Christmas Movie Trivia: Top 7 Interesting Facts About the Holiday Classic, White Christmas
Even though this classic film is in its 60’s, it is still very popular today. In fact, it even tops the charts as one of the most loved Christmas movies of all time. Perhaps it's the nostalgia factor. All the singing and dancing.
1. “Sisters” came about on the set
What do you get when your two-star actors start goofing around on set? A really really fun scene that you have to make room for in your movie. Michael Curtiz saw the chance to capitalize on energy and laughter that Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye’s brought to the set, even when they weren’t filming. He thought their dressing up like a woman and running around singing was so funny, that he made them do it on camera. The actors were having such a good time cracking each other up that the laughter throughout the “Sisters” song was all real.
2. The Vermont Inn was the same one used in the Holiday Inn
The film’s Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont was actually the former Paramount lot for another Christmas classic, Holiday Inn. They tried to save money by repurposing the lot instead of building a whole new lot. It apparently worked! Most people never even noticed.
3. Vera-Ellen didn’t sing any songs herself
Judy Haynes’ sings a few songs during key scenes, but the actor that played Judy, Vera-Ella, wasn’t actually singing them herself. The voice you hear is really that of Vera’s costars, Rosemary Clooney and Trudy Stevens. Although she wasn’t much of a singer, she could show anyone up in dance! Vera-Ellen was famous for being one of the youngest Radio City Rockettes during her time and for her performances in several broadways shows prior to her Hollywood debut.
4. The song “Snow” originally was called “Free”
Remember the scene where the four leads sing “Snow” while in the club car of the train. Supposedly the song was in reference to their frosty dreams, but did you know that the original version of the song by Irving Berlin had nothing to do with winter? It was written for the musical Call Me Madam and was called “Free,” which doesn’t seem as fitting for the movie as it’s revised version.
5. There is a 25 age difference between Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney
When you see Bing and Rosemary on the screen, you root for the lovers who seem to be so well fitted for each other. Yet, you might change your mind once you know that when the movie debuted, Bing was 51 and Rosemary was only 26. Yikes! That’s quite the age gap. 25 years to be exact. Also, Rosemary played Betty Haynes, which was Vera-Ellen's character’s younger sister, even though Vera-Ellen was 33, seven years older than Rosemary.
6. “White Christmas” and Bing Crosby were a “thing” before the movie
Yes, it's true. Bing sang the featured song three times on screen prior to this movie. He was an old hat with this song by the time they were filming. He had first performed this song on the radio show The Kraft Music Hall about 13 years before his performance of it in White Christmas. He then sang it in Holiday Inn (1942) and Blue Skies (1946). Although, most people associate the classic song with the title track film.
7. The role of Phil Davis was originally written for Fred Astaire
Too bad Fred Astaire had retired by the time White Christmas was ready to start shooting. Playing off of the successful connection between Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn, the writers of White Christmas wrote the role of Phil Davis as a way to reunite the duo 12 years after their hit film. However, they weren’t expecting Astaire to decline the part. Donald O’Connor (made famous by his role in singing in the rain), was then all set to play the part, but at the last minute, he had to relinquish his part due to a serious illness. Danny Kayne then stepped into the picture, and the role was rewritten for him. Good thing! Since we can’t imagine the film without him.