Christmas music is upon us, and I bet you’ve already heard Bing Crosby’s White Christmas quite a few times while ordering the holiday blend in your favorite Nook Neighborhood cafe. Crosby’s rendition of the Irving Berlin classic holds no equal in tearful and nostalgic dreams of our ideal wintertime. When first performed on a radio program on Christmas Day in 1941, his audience was held in a mournful stasis: earlier that month, the United States had entered WWII with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Draft notices were on their way for many of our nation’s youth. Even though the mournful melody became a staple on Crosby’s popular USO tours, he always hesitated to sing it, he said in an interview. “Heaven knows, I didn’t come that far to make them sad. For this reason, several times I tried to cut it out of the show, but these guys just hollered for it.” White Christmas reigns as the best selling single of all time.
In happier, post-war times, The Bing Crosby Estate served as an inspiration for mid-century modern architecture as he built the first celebrity oasis in Thunderhead Heights, Rancho Mirage. With all the famous stars who flocked to the Palm Springs area and eventually invested in the Del Mar Racetrack, the Bing Crosby Estate is a glorious sight set against its surrounding mountains. And it recently went on the market!
When you see the photos of Crosby’s Estate, it’s easy to understand why not only the most esteemed celebrities of his time but also Presidents Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy and even Barack Obama vacationed there. This one story marvel has a great room that was clearly made for entertaining, with its glass doors leading to the outdoor enjoyment areas and gorgeous pool. Check out the photos to see all the history and glamour inherent in Bing Crosby’s Estate; we’re pretty excited to see such a meaningful masterpiece of mid century available.
In honor of the announcement and holiday season, we bring you fast facts about Bing Crosby!
Bing Crosby was the first star across many mediums: records, radio and film. He beat the odds during The Great Depression to produce multiple records that became hits. Thanks to his multimedia talent, he is also one of only 33 people to boast three stars on the the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His portrayal of Father Chuck O’Malley in Going My Way won him the 1944 Academy Award for Best Actor. The next year, he was nominated again for Father O’Malley’s appearance in The Bells of St. Mary’s, a film that also starred Ingrid Bergman. Crosby became one of only six actors to accomplish this honor.
Bing Crosby was heavily influenced by Louis Armstrong’s music stylings. He is credited with launching Louis Armstrong’s film career when he pushed for his involvement in the film Pennies from Heaven. Armstrong showed some comedy chops along with his wonderful musical numbers and also received top billing alongside his white co-stars, something that Crosby demanded of the studio.
Bob Hope called him the Economy-sized Sinatra in his autobiography, saying: “God I miss that voice. I can't even turn on the radio around Christmas time without crying anymore."
Crosby downplayed his role in the success of White Christmas, claiming that "a jackdaw with a cleft palate could have sung it successfully." What modesty from such a maestro of our musical heritage.
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Photo of Estate: Bing Crosby Estate
Photo of Mr. Crosby: My Merry Christmas