Al Jolson Home Page|His Works|Radio|15 Feb 50 Crosby Chesterfield Show

Al Jolson's experience with radio began in the dawn of the medium, and continued until the birth of television, and his death. He started the Kraft Music Hall, along with programs for Lifebuoy Soap, Colgate Tooth Powder, and Chevrolet, and died while waiting to go on to Bing Crosby's Chesterfield program. On this page, I will be featuring full length radio programs, in Real Audio format, for your enjoyment.

Although Al Jolson began his radio career with his own program, after the success of The Jolson Story, Al Jolson was a frequent guest on others' radio programs. Even after he capped his return to the air with a show of his own, guest shots continued. This week's program is one such appearance.
Bing and Al promo
Kraft Music Hall advertisement featuring
Bing Crosby and Al Jolson

This was the second of three apprearances in 1950 for Al Jolson on Bing Crosby's Chesterfield Program, which originated from San Francisco. It was to be his fourth appearance on Bing's show that year that found him in San Francisco in October, 1950, when he passed away on October 23rd.

Bing opened his show in style, after making some remarks about just passing by Valentine's day. By the way, one of the Jolson discographies gives the date of this program as February 8th. The references in the program, though, establish the date as after Valentine's Day, February 15th.

Although the Ray Bolger classic rendition of "Once In Love With Amy" may be the most well known song from the show Where's Charlie? Bing chose "The New Ashmolean" from that show to open the program. After the song, he and Ken Carpenter engage in some period puffery about the sponsor.

After the commercial, Bing took a turn at a second number, "Happy Times," written by Sylvia Fine Kaye, Danny Kaye's wife for his show of the times.

Acknowledging that it was a Happy Time with Al Jolson on the show, Jolie entered singing "California, Here I Come," and he was never in better voice, singing two choruses of the song with a big finish. After the ovation died down, Bing and Jolie did their best to blow the script, just like old times. Follow closely, and don't get lost amidst the jokes about Jolson's money, age, and ego.

The conversation soon turned to Jolson's recent trip to Hawaii. That gave Jolson the in to tell an old joke in a dialect that wasn't from the old south. They capped the Hawaiian talk with an old Jolson tune sung in duet, "Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula."

Next up, a song which the boys said got its start in San Francisco, "Whispering," performed by the team of Crosby and Jolson, no less. The audience loved the number, so they responded with a "new tune," from Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, starring Carol Channing, called "Bye, Bye, Baby."

For their last number of the night, the clock was turned 'way back, for a rousing rendition of "Waiting For The Robert E. Lee." The audience went wild.

After a few more alphabetical tips about cigarettes by Mr. Carpenter, Bing Crosby returned to close the program with the song "You're Wonderful," from the movie Paid In Full.

Jolson would return to the Crosby show just one more time, in May, 1950. Yet, even in this final act of his life, he retained all the pep and vigor for which he was famous. Sit back and enjoy this great performance.

Listen to this radio program and watch a Video Podcast with an excerpt of the show illustrated with photos of the stars.

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     This is an excerpt of the 15 Feb 1950 Bing Crosby Show, with guest star Al Jolson. Enjoy a great rendition of "California, Here I come," followed by some Crosby and Jolson banter, and concluded with a duet of "Bye, Bye, Baby." Period photos of Mr. Jolson and Mr. Crosby help give a feel for the look of this broadcast. This is, of course, only a small sample of the half hour radio program, with Al Jolson joining Bing Crosby on the radio, just eight months before his death.

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This listing and material Copyright © 1995-2017 Marc I. Leavey, M.D. Baltimore, Maryland
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