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Annual Crosby film festival even includes rare clips and images

The fifth annual Bing Crosby Holiday Film Festival on Saturday will include two of the most famous Crosby movies, “White Christmas” and “Road to Morocco.”

Yet of even more interest to Bing-o-philes will be the footage that Robert Bader has mined from the Crosby family film and video archives.

And what an archive.

Crosby was one of the first stars to fully embrace tape and video technologies, and the climate-controlled vault at the Crosby estate is crammed full of rarities and treasures. Bader’s job, over the past few years, has been to work his way through it.

“It’s kind of like opening a box of Cracker Jacks every day,” said Bader, by phone from California. “You know there will be a surprise, but you don’t know what it will be.”

Bader will share many of those surprises in a 90-minute presentation on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Here are just a few of the things you’ll see:

• Early film footage from 1932, showing Bing with George Burns and Gracie Allen.

• Clips from Crosby’s Christmas shows during the war years.

• Footage of Bing’s first TV appearance, Dec. 19, 1948 on the “Philco TV Playhouse.”

• A 12-minute U.S. Navy instructional video featuring Crosby and Bob Hope. It was made in September 1945 for the Navy’s soon-to-be-demobilized sailors.

“It was essentially telling them not to skip the formalities of the process,” said Bader. “Don’t go AWOL.”

• Footage of Bing receiving his Oscar from Gary Cooper for “Going My Way.”

• Bing at a movie premiere, wearing his “dungaree tuxedo.”

• And of particular interest in this region, a TV news documentary chronicling Crosby’s 1968 visit to Gonzaga University.

“It’s a beautiful color film of him going to the campus and to his boyhood home,” said Bader.

Bader, when he isn’t rummaging through the archives, is the vice president of marketing and production for the Crosby estate.

He said the clips will be “exclusives” for this event, but they will eventually turn up on DVDs and documentaries. Bader has already assembled some archive footage into a documentary called “The Legendary Bing Crosby,” which aired this year on PBS stations across the country.

A screening of that documentary will also be part of Saturday’s event, at 5 p.m.

And if that’s not enough, there will be plenty of Bing artifacts on display, many of them from the newly acquired collection of the Jerry and Patty Dicker Foundation.

In addition, you’ll see the Army uniform worn by Bing in “White Christmas.” It’s on loan from the Rosemary Clooney Museum in Augusta, Ky.

The event is staged by the Advocates for the Bing Crosby Theater, who will provide coffee, hot apple cider and other treats at no charge.

Also – in a touch Bing himself would appreciate – beer and wine will be available for sale after 4 p.m.