BING CROSBY HOLIDAY FILM FESTIVAL Schedule
10:30 a.m. White Christmas
1 p.m. Riding High
3:30 p.m. Holiday Inn
6 p.m. live music by Howard Crosby
and Hot Club of Spokane
8 p.m. White Christmas
The 12th Annual Bing Crosby Holiday Film Festival will be held on Saturday, Dec 9, 2017, featuring some of the best loved films of Spokane’s own Bing Crosby, along with a gallery of photos of the famous entertainer and a special live musical performance by Howard Crosby (son of Bing Crosby’s brother Ted) and Spokane’s own Hot Club of Spokane, featuring music from the Crosby era.
The non-profit Bing Crosby Advocates (BCA) presents the festival at the Bing Crosby Theater at Sprague and Lincoln in downtown Spokane each December as part of the community’s celebration of the holiday season. It was at this theater, then known as the Clemmer, that a young Bing Crosby began his career by performing skits in between the silent films shown there. The theater was renamed for him in 2006.
Tickets for the festival are $10 each and are good for the entire day’s events. Tickets are available at the door only (no advance sales) and must be purchased by check or cash (no credit/debit cards). Children age 12 and under will be admitted free.
More information is available at BingCrosbyAdvocates.org.
Of special note this year is the first-time showing of the 1950 film Riding High. The film is near and dear to the hearts of the Bing Crosby Advocates (BCA) because, in addition to being a film that gives Bing the opportunity to ride a horse, something he loved to do, but because it was directed by the famous Frank Capra, father-in-law of Carol Capra, BCA board member who was married to the director’s son Tom Capra, 1963-1987.
Frank Capra had made such noted films as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), It Happened One Night (1934) and Arsenic and Old Lace (1944).
“Frank was too fiercely independent for the Hollywood establishment, and after World War II had a hard time finding work,” Carol Capra said. “In his autobiography he said he believed had it not been for pressure from Bing, Paramount would have kept him out of work for years ‘as proper punishment for leading the maverick rebel directors.’ Paramount agreed to make the movie because it could not say no to Bing, its biggest star.”
Bill Stimson, BCA president, noted that Frank Capra promised to make the film at a fraction of the usual cost, shooting some of the music sequences live, no sound stage or dubbing, just a camera rolling as Bing sang. “The result is an unusual view of Bing improvising with music and hamming it up, as he often did at parties for friends, but not on screen.”
Doors open at 10 a.m. The festival begins with the 10:30 a.m. showing of Bing Crosby’s traditional beloved holiday film White Christmas (1954), Riding High (1950) shows at 1 p.m. Holiday Inn (1942) shows at 3:30 p.m.
At 6 p.m. Bing’s nephew Howard Crosby will give a live performance of beloved Bing Crosby songs and local jazz, swing and blues musicians Hot Club of Spokane will play favorites from the Bing Crosby era. And at 8 p.m. the festival concludes with a repeat showing of the classic White Christmas.
Bing Crosby Advocates is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining the legacy of Bing Crosby and helping preserve the Crosby House Museum and the historic theater where the world-famous entertainer began his show business career. The organization accepts donations to help continue its work, which includes the annual Bing Crosby Holiday Film Festival. For information, visit BingCrosbyAdvocates.org