With Game Conductor Ralph Edwards
Q: This is quite an honor, Bing, having you opposite our Photoplay microphone. If my wire could only see me now! Tell me . . . how does one go ahout acquiring the gentle art of crooning such as yours?
A: Nothing to it. Just open your mouth to the letter “B” and begin. If you can’t remember the lyrics or the tune… just whistle.
Q: I’ve tried that . . . and what do I get? Three Beverly Hills St. Bernards, a dachshund, two French poodles . . . even Lassie comes home. Tell me, Bing, who’s your favorite leading lady?
A: Joan Fontaine, Dorothy Lamour, Joan Caulfield, Rhonda Fleming, Joan Fontaine—need I go on?
You’ve gone much too far already so take the consequence. Show how you’d register nerves on the screen.
Q: What other business would you like to he in?
A: Have no ideas along that line. Very lazy, generally.
O: We should all he so lazy. Do you consider yourself Hollywood’s best businessman as has often been reputed? Do you make as much money as Hope accuses you of making?
A: I’m a very bad businessman. Lucky at times, gross a lot of money, net nothing in the last few years. No complaints, have enjoyed it.
Q: Do you still have any race horses or any racing interests?
A: I am still in partnership with Lin Howard. We raise about fifteen colts a year, for sale.
Q: Speaking of horses, here’s an easy one: Why does a horse get up front feet first?
A: Beats me. Used to be surprised when some of mine got up at all.
Because that’s the mane end, of course. So you’ll have to take a consequence.
(Bing has to pose as a jockey while Edwards applies the whip.)
Q: Is it true that you plan to settle on a farm in Pennsylvania when you retire?
A: Not true. No plans to retire. Too many obligations, financial and otherwise, to make it possible.
Q: How did you happen to get into the production end of the business, Bing, particularly with “The Great John L.”?
A: My brother Everett made some figures on a napkin one evening while having dinner with some gentlemen—in ink, unfortunately.
Q: Who gets head family billing in the Hope-Crosby company when you’re partners in productions like “Road to Rio”?
A: My brothers are vice-presidents in charge of watching the exchequer—Hope’s brothers are vice-presidents in charge of watching them.
Q: What’s this I hear about your going to England ? What pictures are you going to do and when?
A: Have a commitment to do a picture for J. Arthur Rank at some future date, when a suitable story is found.
Q: Have you been presented to Great Britain’s First Family?
A: No, and I probably never will after the way Hope libeled me, telling His Majesty I sighed with X’s in Princess Elizabeth’s autograph book. That signature belonged to Groucho Marx. But that’s what happens when Barrel Beak goes without his spectacles. Getting on, you know.
Q: Bob Hope seems to be always kidding you about your age and vice versa. What difference in birthday candles, if I may ask?
A: You may . . . but sportsmanship prevents an answer. (As a consequence Bing blindfolded had to demonstrate the golf technique that defeats Bob Hope. What he didn’t know was that Ralph had substituted fresh eggs for golf balls to provide a smashing stroke.)
Q: I understand that oldest son of yours has a very good voice. Do you think Gary will follow in your vocal-steps?
A: Gary could well be a singer. He has good intonation and rhythm now.
Q: Are the other boys musically inclined ?
A: The twins have decided they aren’t. Recently shipped their cornets up to the band at Bellarmine Prep School, which Gary attends, to be put to more fruitful use. But they’re a big help on harmony in the quartet the boys whip up whenever the stakes are high enough.
Q: What’s with your youngster? Seems to me I’ve heard a lot about him.
A: Lindsay’s the other ham in the family. Dixie and I refer to him as “The Genius.” He’s a pretty sharp little operator; usually manages to upstage and get the best lines. The other boys don’t relish sharing a show with him any more and for that matter neither do I.
Q: How about giving us other parents a helpful hint about what disciplinary measures you use?
A: Relatively few now. I find myself getting increasingly tolerant the larger they get. Gary now weighs 170 pounds.
Q: What ambitions do you have for them? What would vou like them to do?
A: Just hope they have sportsmanship, good taste, wit and humility. That they’re religious but not ostentatiously so.
Q: Is it true that you swing a far superior golf club to Hope’s?
A: Well, I wouldn’t say that, but it’s nice that you have.
Q: Truthfully, how does Hope’s game compare with yours? What are your respective handicaps?
A: Bob is a five handicap, I am a three. If we bet he makes me give him five shots when two is right. He has beaten me even but this would be the exception rather than the rule.
Q: What’s the biggest fish you ever caught ?
A: 288-pound Marlin, 211-pound tuna, 15 1/2-pound rainbow.
Q: Name your favorite singer and tell why.
A: Ella Fitzgerald. Just like her style and voice timbre.
Q: Why do you object to doing live radio shows?
A: No objection to doing live shows. Transcribed are more convenient and the opportunity to edit the shows assures good quality.
Q: Whom do you credit with being the most help in your success?
A: Leo McCarey.
Q: Were you surprised when you won an Academy Award?
A: Thought Alexander Knox would get it for “Wilson” and he should have.
Q: What picture have you enjoyed making most?
A: “The Emperor Waltz.” Shot part of it right in the middle of happy hunting and fishing grounds—Jasper Park, Canada. Also was handy to golf course.
Q: Other thespians are always talking about your ease before the camera and mike. Is it true that you’re strictly a one-take man, Bing?
A: Sound man on “Emperor Waltz” could challenge that bitterly. You should have been around when we recorded “The Yodel Song.” That was a deathless thing. Strictly artiste stuff.
Q: What do you personally consider your worst fault?
A: My unrestrained appetite.
Q: What about a good trait?
A: (Bing takes a consequence that backfired. As “Connecticut Yankee” in King Arthur’s Court, he demonstrates ability as an archer, choosing Edwards as a target.)
Q: What’s the biggest mistake you ever made?
A: Made a million of them. Can’t recall the biggest. (Bing takes a consequence … he has to pose for a picture and take it himself.)
Q: Whom do you consider Hollywood’s best-dressed man? What’s your favorite color?
A: Gary Cooper. Blue.
Q: Then why are you always wearing those loud red shirts?
A: Just grab what’s on the closest hook. Also, I’m color blind.
Q: What do you think of the new styles—for ladies, that is?
A: The ladies, heaven help them, are at the mercy of the couturiers and the husbands must pay.
Q: Do you have any collections, Bing? What souvenir do you value most?
A: Collect pictures of my family and my pals, of horses, mounted fish I’ve caught. Top souvenirs: Picture with the late General Patton and Eisenhower’s autograph on a plain scrap of brown paper that says: “Dwight D. Eisenhower—in memory of Hominy Grits.”
Q: You can’t be as casual as some think. What about that prevalent idea that you don’t have a nerve in your body?
A: I guess I have as many nerves as any normal person. Try to control them.
Q: What could worry you?
A: Lots of things. My health, my family’s health, my future, our sons’ future, the world’s future. Anyone who doesn’t worry in these times must be numb. But I still sleep eight hours.