Bing Crosby’s archives are so voluminous that a full-time curator is necessary to handle the endless film, audio and personal items.
Robert Bader, vice president of HLC Properties, handles the Crosby treasure trove and will present rare film footage when he appears Saturday at the Bing Crosby Film Festival at the Bing Crosby Theater.
“I was at this event in 2010 and I made such an impression they invited me back 13 years later,” Bader cracked while calling from his Los Angeles home. “I’m essentially the opening act for ‘White Christmas.’ Even if I’m terrible, you have a great movie coming up after me.”
The odds are that Crosby fans will be fascinated by Bader’s presentation, which is filled with surprising material. Bader has dusted off some surprising footage. A promotional film from the 1960s dubbed “Take Gonzaga,” which was designed to recruit students to attend Crosby’s alma mater, will hit the screen.
“It’s Bing talking to a caddy about going to Gonzaga,” Bader said. “It’s part of some of the wild crazy stuff I’ll be showing.”
There’s a one-minute clip of Crosby clad in a fishing cap talking up the Evergreen State for Washington state tourism. Bader has footage of Crosby at a Gonzaga library dedication and post war family relief.
“There is lots of Spokane footage,” Bader said. “It was obvious that Bing loved Spokane and the state of Washington. There’s some nice footage of Bing for charities. Bing was a soft touch for a good charity.
“The cool thing about this event is that fans will see film of Bing they’ve never seen before. It’s going to be about the film. I’ll try to keep the talking to a minimum. It’s fascinating seeing Bing in Spokane. He obviously cared a lot about the city.”
Harry Crosby, Bing’s son, who is the president of HLC Properties, concurs.
“It was always about Spokane for my father,” Crosby said while calling from New York. “He always wanted to contribute where he grew up with the museum and library. We’re proud to keep my father’s legacy alive with his music and recordings.”
“Bing Crosby’s Christmas Gems,” a collection of hits and never released songs, was released in October.
“The songs on the album sound wonderful,” Crosby said. “It’s great that my father remains the voice of Christmas.”
Bing Crosby is also still the face of Christmas. “White Christmas” will be screened at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Irving Berlin’s musical also features Rosemary Clooney and Danny Kaye. “Birth of the Blues,” a 1941 Crosby vehicle, which features Louis Armstrong, live music from the Zonky Jazz Band and Big Bing Theory – a Gonzaga a cappella group – is also on the bill.
“It’s going to be a fun event that’s different this year since fans will be surprised by what we’re showing this time out,” Bader said.