Bing Crosby's kids recall dad's duet with David Bowie

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Bing Crosby's kids recall dad's duet with David Bowie
LOS ANGELES - 1973: Musician David Bowie 1973 signs an autograph in 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
David Bowie performs on stage on his Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane tour in London, 1973. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW -- Aired 10/30/66 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bing Crosby, Andy Wiilliams -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
David Bowie performs as Ziggy Stardust, 1973 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW -- Aired 10/30/66 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bing Crosby, Andy Wiilliams -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: David Bowie in concert. Archive. (Unspecified date). (Photo by Michel PONOMAREFF/PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 22: ABC SPORTS - 'Golf: Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach' 1968 Bing Crosby (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
David Bowie during David Bowie Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
FRANCE - OCTOBER 14: David Bowie In Concert Of Paris On October 14th, 1999 In Paris,France (Photo by Frederic REGLAIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE - Bing Crosby and Diahann Carroll - 11/20/65, (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL -- 'The 1980 Floor Show starring David Bowie' Episode 210 -- Aired: 11/16/73 -- Pictured: David Bowie during his last show as Ziggy Stardust filmed mostly at The Marquee Club in London, England from October 18-20, 1973 -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BOB HOPE, BING CROSBY -- Pictured: (far left) Bob Hope, (far right) Bing Crosby (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BOB HOPE -- Pictured: (l-r) Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and John Wayne, circa 1975 -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
Bing Crosby pauses during rehearsal for his upcoming television special which will mark his return to show business after a year’s absence, in Los Angeles on August 12, 1974. He underwent lung surgery in January. (AP Photo/David F. Smith)
NEW YORK - 1973: Rock and roll musician David Bowie poses for a portrait dressed as 'Ziggy Stardust' in a hotel room in 1973 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
The two gals with Bing Crosby are Sandy Duncan, left, and Pearl Bailey, who will be in a show with him, Aug. 12, 1974. (AP Photo)
Bing Crosby, shown during a New York visit on June 28, 1973, is filling his life these days with golf, hunting and fishing as well as with some television appearances. “If a movie came along they wanted me for,” says the 69-year-old Crosby, “with reasonably clean material, I’d be easy to deal with.” (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey)
American entertainers Bob Hope, right, and Bing Crosby, left, stand with New York Mayor John V. Lindsay at aformal opening of the new Madison Square Garden, in New York, on Feb. 11, 1968. Hope and Crosby starred in a benefit performance for United Service organizations. (AP Photo)
AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 01: Photo of David BOWIE; performing live onstage on Glass Spider tour (Photo by Bob King/Redferns)
Years after they stopped making road movies together, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour have once again been reunited, Aug. 12, 1966, this time on a forthcoming "Hollywood Palace". (AP Photo/Ellis R. Bosworth)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 01: FORUM Photo of David BOWIE, performing live onstage at The Forum on Serious Moonlight tour (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
**FILE**David Bowie attends an awards show June 5, 2007 in New York. Bowie has donated $10,000 to a legal defense fund for six black teens charged in an alleged attack on a white classmate in the tiny central Louisiana town of Jena.(AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)
David Bowie, 1973 final show of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Hammersmith Odeon, London (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
British glam rocker David Bowie is seen in 1973 during his Ziggy Stardust period. (AP Photo)
British rock singer, David Bowie, poses beside his Rolls Royce in May 1973. (AP Photo)
UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 09: WEMBLEY STADIUM Photo of David BOWIE, performing live onstage at NetAid concert (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)
David Bowie during David Bowie's 50th Birthday Celebration Concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Patti Ouderkirk/WireImage)
David Bowie during David Bowie live at Wembley Arena at Wembley Arena in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)
David Bowie performing at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View Calif. on October 21st, 1995. Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Annie Lennox and David Bowie perform at a charity concert for AIDS research, 20th April 1992. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES: Singer and musician David Bowie with supermodel Iman, circa 1992. (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
LONDON - 23rd JANUARY: David Bowie appears at a press conference to promote his Sound + Vision tour at the Rainbow Theatre in London on 23rd January 1990. (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 17: David Bowie (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 06: David Bowie (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 06: David Bowie (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1988: Musician David Bowie performing onstage in circa 1988. (Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 01: Photo of David BOWIE; performing live onstage at The Forum on Serious Moonlight tour (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - MAY 01: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN Photo of David BOWIE, performing live onstage on Low/Heroes 1978 World Tour (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - MAY 01: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN Photo of David BOWIE, David Bowie performing on stage - Low/Heroes 1978 World Tour (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - MAY 01: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN Photo of David BOWIE and Dennis DAVIS, Dennis Davis (L) and David Bowie performing live onstage on Low/Heroes 1978 World Tour (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - MAY 01: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN Photo of David BOWIE, performing live onstage on Low/Heroes 1978 World Tour (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - MAY 01: Photo of David BOWIE; performing live onstage on the Low/Heroes 1978 World Tour, (Photo by Gai Terrell/Redferns)
SAN DIEGO, CA - 1978: Singer, songwriter and film actor, David Bowie, performs onstage in a 1978 San Diego, California, concert at the Sports Arena. Bowie had a string of hit albums during the late 1970s including 'Station To Station' and the Brian Eno-influenced 'Low.' (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
British rock singer and actor David Bowie sits and holds a cigarette with Dutch actor Romy Haag at the club L'Alcazar, following his concert at the Pavilion, Paris, France, May 18, 1976. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)
ROTTERDAM, HOLLAND - 13th MAY: David Bowie performs live at Ahoy, Rotterdam on May 13 1976 on the final leg of his 1976 Thin White Duke World Tour. (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
David Bowie 1974 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
David Bowie 1983 US Festival (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
David Bowie performs as Ziggy Stardust, 1973 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
David Bowie performs as Ziggy Stardust, 1973 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
BING CROSBY AND THE SOUND OF CHRISTMAS -- Aired 12/14/71 -- Pictured: (l-r) Robert Goulet, Mary Costa, Bing Crosby (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 07: NASHVILLE Photo of David BOWIE, David Bowie performing on stage (Photo by Beth Gwinn/Redferns)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 01 : Singer David Bowie performs on stage at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City during the Philly Dogs tour in October 1974. (Photo by Steve Morley/Redferns)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 01 : Singer David Bowie performs on stage at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City during the Philly Dogs tour in October 1974. (Photo by Steve Morley/Redferns)
David Bowie, British singer-songwriter, during a live concert performance on stage at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, USA, 30 October 1974. Bowie was on his Philly Dogs tour. (Photo by Steve Morley/Redferns/Getty Images)
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 13: David Bowie, wearing an eye patch, conducts a press conference at the Amstel Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands on February 13 1974. (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
HILVERSUM, HOLLAND - FEBRUARY 13: David Bowie with eye patch performs Rebel Rebel in the Top Pop Studios, Hilversum, Holland on February 13 1974 (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 13: David Bowie, with eye patch, performs ‘Rebel Rebel’ in the Top Pop Studios, Hilversum, Netherlands on February 13 1974. (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
British rock star David Bowie on stage at the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles in October 1974 during his Diamond Dogs tour. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: English singer, musician and actor David Bowie, circa 1974. Bowie turns 60 on Monday January 8, 2006. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English singer, musician and actor David Bowie, 1974. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
BING CROSBY AND THE SOUND OF CHRISTMAS -- Aired: 12/14/71 -- Pictured: Bing Crosby (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: HAMMERSMITH ODEON Photo of David BOWIE, performing live onstage at final Ziggy Stardust concert (Photo by Debi Doss/Redferns)
LONDON - MAY 12: David Bowie performs live on stage at Earls Court Arena on May 12 1973 during the Ziggy Stardust tour (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
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UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 07: NEWCASTLE CITY HALL Photo of David BOWIE, performing live onstage on Ziggy Stardust tour (Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns)
LONG BEACH - MARCH 10: Musician David Bowie performs onstage on March 10, 1973 in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
English singer and songwriter David Bowie performing in a knitted body suit on the Ziggy Stardust Tour, 1973. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1973: Musician David Bowie performs onstage during his 'Ziggy Stardust' era in 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1973: Musician David Bowie performs onstage during his 'Ziggy Stardust' era in 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of David BOWIE; Davie Jones (Davy Jones), posed, c.1965, reading book (Photo by CA/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of David BOWIE; Davie Jones (Davy Jones), posed, c.1965, playing Framus 12 string acoustic guitar (Photo by CA/Redferns)
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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- David Bowie's duet with Bing Crosby on the entertainer's 1977 Christmas television special left an indelible impression on Crosby's teenage children.

Harry, Mary and Nathaniel Crosby were on set when Bowie arrived to tape his appearance. The mash-up between the cardigan-clad singer known for "White Christmas" and the glam rocker who was in his Ziggy Stardust phase required some last-minute reworking of "The Little Drummer Boy."

The result was a new melody and lyrics called "Peace on Earth." The duet remains a holiday staple and a curiosity. Bowie was 30 and Crosby was 73 at the time. Crosby died of a heart attack a month after the taping in September 1977.

Mary Crosby remembered Bowie arriving on set.

"The doors opened and David walked in with his wife. They were both wearing full-length mink coats, they have matching full makeup and their hair was bright red," she told the summer TV critics' tour Wednesday. "We were thinking, `Oh my god.'"

Nathaniel Crosby added, "It almost didn't happen. I think the producers told him to take the lipstick off and take the earring out. It was just incredible to see the contrast."

Watching in the wings, the Crosby kids noticed a transformation.

"They sat at the piano and David was a little nervous," Mary Crosby recalled. "Dad realized David was this amazing musician, and David realized Dad was an amazing musician. You could see them both collectively relax and then magic was made."

The Crosby siblings - now all in their 50s - and their 80-year-old mother, Kathryn, made a rare public appearance together Wednesday to discuss the American Masters episode, "Bing Crosby Rediscovered," airing Dec. 2 on PBS.

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