By Leonard Maltin
No entertainer is more associated with Christmas than Bing Crosby, who introduced Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. His recording of the song remains the best-selling single of all time which, along with constant showings of the 1954 movie White Christmas, keeps the star in the public eye (and ear). His rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” has even made its way onto Billboard’s Top 100 chart this month, currently resting at #71. A recent installment of PBS’ American Masters has reinforced interest in all things Bing.
There is no shortage of new Crosby product, including a new DVD collection from Universal called Bing Crosby: The Silver Screen Collection, featuring 24 vintage titles, a DVD of the American Masters show with a host of bonus material. Four new CDs are available as well: an expanded 60th anniversary version of Some Fine Old Chestnuts, a selection of standards with Crosby and his longtime accompanist Buddy Cole, and a similar refreshing of Songs I Wish I Had Sung the First Time Around, another 1950s Decca album has liner notes from Der Bingle himself, explaining his choices of tunes associated with such stars as Al Jolson, Rudy Vallee, and even Bob Hope. There is a soundtrack CD from American Masters and a new compilation of Bing Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook to enjoy.
And if you like to listen to seasonal music during the next week, you can hear vintage Bing Crosby Christmas radio shows nonstop at www.bingcrosby.com.
The best part, for Crosby fans like me, is that the material is being presented with such great care. All the music has been remastered from original source material (which Bing owned and preserved) and sounds like it was recorded this morning. My longtime friend Robert S. Bader serves as executive producer on these projects and his perfectionism is evident in each release.
The same is true for a fine new 5-CD boxed set from Mosaic Records featuring Bing’s frequent singing partner Rosemary Clooney. This library of vocal gems, recorded between 1955 and 1961, was also nicely preserved in the Crosby archives. You can hear a sample at www.mosaicrecords.com.
I never tire of listening to Bing Crosby, and it’s a pleasure to know that his legacy endures through Christmas and beyond.