By 1964, beloved entertainer Bing Crosby was doing quite well as a television producer with shows such as Ben Casey (and later Hogan's Heroes) under his belt. It made perfect sense for him to produce AND star in his own weekly family sitcom.
The Bing Crosby Show was actually a pretty good comedy that couldn't last against strong competition.
Crosby played Bing Collins, a former singer who decided to leave show business behind and settle down with wife Ellie (Beverly Garland) and daughters Janice and Joyce (Carol Faylen and Diane Sherry) and work as an electrical engineer. It was one of the few times that Crosby was shown on screen as a married man having regularly appeared as a bachelor, widower, divorcee, or priest.
But domestic life didn't go according to plan: Ellie wanted to get into show business; Janice was a boy-crazy teen; and Joyce was a ten-year-old brainiac. Frank McHugh played live-in handyman Willie Walters. Of course, Bing sang a song in nearly every episode as was (he also warbled the theme song and the tune that accompanied the closing credits). And the laid-back Crosby and co-star Garland had good chemistry; one humorous episode had Bing and Ellie trying to recapture the romance Ellie thought was gone from their marriage.
Guest stars included a number of well-known faces at that time such as Jack Benny, Frankie Avalon, Vikki Carr, his son Gary Crosby, Joan Fontaine, Phil Harris and Lloyd Nolan.
But The Bing Crosby Show lasted just one season, thanks to strong competition from CBS' sitcom Many Happy Returns (which also lasted just one year) and the second half of NBC's popular Andy Williams Show. Crosby continued to be a frequent guest on television and film (and a commercial spokesman for Minute Maid orange juice) until his untimely death in 1977.
Published on January 18th, 2023. Written by Michael Spadoni for Television Heaven.