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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Bing’s big debut as a Gonzaga student didn’t make much of an impression on a correspondent

 (S-R archives)
(S-R archives)

Gonzaga University’s alumni association presented a six-act vaudeville show – and at least two of the acts were historically significant, even if nobody knew it at the time.

A performer identified as “Harry Crosby” presented “comedy songs.” This was undoubtedly Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby, who was a Gonzaga student that year.

Another part of the program was billed as “a skit by Ray and Bing,” which indicates Crosby was in that act as well. He may even have been part of a third act, a dance band called the Dizzy Seven, because Crosby was their drummer at times.

A reviewer for The Spokesman-Review was unaware that he was in the presence of the man who would become the most famous entertainer in the world. In the next day’s paper, he relegated both of Crosby’s acts to a postscript and merely said they were “well-received.”

He spent more ink praising a ventriloquist and a 6-year-old vocalist.

From the Christmas beat: About 100 members of the Spokane Hellenic Club celebrated a Greek Orthodox Christmas.

A correspondent noted that they “ate their native Greek pastries, drank their native almond (unfermented), and danced native dances, antedating the birth of the Christ they celebrated.”

Also on this day

(From the Associated Press)

1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his State of the Union address, declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.”

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