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Bing and Other Things (HARD COVER WITH DUST JACKET, BOOK CLUB EDITION)

1 rating: 3.0
A book by KATHRYN CROSBY

100% $$$ BACK REFUND ON RETURN, WE COMBINE SHIPPING !!! BING AND OTHER THINGS BY KATHRYN CROSBY PUBLISHED BY THE MEREDITH PRESS, INC. BOOK AND DUST JACKET, BOOK IN VERY GOOD CONDITON WITH INCRIPTIONS FRONT AND BACK NAME AND BING'S DEATH DATE, DUST JACKET … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: KATHRYN CROSBY
Publisher: MEREDITH PRESS
1 review about Bing and Other Things (HARD COVER WITH DUST...

Fascinating glimpse into a world that used to exist

  • Dec 15, 2009
Rating:
+3
I found this hidden gem at a used book sale for $2; as of the post date of this review, Amazon listed three for sale from used book sellers starting at $44.99. My edition, and the three listed for sale, are book club editions. I wonder if it was only published as a book club edition?

Bing of course is Bing Crosby in this autobiography of his second wife Kathryn. Bing was a 50-something widower with four grown sons by his late first wife when he married small-town Texas beauty-queen and Hollywood hopeful Kathryn Grandstaff, then less than half his age. After a brief summary of her life up to the point of meeting Bing, she devotes the rest of the book to their courtship, marriage, and children.

But this is a glimpse into a long-vanished world: this is not tell-all autobiography where we learn all the inside dirt on Kathryn and Bing. It is written with a semi-formal, almost aristocratic remove that holds the reader (politely but firmly) at arm's length as if to remind the reader that this is Kathryn's story to reveal as she chooses, not a muck-wallow in the gutter that characterizes our celebrity-driven right-to-know present.

This remove in time and distance is a reminder of how different the consumer-celebrity relationship is in the reality-TV era. Now we demand that our celebrities strip themselves naked to the soul for us. We applaud those smart enough to choose a delivery mechanism--reality show, book with signing tour and interview circuit, saturation-coverage magazine interviews with glamour cover shots, one-person standup/speaking/singing/monologue tours--that they control; we pity the unfortunate ones (Tiger Woods' recent driving and marriage problems come to mind) who end up in tight rotation in out-of-control daily saturation coverage.

The trade-off of course, is that we wonder how much we're missing between the lines. Was Bing really the charming older raconteur and comic with a quip for every situation, no matter how serious--or was he the stern task-master in the tell-all books one of his older children later wrote? Is Kathryn's constant self-deprecation just her writing style reflecting her personality, or does it reveal while masking a feeling of inferiority by her older, more worldly, and of course much more famous husband. Indeed, some of the stories she tells of their marraiage suggest that feeling might run deeper than she allows us to see; in 1967 when this book was written, did the studio system still have content control to protect their star?

Read as history, autobiography, or psychology, "Bing and Other Things" is worth the time.

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