With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start pulling out the decorations, turning up the Christmas songs, and enjoying a few of your favorite, classic Christmas movies. If White Christmas is one such film on your yuletide list, you’re in luck.
Here are 20 interesting facts about White Christmas that you may not know.
1. If the “Sisters” act is your favorite part, you got lucky: it almost wasn’t in the movie! This musical piece was not in the original script, but the actors were goofing around and the director liked what he saw, deciding to add it in.
2. You’ll never see Vera-Ellen’s neck. Rumor has it, that all of her costumes were designed to cover it, as it was damaged due to an eating disorder.
3. In addition, you will never hear Vera-Ellen sing, as all of her songs were dubbed.
4. She is a skilled dancer though, especially in the scene “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” where she trips over her left foot and recovers through a twirl.
5. Originally written just as a song, Irving Berlin’s track, “White Christmas,” was the best selling single of all time for more than 50 years.
6. Berlin wrote the song “White Christmas” while sitting poolside in California. There for the holidays, he was attempting to create a piece from the perspective of a New Yorker stuck in a warm climate for Christmas.
7. “White Christmas” won an Oscar as “Best Original Song,” and Bing Crosby opened the envelope to read his own name!
8. While many assume the song “White Christmas” was at the root of the movie, Crosby had actually first performed his version of the song 13 years earlier for a radio show.
9. The song “Snow,” originally called “Free,” was written by Irving Berlin himself.
10. And the song “What can you do with a General?” was originally written for a different, unproduced film.
11. White Christmas was the most successful film of 1954, earning $12 million in the year of its release.
12. It was also the first high-resolution film, shot on VistaVision in widescreen format.
13. The New York Times however, didn’t think it was very funny, with critics saying it was a “shame the film didn’t hit the funny bone as sharply as the colors met the eye.”
14. Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, one of the romantic pairings in the movie, actually have a 25-year age difference.
15. It’s true: the infamous George Clooney is related to Rosemary Clooney (George is Rosemary’s nephew).
16. While the costume designer goes unmentioned in the film, it is the award winning Edith Head, who won 8 Academy Awards for costume design.
17. Danny Kaye was actually the third in line for the role of Phil Davis. The other two top choices declined or pulled out due to illness.
18. The Vermont Inn, used as the set for the movie, is actually the same inn used in Holiday Inn, another of Irving Berlin’s films.
19. Crosby inspired his own character: the writers liked Crosby’s unique speech pattern and they adopted many of his strange sayings into the script of the movie.
20. The midnight snack scene, where Crosby delves into detail about which snacks create which dreams, was almost entirely improvised on the spot.
This year, as you sing along with Bing and dance with the (then) young Vera-Ellen, you might hear a few of the songs from a different perspective. Or at the very least, you’ll have lots of facts about White Christmas to share with your family!