Tuesday, May 6, 2008

White Christmas

Bing Crosby's album White Christmas has not been out of print since 1954 and has entered the Billboard Top 40 charts five times, including multiple times in the Top 5.Image via Wikipedia
Every time I asked my mother why we couldn't have a Christmas tree, all she said was, "Because we're Jewish!"

I'll bet she's spinning in her crypt like a dreidel as I write this because there was something she never knew about me: I was obsessed with Christmas. That's why if White Christmas was ever on TV at a time when I could get some privacy, I used to watch it. Yeah, it was corny. But because it represented The Thing I Couldn't Have, I loved it.

There was something other-worldly about the combination of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. And when you added Vera Ellen's dancing, Rosemary Clooney's singing and Edith Head's costumes; the movie took on near-mythic proportions. A schmaltz-fest? You bet. But that's one of the things I love about it.

It wasn't until I became an adult that I learned some of the behind-the-scenes trivia about White Christmas. As a Movie Maven, that makes the film even more interesting to me. Here are some things you probably didn't know about White Christmas:

* Each one of Vera-Ellen's costumes was designed to cover her neck, which was wrinkled beyond her years due to having anorexia. The poor thing was ahead of her time in that respect. And that certainly explains why she was so skinny.

* Rosemary Clooney's voice wasn't heard on the soundtrack album because it was released by Decca Records. Since Clooney was under contract to Columbia Records, she was replaced by Peggy Lee.

* Danny Kaye was a last-minute replacement for Donald O'Connor. O'Connor wasn't the first choice either; he replaced Fred Astaire, for whom the movie was written.

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