Tracking Crosby’s emergence from malaise in the 1940s

By Wendy Smith | Washington Post

It’s been almost 18 years since the publication of “Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams,” Gary Giddins’ intelligent and formidably well-informed biography covering the entertainer’s life from his birth in 1903 through the film that launched his mega-grossing partnership with Bob Hope (“The Road to Singapore,” 1940). “Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star” was worth the wait.

As in the first volume, Giddins makes Crosby’s career the framework for an astute account of broad shifts in the radio, record and movie industries. Crosby was a big star in 1940, but his fame was on another level by 1946. Giddins traces his trajectory across this eventful half-decade in a densely packed, sometimes excessively detailed narrative.

Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-1946, by Gary Giddins. Little, Brown

He begins with a snapshot of the troubled Crosby marriage in 1940, describing an evening when Bing came home from work on “The Road to Zanzibar” to find his wife, Dixie, drunkenly berating their four young sons. The marriage fell into a grim pattern during the World War II years: Dixie was mostly drunk; Bing was mostly gone. It didn’t help that Crosby’s personality – “impatient with introspection … stoic, manly, rarely nostalgic, never sentimental, and often flippant”- was poorly suited to dealing with a fragile spouse. Crosby twice considered divorce during this period, but each time was dissuaded by a priest; he had been raised and remained a devout Catholic.

Crosby was determined to end his relationship with “Kraft Music Hall,” the popular weekly radio program he hosted. It took five years to extricate himself, but during that time, he used his clout to get the show reduced from an hour to 30 minutes and began a long battle that would eventually transform radio from a live medium to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


TV tonight: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ recalls lost loved ones on Day of the Dead

TV picks for Thursday, Nov. 1

NFL football, Raiders at 49ers (5 p.m., Fox; NFL Network): Ugh. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Loads of preseason excitement has given way to disappointment and exasperation in the Bay Area. These rivals come in with only two wins (and 13 losses) between them. It’s a game that almost no one outside Northern California probably cares about (pity, poor Fox). But if nothing else, Bay Area bragging rights are at stake in what could very well be the last meeting between locally based NFL teams. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman call the action.

“Grey’s Anatomy” (8 p.m., ABC): Uh-oh. Just a warning: Tonight’s episode — “Flowers Grow Out of My Grave” — could bring on some water works. Meredith has a patient whose family is celebrating Day of the Dead, which makes the doctors remember loved ones they have lost. On other fronts, Richard shares unexpected news with Meredith about her father, Thatcher. Meanwhile, Teddy tries to tell Owen that she is pregnant but they get sidetracked, and Jo encourages Link to pursue one of the doctors.

“Will & Grace” (9 p.m., NBC): Tonight’s episode is both hilarious — and moving. When Grace joins her father (guest star Robert Klein) on a road trip, a secret from her past is finally revealed, causing father and daughter to address something that will change their relationship forever. Meanwhile, Will, Karen and Jack celebrate Jack’s engagement at a gay bar run by legendary drag queen Miss Coco Peru (Clinton Leupp). When it’s revealed that Jack has chosen both of them to be his best man, Will and Karen have a lip-sync monologue throw-down to determine who truly deserves the coveted title.

“S.W.A.T.” (10 p.m., CBS): The SWAT team tries to determine the next diamond dealer to be robbed …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Word Game: Nov. 1, 2018

TODAY’S WORD — BURDENS (BURDENS: BER-dens: Sources of great worry or stress; weights.)

Average mark 20 words

Time limit 30 minutes

Can you find 27 or more words in BURDENS? The list will be published tomorrow.

YESTERDAY’S WORD — APTERYX aery aper apex arty pare part party pate payer pear peat pert prate pray prey pyre tape taper tare tarp taxer tear teary trap tray trey type extra rape rapt rate reap repay yare year

To purchase the Word Game book, visit Order it now for just $5 while supplies last!


1. Words must be of four or more letters.

2. Words that acquire four letters by the addition of “s,” such as “bats” or “dies,” are not allowed.

3. Additional words made by adding a “d” or an “s” may not be used. For example, if “bake” is used, “baked” or “bakes” are not allowed, but “bake” and “baking” are admissible.

4. Proper nouns, slang words, or vulgar or sexually explicit words are not allowed.

Contact Word Game creator Kathleen Saxe at

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Horoscopes: Nov. 1, 2018

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Toni Collette, 46; Jenny McCarthy, 46; Anthony Kiedis, 56; Lyle Lovett, 61.

Happy Birthday: Stay centered. A steady pace and a nonchalant attitude will help you channel your energy in a constructive manner that will help you build an environment that suits you. Let go of the past, and don’t labor over what others do. The ability to walk away from controversy will be what leads to your success and happiness. Choose wisely and win. Your numbers are 8, 19, 24, 26, 34, 37, 44.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Don’t look for trouble. Spend time getting things done, not complaining about what others are doing. A passionate approach to whoever you help or whatever you pursue will be what impresses others the most. Address your feelings before you make a personal change. 5 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Instead of making a fuss, make a change. If you don’t like something, it’s up to you to act. Anger solves little, but making a decision and putting an end to what isn’t working will make a difference. 2 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Make some adjustments at home that will add to your convenience. Do something that will change the way others view you. Update your qualifications, image or attitude to reflect greater professionalism as well as compassion and cooperation. 4 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Stick close to home, and don’t take a risk that could lead to the loss of a friend, money or a deal that could leave you in jeopardy. Playing it safe will ease stress and ensure better days ahead. 3 stars

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): An emotional incident will bring about change. Try not to overreact or you may not be thrilled with the outcome. Look for a better way to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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