Tuesday, December 3, 2013

1950s Bing Crosby Christmas Shows

1961 was the year Bing started his annual TV Christmas hours but he had been hosting holiday celebrations on radio for decades.

Here's Bing's 1950 Christmas show on CBS, this was in the waning days of radio entertainment. Guests are his drunken wife Dixie Lee and their kids, a tradition he carried over to TV - but with a different family. At least these kids had talent.

This is a musical trip through the traditional Christmas carols performed with large choruses in the more heavy-handed orchestral style that was prevalent in the 1930s and 1940s.

Bing's 1954 Christmas celebration starts out with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Note the lighter touch in the arrangements compared with just a few years earlier but it's still a very low key event, maudlin even.

 Here's a bright, much more fun 1961 Bing Crosby CBS radio special broadcast on Christmas Eve 1961 wherein Der Bingle sings his holiday hits for the folks at home and the troops overseas. This wonderful almost-hour will surely fill you with the spirit of the holiday with exuberant, brassy arrangements of your favorite carols performed in the more 'modern' style that took hold in the 1960s and died out in the mid-1970s.

Jo Stafford is a guest, she's one of the greatest (and most unusual) singers of the era. Also along are Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. No Crosby Christmas special would be complete without Bing's wife, in this case Katherine.

Watch LOTS more TV Christmas Specials in the
TVparty! Retro-Holiday Explosion!