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Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Bluer Christmas Than Usual.

I had originally planned to write this article about two weeks ago.
Before the shootings in Connecticut.
I happen to be in Connecticut right now.
About fifteen minutes away from where the event occurred.
And what I'm going to write about certainly seems a lot more trivial in light of that event.
But it kind of loosely ties in, so I'm going to proceed with it anyway.

A few weeks ago, the radio stations began trotting out the usual standard upbeat
Christmas music, which I've always enjoyed.
The kind which now seems rather tasteless to listen to now, since the shootings.
But then, I was particularly glad to hear Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas", and
"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas", and "The Little Drummer Boy"
I was glad, but I was also sad.
Because I've come to realize that the only time anyone is aware that Bing Crosby ever
existed is around Christmastime.
He has been pidgeonholed and marginalized.
Probably the greatest entertainer of the last century is now somebody who most people
under the age of thirty-five have never heard of.
This is, in its own way, tragic.
On the plane ride in from Detroit, I sat next to a very nice, conservatively dressed
young woman of about thirty.
She was erudite, literate, very well-spoken, and hadn't the slightest idea who Bing Crosby was.
She didn't even know from "White Christmas".
So imagine what all those young slobs out there don't know.
For the other uninformed, Bing was so great.
On so many levels.
He was an Oscar winner for his acting.
He invented a style of singing called "crooning", where he literally made love to the microphone, thereby making love to any female within hearing distance.
Before Bing, everybody sang at you.
Bing sang to you.
He had THE most pleasing voice I have ever heard.
He was a great jazz and scat-singer.
Artie Shaw, the great clarinetist and bandleader, who people stopped being aware of about fifteen years ago, referred to Bing as the worlds first hip white man.
Bing was funny.
He made a series of "Road" pictures where he was teamed with Bob Hope, who people are just starting to forget.
The two of them were hilarious together, and the films were innovative in that they all broke the fourth wall.
It's been said that Bing's popularity may have waned when rumors began that he beat his kids, contrary to his image of a light and breezy guy.
But the under forty crowd doesn't even know that he HAD kids to beat.
What are we talking about?
They don't even know that he existed!
If you happen to be one of those who have never heard of Bing, I command you to take advantage of YouTube.
He's there a-plenty.
Watch him do a live performance of the song "Dinah" with the Mills Brothers.
I know.
Who are the Mills Brothers?
Find out! This is getting tiresome.
Or watch him and Louis Armstrong sing "Now you has Jazz" from the movie "High Society"
If you don't know Louis Armstrong, heads will roll.
Go to YouTube and get a sense of history.
You will be better for it.
So, along with the dead in Newtown, I am also mourning Bing Crosby.
He died thirty-five years ago, but unfortunately, he is now completely dead.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. I'm not exactly ancient (56), but I find it unthinkable that Bing and Bob (and Dorothy Lamour for that matter) are total unknowns to many. I noticed this break begin around fifteen years ago; before that it seems everybody had a collective memory of 20th century pop culture. I laughed the other day when the Crosby/David Bowie Christmas duet from 1977 was mentioned; someone said "the next thing will be...who's David Bowie?"

  2. At least Bing gets dragged out every year. I more bemoan that nobody knows who Jack Benny was. Probably our greatest comedian, who could make you laugh just by staring is unknown to this generation.

  3. Barry R mentioned the break began about 15 years ago. Right about the time the medium we're using right now, the internet, took off. Yes, you can find information about even the most obscure pop culture figures on the web (Rags Ragland, say) but you have to know ahead of time they exist to even begin looking.

    I suppose they could teach pop culture in our public schools, but some people might complain about that.

  4. I mentioned Jack Benny in this context previously.
    And it's been about 25 years since he's been aware to the general public.
    I consider it my duty to guide the uninformed about where to find these people on the Internet, which can serve as a great tool. And I will continue to do so.
    Somebody has to.

  5. I think your comments about Mr. Crosby are right on the money.
    I think I appreciate him now more than I did when I was younger.
    I especially began to appreciate him when I figured out that without him, this country might have had a lot more years with singers like (ugh) Rudy Vallee.
    Have you read Gary Giddins' book on Crosby, which he's been working on a sequel to? I highly recommend it if you haven't.

  6. My wife and I have always felt a parental responsibility to see that our children know and enjoy these artists -- Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, Laurel & Hardy, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Danny Kaye, Sid Caesar, Judy Holliday -- even the latter-day legends like Gilda Radner, Madeline Kahn, and, well, the list goes on and on. They're our hope that these greats are not only remembered, but still current and relevant.

  7. It was ever thus-- how many people give any thought in a given day to Jack Dempsey or Woodrow Wilson or Jackie Gleason or Brigitte Bardot or Walter Winchell or whoever? Not a lot. Time moves on, and most things recede. To the average person of today, Charlie Chaplin is that old B&W movie guy with a silly walk who represents 10,000 films they'll never watch, and that's if he's anybody at all. But the good news is that, unlike in past eras, so much of the past is readily and immediately available. On the whole, it's a lot better than it used to be; when Sarah Bernhardt or Bert Williams were gone, they were gone.

  8. You might be eligible to get a free Apple iPhone 7.

  9. There's a chance you are eligible to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."