21 September 2006 | bkoganbing
Updating our Fathers
I often wondered whether Bing Crosby ever was given any scripts to update Going My Way. Had I been able to secure his services for a television series like this, I would have had the show with him returning to St. Dominic's Parish taking over from the recently deceased Father Fitzgibbon. Then I would have cast some younger priest fresh out of the seminary with a good voice of his own. Then with Bing roughly the age Barry Fitzgerald was when he was the new curate at St. Dominic's the roles would have been nicely reversed with the young priest having to face all kinds of crises and wise old Father O'Malley to lean on. I think it might have worked.
But instead St. Dominic's was updated to the Kennedy years and the roles that Crosby and Fitzgerald played and made so beloved were taken by Gene Kelly and Leo G. Carroll. They added a secular social worker in the television series played by Dick York. The reason being was that it left room for romantic involvements that the two priests couldn't participate in.
It was a pleasant enough series, but it didn't take hold. Ironically Crosby later did a half hour situation comedy that also didn't last. Gene Kelly never went back to a weekly television series, but Leo G. Carroll did several seasons as Mr. Waverly on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Dick York became immortalized as Darrin number one on Bewitched.
I wouldn't mind seeing any of the episodes now, but they linger somewhere in a vault and few enough people remember that the Best Picture of 1944 was made into a television series.