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Historian unearths Bing Crosby's Bridgwater Carnival connection
WHEN Bridgwater Carnival historian Roger Brown was trawling through some documents about the event from 1949, he wasn’t expecting to find anything particularly unusual.
After all, the era of post-Second World War rationing was a pretty dour time for carnival.
However, one document did cause Roger’s eyes to light up – a letter from legendary Hollywood star Bing Crosby.
It was sent to Bill Cready, the then secretary of The Crown Carnival Club, in St John Street, and appears to have been in response to a letter sent by Mr Cready to the actor and crooner in Hollywood.
Roger has searched in vain for the outgoing letter from Mr Cready, but the response sent by Bing gives a few intriguing clues as to its content.
It reads: “Replying to your letter regarding the music for our show, wish to advise our program is off the air for the summer.
“However, we will be happy to consider your suggestion when we return in the Fall if time and opportunity permit.
“Top O’ The Morning” is our next picture release, with good old Barry Fitzgerald, Ann Blyth and some fine tunes.
“Thanks for your interest, and best wishes.”
The letter is signed by Bing, and stamped with Bing Crosby, Hollywood.
Roger said: “One of my hobbies is collecting items on the history of carnival, and I’ve got 70 books about carnival.
“1949 was a rather austere year because of the rationing and people getting over the war.
“In 1949 I was only four, but I can remember Bing Crosby from those days.
“He was in all the movies of the time and we used to listen to him on the radio.
“He was a huge star and I was pleased and surprised to find this letter.”
Roger, aged 68, is a life member of British Flag Carnival Club and will be taking an active part in this autumn’s circuit.
Bing Crosby Factfile
- Born in 1903 and died in 1977, at the age of 74.
- Won an Oscar for best actor in the 1944 film Going My Way
- Has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for films, radio and audio recording
- His recording of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas was first broadcast on radio on Christmas Day, 1941, and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide.