A perfect holiday triple feature involves viewings of It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas. It is essential that these classics be viewed before December 25th. After that, they kind of lose their luster. Of those three classics, only one can boast a hit song that has been recorded by dozens of artists but nothing beats the original. Before your next viewing, you might want to learn a bit more about the snowiest of the features: White Christmas. Here then are the factoids you’ll be impressing your loved ones with all through the season.
Legend has it that songwriter Irving Berlin composed the title tune while relaxing poolside in sunny Los Angeles. Anyone who has spent a Christmas in Los Angeles would understand that dreaming of the white stuff comes with the territory. What you might not know is that the song White Christmas was actually written for the movie Holiday Inn that was released in 1942. It starred Bing Crosby and he sang the song in both features. More irony? Irving won an Oscar for Best Original Song but for the 1942 version not the 1954 feature.
Sisters Crack Up
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie wasn’t even in the script. When Bing and Danny need to cover for the girls so they can beat it out of the club, they perform their song Sisters. The inspiration for that moment can from Danny clowning around on the set. The director decided to throw it in. When you see Bing cracking up during the song, it was a genuine moment. They both got a fit of the giggles and couldn’t keep a straight face.
Last Minute Danny
The original casting for White Christmas was meant to be Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. They had teamed up in Holiday Inn (see above). However, Fred was taking a break from filmmaking when production geared up so he passed. The producers then went to Donald O’Connor but he was recovering from a bout of Q-Fever that he picked up while working with Francis The Talking Mule. (You can’t make this stuff up.) The part went to Danny Kaye. Now can you honestly imagine anyone else in the part?
Before the film was officially wrapped, the King and Queen of Greece dropped by for a visit. Director Michael Curditz wanted to give them a treat so he reshot the final scene. The problem was there was no Bing. He had already skipped out to hit the golf course and told Rosemary Clooney to cover for him. Since none of what could be “shot” would ever make it into the finished feature, they didn’t put any film in the cameras.
Nothing Goes To Waste
Back to Holiday Inn. If you watch the two films back to back, then you might notice similarities between the inns. That because White Christmas recycled a lot of the sets and didn’t even bother to repaint them.
The Age Thing
Bing Crosby was twenty-five years older than Rosemary Clooney while Rosemary was seven years younger than Vera-Ellen who was playing her younger sister. Speaking of Vera-Ellen, she was primarily a dancer and not a singer. That’s why all her singing was dubbed in by Rosemary Clooney and Trudy Stevens. Happens all the time!