Q: I watched "White Christmas" starring Bing Crosby the other night, which prompted me to wonder what became of his four boys from his first marriage. Did one or more inherit his singing voice?
A: According to the official website bingcrosby.com, Bing had seven children: Gary, twins Dennis and Philip, and Lindsay from his first marriage to Dixie Lee Crosby (who died of cancer in 1952), and Harry, Mary and Nathaniel from his second marriage, to Kathryn Grant Crosby, still with him when Bing died in 1977.
Dixie's four sons all tried out singing at various times, including as the Crosby Boys; Gary, later an actor on TV shows such as "Adam-12," had several hit singles in the early '50s. But none achieved the success of their father. Indeed, life proved difficult for them, with the website saying each "constantly struggled with alcoholism and had embarrassing scrapes with the law." Gary wrote a memoir claiming that Bing had been an excessively strict parent but, according to the website, he did so to improve sales and later recanted "large portions" of the book. Gary was hoping to revive his career by overdubbing some of Bing's recordings when he discovered he had cancer and died in 1995. By that time, both Lindsay and Dennis had committed suicide, in 1989 and 1991 respectively; Philip died in 2004 at the age of 69.
For more about Bing and his family, including his other three children, see bingcrosby.com
Q: Some years ago there was a made-for-TV movie called "Pop Rocks." Was this ever put out on DVD and if so where can I obtain a copy?
A: The movie starring Gary Cole originally aired on ABC Family in 2004. It involves a former rocker turned family man who thinks about going back onstage to earn tuition money for his kids -- who don't know about their dad's former life. But I do not know of an authorized release of the movie on home video.
Q: A few months ago -- maybe longer -- I watched a series of programs on PBS about the history of television. One dealt with comedy, one with detective shows, etc. At any rate, I have been trying to locate them to purchase but with no luck.
A: It appears that you are looking for installments in PBS' "Pioneers of Television" series, which has included telecasts about sitcoms, Westerns, detective shows and other topics. They have been released on home video under the "Pioneers of Television" banner. If you cannot find them in your local store, try online vendors including Amazon.com and www.shoppbs.org. There is a similar PBS series, "America in Prime Time," with themed episodes on issues such as the portrayal of independent women; it comes to home video on Jan. 17.