Friday, December 14, 2012

wacky tacky Icons: Boo-Boo-Boo-Bing Crosby

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.

Bing Crosby
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!

"Blue Skies" - Bing Crosby

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.

Another awkward photo of Mr. Tiny
Having not a shred of dignity or shame is a virtue, right?
Mary was convinced that I needed to be in a photo.
The fact that the grave is on a slope offers no measure of
 redemption to the "I'm a school girl with a crush" pose.

"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.

Sorry, I was basically standing in the middle of the street while the car was running and,
never having participated on MySpace, I never mastered the self portrait.

I think I could be happy living there with a few changes.
  I'll take the green roof /shutters and car from the postcard view.

"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


Mr. Tiny


  1. Oh Bing! I'm not a super devout fan either, but I just love him. I love him so. Something about his voice... he's definitely make it to my short list if I had to come up with a list of singers (or talkers for that matter) I'd want to hear until the end of time at the exclusion of all others. Definitely swoon-worthy.

    1. We were just talking about our top 5 female & male vocalists of all time; Bing definitely makes my list!

  2. I adore Bing Crosby. I'm pretty sure anyone who doesn't is tasteless Satan spawn.

    I love the just one eyeball pic in front of his house. Adorable.

    What the heck IS with all the dumpsters? Perhaps they were moving or renovating. I hope.

    1. I'm hoping it was about renovations. However unrealistic, it was disappointing to not see the house exactly as it appeared on the postcard.

  3. Replies
    1. Isn't that the truth? One of the few who could sing the phone book and make it interesting!

  4. I love his Count Your Blessing song and everything about White Christmas! Nice post and I especially dig your grave site photo!

    1. I love that one too! I try to remember it when I forget how fortunate I am.

  5. Perhaps the present owners finally got around to investigating "that one room" and found it to be full of freebies from his years on Kraft Music Hall.

    1. Maybe so. Decades old salad dressing and mayonnaise would still be cool if they had once belonged to Bing.

  6. Love it, we watched Holiday Inn and White Christmas last night. I keep telling my Father In Law he looks like Bing, he kind of sounds like him too and he used to smoke a pipe! My favorite though is his voice in Ichabod Crane.

    1. We just had our own Christmas movie marathon - A Christmas Story, Holiday Inn, and White Christmas. Ichabod is the best; it's my favorite too!

  7. i am familiar with being a person of many obsessions. one of my favorite quotes is by one of my favorite obsessions, John Waters. he said 'life isn't worth living if you're not obsessed", words to live by!
    Also, i would love to live at blue skies trailer village! that gate!

    1. Blue Skies would be a wonderful place to live. Oddly enough, I've always loved mobile homes and they're in the desert!! I love that JW quote; I'm going to use that!

  8. Irreverent, Mr. Tiny you and I would get along famously! Lets go see little Joanie Crawford and leave her some dry cleaning hangers! I agree, the house looks much better with the green roof. Somehow I sort of wish we were still in the days when 'Bingo' and the Sisters Andrews ruled the radio!

    1. Hahahaha!!! You're the only one who mentioned it. As much as I like the guy, he's not above some good natured ribbing about his parenting techniques!