Dennis Polkow | Chicago, IL United States | 01/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The program on this DVD is basically a retrospective produced in the early 1990s for public television that was originally called "A Bing Crosby Christmas: Just Like the Ones You Used to Know" that was narrated by Gene Kelly and hosted by Bing's widow, Kathryn Crosby, who since went on to star in the Broadway version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "State Fair." The program itself features clips from fifteen of Bing's classic television specials, concentrating on the period from the early 1960s onwards when he included Kathryn and their three children in the programs. For those of us who grew up with these specials -- and they were a staple of every holiday season for Baby Boomers -- Bing's family can be seen growing up before our eyes. Yes, it does include the classic duet that Bing recorded with David Bowie of "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" that was taped a month before Bing's sudden death of a heart attack while playing golf in Spain in October of 1977. But it also includes clips with guest stars such as Fred Astaire, Mary Martin, Jackie Gleason, Carol Burnett and Bernadette Peters, among others, and of course, Bing closing as he always did, singing Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," heard here across several performances and key changes. The only down side of these clips is that most are heavily narrated over the music itself which limits their appeal over multiple viewings/listenings. The bonus features alone are more than worth the price of the disc, however, including an extended portion of a live Bing Christmas special from the mid-1950s that included Bing and Frank Sinatra having an hilarious, full-of-inside-jokes "sing-off" against one another, including Sinatra taking the Hope role in the title song to "The Road to Morocco" only to have Hope himself show up in protest. Louis Armstrong and Rosemary Clooney also make appearances. There are also some scratchy clips from "Holiday Inn," including Bing's first-ever introduction of "White Christmas" by a cozy late-night fire to Marjorie Reynolds, and "Bell's of St. Mary's" as well. There is also an amusing early sound short and Bing's first ever film appearance called "Blue of the Night" after his signature tune of the same name where Bing plays himself meeting a fan who claims to be engaged to him (she only knows his voice from the radio and doesn't know what he looks like) and includes an hilarious scene where Bing sings her to sleep pretending he has a portable radio and later has to convince an Irish cop (Bud Jamison, who played similar roles in Three Stooges shorts of the 1930s) that he really is Bing. "Well, if you are," says Jamison, "give us some of that whistling stuff to prove it." There is also a useful Bing bio and an accurate and thorough discography of every Christmas song Bing recorded during his long and memorable career. All in all, a fun collection for Bing fans as well as fans of Christmas. Come to think of it, isn't that just about everybody?"
Brings cheery holiday happiness ANY time of the year
"Truly, this DVD, along with White Christmas are two of our favorites. Mother, as she sinks into Alzheimer's induced dementia, ALWAYS is cheered by the great music, and the clips are wonderful to watch. It's great seeing Bing and Jackie Gleason singing "A couple of loafers"... the old-timers surely did make 'em right.I *thoroughly* enjoy this DVD. The only sad part is that I'd love it to be longer... It's got everything -- the crooner is great. Now, I've got a list of the 70 Christmas songs he recorded, so you know what my next goal is!Enjoy the movie. Oh, and I didn't find any chatting overpowering -- more informative. It felt like the shows, friendly, cheerful, and, some of the early TV programs appeared to be just folks (very very talented folks mind you) getting together to have a wonderful time and celebrate the holidays with us.Merry Christmas!"
Delightful content; terrible picture
Tom Anderson | Piney Flats, Tennessee United States | 10/28/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I dearly love old Christmas movies and television specials, which is why I was so very disappointed in the quality of this offering. Here was a chance to present the king of Christmas music and his warm and wonderful Christmas specials, but they blew it. This thing was obviously put together as a television special (probably for PBS) in the late 1970s or early 1980s with introductions by Katherine Crosby and Gene Kelly. Their segments are extremely dark, flat, grainy, fuzzy, and covered with dust and debris. But the worst is yet to come: most of the clips from the actual specials vary from somewhat to extremely blurry. NO attempt was made at restoration of these valuable old shows.
Such poor handling of his Christmas television legacy is a slap in the face to Bing and his family and an insult to people who have paid money for this THING--I can't call it anything else! All this is not to say that the presentation can't be enjoyed, but you'll have to train your eyes to look through the extreme fuzz and blur and let the music win you over. What could've been a visit to the wonderful Christmas television specials of yore (and it's a pity there's nothing like them on television today), turned into an opportunity for a video company to make a quick buck while not spending one red cent on quality. BUYER BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!"
A must for all baby boomers.
Dennis Polkow | 12/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video is a must for all baby boomers. It wasn't Christmas without watching the Bing Crosby Christmas Special. My favorite clip is Bing with David Bowie singing The Peace Carol/Little Drummer Boy. These clips with Bing Crosby are great to watch with your children and grandchildren. Christmas songs recorded today can't compare to the Bing Crosby Christmas Specials."
Make sure you get the right one...
Aconsumer | United States | 12/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this great dvd a few years back at a reasonable price, the Questar version now out of print, which has a yellow background & a wreath partially showing behind Bing singing. It is the one with the David Bowie duet. There seems to be some confusion now with Amazon's pasting reviews broadly for any item with the title Bing Crosby Christmas. Evidently this version with David Bowie, Fred Astaire, Jackie Gleason, Gene Kelly, ect. ect. is now only available from private sellers. In the lower corner is an emblem with bells that states "collectors edition" and there are dvd extras including a short musical "Blue of the Night" from 1933. I was hoping to spare others extreme disappointment from ordering something...so different from the TV Christmas specials they are expecting... and thought if there were a few more details they might be able to verify them before ordering...and no, I am not willing to sell the one I have, just trying to help."