Bing Crosby dodged death in gruesome mafia shootout – ‘Bullet holes everywhere’

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    Bing Crosby was known for being a song-and-dance man, but there was a darker side to the legendary Hollywood icon. In his lengthy eight-part biography, Call Me Lucky, the star revealed how a trip to a speakeasy in New York City ended with a body count and connections to the mafia.

    Bing recalled adventuring to the Big Apple to work on a new movie script. One night, after going to a dingy bar, he revealed how he had fallen into friendship with a “couple of quiet strangers”. He went on: “Their voices were quiet and their eyes were quiet. Their clothes weren’t. I started to drink brandy with them, although I’d never tried that potent tipple before — nor have I ever tried it since — and I remember starting pub crawling with my new companions. After that, a haze set in and a couple of days disappeared.”

    Eventually, the singer woke up on a sofa in a strange room. And after making his excuses, he learned he was not permitted to leave. 

    Bing continued: “Across the room, a group of men with padded shoulders, snap-brim black hats and sallow faces were holding a conference at a table. The group noticed me stirring, and one of them came over to me. ‘Have a nice sleep?’ he asked, I shook my head. I felt terrible. My head was one big ache.”

    The men explained how Bing was so drunk they brought him back to their room for safety, as he was carrying a lot of money. He thanked them for their service, before explaining how he would like to leave. He was told: “You’ll have to put up with us for a while longer. While you were out on your feet, there was a shooting. Somebody got hurt and we holed up here. The boys think you’d better stay with us until we give you the word.”

    Bing retreated to the bathroom to sip a glass of water, but the unimaginable followed: A barrage of bullets.

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    Bing confessed: “I went into the bathroom and filled a glass with water. I didn’t get it to my mouth. As I raised it there was a sound like six autos backfiring, the noise of

    plaster falling and choking screams from the next room.”

    The terrified singer remained in the bathroom for “what seemed like hours” until he heard voices and footsteps. When he emerged, a policeman inquired who he was. He told them: “I’m with Whiteman’s band – I’ve just come from a recording date. I heard the shooting and popped in to see what was going on.”

    Eventually, someone recognised Bing and the policeman ushered him out. He added: “There was no trouble herding me out. I let them do it one-hand easy.”

    Bing noted that, on his way out, his new friends were left dead.

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    Bing described the gruesome room: “They bad been nicked here and there by machine-gun slugs and their faces were even sallower. The door of the room had been shot, open. Bullet holes around the lock had done that. Someone had sprayed the room with lead slugs.”

    The following day, Bing found out exactly who he had been out drinking with, and they had a famous past. He revealed he had been holed up with a “prominent gang leader” known as Machine Gun Jack McGurn. This particular member of the mob was supposedly part of the infamous Valentine’s Day Massacre that took place on February 14, 1929 in Chicago.

    Bing concluded: “When I read that, I wanted nothing more than to get out of New York.”

    Bing went on to add: “I was glad when we got word that Universal had finally cooked up a story suitable for Whiteman and we all trooped back into the train and went back to Hollywood.”

    The film that followed was The King of Jazz, Bing’s first-ever big-screen movie.

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    Published at Wed, 09 Feb 2022 22:58:00 +0000

    Bing Crosby dodged death in gruesome mafia shootout – ‘Bullet holes everywhere’

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