tv Bing Crosby and American Culture CSPAN September 2, 2017 4:40pm-5:00pm EDT
"the presidency" the friendship between president hoover and truman. andhey both had roots farming communities, they had known hardship and self-reliance. they were transformed by the conflagration of world war i and lived in the shadow of franklin d. roosevelt. >> monday, the 1967 detroit riots. >> we prefer to think about it as a rebellion. all the energy that went into that moment had long been predicted. for somed been begging remedy for housing discrimination, police brutality, economic devastation. that cannot be understood as chaotic. it was a rebellion. three-day labor day weekend on american history tv on c-span3.
singer bing crosby grew up in this home and lived in spokane and till 1925 when he left for hollywood to pursue a singing career. will tell us about his work with military members during two and his impact on american culture -- military members during world war ii and his impact on american culture. bing crosby was well-balanced. he did not seek fame. it totally surprised him. calminge of the influences on american history, he was the voice people listen to a 1930 on the radio when things were so hard. that was bing crosby's role in , a next-doorory
neighbor, commonsense approach to life. he modeled that. that goes back to his life in this neighborhood. bing crosby was born in tacoma, washington, on the west side of the state. at the age of three, his family moved to spokane. his dad took a new position at a brewery in spokane. they rented a house a couple blocks from where we are now. at the age of 11, bing crosby's father and a couple of uncles built this house. he lived here from the age of 11 to the age of 22. performing was, a natural part of childhood because there were school plays.
you see one in "bells of st. mary's." little kids are putting on a christmas play. that is every day life in his neighborhood. -- he excelled in oratory. he was in shakespeare plays and so forth. he was always performing. he was in the church choir. there was probably never a time when he was not performing. me, i saw an interview he had with somebody at some point. they were saying where did you learn music and he said, i grew up in a house full of music. sangther saying, my mother , my sisters played the pno, we all gathered -- played the piano , we all caps around the piano and sang songs.
performing was a natural step for him. he started his show business career when he joined a jazz band. they were a bunch of high school kids. they were not good musicians. they had one thing in common, they loved jazz. bing crosby was awake to the charm of jazz from the very opening, the original new orleans jazz band put out the first jazz record in 1917. by 1920, bing crosby was already in a jazz band. you can see that he was quick on the uptake. , the band breaks up because the other boys are going off to college. bing crosby was the only one in college when they had the band. he and a friend did not know
what to do, so they decided they would go to california where bing crosby's older brother already was. he was already working in los angeles. rinker's sister also came from spokane, and she was working in los angeles, so they thought we have connections in los angeles, so they decided to take off for hollywood. that was fall of 1925. the crosby parlor. they used it as a music room, both of bing crosby's sisters played the piano. bing crosby took up the drums when he joined the band. -order drumis mail
kit right here. his brothers had written a book about this. he was in here banging away. these doors could be closed, but androve his mother crazy, she was thrilled when bing crosby finally gave up the drums. here are a representation of his many awards. for a half a century, bing crosby was a major figure and he accumulated awards daily, all entertainment awards. he was in a time when just a handful of stars could dominate the whole celebrity world. -- these are his radio
awards. every year he was the top radio performer from the mid-1930's. his radio show continued until the early 1960's. he holds the record for continuous radio weekly programs, it will probably never goes over acause it period of 30 years. the gold records, these are just a few of his gold records. each gold record means a million copies sold. by now all of his records have sold tens of millions. while he was dominating radio in the 1930's and 40's, he had the number one radio show. he had a weekly radio show. radio showrosby's
was on in new york on a new york street and it was a hot day and all the windows were open, you could walk blocks and tear the whole program. everyone in the united states tuned in to bing crosby once a week. he had a radio show for three decades. while he was doing that, he was -- the dominant movie star of the time. number1940's, he was the one walks office draw for five of those 10 years, which is a phenomenal thing when you think about the kind of competition he had. this was the peak of hollywood stardom. he was still at the top. won an oscar for "going my -- forriod -- fort " "going my way."
breaks out,ar ii -- bingsby is the major crosby is the major celebrity in the country. he instantly jumped into the work of rallying american morale after pearl harbor. morale was shaken because no one had expected a sudden plunge. bing crosby put together a schedule of appearances at training bases all over the country. he did that throughout the war. franceeled to europe and , giving a show. this is him on the stage in france. idea was if a guy like
bing crosby, i have listened to him on the radio, i see him in the views -- i see him in the movies, and he is here with us, it was a tremendous boost to morale. after the war, the army decorated him for his contribution to the war. there is a picture of general and with bing crosby in france and dinah shore. nurse, retired in west virginia a few years ago, they asked her when the boys came back from the front wounded and so forth, what did they talk about? she said never the war, they wanted to talk about bob hope and bing crosby. they wanted distance from the harsh reality of things.
while bing crosby was going to europe, bob hope was all over the pacific. that comedy team did a lot of that morale work. it was a tremendous contribution. many stars did the same thing. were set up for this morale thing. the military forces were not the only ones who needed to be involved, the whole nation needed to be involved in that war. bing crosby understood that as a itriotic duty and carried out as only he could, because he was the major star of the time.
what i found when i started volunteering at this museum, many people do not know how many children he had or what happened to his first wife. he divorced his first wife. she died of cancer very young. he remarried. they did not know hardly anything about bing crosby's personal life. bing crosby had seven children. only one said anything about him being mean. that was gary, his first son. gary wrote a book, but he did not write it. he was interviewed by a writer and that writer took the interview and put it into a book ."lled "going my own way it was published after another famous book, that is "mommy
dearest." "mommy dearest" made millions of dollars. paid for his -- for his autobiography, that was the model. you had to have a cruel parent for a best-selling book. as soon as that book was published, gary crosby went around saying he never said my i meant he was very strict and i did not like a strict father. even gary did not believe it. it was later serialized in the national inquirer magazine.
you do not need to know anything more than that. the magazine's only purpose is to distort for the sensational aspect of stories. gary crosby went on geraldo rivera and said there was no shouting or anything like that, if you got out of line and he said you are going to be paddled, you got paddled. this is an the 1940's. that was standard. there was nothing extraordinary about that. bing crosby himself said that when he became a father he learned berkeley -- he learned quickly that you had to instill discipline. he did not have any objection on
principle. those facts came out of this idea. it was not anything gary crosby said in his book. the kind of thing they remember in the book, most people have heard about it. what we have is a prime example of what happens to celebrities. you get these images and there's nothing you can do about it. the thing about bing crosby's life, he grew up in a place that was as much like the 18th century as the 21st century. the world he grew up in was a face-to-face world. he knew people personally. he did not have to read about them or be told about them. this was a kind of village. all of the people he dealt with he knew personally. he knew people of integrity, he knew the ones to watch out for. they were neighbors.
of hisosby, for the rest life, treated people like neighbors. that is why the neighborhood is so important to understanding the rest of his life. our cities tour staffers at we travel to spokane, washington, to learn about its history. learn more about spokane and other stops at our tour on c-span.org/tour. you're watching american history tv on c-span three. we continue now with our look on the history of spokane. american history tv marks the 50th anniversary of the detroit riots with a special program from the detroit free press. we look back to july 1967, when five days of rioting erupted in the city sparked by a police raid on a r and sparked by
tension over racism and segregation. here is a preview. inyou were a police officer 1967. could you give your perspective on what happened on this day 50 years ago? ago today and probably at this time, it was extremely hot, it was humid. we had loads of people on the street who were looting, some were just spectators. officers.0 police we have probably 100 or less who were african-americans. it was an incredible time. some people were enjoying the spectacle of what was going on. it was a difficult time for factone because of the that we had assumed in detroit this was going to happen -- this
was not going to happen, things were going to be ok. waspolice department unprepared to handle the situation of things that occurred in 1967. >> why do you think that was. the police department had not looked at what had occurred in incidents. we had horrible police/community relations. had been beaten up. i was one of those people in 1957 who was severely beaten by the police. this was commonplace in detroit for the detroit police department. that theound that time naacp attempted to integrate the police department.
what that left us was a strike. we had all these things that were occurring. there were people in the early -- in the 50's and 60's who had been shot and killed by the police. we had people who moved up from the south who wanted to get jobs here in detroit and they found things were as bad here as they were in the south. there was frustration with what was going on. program one entire the 1967 detroit riots at 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. eastern on monday. this is american history tv only on c-span3. writer and editor stephen winick highlights the audio collections and other materials available at the library of congress