As part of a recent blog award, I was asked with what am I currently obsessed. I'm so scattered and excessive in my obsessions, I never figured that I could only be obsessed with just one thing. My life is lived in a veritable "hyperbolic chamber" and I love and am obsessed with everything! One particular obsession never occurred to me until I was going through the thousands of pictures stored on my computer; a suspiciously-recurring theme amongst the photographs made me realize that I was stalking a dead man.
May 3, 1903 - October 14, 1977
I don't have all of his records. I haven't seen all of his films. I don't "collect" Bing Crosby lobby cards or posters. Neither have I read nor seen a biography on this master of melody . Yet somehow, subconsciously I have found myself slightly obsessed with Der Bingle. As a singer myself, I know that it all started with the music.
|"San Fernando Valley"|
One of my favorite selections from my collection of sheet music.
"San Fernando Valley" - Bing Crosby
Sorry SFV residents, I LOVE the song much more than the actual valley...
I'm sure my first exposure to Crosby was as the narrator to the "Sleepy Hollow" segment of Walt Disney's The Adventures of Icahbod and Mr. Toad, which I have shared on more than one occasion on this blog. If not Ichabod, then it was easily through the holiday classic, White Christmas. Bing has an undeniable charm and charisma in his ability to put a song over. He can be bluesy, swinging, or refined. Not only is his voice incredible, but his style is unique and his tone is mellow and welcoming. I guess that is why I like him well enough to break into Blue Skies Trailer Village, the Rancho Mirage trailer park he founded in 1955 (along with some other Hollywood notables).
|Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, er...Mary showing the lawn jockey |
who's boss on Bing Crosby Rd in Blue Skies Trailer Village.
|The gate at Blue Skies Village|
That's Der Bingle's silhouette!
Now, truthfully, there really isn't anything particularly wacky or tacky about old Bing, the exceptions being the "Road" films with Bob Hope and some less-than-flattering reports about his parenting skills. However, I figure that if I, the self-appointed arbiter of wacky tacky, deem him worthy of obsession and icon status, then indeed he is. So worthy, in fact, that it was of the utmost importance to find his grave.
|An unassuming marker for the grave of one of the most popular recording artists of the 20th Century|
Some people leave flowers. Some people leave notes. Some people leave coins.
I was tempted to leave a sack of oranges - irreverent.
"You're Getting to be a Habit with Me" - Bing Crosby
It is nice to have the opportunity to visit a star where he rests but it is even better to have the opportunity to see where he lived. As we bummed around the very same San Fernando Valley about which Mr. Crosby so wonderfully sang, I decided that we needed to find his house.
|Bing Crosby's house as it appeared in the 30's|
|The Crosby Estate as it appears in 2012. Not really worse for 80 years of wear, but I doubt |
Old Man Crosby would've kept so many cars and dumpsters in the front yard.
"Changes" - Bing Crosby
Obviously, there are far bigger and more devout fans than I, but when I am forced to confront my idolatry, I must admit that I really am a huge fan of Bing Crosby. Vocalists who are gifted in the storytelling aspect of singing are my favorite; whether it was a tender lullaby about counting your blessings or a western tune about a range-riding cowboy not wanting to be fenced in, Bing was a consummate storyteller.
"Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" - Bing Crosby
"Don't Fence Me In" - Bing Crosby with Patty, LaVerne, and Maxene, The Andrews Sisters
Any cowboy tune (even one penned by Cole Porter) couldn't exhibit the entire story behind my regard for Bing. I honestly get a sense of peace and a lot of joy out of old Crosby's crooning - especially at this time of year. For me, Bing Crosby is the sound of the holiday season. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas at our house without his holiday album on repeat.
"Mele Kalikimaka" - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
"Jingle Bells" - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
"The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth" Bing Crosby & David Bowie
"White Christmas" - Bing Crosby
I hope that wherever you are, and however you celebrate, you are bolstered by the love of family and friends and good, old-timey music!
Blue Skies Trailer Village
70260 Hwy 111
Rancho Mirage, CA
Bing Crosby's Grave
Holy Cross Mortuary
5835 W Slauson Ave
Culver City, CA
Bing Crosby Estate
10500 Camarillo St
Toluca Lake, CA