1955 A CHRISTMAS SING WITH BING (CBS)
Broadcast December 24, 1955. A program of Christmas music from around the world hosted by Bing. The first tune is "Joy To The World." The broadcast includes the St. Louis Carol Association (four hundred high school singers), The Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir, Les Brown (from the Los Angeles Children's Hospital), David Schoenbrun (from Paris), Bill Downs (from Rome), Howard K. Smith (from Dedham, England). This show was released by Decca on LP and became a best-selling album. 44:20.
1956 A CHRISTMAS SING WITH BING (CBS)
Bing, Ken Carpenter (announcer), Maurice Chevalier, Rosemary Clooney, Sarah Churchill, Norman Luboff Choir, Paul Weston Orchestra. The broadcast is also transmitted over the Voice of America.
1957 A CHRISTMAS SING WITH BING (CBS)
Bing, Gary Crosby, Ken Carpenter, Norman Luboff Choir, Paul Weston Orchestra.
1958 A CHRISTMAS SING WITH BING (CBS)
Kathryn Crosby sings for the first time in public with her husband. Various world choirs add their voices. Ken Carpenter narrates.
1959 A CHRISTMAS SING WITH BING (CBS)
Fifth annual airing of this program Christmas Eve featuring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney and sponsored by INA Insurance.
1960 A CHRISTMAS SING WITH BING (CBS)
Bing and his wife, Kathryn, Ken Carpenter, Rosemary Clooney and her husband, Jose Ferrer, the Paul Weston Orchestra and Norman Luboff Choir.
1961 A CHRISTMAS SING WITH BING (CBS)
This annual Christmas eve broadcast was again sponsored by the Insurance Company Of North America (INA). Rosemary Clooney was ill with the flu, so Mrs. Paul Weston (Jo Stafford) filled in. The program included an Edgar Bergen-Charlie McCarthy excerpt from December 24, 1955. Charlie "recites" "The Night Before Christmas." Bing Crosby, Ken Carpenter, Paul Weston and His Orchestra, The Norman Luboff Choir, Sam Pierce (writer, producer), Bill Morrow (writer, producer), Edgar Bergen, The St. Michael's Choir, Murdo McKenzie (director), Kathryn Crosby. 49:30.
1962 A CHRISTMAS SING WITH BING (CBS)
The eighth and final original show of the series. Broadcast December 24, 1962, over CBS and sponsored by INA. The first tune is "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." Crosby tells the tale of Charles Tazewell's "The Littlest Angel." Bing Crosby, Ken Carpenter (announcer), Paul Weston and His Orchestra, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mercer, Kathryn Crosby, The Norman Luboff Choir, Bill Morrow (writer, producer), Sam Pierce (writer, producer), Murdo McKenzie (director). 49:52.
Along the way Bing appeared in his first Christmas TV special as a guest of Frank Sinatra in 1957. Bing's annual holiday Christmas TV tradition began in 1961 and continued through the year of his death, 1977.
After his death CBS produced a compilation of Bing's TV Christmas specials called "A Bing Crosby Christmas -- Like the Ones We Used to Know" that included excerpts from Bing's Christmas specials from 1962-77. Here is a list of Bing's guests on his television Christmas specials:
Dec. 20, 1957 Happy Holidays with Frank and Bing (ABC) COLOR
Frank Sinatra's weekly ABC television show became Bing's first television Christmas special. The plot has Bing dropping by Frank's place bearing gifts, and the two join voices for a half hour of Christmas carols. The program ended with a duet on White Christmas. Sinatra's admiration for Bing was evident in that he chose to direct the show as well as film it in color years before ABC began broadcasting in color. The 35mm filmed color version was discovered in storage by Nancy Sinatra in 2001 and released on DVD in 2003.
Dec. 11, 1961 The Bing Crosby Christmas Show (ABC)
Guests: Bob Hope, Marion Ryan, Dave King, Terry-Thomas, Shirley Bassey. Filmed on location in London, where Bing was filming Road to Hong Kong. Bing wanders the streets of London encountering his guests, including Bob Hope (in drag). `
Dec. 14, 1962 The Bing Crosby Christmas Show (ABC) COLOR
Guests: Mary Martin, Andre Previn, The UN Children's Choir.
This was ABC's first special to be broadcast in COLOR. The show included several Christmas tunes and a novelty song called "Doin' the Bing."
Dec. 24, 1963 The Promise
Bing narrates the story of Christmas.
Dec. 21, 1964 The Bing Crosby Christmas Show (ABC)
Guests: Beverly Garland, Carol Faylen, Diane Sherry, Frank McHugh.
(This was an episode of Bing's 1964-65 situation comedy.)
Dec. 25, 1965 The Hollywood Palace (ABC) COLOR
Guests: Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians, Dorothy Collins, the cast of Hogan's Heroes television series, and Bing's son, Harry. Bing sings White World of Winter, Whiffenpoof Song (w Waring), Glow Worm (w Collins), Go Tell It on the Mountain (w Waring), We Wish You the Merriest (w group) and White Christmas.
Dec. 24, 1966 The Hollywood Palace (ABC) COLOR
Guests: Kate Smith, Cyd Charise, Bob Newhart, the Crosby family. Bing croons White Christmas, and with his entire family sings a medley of Yule songs. Kate Smith sings Christmas Eve in My Home Town, and Bing Crosby joins her in another Christmas medley. Cyd Charrise and Roy Fitzell appear as marionettes Pierette and Pierot to the tune of Nutcracker Suite. Comedian Bob Newhart plays a man trying to return a toupee received as a gift.
Dec. 19, 1967 The Hollywood Palace (ABC) COLOR
Guests: King family, Louis Nye, Adam West, the Crosby family. The Crosby family sings Itís Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, then visits with comedian Louis Nye who inspires a rendition of Talk to the Animals. The King Family sing several Christmas songs, then join the Crosby family in Be a Santa. Mrs. Crosby performs Try to Remember, and daughter Mary Francis does a memorable version of Where is Love? Louis Nye teams with Adam West in a comedy monolog, and both join the Crosby family in singing This Old Man.
Dec. 21, 1968 The Hollywood Palace (ABC) COLOR
Guests: the Lennon sisters, Glen Campbell, John Byner, the Crosby family. Bing welcomes wife Kathryn and children Harry, Mary Frances, and Nathaniel, all of whom help him perform such seasonal favorites as White Christmas, Silent Night, Do You Hear What I Hear and That Time of Year. Glen Campbell sings the then-popular Wichita Lineman and the Lennon Sisters contribute a Christmas medley. John Byner is the show's featured comedian.
Dec. 18, 1969 Bing and Carol Together Again for the First Time (NBC) COLOR
Guests: Carol Burnett, Roy Clark and Juliet Prowse.
Dec. 16, 1970 Bing Crosby's Christmas Show (NBC) COLOR
Guests: Jack Wild, the Doodletown Pipers, Melba Moore, the Crosby family.
Dec. 14, 1971 Bing Crosby and the Sounds of Christmas (NBC) COLOR
Guests: Mary Costa, Robert Goulet, Mitchell Singing Boys, the Crosby family.
Dec. 10, 1972 A Christmas with the Bing Crosbys (NBC) COLOR
Guests: Sally Struthers, David Hartman, the Crosby family.
Dec. 9, 1973 Bing Crosby's Sun Valley Christmas Show (NBC) COLOR
Guests: Michael Landon, Connie Stevens, John Byner, the Crosby family.
Dec. 15, 1974 Christmas with the Bing Crosbys (NBC) COLOR
Guests: Mac Davis, Karen Valentine, the Crosby family.
Dec. 3, 1975 Merry Christmas, Fred, from the Crosbys (CBS) COLOR
Guests: Fred Astaire, the Young Americans, the Crosby family.
Dec. 1, 1976 The Bing Crosby White Christmas Special (CBS) COLOR
Guests: Jackie Gleason, Bernadette Peters, the Crosby family.
Nov. 30, 1977 Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas (CBS) COLOR
Guests: David Bowie, Twiggy, Ron Moody, Stanley Baxter, Trinity Boys Choir, the Crosby family.
Bing's final Christmas TV special, probably his best, was at long last released on DVD in 2010.
Dec. 6, 1978 Bing Crosby -- The Christmas Year (CBS) COLOR
The Crosby family gathers to relive highlights of Bing's TV Christmas specials.