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Television Q&A: Did Bing Crosby bring in Barry Fitzgerald's real mother while shooting 'Going My Way'?

Rich Heldenfels, Tribune News Service on

Published in Entertainment News

You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: I am hoping you can clear up a mystery for me. When I was a young girl, my father told me that at the end of the film "Going My Way," the actress Adeline De Walt Reynolds -- who was playing the mother of Barry Fitzgerald's old-priest character -- was replaced with Fitzgerald's real mother by Bing Crosby. The story is Fitzgerald had commented that, like his character in the movie, he had not seen his own mother for a very long time. Crosby had his real mother brought in and when Fitzgerald saw his own real mother, the look of shock and emotions letting loose were not acting but his real feelings. Is there any way this story can be confirmed as fact or fiction?

A: Well, it is a nice story, especially the way it reflects the beloved movie. But I have not found that anecdote in any of the several texts about Crosby and the movie that I consulted. For example, Gary Giddins' "Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-46," the second volume of Giddins' superb Crosby biography, covers the making of "Going My Way" in detail. And it speaks only of Reynolds as the elderly mother.

Q: "Madam Secretary" recently had a show about Afghanistan and brides. The issue was about a video taken, edited with comments and put on a website. Was this story of a doctored video that almost got this girl killed a real story?

A: "Madam Secretary" executive producer David Grae said the episode, titled "Between the Seats," is not based on a true story. But it does draw on current issues, including both honor killings and the intrusiveness of social media. For instance, there was an incident last year where two people talking innocently on a plane became social media fodder after another passenger posted a series images of them with romance-speculating commentary. Widespread attention followed, not all of it good, at least for the woman highlighted in the posts; she ended up calling the situation "a digital-age cautionary tale about privacy, identity, ethics and consent."

Q: Is "Life in Pieces" coming back or isn't it? It was one of our favorite shows and they supposedly did a fourth season. Where is it?

A: On deck. The series will return April 18, with two episodes airing that night, followed by single-episode telecasts starting April 25.

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Q: Hallmark Channel shows Christmas movies, but the movies are all for adults. Why are there no Christmas movies for children -- ones with Santa and toys and elves and reindeer?

A: Having watched my share of Hallmark holiday movies -- and talked to many of the films' fans -- there's no question the movies are adored, including by families that watch them together. As one fan told me, the movies are a break from reality with plenty of romance and goodness toward others. Because it has settled into that niche, Hallmark can leave fare for the younger set to other networks and channels, which carry plenty of it at holiday time.

(Do you have a question or comment about entertainment past, present and future? Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or brenfels@gmail.com. Letters may be edited. Individual replies are not guaranteed.)

(c)2019 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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