Monday, December 23, 2019

Little Known Facts About White Christmas

White Christmas is the best holiday movie ever made.  We watch it every season and last night we watched it again, for the I don't know how many times.  It's a family tradition that caps the holiday season.  It came out in 1954 and stars Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen.  But did you know that Danny Kaye was not the first pick to play the part of Phil Davis?

He was the third pick actually after Fred Astaire and Donald O'Connor. Astaire was too old and O'Connor was detained on other projects.

 Does this picture look familiar?

 In this movie, this is the photo of Benny Haynes, the Haynes sisters' brother who was an old Army buddy.  It's the real picture, however, of Carl Switzer who played Alfalfa in the series, "Our Gang" or "The Little Rascals."

All that dancing in the movie is done by the talented Vera Ellen.  She started dancing when she was 10 and became a Rockette at 18 and was considered one of the best dancers in Hollywood at the time.  Incidentally, she car pooled to dancing lessons in Ohio with Doris Day when she was a child.
In her contract, it was written (at her request) that she was to wear a turtleneck in all of her scenes.   But none of the singing in the movie is her own voice - it's all dubbed. Her real name was Vera-Ellen Westmeier Rohe.  She died in 1980 of ovarian cancer at the age of 60.

All of those costumes in the movie were designed by the famous Edith Head who won eight Oscars for her work in costume design. She also made the dresses for Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina and Roman Holiday.

Does this face look familiar?

That's dancer George Chakiris and he accompanies the Haynes sisters in an uncredited role. But soon after, he received the credit he was due: He later won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Bernardo in West Side Story.

The "Sisters" act early in the movie with Bing and Danny was not originally in the script. Danny and Bing were playing around and the director, Michael Curtiz wrote it into the movie.  The laughing during  the scene is real. The take in the film was the best one they could get of the two.  Who knew?

Love, love, love this movie.  Make it part of your holiday tradition. 

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