Posted on September 26th, 2016 by:

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Crosby and His Show Go Over With a Tuneful Bang

By S/Sgt. Ed Stone

Stars and Stripes Unit Correspondent

From the September 25, 1944 Edition of Stars and Stripes

Singing in mess halls, fields, from the backs of trucks in the squares of captured towns, Bing Crosby, together with his USO Campshow troupe, has traveled more than 1,500 miles and put on as many as five shows a day for American soldiers since his arrival in France Sept. 2.

Dressed in OD’s and a fatigue hat, with his inevitable pipe in his mouth, Crosby has sung his way across France, putting on shows for troops spread from the beach heads to the front lines. On several occasions, the group has appeared within gun-shot range of German positions. While in the Valognes area, Crosby joined forces with Fred Astaire, the star of another USO group, and during his visit to the troops of the Third Army, he sang with Dinah Shore and her entertainment unit. His regular supporting cast is made up of Joe De Rita, comedian; Darleon Garner, dancer, Jeanne Darrell, blues singer; Buck Harris, guitarist, and Early Baxter, accordionist.

bing crosby france USO tour WWII

Bing Crosby and Joe DeRita point out news and highlights in The Stars and Stripes to a Frenchman at Commercy, between USO shows. Bing’s troupe gave shows within three miles of the front the next day.

Although Crosby dominates the show, singing such old favorites as “If I Had My Way,” and “White Christmas,” and songs from his latest pictures, Jeanne Darrell’s “Embraceable You” and her duet with Crosby on “Easter Parade” have proved extremely popular with troops. Crosby usually closes his programs by singing “White Christmas” and expressing the hope that Christmas, 1944 will find the hem home.

Bing also doubles as master of ceremonies for the show, joking about Army food, his four sons and life on the home front. A favorite with soldiers has been his remark when a plane passes. “For a moment, I thought it was the stork again,” Bing says. Soldiers who proffer pictures of their wives, sweethearts and families are countered with photos of Crosby’s wife, the former Dixie Lee, and his four boys. While appearing at a 35th Infantry Division unit, Crosby autographed a picture of a son of Sgt. Cortez Stanley. Stanley’s son had caddied for Crosby on Santa Anita golf course, near Los Angeles.

During the tour of U.S. Installations and areas, Crosby’s group has lived the same life as the troops, occasionally sleeping on the ground and frequently eating K and C rations. So far, however, the only casualty has been Earl Baxter who cut two fingers while opening a C ration can.

For More on Bing Crosby Check Out:

The Definitive Collection: Bing Crosby

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