Friday, December 29, 2023

TCM Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Columbia Pictures in January

On June 19 1918 brothers Jack and Harry Cohn with their partner Joe Brandt founded Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales Corporation, better known as CBC. It was on January 10 1924 that the Cohn brothers and Joe Brandt reorganized CBC and renamed it Columbia Pictures Corporation. Next month Turner Classic Movies is celebrating the reorganization of the studio with films from its history each Wednesday. It begins on Wednesday, January 3 2024 at 7:00 PM with one of Columbia's best known movies, It Happened One Night (1934).

Below is the schedule for TCM Spotlight: Columbia Pictures 100th Anniversary. All times are Central. 

Wednesday, January 3
Night One – the 1920s and 1930s
7:00 PM – It Happened One Night (1934)
9:00 PM – "Woman Haters" (1934) (Three Stooges Short)
9:30 PM – The Awful Truth (1937)
11:15 PM – You Can’t Take it With You (1938)  
1:30 AM – Man’s Castle (1933)  
3:00 AM – The Belle of Broadway (1926)  

Wednesday, January 10
Night Two – the 1940s and 1950s

7:00 PM – Gilda (1946)  
9:00 PM – Born Yesterday (1950)  
11:00 PM – "You Natzy Spy" (1940) (Three Stooges Short)
11:30 PM – On the Waterfront (1954)  
1:30 AM – Ride Lonesome (1959)  
3:00 AM – The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Wednesday, January 17
Night Three – the 1960s and 1970s

7:00 PM – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
11:00 PM – Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)  
1:30 AM – Taxi Driver (1976)  
3:30 AM – Funny Girl (1968)
6:00 AM – The China Syndrome (1979)

Wednesday, January 24
Night Four – the 1980s and 1990s

7:00 PM – Gandhi (1982)  
10:30 PM – Philadelphia (1993) – (TriStar film)
1:00 AM – One False Move (1992)  
3:00 AM – The Last Emperor (1987)  

Wednesday, January 31
Night Five – the 2000s and 2010s

7:00 PM – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) – (Sony Pictures Classics)
9:15 PM – Something’s Gotta Give (2003)
11:30 PM – Punch Drunk Love (2002)  
 1:15 AM – Whiplash (2014)  – (Sony Pictures Classics)
 3:15 AM – Marie Antoinette (2006)

Thursday, December 28, 2023

The Wonderful Bobby Rivers, TV Personality and Friend to Many TCM Fans

This will be one of the most difficult posts for me to write. Bobby Rivers was a celebrity interviewer and film critic. He was a veejay on VH1 in the Eighties and even had his own primetime celebrity talk show on the channel, Watch Bobby Rivers. He later hosted Top 5 on the Food Network. Bobby Rivers was also a huge fan of classic movies, and one of the original members of TCMParty, the group of Turner Classic Movies fans who live tweet movies on the channel using that hashtag. He was a friend and acquaintance to many TCM fans, including myself. Bobby Rivers died on Tuesday, December 26 2023 at the age of 70. His sister Betsy Rivers told The Hollywood Reporter that he had a series of mini-strokes and a recurrence of lung cancer.

Bobby Rivers was born on September 20 1953 in Los Angeles. He was the oldest of three children, with a younger sister Betsy and a younger brother Tony. His parents were both fans of classic movies, and they encouraged a love of classic movies in him. Bobby was still a teenager when he made his first appearance on television. It was on The Movie Game, a daily syndicated game show on which contestants answered questions about movie trivia with the help of two celebrities. Bobby's teammates were comedian Phyllis Diller and Hugh O'Brien (then as now best known as Wyatt Earp on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp). Bobby was both the youngest contestant on The Movie Game and the show's first Black contestant. He won a  Kimball spinet piano.

Bobby graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a degree in broadcasting. He began his career writing newscasts at radio station WRIT-FM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He later had a morning show on Milwaukee radio station WQFM (now WLDB). Bobby moved from radio into television, becoming the film critic at ABC affiliate WISN-TV, the first Black film critic in Milwaukee. There he hosted and produced the local talk show More. He also reviewed movies for the syndicated news and entertainment show PM Magazine.

Bobby moved from Milwaukee to New York City where he went to work as an entertainment reporter for WPIX. Afterwards he became a veejay for VH1. On VH1 he was given his own show, Watch Bobby Rivers, on which he interviewed such celebrities as Mel Blanc, Michael Caine, Kirk Douglas, Sally Field, Mel Gibson, Paul McCartney, Marlo Thomas, and yet others. On VH1 he also hosted Sunday Brunch with Bobby Rivers. He moved from VH1 to WNBC, where he served as an entertainment reporter and part of the cast of Weekend Today. He also hosted the short-lived syndicated game show Bedroom Buddies, on which people who were married, engaged, or living together answered questions about their lives.

Bobby moved from WNBC to WNYW where he was an entertainment reporter and a host on Good Day New York. He later served as the entertainment editor on the ABC News/Lifetime weekday magazine Lifetime Live. He then hosted Top 5 on the Food Network and then served as the film critic and entertainment reporter on Whoopi Goldberg's radio show Wake Up with Whoopi. In the late Naughts he appeared as Professor Robert Haige on the In the Know segment of the Onion News Network video podcast.

Bobby did a little acting beyond his appearances on the Onion New Network. He appeared in The Equalizer episode "Making of a Martyr" in 1985. He also appeared in the movie Identity Crisis (1989) and two episodes of The Sopranos, as well as the short subject "Hello Korea Goodbye" (2006).

Since 2011 Bobby maintained his blog Bobby Rivers TV. He also wrote scripts for the intros and outros on Turner Classic Movies. As mentioned earlier, Bobby was one of the original participants in TCMParty, from its earliest years. His last tweet for TCMParty was on December 17 2023, only nine days before his death.

Bobby Rivers was a true pioneer. At the time he was reviewing movies on WISN in Milwaukee, Black film critics were virtually unknown. For that matter,openly gay television personalities were also virtually unknown.  As the host of Watch Bobby Rivers he was one of the first African Americans to host his own show. Bobby paved the way for both Black people and members of the LGBTQ community on television. Of course, Bobby was also very good at what he did. He had an in-depth knowledge of film history and could offer insights into classic movies that others had never considered before. As an interviewer he was able to come up with questions that his subjects might never have been asked previously. Bobby was warm and friendly, and able to put his interview subjects at ease, getting them to open up to him in a way that they might not to someone else.

As might be expected, Bobby supported diversity, often addressing it on his blog. He wrote multiple times about Latino representation in the entertainment industry. He argued for the need for Black faces on Turner Classic Movies in those days before they hired Professor Jacqueline Stewart. He is one of the few bloggers I know who has written about the need for more representation of Native Americans in Hollywood. Bobby grew up during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, and so he wanted to make sure the voices of all peoples were heard.

Beyond being a great film critic and celebrity interviewer, Bobby was simply a wonderful person. Bobby had faced both racism and homophobia throughout his life and career. His partner died from AIDS at a point when it was still a stigma. Bobby could easily have been bitter, but he never was. Instead, Bobby was warm and friendly and funny. And he was always supportive, wishing his friends success in whatever they did. He had a real love of classic movies and it was wonderful discussing them with him. He was both intelligent and insightful, and had a way of making one see any given movie in a new light. I remember a wonderful post he wrote on his blog about Black representation in Frank Capra's classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946).

Bobby was an active part of TCMParty from its earliest days, and along with my dearest Vanessa Marquez and songbird Monica Lewis, he was one of the first celebrities to take part. As a result Bobby was friends with many TCM fans, myself included. I remember discussing Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and Theresa Harris with him, of whom both Bobby and I were huge fans. I also remember Bobby and I telling another fan about how popular Nat King Cole was. Like many of my fellow TCMParty participants, I had many wonderful discussions with Bobby. Bobby was famous. He had interviewed Paul McCartney and had cocktails with Lucille Ball in her home, but as far as Bobby was concerned, he was simply one of us, another classic movie fan. Indeed, Bobby was the perfect gentleman. He was sweet, warm, supportive, intelligent, and insightful, and he possessed an impeccable wit and a great sense of humour. I know many of my fellow TCM fans are very sad at his passing. And I know that I will miss him very, very much.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Late Great Tom Smothers

Tom Smothers, one half (with his brother Dick Smothers) of the legendary comedy duo the Smothers Brothers, died yesterday, December 26 2023, at the age of 86. The cause was lung cancer.

Tom Smothers was born on February 2 1937 in in a U.S. Army hospital on Governors Island  in New York City. His father was Major Thomas B. Smothers of the United States Army. The family moved to the Philippines in 1941 when his father was stationed there. During World War II his mother moved the family to Southern California. Sadly, his father died in a Japanese POW camp in 1945. While attending Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, California, Tom Smothers was on the gymnastics team and won the state championship on the parallel bars. He attended San Jose State College, where he competed both in gymnastics and pole vaulting.

Tom Smothers and his younger Dick Smothers set out to become folk singers, and played in a group called the Casual Quartet. In 1959 they left that group to form their own act. The two played at the Purple Onion in San Francisco. By 1961 the Smothers Brothers were regulars on The New Steve Allen Show. Although they had set out to become folk musicians, the banter between Tom and Dick Smothers eventually became the focal point of their act. Tom played the scatter-brained brother, something of a male Gracie Allen, while Dick played the straight man. In truth, Tom Smothers was very intelligent and was the driving force behind the act. Their first album, The Smothers Brothers at the Purple Onion, was released in 1961. It was followed by The Two Sides of the Smothers Brothers in 1962. The Smothers Brothers released nine more albums in the Sixties, that sold very well. Their biggest selling album was Curb Your Tongue, Knave! from 1964.

The continued popularity of the Smothers Brothers would insure that they would be frequent guests on television. They appeared on such talk shows, comedy sketch shows, game shows, and variety shows in the Sixties as Tonight Starring Jack Paar, The Steve Allen Playhouse, The Mike Douglas Show, Hootenany, The Judy Garland Show. The Garry Moore Show, I've Got a Secret, The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Jack Paar Program, The Jack Benny Program, Password, Hollywood Talent Scouts, Gypsy, The Andy Williams Show, The Val Doonican Show, The Eamon Andrews Show, What's My Line, Pat Boone in Hollywood, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dee Time, Laugh-In, Celebrity Billiards, The Rosey Grier Show, 60 Minutes. The Jonathan Winters Show, Della, The Joey Bishop Show, Laugh-In, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The Andy Williams Show, The David Frost Show, The Irv Kupcinet Show, The Dean Martin Show, and Playboy After Dark. The Smothers Brothers also guest starred on the sitcom The Danny Thomas Show and the mystery series Burke's Law.

Given the popularity of the Smothers Brothers in the Sixties, it was inevitable that they would have their own television show. Their first TV series was the fantasy comedy The Smothers Brothers Show, which aired on CBS from 1965 to 1966. On the show Tom played an apprentice angel who returns to his brother Dick and is charged with helping others. Of course, Tom usually made a mess that Dick would have to straightened out. The Smothers Brothers started strong in the ratings, but soon faltered and was cancelled at the end of the 1965-1966 season. Tom Smothers blamed the failure of the series on the fact that the Smothers Brothers lacked creative control over the show and it did not play to their strengths.

It was then on February 5 1967 that The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour debuted on CBS. Unlike The Smothers Brothers Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was a comedy and variety show. The show began as a hipper version of the typical variety show, with such musical guests as Buffalo Springfield, Cream, Donovan, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and The Who. It was not long before The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour evolved into a show that referenced the youth counterculture and addressed political topics of importance to young people. The socially relevant humour made The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour very successful, so successful that it was the first show to challenge the top-rated Bonanza in the ratings in years. The socially relevant humour also brought the Smothers Brothers into conflict with CBS. Ultimately CBS cancelled The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour while it was still popular in 1969. The Smothers Brothers sued CBS for breach of contract and ultimately won. Following the cancellation of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the Smothers Brothers appeared on the summer replacement series The Smothers Brothers Summer Show on ABC. In 1969 Tom Smothers played acoustic guitar on John Lennon's single "Give Peace a Chance."

Tom Smothers began the Seventies hosting his own syndicated show without his brother, Tom Smothers' Organic Prime Time Space Ride. Later in the decade the Smothers Brothers starred in their own short-lived variety show on NBC titled The Smothers Brothers Show. Tom Smothers guest starred on the shows Love, American Style. He provided voices for the animated specials The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas and Betty Boop for President. He was a guest on the talk shows, variety shows, and game shows The Glenn Campbell Goodtime Hour,. The Flip Wilson Show, The Dick Cavett Show, The Julie Andrews Hour, NBC Follies, The Carol Burnett Show, Cher, Dinah!, The Sonny and Cher Show,  The Merv Griffin Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. At the end of the decade the Smothers Brothers guest starred in their own TV specials, The Tom and Dick Smothers Special I and The Tom and Dick Comedy Special II. Tom Smothers appeared in the movies Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972), Silver Bears (1977), A Pleasure Doing Business (1979), and There Goes the Bride (1980).

In the Eighties the Smothers Brothers hosted a new, but short-lived incarnation of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour that aired on CBS. At the start of the decade they starred in the short-lived adventure comedy series Fitz and Bones (Dick Smothers was Fitz, while Tom Smothers was Bones). Tom Smothers guest starred on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Hotel, Tales of the Unexpected, Benson, and Cinemax Comedy Experiment. He was a voice on the animated special The Great Bear Scare. He appeared on such variety shows, talk shows, and games shows as Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, The Glenn Campbell Music Show, Saturday Night Live, The New Hollywood Squares, Dolly, Super Dave, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He appeared in the movies Pandemonium (1982) and Speed Zone (1989).

In the Nineties Tom Smothers guest starred on the TV shows Dream On; Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist; Suddenly Susan; and Maggie. He appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Martin Short Show, and Hollywood Squares. He appeared as himself in the movie The Vegas Connection (1999).

In the Naughts he guest starred as himself on the sitcom Life with Bonnie and the animated series The Simpsons, as well as on the series The Norm Show and The Wonderful World of Disney. He appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. He appeared in the movie The Informant! (2009). His last appearance was this year, on CBS Sunday Morning.

Ever since childhood I have thought of the Smothers Brothers as one of the funniest comedy teams of all time. And Tom Smothers was one of the best gag men in the business. The character he played was not particularly bright, and had a sibling rivalry with his brother Dick, always throwing out his catchphrase, "Mom always liked him best." Of course, Dick Smothers was always the perfect straight man, the perfect foil, to his brother Tom. The two were a perfect team. Of course, in reality Tom Smothers was not only very intelligent, but a comic genius. Indeed, Tom Smothers was such an entertainer that he even brought his skill at the yo-yo into the act. As the Yo-Yo Man he would perform numerous tricks with the yo-yo. He was so good that the Smothers Brothers even released an instructional video, Yo-Yo Man.

Of course, Tom Smothers was not only funny. He was also revolutionary. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was the first variety show to address civil rights, the Vietnam War, the counterculture, drugs, and many political topics. It broke new ground on television and paved the way for such shows as All in the Family and Maude. He fought many battles with CBS' Broadcast and Standards department in the years The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was on the air. He was nothing if not outspoken. A truly funny man and a champion for free speech, Tom Smothers was a very remarkable human being.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Richard Franklin Passes On

Richard Franklin, who played Captain Mike Yates on Doctor Who, and had recurring roles on the TV shows Crossroads and Emmerdale Farm, died yesterday, December 25 2023, at the age of 87.

Richard Franklin was born on January 15 1936 in Marleybone, London. His father was renowned surgeon Richard Hampton Franklin, CBE. His mother was Helen Margaret,  daughter of Sir Henry Dixon Kimber, 2nd Baronet. He attended Westminster School. He received a Master of Arts degree in Modern History at Christ Church at the University of Oxford. His National Service was in the Royal Green Jackets (Rifle Brigade and he served as a captain in Queen Victoria's Rifles. He worked at the Hobson and Grey advertising agency as an assistant account executive, assistant producer, and scriptwriter for three years before going into acting.  He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

It was following his graduation from RADA that he spent six years in repertory theatre, spending time at the Century Theatre in Snibston, Ravenstone, the Birmingham Rep, and at the Bristol Old Vic. Afterwards he appeared in a number of productions on the West End in London.

Richard Franklin made his television debut in an episode of Dixon of Dock Green in 1966. In the late Sixties he guest starred on the shows The Saint, The Doctors, and From a Bird's Eye View. He appeared in the mini-series Little Women. He was a regular on the soap opera Crossroads.

In the Seventies Richard Franklin played Captain Mike Yates, a British adjutant of UNIT,  on Doctor Who. He guest starred on the shows The Pathfinders and Blake's 7. In the Eighties he was a regular on Emmerdale Farm. He appeared in the mini-series The Borgias. He appeared in the TV movie Waving to a Train. In the Nineties he reprised his role as Mike Yates in the thirtieth anniversary Doctor Who special Dimensions in Time that was also a crossover with EastEnders and was  produced for the charity Children in Need. It was historic as the final appearance of Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor. He also appeared in the mini-series The Gambling Man. He guest starred on the show Harry and Heartbeat.

In the Naughts Richard Franklin appeared in the movies Feedback (2004), Chemical Wedding (2008) and The First Days of Spring (2009). In the Teens he appeared as Richard Wagner in Twilight of the Gods (2013) and one of the Death Star engineers in Star Wars movie Rouge One.

Richard Franklin was a very talented actor. He was remarkable as Mike Yates on Doctor Who, the cool and efficient British officer working with UNIT. Although he worked for UNIT and was never actually a companion of The Doctor, the character is so beloved by fans and worked with The Doctor so often that he is often counted as one of The Doctor's companions. Of course, he was also a regular on Emmerdale Farm, playing Denis Rigg, the villains businessman who terrorizes the villagers of Beckindale. In the film Twilight of the Gods (2013), he played the ghost of composer Richard Wagner, who haunts philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche while he is in Turin Lunatic Asylum. Richard Franklin was a remarkable talent who could play a wide variety of roles, from the heroic Mike Yates to the villainous Denis Rigg.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas 2023

Here at A Shroud of Thoughts, we know that some people appreciate some cheesecake with their candy canes and eggnog. Here then are this year's Christmas pinups.

First up is Virginia Mayo, who is waiting for Santa on the roof with some presents.

Next is Cyd Charisse, who is calling to wish people "Merry Christmas."

Yvonne De Carlo made a new friend for Christmas.

The Supremes are spending the holidays listening to records.

Olga San Juan has grown to giant size to deliver presents.

And Yvonne Craig has a present from an admirer!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2023

The Bing Crosby Show: Bing Crosby's first "Christmas" Television Special

Perhaps no other celebrity was associated as much with Christmas as Bing Crosby. Among his string of hits were several Christmas songs, including "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," and, the biggest one of them all, "White Christmas." He began a long tradition of hosting Christmas themed radio programs in 1935 when he co-hosted the Christmas edition of The Kraft Music Hall with Paul Whiteman. Afterwards he would host a Christmas edition of a regularly scheduled program or a Christmas special on radio until 1962. Curiously, Bing Crosby would be a bit of a latecomer when it came to hosting Christmas-themed programs on television. His first Christmas television special would not be until 1961. Even then, The Bing Crosby Show, also known informally as The Big Crosby Christmas Show, barely touched upon the holiday.

The Bing Crosby Show was recorded on November 12 1961 at the Associated-Rediffusion Television Studio 5 in Wembley, London. It was shot while Bing Crosby was making the movie The Road to Hong Kong (1962) in Britain with Bob Hope.  It was directed by Peter Croft, a British director who had directed such British TV shows as Here and Now and Rush Hour, and would go onto direct episodes of Ready, Steady, Go!; Sexton Blake, and The Black Arrow. The guests on The Bing Crosby Show were almost exclusively British. Among them are names that are still recognizable to people world-wide today. Singer Shirley Bassey was just a few years away from world-wide fame with her rendition of the theme song to the James Bond movie Goldfinger (1964). Comedian and actor Terry-Thomas had already appeared in such films as Tom Thumb (1958), I'm All Right Jack (1959), and Make Mine Mink (1960). In an uncredited role as a bobby was Ron Moody, who had already appeared in an uncredited role in Make Mine Mink and would go onto appear in such films as Summer Holiday (1963) and The Mouse on the Moon (1963), as well as TV shows from The Avengers to Gunsmoke. Bob Hope had a cameo in The Bing Crosby Show. Miles Malleson had a career going back to the Thirties, and had appeared in such films as Brewster's Millions (1935), The 39 Steps (1935), The Thief of Bagdad (1940), Dead of Night (1946), and The Brides of Dracula (1960). While he was an American citizen, he was born in Eltham, London, his family immigrating to the United States when he was about five years old.

The other guests on The Bing Crosby Show may be recognizable to connoisseurs of British film and television. Dick Hills and Sid Green were British comedy writers who had written the British TV series  The Strange World of Gurney Slade and Winning Widows, and would go onto work with the comedy team of Morecambe and Wise. Miriam Karlin was a British actress who starred on the British sitcom The Rag Trade and had appeared in the film The Entertainer (1960). Dave King was an English comedian, actor , and singer who had an uncredited role in The Road to Hong Kong, and would go onto play Clifford Duckworth on the British soap opera Coronation Street. Lennie Mayme was an actor who would become a TV director, directing such shows as Vendetta, Z Cars, The Troubleshooters, and Doomwatch. Marion Ryan was a popular British singer who appeared frequently on British television. Two rather obscure British vocal groups were also on the show, The Buskers and The Happy Wanderers.

The idea behind The Bing Crosby Show was that Bing Crosby was in England researching his family tree. Of course, this was primarily an excuse for appearances by British actors and singers. While there is some acknowledgement of Christmas at the start of the special, it is largely forgotten until the very end. In fact, Bing Crosby would sing only one Christmas song in the entire special. The special began with Bing Crosby performing "Great Day!," "That's Amore," and "Learn to Croon." Afterwards it would shift to a sketch in a tea shop, where Mr. Crosby, Marion Ryan, and Dave King performed such tea-themed songs as "Tea for Two" and " When I Take Sugar in My Tea." During the special Bing Crosby would find himself arrested for performing on the street without a licence by a policeman played by Ron Moody. There was then a courtroom sketch in which he performed Fats Waller's "My Fate is in Your Hands." Later Shirley Bassey performed "Lucky Day (This is My)," "I'm Shooting High," and 'As I Love You." Towards the end of the special there would be a medley of such songs as "Make Yourself at Home", "Any Old Iron," and "Knees Up Mother Brown." Bing's performance of "Knees Up Mother Brown" was interrupted by a cameo by Bob Hope in drag as Bing Crosby's long-lost Aunt May. The Bing Crosby Show ended with Bing singing the only Christmas song in the special, "White Christmas."

The Bing Crosby Show aired on the American Broadcasting Company on December 11 1961. The December 13 1961 review of the special in Variety was somewhat mixed, with the critic writing "The first two of Bing Crosby specials for ABC-TV may have been thin and tired in theme and some of its comedy but the hour managed to present some easy-going and bright musical moments." Jack Gould in The New York Times on December 12 1961 gave a more negative review, writing, "It was time last night for Bing Crosby's occasional television special on channel 7; this one was taped in England and used a number of British artists in an outing that was to prove very thin."

The Bing Crosby Show would not air in Britain until February 27 1963, when it aired on ITV. The reason for this was an ongoing dispute between ITV and the Equity Union. The special was then delayed until after the dispute was settled. This could possibly explain why, despite airing in the United States in December, The Bing Crosby Show features only one Christmas song, the aforementioned "White Christmas." They realized it wouldn't air in Britain until later.

While American critics may not have been impressed by Bing Crosby's initial Christmas television special, he would continue to appear in his own Christmas specials or host the Christmas editions of regularly scheduled programs until 1977. Although it was not done on purpose, Bing Crosby's first Christmas special, The Bing Crosby Show, and his final Christmas special Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas, bookend each other rather well. Both specials were filmed in England and feature almost entirely British guests. Ron Moody appeared in both specials, playing a policeman in The Bing Crosby Show and multiple roles (including Bing Crosby's cousin Sir Percy Crosby and Charles Dickens) in Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas. Of course, at the time no one expected Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas to be Bing Crosby's last Christmas special. He died on October 13 1977 of a massive heart attack, only a little over a month since he had filmed the special.

The Bing Crosby Show is currently unavailable on streaming, not even YouTube. It was released on DVD in November 2010 as part of the set Bing Crosby: The Television Specials--Volume 2--The Christmas Specials. It was also included in the Time-Life DVD set The Best of the Bing Crosby Specials in 2018. Festival Films has also released the special on DVD. Since it first aired The Bing Crosby Show has not aired regularly, although the Nostalgia Channel showed a shortened version of the special in November 1995. Portions of the special have appeared on yet other DVDs, as well as special aired on television over the years.

I rather suspect many modern viewers, accustomed to the later Bing Crosby specials filled with Christmas songs, would be disappointed by The Bing Crosby Show. Regardless, it was Bing Crosby's first Christmas special of many. It would lead to his regular appearances on television during the holiday season, whether as the host of his own special or the host of a regularly scheduled show such as The Hollywood Palace.