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Sunday, August 24, 2008


Clipping from The Arcade - December 14, 1956
Collection of Ray Marin (click on image to enlarge)

For modern teenagers it's hard to imagine a world without television, I-pods or video games, but young people as late as 1950 had little access to popular entertainment images outside of movies, comic books and the "funnies" (comic strips) in newspapers. Not surprising, comic characters had nearly universal recognition and representation. Lots of American kids, and even towns, got stuck with comic book nicknames. Among the most famous of these was Harry Lillis Crosby, who the world knows as "Bing".
Many newspapers carried special "Sunday Comics", and the antics of characters were the subject of weekly discussions. One such comic strip was "The Bingville Bugle" by the cartoonist/wit Newton Newkirk. The theme of the series was that of a "hilly-billy" newspaper. A 15 year old Valentine Hobart, amused by Harry Crosby's droll laugh called him Bingo, his other buddies modified it to Der Bingle, and it evolved into his world famous name Bing Crosby. By the time Crosby got to Gonzaga College in eastern Washington, even his professors called him Bing.
Take a peek at a copy of the July 19, 1914 edition of the Bingville Bugle at this webiste:
By the mid 1940s, Bing Crosby was one of the most popular entertainers in the world. His radio broadcasts and USO performances won him world-wide recognition. In 1944, Crosby had a smash record called "The San Fernando Valey", written by Gordon Jenkins. Bingville became the insiders' nickname for North Hollywood, Studio City and Toluca Lake, where Bing Crosby and his family lived, went to church and did their everyday shopping.
Copies of the Arcade (North Hollywood High School's student newspaper) in the mid 1950s regularly referred to the high school and the nearby towns from which students came as Bingville. Read some of the Archade newsletter from 1954 at:

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