Transcript:

Speaker He was certainly a key component to popularizing golf, Bobby Jones and Francis, we met before Bobby Jones, were probably two of the primary characters prior to my dad, but to my knowledge. He was the founder of the first Proem format of any kind, there wasn't a pro-am prior to golf tournaments on the tour and one of the tour players who later taught me, Tony Pena, broached the idea of dad's tour buddies on the golf tour, being coordinated with him, with his celebrity friends, Hollywood friends. And obviously there was a need to promote the Del Mar racetrack that dad was partner of. So 1937 was the creation of, to my knowledge, of the very first pro-am golf tournament of any kind.

Speaker And the trouble towards the.

Speaker And how does Delamare, which is a racetrack to call?

Speaker Well, it didn't, but Dad used the pro-am golf tournament as a vehicle to get people to become aware of and attend the Del Mar racetrack, which was down the street, and that was the genesis of the pro-am golf tournament, was the Del Mar racetrack, and getting people to go down there and attend the racetrack. So when the program moved to Pebble Beach, it moved after World War Two. I think the tournament was suspended for two or three years during World War Two. Not 100 percent sure on that. But I know that Ted Terrane was the key principle in talking dad into moving the tournament to Pebble Beach. And after World War two, it started to be played up there. Was that, do you think, a I don't know if you hear it, but obviously the most benefit was he determined that we had a big backyard and I had an Irish nanny named Bridget Brennan, who is a golf pro, left handed golf pro. And she I was her favorite. And she took me under her wing when I was about three years old. And the next thing you know, I was banging plastic golf balls in our backyard later to be real golf balls, which took out a couple of windows. But Dad, you know, obviously embraced and encouraged it. And it was a great thing for the three of us, my brother and my dad myself, to, you know, play golf pretty much every weekend or waking moment or during summer vacations. Dad, you know, loved playing golf with the two of us. I don't know anything else. I grew up. Being my dad, son of we went we did 11 Christmas shows from I think I my first Christmas show was five years old and 11 orange juice commercials. So I'd take the brunt of that when I'd go to grade school and junior high school had to dodge a few fights. But the important thing about my dad was he was terrific as a father. He was a great one on one with me. We shared our sports together, our love for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He organized being a 25 percent owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates for, I believe, about 40 plus years. He organized me to be in full uniform on the bench every time they played at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. And I'd sit next to Danny Murtaugh and then batting coach Bill Verden and have a real close up view of the pirates for eight games every year. SAT on the bench during the World Series in 1971, but we'd go to the games together and dad loved that. And I had season tickets to the 49ers games, just the two of us. He got up during the we came to the game early, which was unusual for us one game, and he excused himself watch the other season. Ticket holders told him to watch me. I was about nine and he went down saying The Star-Spangled Banner. So, you know, definitely an unusual father.

Speaker But the fact that he focused on taking part in what we both like to do and spending one on one time, he loved to hunt with my brother, which I wasn't a big fan of. But I love the golf. And we did the golf together and we did the sports together.

Speaker Do you think you moved up the Hillsborough you guys out of L.A.?

Speaker We moved up, to my knowledge, in 65, maybe 64. But my understanding the motivating factor was health, because Los Angeles, back then, the doctors used to like to pronounce that it was the equivalent of smoking three packs of cigarettes a day to just breathe the air down here. And people forget how bad the air quality really was and Los Angeles and Pittsburgh and before the environmental cleanup has happened. So I think that that was the motivating factor was the health.

Speaker Speaking of Christmas specials, obviously, Mary became a performer. Harry has the musical aptitude. They were saying that they were glad to get out of school.

Speaker Did you have that?

Speaker Well, of course I have to just be honest.

Speaker You don't look so happy.

Speaker Oh, my goodness. I was not happy in the Christmas shows. I was trying very hard not to be animated or to smile or to show any enthusiasm or any enthusiasm or spirit, because I had I was a known jock at school, so I would get razzed in the worst way. Fifty people singing White Christmas to me when I get off the bus, you know, from a balcony the day after the Christmas shows, I was, you know, avoiding fistfights. You know, the week after the Christmas shows were always a little strenuous. So I was trying to keep my job image at school, which, you know, the jury's still out on whether I succeeded or not.

Speaker She said, well, why don't you start by telling our editors here, you step on the C, you were trying to avoid the.

Speaker And you just kind of stuck on where you're trying to not.

Speaker I was definitely trying not to be enthusiastic during the Christmas shows for fear that I was going to be razzed by any no less than a 50 or 60 of my buddies at school. I was definitely determined to keep my job image and the jury's still out on whether I succeeded or not.

Speaker Right, because obviously you have no intention of ever being a performer.

Speaker I wasn't musically inclined and just loved baseball, basketball, football, golf, and went the other way.

Speaker Did you ever reach a point where there was no one or was it.

Speaker No, it was. You were locked in. You were definitely locked in. And we would that would paratus on stage at the Palladium in London and some of the concerts that he did overseas, the nearest theater in New York. And I was clearly off key, which still holds true to the day when I tried karaoke late at night. But, you know, we were locked in and it was it was fun. It was fun. And we, you know, I had crushes on Connie Stevens. And Catherine Valentine is a nine or 10 year old kids. So there was there was some benefits to it as well and got to meet a lot of tremendous Hollywood celebrities at the time.

Speaker The.

Speaker So by the time you were even around nine a.m. here, as we were saying earlier, he has eaten so many things, but he slowed down quite a bit career wise. So what was a typical routine when he wasn't working or just hanging out at the house? That wasn't?

Speaker Well, he was a ferocious letter writer and he used the Dictaphone and would knock out 30 or 40 letters on a daily basis. So typical routine when my dad wasn't working and I wasn't in school, would be listening to him dictate letters he'd watch of sports with me. So we'd watch the NFL games or the baseball games. And of course, then there were only three network channels. So it was a big deal when Major League Baseball had their game of the week or NFL had their two games on. And we would we would definitely sit and watch those on the weekends and then go play golf for the most part.

Speaker Did you ever watch one of his movies with.

Speaker We watch White Christmas Together Holiday and and perhaps going my way, I can't really remember, but clearly watching White Christmas, which would come on every year between the 1st of December and Christmas, was kind of an event and he'd wander in and out of the room. Know, not being too focused on watching himself. But but we always used to watch the the repeat motion pictures that were on, which were generally bells of St. Mary's and White Christmas.

Speaker So as a kid or did you did you ever have that moment where he was like, you realized just how?

Speaker Big, he was it wasn't really an aha moment because mom used to tell us that he was the most famous singer of all time. So I think that I think she delivered that message to us when we were around three or four. So but dad was, you know, to me was hysterical because of his humility. When we'd go to Candlestick Park, he'd show up in his Ford Torino and wear sunglasses and a Sherlock Holmes hat and an overcoat. And nobody knew who he was except for the season ticket holders immediately around us. So he was very anonymous and very of didn't show up with an entourage, didn't show up and was is really almost embarrassed by attention when when he'd receive it. The one great story that I always like to tell is he did drive a Rolls-Royce at one point and he went to the movies by himself and his car had been egged when he got out of the movie and he took it down to the Ford dealer the next day and traded it in on a Ford Turino because he felt that the car was offensive to other people. Obviously, that afternoon and he immediately traded it in on a Ford Turino. So can you imagine my dad going into a Ford dealer and the lucky salesman hearing from my dad? What do you think?

Speaker Does this car have any worth the.

Speaker He said, how are you really at this point also that your mom was more of the disciplinarian than he was by far, but absolutely, by far. Spin it back to me as well.

Speaker My mom was by far the disciplinarian, whether dad retired or had abandoned his parochial disciplines of parenting. I'm not sure. But Mom was clearly a disciplinarian. And we we appreciated both tactics from both sides. And but dad was a reasonably laissez faire. But you wouldn't cross any lines with Dad. You didn't want to disappoint him. And he was the things that would upset him was foul language as much as anything that would really tip him off. So but but he was very laissez faire and never a disciplinarian with with our generation. Mom was definitely the disciplinarian in our family. She would always give you the one, two, three, and if you did the if you got the number three up, you are in trouble. But Dad was pretty laissez faire on the whole disciplinarian thing. I don't know whether he'd retired from his parochial parenting or not, but it was pretty standard and par for the course, even in our generation. And Dad, Dad was you'd never want to cross him. And foul language was something that tipped him off, but he never laid a hand on us. Mom, on the other hand, I still have tremendous scar tissue from now. We thought that that was the norm for parenting back then and mom was definitely the norm.

Speaker Your dad never said, do you guys listen, I've been through this before. Don't start with me.

Speaker Dad was never threatening and he definitely knew what his standards of behavior, what he expected from his children. We never embarrassed him and we never wanted to push that line so more to not disappoint him or embarrass him in any way. So we never had any real confrontations with him from that are memorable, that's for sure. Said if anything, he was a world class soldier when dad got upset or he expected something more. I think with my mom, when something was spent that wasn't supposed to be spent on an expensive item, or if Dad might go up to his ranch in Northern California and fish for a week. And his his whole tactic when he was upset with mom, I think was to to sulk and to not confront never really heard any arguments that were vocal in the House. And, you know, to me, it was a very pleasant, stable and structured environment to grow up in, regardless of the unusual events that we were participating in. One of the great things that he did for our childhood is this. He was an advancing years. We'd get a free pass for about six weeks during the spring to go to Baja California to where we had a house and it was, you know, unobstructed relationship with your own family. We would go deep sea fishing and not have thousands of friends that we needed to see every day. So we were with each other for that period of time. The the excuse for missing class was that my mom was a certified teacher, so we were supposed to be home schooling for those six weeks. Instead, I was deep sea fishing with my dad and his buddy, which I like to say explains my educational void.

Speaker The the autism specialist, the. The rehearsal process again.

Speaker Did you have a detective like, OK, this is a real pro at work here? Or was it more sort of a rehearsal process?

Speaker Well, I don't know. I'm not a typical stage. I don't really understand the stage. But I do remember a lot of times that the other performers would be perfectionists and trying to get it exactly right and would take multiple, multiple takes. And Dad would kind of do the first take and say, that's OK, boys. Right. So I remember that happening more than more than a few times.

Speaker The Jews, were you there?

Speaker Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Which was pretty interesting because he was kind of in the Boy George stage of his career. So the nail polish and the long hair and eyelash make were were present. And this really upset my dad and he was not comfortable with that at all and.

Speaker Someone said, you know, what is that? I'm OK for coffee.

Speaker Well, we're I think we're Greenacres Hooterville here, so I'm sorry.

Speaker So you were saying he was not happy, though, so he wasn't happy with the whole bouy deal. And I believe it was 1977 and Bouy was becoming a big star. He'd had a couple of hits but changes and, you know, so he was a star on the rise. But his whole the whole boy George Quazi a cross-dressing. Not quite, but, you know, looking as feminine as he did was really upsetting to my dad. And he didn't really want that on the show. So to my knowledge, I think he asked to remove David Bowie from that show. Not certain of that, but I believe he did. He was certainly very unhappy about promoting someone who was as outwardly feminine as David Bowie was. And then they counseled David Bowie. He toned it down dramatically. And they come up with this incredible, you know, classic hit, whether it's a cult classic or a true classic. But for those that have seen it, it just is an incredible piece that they were able to do together. And it almost didn't happen.

Speaker I think it's important for you to say, because the public forgets that he always did the specials with the family.

Speaker But historically at that time and again, but if you compare that to me, people don't remember that Lucy Perkins and not his kids in shows his kids in shows at the time for entertainment, if you could read. They all did it. It was the norm. It wasn't like he had a lot, you know.

Speaker I think that it was pretty much the norm to try to parade your children on the television and on the shows like I Love Lucy with Lucille Ball and Little Ricky. If you had the celebrity star power back then and you commanded the airwaves, if Dad was proud that he was having another family and he was proud of his young family and wanted to showcase that he was a family man first.

Speaker Do you remember that?

Speaker I remember a few things about that fortnight, the Urist Theater was it was a great two weeks in December, I think 1976, and dad had a habit of walking uptown, which was something he did in his old vaudeville days. And we were staying at an apartment of a friend named Ann Slater. And my dad, just a creature of habit, walk straight up into Harlem and 130, 130 Fifth Street in a beaver hat and an overcoat and didn't didn't see any conceivable danger from being in harm's way. But it was something that he did back in the 30s when because he'd want to see the shows up there, the jazz shows from when he had his old vaudeville days. I also remember being 14 years old and going to Studio 54, if you can believe at the age requirements, I think New York was 18 for drinking then and nobody carded and I wasn't drinking. But we went to Studio 54 a couple of times and I was 14. So amps and.

Speaker And then, well.

Speaker And you were at the London Palladium.

Speaker It was the London Palladium in the theater and a few other concerts that we did in Scotland and Ireland the last two years of his life was the first time that I really got exposed to a lot of his music. And I was 13, 14, 15 years old and started to really appreciate his music and enjoy it. And you got to appreciate and enjoy and befriend Rosemary Clooney, you know, who who was a big part of that, as well as her children. So we we grew up down the street from them in Beverly Hills until I was about five. So we all reconnected 10 years later. And that was a very cool thing to do to reconnect with Miguel and Rough Raphael and Munsie to Maria of the Forever Kids from Rosemary Clooney. So it was a it was a type of reunion with.

Speaker We're in smaller the.

Speaker Let's talk about what the.

Speaker The aftermath.

Speaker What was your reaction?

Speaker I didn't read it, I honestly didn't read it because I have my own understanding of what my father was like during my childhood and didn't need to know what had happened 25, 30 years before, I will say that people have that have read it, have talked to me and told me that the book itself was more of a critique on Gary, not on my dad, and that his parochial techniques were par for the course for parenting, especially if you were a Catholic. And but it wasn't the case for our generation, never raised his voice, never took a hand to us, and was a was a father that did what you wanted to share. And he did things with you. He didn't make you go to the opera or make you go to something he knew you didn't want to do. But he was able to encourage us to have shared interests with golf in the case of myself, with the sports and with hunting and fishing with my brother. So a lot of one on one quality time. And, you know, the the Gary book, to my understanding, the promotion of the book was very severe in the way it was promoted. But the content itself was more of a self critique is what has been explained to me.

Speaker I have other things to read and the the let's face it as the general consensus now from. Again, continue to continue with the youngest, but.

Speaker Your mom and Mary, now they seem to think like. As they said to me, that we just sort of assumed people.

Speaker Remembered all his good work and his good deeds and everything and that.

Speaker You know, now, in retrospect, hindsight is 20/20, in retrospect, we probably, as a family should have done some damage control.

Speaker I think when you try to do damage control on bad publicity, you multiply the publicity, a lot of people are unaware of something and then suddenly you start denying it and then more people are aware that the of the accusations to begin with. But I would not trying to minimalize being spanked as a child. But if you grew up in 1935 and you did the wrong thing, you were getting the belt. And that's not the Crosby household that was across the board. And if you went to school and you did the wrong thing, you'd have a real strong. There was a strong possibility that the teacher would take the belt to you back then. So we forget what standards of being a good parent were in the nineteen thirties and forties versus what they are today. And, you know, I really don't know what happened way back when, but I know that he never raised a hand to me and his I think his good deeds have been recognized and that's the the forefront of how people remember him and obviously his fan base of should and needs to be extended to the younger generations because he has so much contact. I mean, he has 50 years of musical content. And I think that the quality of the content will be and should be discovered by the the subsequent generations. And and that's what people remember him for his his contributions and the content itself.

Speaker Did.

Speaker It's always good to have somebody else, do you if you don't know, it's fine. It would be great to get another magnetic tape, do you?

Speaker I don't know enough about it. But my casual understanding from you know, it's funny, you you learn a lot about in the case of my dad. I've learned a lot about my dad after he died from the books and the and the but one of the one of the biography shows on my dad had explained that he was literally responsible for the popularization of the tape delayed broadcast and that a German engineer had presented this product to my father and said, I know how much you love to play golf. And here's a way that you could actually tape delay your radio shows. And NBC didn't let him. ABC says, come over here and we'll let you tape delay your broadcast. And when dad left NBC for ABC, I believe a vast amount of major celebrities followed him to ABC. Bob Hope didn't. And I'm not a tremendous historian on this subject, but it is interesting if he was directly involved in the popularization of tape delayed broadcasts. He was also the founder of the first pro-am golf tournament and the first Christmas special, the first outdoor program, you know, with the American sportsman in popularizing the outdoor TV show, which his friend and really promotional business partner, Roone Arledge is just an incredible genius and how he coordinated dad into popularizing the pro-am golf tournament, The American Sportsman Show, which was, you know, in every week event and during the course of the year, Dad and Phil Harris would team up generally with Curt Gowdy and he might have had eight or 10 shows a year. Not certain of that, but for a long period of time, he was a heavy presence in American sportsman. And of course, Roone Arledge and my dad collectively was a significant factor, along with Arnold Palmer when television first came to exposing golf to the general public.

Speaker Were you in? You were out of the show in Pasadena when he fell, right?

Speaker Yes. You tell us about that. Well, interestingly enough, Pearl Bailey was on the show, the Mills Brothers, which, you know, exposed me to their music and their music was I still love it to listen to the Mills Brothers and Jack Albertson and a young Bette Midler was on that show. And Dad, during the week of rehearsals prior to the show, was very concerned that we would fall into the orchestra pit, which descended twenty two to four feet. And I distinctly remember being backstage, Rosemary Clooney was on that show and we were backstage. It was a live performance, but tape delayed for television and of you know, he had taken his vows at the end of the show. It occurred and obviously the lights were hitting him and he was instructed to and had rehearsed exiting stage. Right. And he walked forward and fell into the pit, was fortunate to break his fall with a stage prop that probably gave him his last seven or eight months of his life.

Speaker But the interesting thing about that, he didn't break a bone in his body and he spent, you know, a couple of months recovering about a month in the hospital, and it was very vivid to me.

Speaker But I was the big beneficiary of the last six months of his life because my mom had was doing theater. And so I'm going to I'm going to want to go a little lady ramble. But the last four or five months of his life, we did another show in the Palladium. But most of that summer after he'd recovered, he'd walk around the golf course with three or four clubs. And that was his recovery to to walk around the golf course. But he watched me play some junior golf tournaments. I won the Burlingame Club Championship and he called my mom and said it was the happiest day of his life, which I'm sure she didn't appreciate. So he one of the great stories that I love to tell is that we went down to the junior world. I'd qualified for the junior world in San Diego at Torrey Pines. And we meet Nat Branwen, who was the bandleader for Caesars Palace, whose bombshell of a daughter at age 16, I was 15, was playing, also playing in the tournament. And as Fortune would have it, Nat Branwen had to go back to Las Vegas to do some shows at Caesars, and it was coordinated, arranged and approved that my dad would take the mother, Betty Branwen, and the daughter very on a double date with me and my dad. So it was confirmed, approved, and I was very excited to be the beneficiary of that. And we went out to a restaurant early in the evening and my dad and enjoyed a couple of mai tais and we were in a crowded restaurant. And this lady from another table comes over to my dad and says, You're Bing Crosby. And he says, Well, yes. And she says, I lost my virginity to you. OK, so my dad goes white, doesn't know what to say. She's blowing about a point three, eight, and she repeats it. And now everybody's aware of the situation in the restaurant and totally focused on this situation that my dad's in. And she repeats, I lost my virginity to you three more times. Dad doesn't know what to say. And finally she says, I lost my virginity to you in 1940 to Tommy McGillicuddy listening to you sing Moonlight Becomes You. So he was off the hook without even having a response. Wasn't in the room, except for the except for the radio.

Speaker That's pretty good. That is the.

Speaker In talking to other people, would you say, as opposed to you probably met them when you were touring America as opposed to other performers of his generation? He did the audience to weigh, let's say, Judy Garland or some activities that you're saying about him being pretty modest. He was crazy about the audience the same way those.

Speaker I would say that he was very humbled by his success. He never anticipated or presumed that he was better than anyone else is is an observation that I had as a kid. And he he didn't appreciate special treatment. He didn't want to cut in line, if you will, at a ball game. And it was just very unassuming, certainly in normal circumstances. And he wouldn't try to create a normal and abnormal circumstance in a in a normal environment. Obviously, when he's coming on the set, I'm sure he had certain expectations about being treated correctly and enhancing, you know, the show or the performance. But in a normal situation, going to a ball game or at a private golf club or at a junior golf tournament. He didn't expect, want or need to be treated any different than any other father or or.

Speaker Fan.

Speaker The. The Minuteman commercial.

Speaker Tell us how that came about, if.

Speaker Well, that had been a bad relationship for a long period of time, and I believe the. The event was organized where we do one minute maid orange juice commercial every year, and dad had some iconic phrases like there's no doubt about it, and made there's it's the best there is. So every year I go to school and there is no doubt about it or it's the best there is would be, you know, I would be heckled daily, you know, grades one through 12. So but at any rate, the orange juice commercials were terrific and they were on a lot. And it was a fun thing to do every year. We had different sets for it, generally, some somewhere in the house, some were in parks, you know, in in different sometimes I would dress up in a pirate uniform for one. I had a Minnesota Viking helmet on for another and Dad was hitting me with the pipe, but I had the helmet on, so I was protected. So it was I was I was kind of the brunt of a lot of the skits in those orange juice commercials being the youngest. But they were a lot of fun in the film.

Speaker Any particular favorite scenes, if you really.

Speaker I think there's a lot of great scenes from so many of my dad's films and, you know, Country Girl, I believe, where he throws the glass at the Mirror after singing this incredible duet with the bartender. And, you know, there's just so many touching movies, whether it was going my way or he's all about goodness and White Christmas, all about doing the right thing for the old general and of the goodness factor resonates with a lot of his content. And the interesting thing. Was at the end of every Christmas show, he'd eyeball the camera and just say, you know, keep the peace and goodwill of mankind that we experience every year at Christmas and let it let it be with you all 365 days. So very, very cool. At the end of the Christmas shows, the last scene and almost all of the Christmas shows was dad staring into the camera, talking about peace on earth, goodwill to all men, and keep the Christmas spirit of Christmas week with you throughout every day of the year. And he just put his eyes right in those blue eyes, right in the camera and say, do the right thing all year long. Keep the Christmas spirit with you. And it really, you know, touched a lot of people, hit home. And it's a tremendous message that he had the ability to give to the to the audiences. Incredible.

Speaker Microgrants also is the fact that.

Speaker He touched, not touched the of the Major League or better team in the 20th century.

Speaker I mean, he he was a tremendous self promoter, whether he had tremendous marketing experience or whether he just fell into it. But his power obviously was the radio and how he had such an audience every night in the 30s and 40s, listening to him every single night. So he had this relationship with the entire country. Obviously, the music got him to the level of celebrity that he wore to that kind of an audience.

Speaker The I think he was number one box office for seven years in a row, was doing USO tours on the front lines and the London bombings and in the Battle of the Bulge, where he accidentally went into enemy territory, which is a great story. And going back through the checkpoint, the U.S. security checkpoint, the U.S. soldier said, where are you coming from? And my dad says, well, we were I can't remember the name of the town, but it was an enemy hands and the soldier inform my dad. Well, that's an enemy hands. My dad says, well, we had it under control of you boys lost it already. So I read that in the book. Obviously didn't hear that from him. But tremendous, you know, humor and his his ability to market himself was it was incredible because. Radio went into television, suddenly has a Christmas show, first of its kind, every year, only three stations, only three networks back then. So they had this incredible audience that watched our Christmas shows and his Christmas shows before he paraded our our family on it with him. But the American sportsman was on all the time, the golf tournaments on the on all the, you know, every every year. And, you know, there was just you turned on the television for all those years. And even though Dad wasn't making big hits in the music world at that time, he was in front of the audience.

Speaker He kept putting himself in front of the audience, you know, because that was such a great babysitter. So I really think that line, what you said here, and I haven't seen all the videos of an relationship with the whole.

Speaker I think that the the radio, the popularity of his radio show during the 30s, in the 40s gave him this intimate relationship with the entire country. And the power that that he had by having the popularity of that radio show was just incredible. And he was able to market himself to transfer that into seven years of being the number one box office as an actor, winning an Academy Award and of course, later promoting the ability to be the guy to have the first Christmas show.

Speaker And he also did The American Sportsman, which was on six or eight times a year, and the golf tournament, which was on once annually. So with only three networks to watch that was on the television all the time. And it was just incredible how the his popularity through the radio shows allowed him to reinvent himself, you know, decade after decade.

Speaker Were you back in San Francisco when you passed away?

Speaker I was actually in my high school and I'd spent all that one on one time with him that particular summer. So, you know, I wasn't ready to lose him. As you know, I was just turning 16 years old. And, you know, that was difficult. But, yeah, I was and I was in San Francisco in Burlingame High School, had to be pulled out of class. And Mom threw me in front of a press conference, told me to wear black. And then I went out and played golf that afternoon to shake it off. But but after he died, it was really interesting because the pro-am golf tournament was up for grabs. Either was going to, you know, continue as dad's tournament or it was going to be dissolved. And my mom was very dedicated to continuing her theater, and especially at this particular point in her life where she really wanted to do what she loved. And theatre is what my mom loved. So with the passing of my dad, I was left without parental supervision and and as a junior in high school, not that I did the wrong thing, but she made a point to making me the host for dad's golf tournament and the pro-am at Pebble Beach.

Speaker And of course, being the host of the pro-am golf tournament was I had all the fun responsibilities which was inviting the 168 amateurs, which was very powerful deal. I was 16 and I was also coordinating the pairings. So if Tom Weiskopf was going to play with Marvin Redburn, I was the one to facilitate it. Or if Lanny Watkins wanted to bring Bill Satterfield, who had kind of fudged his handicap the year before by eight or nine and won the tournament, I was the one who had to stand up and say, we're not inviting Mr. Satterfield this year. And Dad used to control all the invitations. He used to do all the pairings and he used to do the handicaps. So I took over those responsibilities, including hosting the clambake event the Wednesday night before the tournament. So I was, you know, up there introducing Phil Harris and Bob Hope and whomever else might be the unusual guest. But Bob came for a few years and Phil Harris was the perennial true entertainment host of the tournament. But for I think nine years, my mom got involved with me the last couple of years, but for nine years I was actually the distributor of the amateur invitations and the execute the pairings. And I would go into the booth with Ken Venturi and Pat Summerall and, you know, announce the players and be somewhat involved, not too involved, but try not to make too many mistakes.

Speaker But it was it was a lot of fun. And we actually gave up our rights to own the tournament after dad's passing because Executor's thought that the tournament was a liability and not an asset. So we dissolved our ownership even though we stayed with the tournament. And I think that that was the fundamental reason why, you know, the Bing Crosby name eventually was pulled off of the tournament. But the what I could do with one hundred and eighty invitations right now, it was one hundred and sixty eight when I took it over and the tournament got expanded to one hundred and eighty. And the power of being able to invite people to that tournament, I could be selling a lot more of what I'm selling if I had those invitations today. But but it was it was a lot of fun during those years. And I still have a tremendous affection, you know, for for being that involved in hosting the tournament. And I think I played over twenty three or four times. And it was great because when I won the US amateur, I was getting a lot of undeserved publicity for hosting my dad's tournament. I was on the sporting green in the San Francisco Chronicle undeservedly for this and that or inviting this person or not inviting that person. And, you know, then when I won the US amateur, I had a subtle amount of deserved attention. But it was it was a lot of fun and got to play with some of my PGA Tour idols. And, you know, this this whole tournament the dad created and was. The founder of created so many incredible permanent relationships and the format of the golf tournament is being copied now, where one place with one amateur as opposed to one pro playing with four or five amateurs or three or four amateurs, and the professionals love the format and in many cases have developed lifelong relationships with business leaders, celebrities and the variety of other people that continue to get invited to the tournament.

Speaker In eastern Afghanistan after the press conference, were you? Sort of overwhelmed by.

Speaker The intention is that, I mean.

Speaker The from around the world was taken aback by I knew it wasn't a subtle event from a worldwide perspective, you know, I think Bing Crosby dies, world mourns was the, you know, San Francisco Examiner, you know, headline the next day. And, you know, it was a very difficult funeral for me as a you know, I was just turning 16. It was difficult. And, you know, we were all coming into adulthood. My brother was in college in London at the time and my sister was at University of Texas and my mom was off doing theater. So I kind of had this huge house to myself. But it was it was very obvious. I think my dad died two months after Elvis died and the headlines were more dramatic about my dad dying, to be honest with you, at that. At that time, he was much older and it was more expected to die at 73 was more of a normal old age lifespan expectancy in 1977, which is amazing. Now we think of 73 as being a very young age to punch out. But, you know, it was I definitely was upset that he didn't live out a longer life, wanted to go to Stanford. I think if he was alive the next 18 months, I would have gone to Stanford who wanted me on a golf scholarship. But I went to University of Miami a little bit of a regret, but I loved my time in Miami and I probably could have used parental supervision for a little while longer. I probably could still use a little parental supervision is.

Speaker Would you that house is big.

Speaker I've been in that since it's the big guys.

Speaker Well, so you would say his. Lasting legacy.

Speaker Well, I think his lasting legacy is is the content and whether it's film or his music or even his. His show's American sportsman or the his his contribution to music and and acting is really what's going to be perceived and remembered by so many his love for sports, for those that are interested enough in understanding biographies of people that have, you know, would be in there over 110 years old. Now, you know, his love for sports was important to me because we shared it, his love for golf, his contributions to golf. He's in the Golf Hall of Fame. And, you know, it would I always think it would be a nice thing for the PGA Tour at some point, which has certain tour events that have rotated corporate sponsored titles, 10, 12, 15 corporate sponsors over a 30 year period to to embrace the Hall of Famers. The Bob Jones should be on the brand of the Atlanta Open and Ben Hogan could be on the brand of the Colonial and Byron Nelson on the brand of the the tournament. They have a Dallas as Jack Nicklaus would be on the brand at Muirfield Village every year, and Palmer and Orlando, because at some point they're not going to be on the planet anymore.

Speaker And it seems nonsensical that the year after Dolores Hope died, the Bob Hope brand came off of the golf tournament, who Bob Hope was also in the Golf Hall of Fame. And when you have a commitment to an area where you have the Eisenhower Hospital and my dad's commitment and what he did for the moderate community with that golf tournament, which was his idea, it it seems that it's marginal to put a corporate sponsor as the title as opposed to a presented by or a sponsored by the interesting movie that I always like to reflect when I talk about this is Clark Gable and The Huckster, where he was the advertising executive and the corporation that had used the agency as a client insisted on saying the title name 55 times. And obviously Clark Gable resisted it. It's a great movie, The Huckster. But at any rate, as these sports marketing experts take the same philosophy as the as the people did from that movie saying, read my name 55 times in 30 seconds. And actually the event of the Jack Nicklaus and Muirfield Village is a much better and more credible brand. If it's the Nicklaus Memorial and Bay Hill, the Palmer Bay Hill, it's a more credible event. So I think that the Hall of Famers that have made their significant contributions to golf, which dad did, you know, somebody is going to see the situation and do the right thing. And when I say someone, I mean a major corporate sponsor that wants to put dad's name back on that golf tournament.

Speaker Did you mention did you ever witness those two guys in action after dad died?

Speaker To answer your question, I was too young to be around for the road to Hong Kong, but just on Christmas shows where Bob would occasionally be a guest. He was a great friend of my golf instructor, Tony Pena, who had mentioned earlier. And Bob Hope took me to Asia on a tour for nine or 10 days after I'd bought the Tony kind of golf company, which was a manufactured persimmon Woods. And Bob thought it would be a good idea to help me promote the new company or the old company that I was trying to promote. And we played golf every day for nine days, nine holes. He do a show every night, breakfast and lunch and dinner. He would be rattling off jokes and he didn't hear very well, but he could see if you were laughing. He was well up and it was 1989, so he was about 85 and he couldn't hear too well. But he could see if you were laughing and if you laughed aggressively at one of his jokes. You laugh at all of them to be polite. But if you laughed aggressively, he'd stick it right in the show that night. So it was really, really funny to see how quick he was. Morning, noon and night before the show. And all he was doing was using you as a focus group, but had some great times from that trip and, you know, got to play with him every day. And then it was a terrific of 10 days, nine or 10 days.

Nathaniel Crosby
Interview Date:
2014-06-03
Runtime:
0:54:34
Keywords:
None
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
N/A
MLA CITATIONS:
"Nathaniel Crosby, Bing Crosby Rediscovered." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 03 Jun. 2014, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/1147
APA CITATIONS:
(2014, June 03). Nathaniel Crosby, Bing Crosby Rediscovered. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/1147
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Nathaniel Crosby, Bing Crosby Rediscovered." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). June 03, 2014. Accessed December 08, 2021 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/1147

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