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PBS Documentary To Reveal Unseen Side Of Jazz Legend Bing Crosby


Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby is about to receive a tribute of the documentary variety with PBS’ upcoming series Bing Crosby: Rediscovered. The doc aims to introduce a new generation to the many sides of the pop and jazz icon. In a heartbeat, Crosby went from a meticulous musician to a  media master, to a generous philanthropist. But he had his less than admirable moments too – according to those who knew him, he was notoriously difficult with his family. Even so, after his death, his family wanted to pay their respects – in as public a way as possible, apparently.

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Mariah Carey Sings 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' On Jimmy Fallon; Plus, Our Top 5 Christmas Songs


Mariah Carey Leigh Francis The Darkness George Michael The Pogues Kirsty Mccoll David Bowie Bing Crosby

Mariah Carey ruddy loves reminding us that she sang one of the best known Christmas pop songs of all time. Just in case her original version of 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' wasn’t played enough around this time of year as it was, she also decided to pop up wearing a really quite short Santa’s outfit alongside then 17 year-old Justin Bieber in re-do of the song last year.

So we were pretty firmly on Carey watch this year, just waiting to see when she’d pop up to offer yet another ‘fresh’ update on her ubiquitous track. And it happened with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots in tow. In fairness, the chat show host sort of asked for it; he was going to perform a version of the song anyway with rappers The Roots in tow on toy instruments. Trust Carey to want to get in on the act though; sure enough, after the slow intro, there she was in a red dress, admittedly still hitting the notes and taking center stage as the rest of them played amiably behind her. Reports that she’d rushed off soon after the show because her senses had picked up a family in the Tulsa region about to get going on their own karaoke version of the song in their living room remain unsubstantiated.

Check out Carey join Fallon and The Roots below; then scroll down to see our own festive top 5.

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Official UK Singles Charts Celebrates 60 Years: Who Was No.1 In 1952?


Bing Crosby Al Martino Vera Lynn

Happy 60th birthday, the UK Singles Chart! Yes, today (November 14, 2012) marks six decades since music publication the NME published the first ever chart of the biggest selling tracks in the country. In 2012 the relevancy of such a chart is becoming increasingly moot, with the advent of iTunes and subsequent integration of digital track sales with physical meaning that any track off an album can feasibly rise to the top of the pile, whilst music piracy and streaming has severely impacted the standalone commercial quality of just one single. Many singles are now used mere promotional tools for the subsequent album, or given a video to boost an act’s profile. Yet with Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’ currently the biggest selling single in the UK this year, with over 1.14 million downloads alone, it’s clear that the chart isn’t done as a force just yet.

As the Official Charts site itself writes, one of the founders of the New Musical Express, Percy Dickins, constructed the first chart by phoning 20 record shops up and down the country and tallying up their best-selling singles, the first ever chart seeing American crooner Al Martino going to the head of the pile with his hit ‘Here In My Heart’. The debut single for Martino, it was also to prove as good as it got for him on UK shores, and after 1955’s ‘The Man From Laramie’ he had to wait another five years for another top 50 hit there.

The Official UK Single Chart, Noveber 14, 1952

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Road to Rio Review


Good
In Road to Rio, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour appear in their fifth "Road" picture with Road to Rio closing out the 1940s and the dependable series, after which there were only a few minor flare-ups in the next 15 years (Road to Bali in 1952 and the final Road to Hong Kong in 1962).

Road to Rio stands apart from the other "Road" films as having the most eclectic mix of film, radio, and recording celebrities and references. Where other "Road" films concern themselves with cinematic deconstruction (Road to Utopia, Road to Bali) and others are mired in B-movie plot development (Road to Singapore, Road to Zanzibar), this "Road" proceeds more like a variety show within a flimsy extended sketch comedy framework.

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The Road To Rio Review


Good
In The Road To Rio, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour appear in their fifth "Road" picture with The Road To Rio closing out the 1940s and the dependable series, after which there were only a few minor flare-ups in the next 15 years (The Road To Bali in 1952 and the final The Road To Hong Kong in 1962).

The Road To Rio stands apart from the other "Road" films as having the most eclectic mix of film, radio, and recording celebrities and references. Where other "Road" films concern themselves with cinematic deconstruction (The Road To Utopia, The Road To Bali) and others are mired in B-movie plot development (The Road To Singapore, The Road To Zanzibar), this "Road" proceeds more like a variety show within a flimsy extended sketch comedy framework.

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The Country Girl Review


Good
Musical dramas are rarities, but this theatrical melodrama succeeds better than perhaps it ought to, thanks to its three stellar stars.

Bing Crosby plays Frank Elgin, a washed-up actor who's since bottomed out as a severe alcoholic. His wife (Grace Kelly) spends day and night caring for him, and she's gone to seed because of it. Along comes Bernie Dodd (William Holden), a director who's willing to give Frank a shot at a comeback if he sobers up for the big show... but there are obstacles in the way and skeletons galore in the closets.

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Robin and the 7 Hoods Review


Weak
The legend of Robin Hood gets a curious and not entirely successful updating with Frank Sinatra's Robin and the 7 Hoods, with Sinatra taking the role of a 1930s gangster in Chicago -- at least an alternate-universe version sans Al Capone.

Sinatra plays a low-level gangster named Robbo, and his band of merry men (with usuals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., plus a cryptically cast Bing Crosby) battles the malicious big-time hood Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk, quite funny here). Things aren't going so well until Robbo comes across $50 grand he refuses to accept. He ends up donating the money to charity -- and suddenly, the legend of Robin Hood, who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, is born.

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Road to Morocco Review


Excellent
Widely considered the best of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope's "Road to..." collaborations (this was #3 out of 7 in total), Road to Morocco is indeed a very funny movie that shows off Hope and Crosby at their best. Hope shines above all as the funnier of two wisecracking sailors who wash up ashore in Morocco, only to have Crosby sell Hope into slavery. (Yes, it's funny!) Only Hope turns out to be marrying a local princess... and then there's a nasty turn in store for both of them. It's a funny and dark look at friendship and love... and of course, any excuse to crack a joke. Watch for Hope doing double duty as Crosby's ghostly/dream-sequence aunt.

Going My Way Review


OK
What's the point of this? Unsure, but in 1944 Bing Crosby dancing and prancing -- as a priest -- must have been a welcome respite from the War. Best Picture? Wow. They had cynics back then, didn't they? Father O'Malley (Crosby) prefers a baseball jersey to his priest's cloth, but more than anything the man loves to sing. Countless excuses (including an urchin's boys' choir) arise to allow for said singing, despite the curmudeonly oversight of Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald). Other sappy movies of the era (It's a Wonderful Life comes to mind) have held up over the years. Going My Way, sadly, has not.

That's Entertainment! Review


Good
Like no other industry, Hollywood has the unique ability to celebrate itself. That's Entertainment! is nothing but the unabashed patting of itself on the back, but damn if it isn't a film that's as important as any other.

That's Entertainment! -- which would spawn two sequels and another DVD of extras (available on the box set, see right) -- is more accurately a celebration of MGM and its legacy of movie musicals. Shot in 1974, the film takes us on a tour of MGM's then-sprawling backlot (which was torn down shortly thereafter), radically contrasting the dilapidated sets with the films that were originally shot on them. Stars like Sinatra, Astaire, Crosby, Kelly, Minnelli, and Reynolds (Debbie, not Burt) are our tour guides, hosting us on our walkthrough the back lot and introducing the clips of past films starring themselves and their friends.

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