Saturday, December 25, 2010

CHRISTMAS MOVIE TRIVIA … WHITE CHRISTMAS

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1.    The first film produced in Paramount's wide screen process "VistaVision".

2.    The TV camera in the Ed Harrison Show scene is a real one (a classic RCA monochrome; the cameraman is hiding the telltale logo with his hand), but the call sign atop it was real as well - it was that of Channel 4, NBC's (and thus RCA's) flagship station in New York, which changed its call sign to WRCA-TV the year of the film's release. (They adopted their current WNBC-TV calls in 1960.)

3.    The original idea was to reunite Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, as they had been successful in Holiday Inn (1942). Astaire refused, as he had "retired" at the time, so the part was reworked for Donald O'Connor. O'Connor pulled out, and the part was reworked for Danny Kaye.

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4.    The Vermont inn is the remodeled Connecticut inn set from the movie Holiday Inn (1942) which Bing Crosby also starred in singing songs written by Irving Berlin.

5.    The song "Snow" was written by Irving Berlin a while before the film was made but with a different lyric and title and indeed subject (it had nothing to do whatsoever with snow): it was called "Free" and it was recorded by the composer.

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6.    The "Sisters" comedy act that Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye perform was not originally in the script. They were clowning around on the set and the director thought it was so funny that it was written in.

7.    Even though Betty was the elder of the Haynes sisters, Rosemary Clooney was actually seven years younger than Vera-Ellen in real life.

8.    Vera-Ellen did not actually sing any of the songs for the movie. Trudy Stevens sang all her songs. Vera's own voice is heard singing only in the "arrival in Pine Tree" scene at the railroad station where the quartet reprises the opening lines of "Snow".

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9.    For The song "Gee, I Wish I Was Back In The Army" there is a small section which say's "Jolson, Hope And Benny all for free" This is a reference to three wartime entertainers; Al Jolson, Bob Hopeand Jack Benny. The original words were "Crosby, Hope and Jolson all for free", with Bing Crosby in the film it would seem rather weird and it would most likely break the mood.

10.    The song, "What Can You Do with a General?", which Leonard Maltin calls Irving Berlin's least memorable tune, was originally written for an unproduced project called "Stars on My Shoulders".

11.    According to Rosemary Clooney, the "midnight snack" scene in which Bob Wallace expounds on his theory of what foods cause what dreams was almost entirely improvised.

12.    Many of Bob Wallace's more unusual turns of phrase were lifted straight from Bing Crosby's own speech patterns.

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13.    The train scene had to be shot at Fox, the only studio to house a standing train set.

14.    Although this movie musical has been a beloved favorite for decades - especially at Christmastime - there has never been an official "original soundtrack" album released in any form. Decca controlled the soundtrack rights, but Rosemary Clooney was under exclusive contract to Columbia, who would not allow her to appear on a competing label. As a result, Decca and Columbia each released their own White Christmas albums in 1954, although neither is an official soundtrack. Decca's album featured the movie cast minus Rosemary Clooney, with Peggy Lee taking over Clooney's part. Columbia's album had Rosemary Clooney singing 8 songs from the film. Both albums have been issued on CD in recent years.

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15.    The "Ed Harrison TV Show" that Bing Crosby appears on is a reference to the "Ed Sullivan Show" that featured known stars, new talent and vaudeville acts. Ed Harrison was played by Johnny Grant who did not have a long acting career in the movies, but was the honorary Mayor of Hollywood, California who officiated over the unveiling's of Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame from the early 1960's until his death in 2008.

16.    Cast members Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney both have descendants in the Star Trek series. Bing's granddaughter, Denise Crosby appeared in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987), while Clooney's son, Miguel Ferrer appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).

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