by Everett Crosby
I DON’T know that Bing’s ever said which of the pictures he’s made is his favorite. But I can tell you. There are two. One is “Going My Way.” The other is “Bells Of St. Mary’s.”
Why they’re his favorites is interesting. In the role of Father O’Malley, Bing doesn’t have to make love. He doesn’t like to make love. It embarrasses him. He gets all embarrassed when, in front of a set full of people, he has to go into a clinch. When he does have to, his face looks like a piece of boiled scrod. Actually blushes. He’s always been that way. It’s an old family trait. None of us ever gets demonstrative in front of people.
by Helen Louise Walker
“I’ve had good luck and I wouldn’t change a thing,” says Bing Crosby. “Fate licks some people and takes care of others in spite of themselves.”
IF I had my life to live over again… well, since things have turned out the way they have, I’d be pretty silly if I said I’d try to make them any different. Yet I’d certainly hate to have one of my sons do some of the fool things I did when I was a young squirt! It was plain luck—with some pretty smart people advising me—that saved me from coming a lot of croppers. And I can’t take credit for that! Still, I wouldn’t change anything now. Not the way things are.”
Sober-sided people have been shaking their heads over Bing Crosby and his goings-on practically ever since he can remember, predicting that no good could possibly come of whatever he was up to at the moment. Why ‘way back when he was in his ‘teens and spent the money he had earned picking apples on a down payment for a set of drums instead of a good school suit, folks were pretty impatient with him. But to the amazement of everyone he earned enough money with those drums to buy all his clothes from that time on and to pay his way through preparatory school, besides.
by Liza Wilson
The American Weekly
July 10, 1955
“I was the cryingest baby in Smithton, Pennsylvania,” says Shirley Jones, the talented young singer who plays Laury in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!, recently filmed in Todd-AO process (a new wide angle photographic technique).
“I cried steadily for six years. The neighbors hated me. My mother and Dad were filled with despair. When they took me to doctors in nearby Pittsburgh, those learned men mearly shook their heads. ‘Mrs. Jones,’ they said, ‘you just have a natural born crier.’
“And I was taken home to weep some more. That’s the reason I’m an only child. My parents just couldn’t go through listening to so much racket a second time.”
Clooney The Singer
by Laurie Henshaw
If it hadn’t been for an Italian-American Saxophone player named Antonio Pestritto we might never have heard one of the finest voices to be raised in the postwar popular record market.
You want a number with a beat? Then put on Rosemary’s “Come On-a My House” or “Botch-a-me.” A children’s song perhaps? The try “Me and My Teddy Bear.”
Jazz tunes, love songs, novelties—Rosemary sings them all.
Not long after Jose Ferrer married Rosemary Clooney he had to leave her and go to new York for a series of plays at City Center. This left Rosie singing to herself, and in spite of her husband’s daily phone calls she felt cut off from the world. The wrose was the incht Jose called her from his hotel room. In the background she could hear the piano getting a workout and familiar voices raised in song. Self-pity enveloped Rosemary.
“You’re having fun,” she offered dismally.
“Sure,” said Jose. “Got your family here. Betty and Nicky.”
How The Lane Sisters Rose to Fame
Their devoted mother tells all. A blithe, moving saga of struggle and success.
by Cora B. Lane
March 15, 1939
At seventeen, when I was working on my brother’s newspaper in Indiana, I had one ambition: To become a big-city reporter. So I married and became a small-town housewife. In the course of time, mother of five girls: Leota, Martha, Lola, Rosemary, and Priscilla.
“If you’d just adopt four children,” Rosemary suggested hopefully once, very hopefully, “we’d have a baseball team!”
Told by Cora Mullican (their mother)
The Springfield Sunday Union and Republican
July 2, 1939
Lane Sisters Advanced With Advice, Encouragement and Determination of Their Courageous Mother
Hollywood, July 1–(AP)–The Lane girls grew up, with the counsel and encouragement and skimping of their courageous mother.
Only a mother who has reared a family of five girls in a small mid-western town can understand the courage it takes to face the spoken and implied ridicule of the neighbors and the disapproval of the husband and father, when those girls, with their mother’s blessing, leave home in peruit of theatrical careers.
IRENE DUNNE knows that she can turn on a tune any time she wants to, and that’s probably the reason why she hasn’t been singing before the cameras lately. She realizes that the voice is always there, ready to be used if and when the right musical vehicle comes along. Meanwhile she’s turned comedienne with a vengeance and has turned out a right slick job as a laugh-inducer.
Time was when Irene would talk real rationally on any subject, but nowadays it’s hard to pin her down to a conversation other than that involving little Mary Frances, the adopted child, who has come to rule the Griffin roost. Irene and her husband, Dr. Griffin, had decided on a boy, but when they sajy the lovely blonde young lady with arms outstretched toward them, all was up!
Their new home is run on schedule to suit the newcomer. The time that Miss Dunne has “taken off” to go to the studio lately has been occupied in making “High, Wide and Handsome” with Randy Scott.
by Irene Dunne
A simple nod of the head by a warmhearted stranger changed my life from that of a school teacher to a singer and later an actress.
It happened one summer when I’d gone up to Chicago from my home in Louisville to visit some cousins. I’d finished high school and was intending to go to college that fall prepatory to becoming a teacher.
My cousins told me that the Chicago College of Music was offering scholarships and suggested I try out for one They knew I’d been singing down in Louisville in church choirs and at school affairs.
Since I didn’t know anyone in Chicago who would accompany me, one of the head teachers, Eduardo Sacerdote, offered to play. Neither before nor since have I ever been so nervous. There were the judges sitting there, poker faced, and I imagined–very wrongly, I’m certain–that they looked terribly stern. My heart beat so hard I thought certain they could see the beat coming through my dress. Today I can go into a picture like “Anna and the King of Siam” with confidence, even though I know several million dollars are being gambled on the actors, but that simple song–I’ve even forgotten now what I sang–meant so much to me then. It was the intensity and earnestness of youth that fears disappointments more than does age.
Professor Sacerdote began playing. I folded my hands as I’d been doing in choir and tried not to twist my handkerchief. By the end of a few stanzas, I know my nervousness was showing in my voice. It didn’t have the fullness that it should have.
And then I glanced at Professor Sacerdote and he nodded to me, as much to say, “You’re doing fine.” That was what I needed. The heart slowed down, my voice swelled out–and I got the scholarship.
That was the luckiest day of my life. That nod took me to Broadway and then to Hollywood. And that nod seemed like only yesterday when the Chicago College of Music recently conferred a doctor’s degree on me. If I had had any degrees to give, I would have conferred them all long ago on Professor Sacerdote.
by Irene Dunne
Saturday Evening Post
March 9, 1946
I had to fight hard to get my first role in the movies; the others came without special effort. Maybe that’s why Sabra, in Cimarron, is still my favorite part.
I had a contract with RKO to make one picture. As I left New York, a friend gave me Edna Ferber’s book Cimarron, remarking, “This story is going to be done on your lot.”
Reading the book on the train, I became convinced that the fascinating homespun pioneer woman was just right for me. I’d lived many years in the Middle West, had known simple, unsophisticated woman like Sabra and watched them mature and mellow with the years, as she did. Also, on the stage I’d played the heroine in Show Boat and I thought I knew Miss Ferber’s heroines well.
But RKO had signed me with musical-comedy roles in mind, and the executives didn’t know what to make of it when I showed up with that book under my arm. Cimarron was to be RKO’s big dramatic production of the year, with Richard Dix set to play the male lead. They seemed to think I was mad, yet they gave me a test along with twelve other leading women. Looking over the results, Richard Dix said he liked my work and suggested that we make another test together. When the exciting day came, I was dismayed to find I didn’t have the right kind of hat to wear. Finally I stationed myself outside the studio gate, watching women walk in, and, when at last a little old lady who made wigs came along wearing just the hat I had in mind, I persuaded her to lend it to me. Presently I had the part.
Well, there’s no experience quite like making your first picture–you have that beautiful flush then. I lost myself completely in being Sabra; I couldn’t have told you where the camera was. The height of the unforgettable experience was the scene where Sabra stands before the townspeople and thanks them for electing her to Congress. I’ve never used a diologue coach, but I wanted so much to make the superb speech effective that with my husband, Dr Frank Griffin, I practiced it over and over in our living room.
If Cimarron had failed, I probably would never have made another picture. One reason it won the Academy Award is that Sabra is one of the greatest roles ever written for a woman.