Network Radio Series
Network radio series that either starred or regularly featured Bing Crosby:
- OLD GOLD PRESENTS PAUL WHITEMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA (1929-1930)
Bing is a featured member of the greater Whiteman organization.
- BING CROSBY – THE CREMO SINGER (1931-1932)
- MUSIC THAT SATISFIES – (1933)
- THE MAKERS OF WOODBURY FACIAL SOAP PRESENT BING CROSBY – (1933-1935)
- THE KRAFT MUSIC HALL – (1935-1946) Crosby’s most famous series.
- PHILCO RADIO TIME – (1946-1949) Network radio’s first prerecorded series.
- THE BING CROSBY SHOW FOR CHESTERFIELD – (1949-1952)
- THE BING CROSBY SHOW FOR GENERAL ELECTRIC – (1952-1954)
- THE BING CROSBY SHOW – (1954-1956) Fifteen-minute daily series.
- THE FORD ROAD SHOW – (1957-1958) Five-minute daily series.
- THE CROSBY-CLOONEY SHOW – (1960-1962) Twenty-minute daily series.
Radio brought the voice and personality of Bing Crosby into the American home during some very turbulent and transitional years. He captivated listeners during the Great Depression, WWII, the Korean & Cold Wars, and that space-age “brief shining moment” when the hopeful world of Camelot co-existed with the local neighborhood basement fallout shelter. The postwar changes in music and the arrival of television also had great impact on entertainment in general and Bing’s career specifically, but he survived them all, even if his radio career finally succumbed in the early 1960s. For almost every other radio star it had happened a decade earlier.
Of course, radio had changed drastically by this time. With television serving as the public’s primary source of entertainment, radio became the domain of the disc jockey. Stations supplied a non-stop backdrop of a given musical format – i.e. “Rock”, “Easy Listening”, “Classical”, etc. Disc jockeys were nothing new; they’d been around since the beginning of radio, and even in this realm, it’s important to note Bing Crosby’s all-encompassing historical role. Edward J. Smith, associate editor of Musical Digest Magazine, published statistics in the 1940s stating that of the 80,000 hours spent broadcasting recorded music over the nation’s radio outlets, more than HALF of those hours were devoted to the playing of Bing Crosby records. Many of these Crosby spins were to be heard during deejay “Crosby shows”, wherein Bing’s records would be played in local programs of 15 minutes to an hour’s length, on several stations in any given radio market – a truly remarkable, yet often unacknowledged phenomenon.
Bing’s acceptance on radio, both in his own programs and in the great frequency with which his records were played, was due to the fact that he had created a persona that relied not only upon his unique attributes as a highly uncommon and distinctive “Everyman”, but also upon his canny understanding of the ways in which his vocal skills were particularly suited to the magic of the microphone. Radio, along with movies and records, supplied the means by which Bing Crosby could, and did, become the most popular and beloved entertainer the world had ever known.
History has a tendency to pigeonhole memorable performers, to create a set of familiar clichés so as to more easily place these performers in a convenient, if over-simplified historical context. One of these clichés was the description of Bing Crosby as one whose role was to soothe, to relax his audiences into a state of pleasant lethargy in the face of the world’s problems. This does history, and Crosby, a disservice: Bing Crosby came to the American airwaves in the early 1930s on the vanguard of a new and excitingly different way to make music. He thrilled his fans, excited both male and female listeners, and inspired a generation of future singers to take up the trade. Bing created excitement and anticipation for his every professional move. Millions of radio listeners crowned him the virtual king of the airwaves, and became devotedly and enduringly enchanted by his every radiophonic utterance. For them, radio was Bing, and Bing was radio.