My favorite holiday movie is now and has always been (after “Die Hard”) “White Christmas”. And as this is the case and it is 62 years old this Christmas season, I’m going to write about it.
“White Christmas” came out in 1954 and quickly became the highest grossing box office hit of the year, earning what today would be $102.7 million.
The film was also the first movie filed in VistaVision which allowed for a widescreen effect. It was supposed to be the third of a trio of movies starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as a musical showcase for Irving Berlin. However, Mr. Astaire declined the role and asked to be released from his contract with Paramount. Mr. Crosby left not long after to spend time with his sons after the death of his wife.
When Mr. Crosby rejoined the project, the role of Phil Davis was to be filled by Donald O’Connor of “Singin’ In the Rain” fame, but he bowed out due to illness. The role eventually went to (and was immortalized by) Danny Kaye.
When the movie was filmed, Bing Crosby was 50, playing across from his love interest, Rosemary Clooney (and yes, she is George Clooney’s paternal aunt), who was 25. Ms. Clooney, who played Betty Haynes, portrayed Vera-Ellen’s older sister, despite being 7 years the dancer’s junior. The age difference between Vera-Ellen (Judy Haynes) and Danny Kaye was only ten years to Crosby and Clooney’s 25.
The song “White Christmas” actually debuted in the movie “Holiday Inn” (1942). Apparently even in the early part of the 20th Century, Irving Berlin believed in recycling.
All in all… I love this movie. I’ve watched it every Christmas season since 1984. I won’t tell you how old I was, but lets just say I’ve seen it a lot. I am fortunate to live in an area where having a White Christmas is pretty much a forgone conclusion. To this day it remains my favorite.
Whatever your holiday preference is, there 80+ holidays that occur between December 1st and January 15th, so I am truly covering my bases when I say…