate may have even tried to line up Everett, Larry and Bob and the girls to become Nuns. I think all Catholic families always hoped that one sibling would go into a reglious order, be it priest, brother or nun.
posted 10/24/05 12:31 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Is "Troubadour" the complete title of this book? Who is the author? Is this an advance copy that Howard is reading. I can't find it on Amazon or Amazon.uk.
posted 10/24/05 01:28 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
"Troubadour - Bing Crosby and the Invention of Pop Singing", by Norman Wolfe. You won't find it on the Internet or in book stores. It's a privately published edition, limited to only about 300 copies, originally available only to members of the International Club Crosby via pre-order. Get in touch with Wig Wiggins in the US or Malcolm Macfarlane in the UK to see if there are any copies left. Despite the inaccuracies mentioned above, it's still a book that's well worth having on your Bing shelf.
posted 10/25/05 05:08 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
No dice, Ron. Kate never, ever thought of Bing as slated for the priesthood. That was the role she had carved out for Ted, the studious one. All of the others, Bing included, told me that Kate used to say: "leave Ted alone and let him study, he's going to be a priest." In fact, they even had to do his chores, which they were still resenting 50 years later!
posted 10/28/05 09:13 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
OK, I have now finished Norman Wolfe's book. He doesn't really have a great deal to say about events after 1950, so we will still be waiting for Mr. Giddens for the definitive work. Overall, though, the book was pretty good and offered some interesting insights.
Another glaring error: Wolfe states that after the dispute between Ted and Bing in 1946, they remained estranged for the rest of their lives. NOT TRUE! They completely reconciled in 1962, visited each other several times during those years, stayed at their homes, etc. So who was Wolfe's "authority" on this subject: none other than, drum roll, GARY F'ING CROSBY!
Wolfe relies way too much on his interview with Gary, who was a drunk and a liar. Hardly a definitive source.
posted 10/28/05 10:32 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I found it unusual that Wolfe did not challenge Gary's assertions but his book seemed to more focused on the musical and career side of Bing's life.
Wolfe seemed to give credence to Gary as a witness to Bing's life that cannot be easily dismissed.
posted 10/28/05 10:44 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I haven't finished Troubadour yet, but I've read most of it and skimmed the end. It's interesting and provides a good feel for the 20s and 30s. However, in a similar vein as Howard, I am really dismayed at the Wolfe's repeated reliance on "The Hollow Man," and it's authors. He doesn't cite the book in the Bibliography, but cites to the authors continuously in the text. He also lists the book in his Notes. One book he does cite in his Biblography is "The Secret Life of Bob Hope," another sensationalized version of Bob Hope's life similar to "The Hollow Man." Where are the references to Gary Giddens or Bing's close friends like Rosemary Clooney, who has given a personal account that differs from the "he was so cold and incapable of love" version of Bing? I would have liked to have seen the book be more well-rounded in that area.
posted 10/28/05 11:07 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
I also agree that the early peripheral information on the 1920s/1930s music and entertainment scene were quite interesting, but noting that Mr Wolfe worked on his book between 1989 and 2001, Gary Giddins' book wasn't out yet - he didn't have it to reference. And it's also a shame that he didn't speak w/friends of Bing's like Rosemary Clooney, as Sally said here, who could've brought a little spark of life to Bing's story...
posted 10/28/05 02:20 PM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Ron, I hate to diagree with what, on the surface, seems a reasonable comment, but I must remind you that my cousin Gary Crosby was an angry, bitter man seething with rage not only against his parents but the whole world. The author should have given almost ZERO credence to anything Gary said about his father's life. For heaven's sake, all three of his own brothers, while they were living, totally contradicted him.
Gary Crosby was a liar. I believe that statements by a known liar can be quite easily dismissed as worthless.
posted 10/31/05 02:36 AM Central Time (US) contact the author directly
Gary is really a fascinating study in a curious sort of way. Just what was it about the man that made him so angry? I was listening recently to his radio program from the early fifties. He was the summer replacement for Bing and his guest on this particular program was Frank Sinatra. Listening to it, you just have to shake your head with sadness coupled with exasperation. It's obvious that the guy defiantely had talent and that he could have been a big star. As big as his father? Of course not but there have not been many people who made it as big as Bing Crosby and hoping to duplicate that measure of success would have been foolish. And yet he had someting that could have connected with the public in a big way and he threw it all away. What a waste.