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Screening  |  Holiday Inn

Friday, December 4, 2015, 7 pm

Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium  

Introduction by Buffalo State College Professor Charles Mancuso Author of Popular Music in the Underground: Foundations of Jazz, Blues, Country & Rock 1900 – 1950.

Bing Crosby was the most dominant entertainer in America between 1930 and pre-rock and roll in the 1950s. After leaving Spokane, Washington with fellow singer Al Rinke for Los Angeles, the duo hit the vaudeville circuit and were eventually picked up by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. While working in Chicago, Whiteman added singer songwriter Barry Harris to the act and the trio became known as the Rhythm Boys. Crosby was fired by Whitman in 1930 which eventually led to as solo career. He quickly rose to stardom to become the number one vocalist, as well as the most listened radio star of is time and the biggest box-office movie star for Paramount Pictures.

In Holiday Inn, Crosby teamed with Fred Astaire, filmdom’s leading dancer, to portray dancing and singing partners who tussle over the same women. Jim Hardy (Crosby), Ted Hanover (Astaire), and Lila Dixon (Dale) have a musical act popular in the New York City nightlife scene. On Christmas Eve, Jim prepares to give his last performance as part of the act before marrying Lila and retiring with her to a farm in Connecticut. At the last minute, Lila decides she is not ready to stop performing, and that she has fallen in love with Ted. She tells Jim that she will stay on as Ted's dancing partner. While heartbroken, Jim follows through with his plan and bids the act goodbye. A year later Jim decides to win Lila back and Jim and Ted sing and dance as they vie for the affection of the beautiful and talented Lila.

Crosby made more studio recordings than any singer in America, 400 more than Frank Sinatra. He made one of the most popular records ever, White Christmas, the only single to make the American pop chart 20 times. Between 1927 and 1962, Crosby scored 368 charted records under his own name, plus 28 as vocalist with other band leaders for a total of 396. 38 of those were number 1 on the charts. By comparison, the Beatles and Elivis Presley had 24 and 18 number one records respectively.

Directed by Mark Sandrich, Holiday Inn features the music of Irving Berlin. The composer wrote 12 songs specifically for the film including White Christmas which received an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1943. It was also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Score and Best Original Story by Irving Berlin.