For the 14th consecutive year, the Bing Crosby Holiday Film Festival will celebrate the cinema, songs and career of Tacoma-born and Spokane-reared entertainer Bing Crosby at the Bing Crosby Theater on Saturday.
The event also will feature a photo gallery, clips from Crosby’s performances for soldiers in World War II, a live show from the singer’s nephew, Howard Crosby, and music from the era by the local Zonky Jazz Band.
“White Christmas,” “Going My Way” and, for the first time, “Waikiki Wedding” are all Crosby features slated to be shown Saturday. The nonprofit organization behind the annual event, Bing Crosby Advocates, has served to preserve the legacy and presence of the homegrown hero and Gonzaga University alumnus since 2006.
The organization also maintains Crosby’s boyhood home, which is located on the Gonzaga campus, free and open to the public and contains an authorized replica of his 1944 Oscar for “Going My Way.”
Crosby’s string of movies, and his wildly successful Christmas films in particular, have sold 1,077,900,000 tickets, making him the third most popular actor of the 20th century behind Clark Gable (1,163,300,000) and John Wayne (1,114,000,000).
This year marks the 75th anniversary of “Going My Way,” which, along with netting Crosby the 1945 Academy Award for best actor, spawned the hits “Ave Maria” and “To-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra (An Irish Lullaby).”
Crosby reprised his “Going My Way” role as Father Chuck O’Malley in the following year’s “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” opposite Ingrid Bergman, and received an Oscar nod again, becoming the first of six actors to be nominated twice for playing the same role.
The day’s festivities will close out with a 7:30 p.m. repeat showing of “White Christmas.” Tickets for the event are available at the door for $10 (cash and check only; no credit card or advance sales) and are valid for the entire day. Children ages 12 and younger will be admitted for free.
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