Archive of letters, postcards, photographs, and notes from Crosby to songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen. Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby.

On Friendship, Clam Bakes, Sinatra, and Boozin'

Archive of letters, postcards, photographs, and notes from Crosby to songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen.

v.p., chiefly Hollywood and Palm Desert, California: v.d., 1953-1969.

Includes 3 page Autograph Manuscript of Crosby's biographical notes for Rotary Club luncheon honoring Van Heusen and material relating to the luncheon, 1 page Autograph lyrics, 3 Typed Letters Signed ("Bing") to Van Heusen, Western Union telegram, 2 Autograph Postcards Signed ("Bing"), 3 photographs of Crosby, Bob Hope and others, and other material, detailed below, including copy of 2 page Typed Letter from Van Heusen to Crosby detailing wild night out with Sinatra and 1 page fragment of Typed Letter from Crosby congratulating Van Heusen on his marriage. Various formats. On Friendship, Clam Bakes, Sinatra, and Boozin'. All in near fine condition. Item #235661

Composer Jimmy Van Heusen (1913-1990) won four Academy Awards and one Emmy in a long career that included such hits as "High Hopes" and "Love and Marriage." Teamed with lyricists Sammy Cahn and Johnny Burke, Van Heusen wrote more than 70 songs performed by Sinatra or Crosby. Van Heusen also composed the title song to THE BING CROSBY SHOW, and worked with Crosby in HIGH TIME, ROAD TO MOROCCO and ROAD TO HONG KONG. As this correspondence demonstrates, Crosby and Van Heusen remained close over many decades of working together.
1. 3 pg. MS on spiral-bound ruled notepaper: Crosby's handwritten notes for a speech given at a Rotary Club luncheon honoring Van Heusen, May 2, 1958. Crosby details Van Heusen's many achievements and awards, and supplies some personal commentary: "A visit to his home is an experience. It's a combination of the early days of the Wild West and the last days of Pompeii." And, "His best friends [are] Sinatra and Crosby. One as a stimulant, the other a depressant. We won't tell you which is which."
2. 1 pg. carbon: Van Heusen's Rotary Club luncheon acceptance speech, in which he excuses his voice: "If you think I speak badly ... .Wait until you hear me sing ... "
3. 1 pg. TN on Van Heusen stationery: "Parody sung at the Rotary Club Luncheon." Includes such lines as "May I say Van Heusen enjoys his noontime boozin'." And concludes, "I'm glad Crosby made me move here / my thanks I must convey / The Rotary Club's a killer / And the luncheon's been a thriller / All the way, all the way"
4. 1 pg. AN in blue pen on Crosby stationery: Lyrics, in Crosby's hand, titled "Added Patter." Humorous lines about drinking and clam digging: "We burrow for the bivalve down in Plumper Bay / Scratch and Claw and sift the silt the Kwatna way / At Nimkish we don't seek fish but the juicy clam / If all we get is empty shells - who gives a damn". With some pencil corrections and notes. Very likely lyrics to the "official song" mentioned in item 6 below.
5. 1 pg. TLS (April 26, 1957) on Crosby stationery with 1 pg. TL draft (April 19, 1957) on Capitol Records stationery with Crosby's corrections in pencil: Crosby thanks Van Heusen for playing his latest, "Seven Nights a Week" and "Man on Fire," and adds this bittersweet note: "In the waning years of what has been an enormously lucky and gratifying career it's nice to know I can still capture some audience interest." The draft is a form letter, most likely written by a secretary at Capitol Records. Crosby cuts most of the letter's generic sentiments and fills the bottom margin with his pencilled substitutions. "Seven Nights a Week" was Crosby's attempt to appeal to a younger, rock-and-roll audience.
6. 1 pg. TLS (December 12, 1960) on Crosby stationery: letter concerning "the official Clam organization," a list of members ("There's you and I, Crowley and Morrow, Fiorini and Rosenberg, Harris and Collier, Sindeman, and Max Bell.") and progress on the club's "official song." Undoubtedly a reference to the "Crosby Clambake" held at Pebble Beach, the first pro-am golf tournament.
7. 1 pg. TLS (January 26, 1967) on Crosby stationery: Crosby acknowledges receipt of "the cast album," possibly to Van Heusen's musical WALKING HAPPY.
8. 1 pg. Western Union telegram (December 7, 1953): Crosby informs Van Heusen that he is leaving his house, "Your place is free now in case of any of your pals out here want to use it thanks very much."
9. Autograph Postcard Signed (April 15, 1961): Photo postcard from San Jose, Mexico. Crosby hopes Van Heusen's trip to England was a success and gives a short update on his trip to Mexico: "Been here about a week, flying down on the Richfield DC. 3. Nice weather, but the group is sometimes a bit gay."
10. Autograph Postcard Signed (December 28, 1962): Postcard from the Hotel Camino Real, Guadalajara, Mexico. Crosby is in Mexico to buy tile and porch furniture for the house he's building in Las Cruces, or "Casa Crosby." "The house at Las Cruces is going to be quite nice ... " Ends with an obscure reference to skydiving and songwriter Sammy Cahn: "See the Slim One 'hit the silk.' Cahn's price was right."
11. 3 b/w photographs: a) Gelatin silver print (9 x 7-1/8 inch) of Crosby in hat and pipe with Bob Hope and Sammy Cahn, reviewing lyrics at Capitol Records. Docketed on rear, "NBC Photo by Gerald Smith." Likely from recording of THE ROAD TO HONG KONG (1962). b) Crosby in straw hat and pipe with wife Kathryn. c) Crosby and Cahn relaxed and smoking.
12. 1 pg. fragment of TL (December 22, 1969) on Crosby stationery: Crosby belatedly congratulates Van Heusen on his marriage to Bobbie Brock, "I wanted you to know that I'm certainly happy that two of my dearest friends are now united." Crosby jokes at his wife's expense, "Kathryn says that she wants you to write her a Broadway musical, but it should be within a three note range" and goes on to worry that he isn't working (or earning) enough. Small stain at top margin
13. 1 pg. TLS (December 28, 1964) on Kathryn Crosby stationery: Letter thanking Van Heusen for gifts given to their children, signed "Kathryn & Bing"
14. 2 page retained copy of TL (August 23, 1966) from Van Heusen to Crosby: Van Heusen is nervous about the opening of his musical WALKING HAPPY, "[it's] in rehearsal now, and the feces has hit the fan. The panic is on." Goes on to recount a riotous night in New York with Sinatra ("the Dago") and Mia Farrow: "On his way to London the Dago stopped in New York long enough for Bennett Cerf and Leland Hayward to party him and his bride at '21'." They have a run-in with the paparazzi: "Negotiating the twenty or thirty paces between the two restaurants encompassed three fights with photographers and newsmen ... Frank pushed me into the oncoming traffic when I stepped in between." Van Heusen's opinion of Farrow and Sinatra's marriage: "I was only mildly surprised by the wedding. I had rooted for Mia (whom I adore) to grab him for SO long, that I was jumping with glee when they both called from Vegas shortly after the ceremony" and his opinion of Sinatra's behavior: "As for his reforming,--I doubt he'll ever drop his dukes in the presence of the press ... As for drinking,--you and I used to spill more than he consumes,--but I look for some reduction in the drunk days in the 'September of His Years', as Sam [Cahn] and I once described the aging Dago." The letter finishes with more talk of WALKING HAPPY, and commiseration over health concerns
15. 1-page TLS (July 24, 1957): from agent George Rosenberg to Van Heusen concerning screenplay of TUNNEL OF LOVE, with copy of typed Crosby letter to Rosenberg declining to work on the film, "There are so many sequences which are just basically salacious, I don't care how innocently you do them or how wholesome the people who are involved in these sequences, they just have to be bad for me"

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