Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bing Crosby is A) a subject for genealogy, B) the first cool white guy, or C) a singing rooster

The answer is, of course, D) all of the above.

The Heritage Center of the Office of the Washington Secretary of State is sponsoring a genealogy event here in Spokane in a few weeks. More information here. It looks to be an interesting day, with tours of the Gonzaga archives, films and artifacts from Crosby's career, and more.

Crosby was a major figure in American entertainment--perhaps the major figure for the 1940s and 50s, and often does not get his due. A recent Crosby biography described him as "Cool before it was cool to be cool" and "hip before it was hip to be hip," which is about right. And he was a generous humanitarian who never forgot where he came from. Today there is a statue of him in Spokane (with a special removable pipe).

I though I would plug the even here because I work for the Secretary of State, but also because it offers me the opportunity to share with you the most wonderfully weird old cartoon I know, 1944's Swooner Crooner, which features a sing-off between Crosby and a young Frank Sinatra, reimagined as roosters, as they compete for the adulation of  adulation of teenage bobby-soxers, reimagined as egg-laying hens:

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