White Christmas" (1954).
Holiday Inn" (1942), the hit movie starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire that introduced the song "White Christmas" to the world, but it's not. "White Christmas" the film, though originally crafted as a project for Crosby, Astaire, and songwriter Irving Berlin, has a different story. It tells the tale of two World War II Army buddies who partner up after the war and make it big entertaining. As they follow a beautiful sister act to Vermont, they run into their old commanding general, who's down on his luck because no snow is falling for his ski lodge. So the men decide to bring their hit show up to his inn to help generate business for the general, all while romancing the two ladies. It's a wonderful, classic-50s light romance with lots of fun songs, dances and comedy mixed in.
famous song, was actually the third movie to include the tune. The first was, like I said, "Holiday Inn," song by Bing Crosby and Martha Mears (dubbing for actress Marjorie Reynolds). The second time was in Crosby's, Astaire's and Berlin's next project together "Blue Skies" in 1946. (Crosby sings a verse of it in a melody montage.) Of all the holiday songs Berlin wrote for "Holiday Inn," he had the most difficulty writing a Christmas tune. Once it was finally complete, he played it for Crosby at rehearsals, but Crosby didn't think there was anything extraordinarily special about it. He just said, "I don't think we have any problems with that one, Irving." Bing Crosby's version of "White Christmas" is now the best-selling single of all time.
Blue Skies" and "Heat Wave" also appeared in the film "Blue Skies." Yet "Heat Wave" originally appeared in his 1933 Broadway show "As Thousands Cheer," as well as the movie "There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954 - sung by Marilyn Monroe). Berlin wrote "Blue Skies" back in 1926 for his newborn daughter and became the first song heard in the first sound feature "The Jazz Singer" (1927), sung by Al Jolson. The tune "Snow" was originally called "Free" and was written for the 1950 Broadway show "Call Me Madam," but was never used. So Berlin kept the melody and changed some words and got a new song. "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" was written especially for "White Christmas" though, and garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Song that year.
So kick off the holiday season with "White Christmas"! Pop it in the player and decorate your tree as you enjoy all the Christmas cheer. Happy holidays, everyone! Be back Friday.
(Post-tidbit: The scene where Crosby and Kaye mimic the "Sisters" act was not originally in the script. The two were clowning around with it on set, and the director liked it so much, it was written in, hence the men's laughter throughout the scene.)