'White Christmas' 101: 10 Facts No One Ever Told You About the Staple Holiday Movie

You’d never guess who Bing Crosby replaced!

We’re here to dish out the details on ‘White Christmas,’ the good, the bad, and the better! It’s time to snuggle up with some blankets, a cup of hot cocoa, and 10 secret facts about everyone’s favorite holiday movie. 

The perfect combination of Christmas cheer, enchanting music, and Hollywood stars and starlets, the 1954 holiday film has been a classic since well, forever? It’s safe to say Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen hold a special place in our hearts.

Beneath the makeup, special effects, and scripted lines, there’s always more to the story! We’re going behind the scenes, uncovering the secrets, the gossip, and the ‘almosts,’ of ‘White Christmas.’

1. Bing Crosby Preferred To Write His Own Lines – The Man Loved To Improvise

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Remember the famous scene where Bob Wallace explains how different midnight snacks create different dreams (according to Rosemary Clooney)? Most of those lines weren’t in the original script!

2. The Boys’ Reprise of the Duet “Sisters” Was A Prank

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Danny Kaye and Crosby pushed their female cohorts aside to give a funny rendition of the duet “Sisters,” as a joke between the foursome. When Hollywood director Michael Curtiz saw the men fooling around, he started filming! Their antics became an actual scene in the movie.

3. Danny Kaye Almost Wasn’t In the Movie

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Originally, Fred Astaire was picked for the role beside Bing Crosby. After Astaire went into temporary retirement, casting directors decided on Donald O’Conner, only to discover the man had contracted Q-fever and wasn’t performing.

At the last minute, Danny Kaye got the job as co-star. Talk about a close call!

4. Vera-Ellen Only Sang Three Words of the Movie

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The movie star sang the opening lines to “Snow” during the scene aboard the train. After that, her songs are dubbed by Rosemary Clooney’s good friend, Trudy Stevens.

5. Crosby Really Was His Character

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Crosby actually inspired screenwriters with his unique word choice, speech pattern, and tone of voice. So much so, that many of Bob Wallace’s lines are exact quotes from the actor.

6. ‘White Christmas’ AKA the First High Resolution Film

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This was the first movie shot on VistaVision … ever!, Paramount shot the film using widescreen format that are most common today.

7. ‘The New York Times’ Didn’t Give It Rave Reviews

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Apparently, the famous newspaper thought the film was ‘too crisp.’ Adding insult to injury, the ‘Times’ claimed it wasn’t even funny!

8. Vera-Ellen’s Costumes Hid A Secret

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It’s rumored that Vera-Ellen’s wardrobe choices were specifically designed to cover her neck. Allegedly, the woman struggled with anorexia or bulimia; however, there is no actual proof.

Even so, her neck is covered in every single scene of the movie.

9. There’s Numerous Shout Outs to Other Christmas Movies

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You may recognize Percy Hilton (the train conductor) as the drunk Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street.

Bing Crosby actually plays some of the man’s songs from Holiday Inn on the piano in a few scene of White Christmas.

Interestingly enough, the Vermont Inn in this film was actually taken from Holiday Inn. Notice how the gray set (pictured above) is extremely dark? It was black and white from the last film and no one bothered to re-paint it!

10. The Film Knew Them Before They Were Famous

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Barrie Chase, went on to work with Hollywood greats after dancing behind Rosemary Clooney. She even had one line: “Mutual, I’m sure!”

George Chakiris, the man in all black also dancing behind Clooney, eventually went on to win an Academy Award!

Remember Alfalfa from The Little Rascals? He was Judy Haynes’ brother.

Learn anything new? Quiz the family at a ‘White Christmas’ holiday screening!