Bing’s Biographer In Spokane

Gary Giddins, the author of a major biography of Bing Crosby, will be in Spokane for several appearances on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Giddins will make a major speech about Bing at Bing’s alma matter, Gonzaga University. The speech at the Hemmingson Center on the GU campus, will trace the story of Bing’s rise from his start in Spokane to a world figure.

The speech, at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public .

Giddins will also speak and answer questions  from 2-4  p.m. on Nov. 1 at the Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane. He will sign copies of the just released Bing biography.

Giddins is touring the country publicizing the second volume of the biography, Swinging On A Star, the story of Bing from 1940 to 1946. This is the era when Bing made the movies “Going My Way” and “Bells of St. Mary’s” which reflect Bing’s own childhood in the heavily Catholic neighborhood around Gonzaga.

2018 Christmas Festival

Featured

Dec. 8 All Day

BING CROSBY HOLIDAY FILM FESTIVAL IS SATURDAY, DEC. 8, 2018

                                                 11:30 a.m.       White Christmas

                                                 2 p.m.               Pennies from Heaven

                                                 4 p.m.               Road to Zanzibar

                                                 6 p.m.               Howard Crosby and Hot Club

                 

                                                 8 p.m.               White Christmas

The 13th Annual Bing Crosby Holiday Film Festivalwill be held on Saturday, Dec 8, 2018, featuring some of the best loved films of Spokane’s own Bing Crosby, along with a gallery of photos of the famous entertainer, film clips of him entertaining the troops in WWII 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 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 yearis the first-time showing at the festival of the 1936 film Pennies from Heaven, in which the title song – a Depression Era favorite – emerged to top the music charts for 10 weeks. The film  — the story of a singer wrongly imprisoned who promises a condemned fellow inmate that he will help the family of his victim — was the first non-studio/independent film Bing Crosby produced on his own. He chose an old friend, Louis Armstrong, to appear in it and demanded, despite protests at the time, that Armstrong receive top billing, the first African American to break that barrier in Hollywood.

“It is nice to know that the two men were friends for the rest of their lives,” said Bill Stimson, BCA president. “As a matter of fact, Louis Armstrong, along with Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra, donated their services to perform in a TV special that produced the funding for a new library at Gonzaga University, Bing’s alma mater.”

In celebration of the release this fall of a new book by Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddens – Bing Crosby, Swinging on a Star, The War Years, 1940-1946– in between events at the festival, film clips and photos will be shown on screen of Bing Crosby entertaining the troops in Europe during World War II. “Bing was heavily involved in armed forces radio during the war, and no one did more to entertain soldiers than Bing Crosby,” said Stimson.

Doors open at 10:30 a.m. The festival begins with the 11:30 a.m. showing of Bing Crosby’s traditional beloved holiday film White Christmas(1954). Pennies from Heavenshows at 2 p.m. Road to Zanzibar (1941) – a classic Road film featuring Bing and Bob Hope, with Dorothy Lamour as the love interest — shows at 4 p.m.

At 6 p.m. Bing’s nephew Howard Crosby will give a live performance of his Uncle Bing’s 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 dona-

     tions to help continue its work, which includes the annual Bing Crosby Holiday Film Festival. For information, visit BingCrosbyAdvocates.org