... that White Christmas was the first Paramount Pictures movie to be released in VistaVision. This was a new film process that Paramount developed and used exclusively during the 1950's. It offered viewers a wide-screen and super color-rich picture. You can learn more about VistaVision here.
... that all of the songs in White Christmas were written by Irving Berlin. The movie was marketed to audiences in 1954 as "Irving Berlin's White Christmas" such was his popularity at the time. And not without reason, he has been called America's greatest songwriter, having written over 1,500 songs, the most famous being God Bless America. And that is just the tip of the iceberg, classic song-wise. We'd list them all what fun would that be? Here is the cast of The Carol Burnett Show, singing an extended melody of Irving Berlin's greatest hits:
... that the movie White Christmas was not the first time the world's most famous holiday song had been sung by Bing Crosby in a movie.
It was actually introduced in the 1942 movie, Holiday Inn. It should also be noted that the song White Christmas is the best selling song of all time, having sold more that 400,000,000 copies since it was first recorded in 1942. Here is Bing Crosby crooning in Holiday Inn:
... that White Christmas was the top grossing film of 1954. It featured a top-notch cast chock full of actors at the height of their careers and was directed by Academy Award winning director Michael Curtiz who also directed the classic Casablanca.
We spotlight the cast of White Christmas below:
Bing Crosby The Crooner. He was one of the most popular singers of all time and had a A-List acting career as his side-job. You'll learn all about him in our Tribute to Bing Crosby.
Rosemary Clooney Actress, singer, aunt of George Clooney. Her beautiful singing voice is featured in White Christmas (she even dubbed Vera-Ellen's part in the Sisters routine) but you'll also enjoy The Essential Rosemary Clooney.
Vera-Ellen Many call her one of Hollywood's best tap dancers but sadly she made very few movies. As you can see in this picture, her tiny frame and miniscule waist were evidence of a bad case of anorexia that led to her leaving her Hollywood career behind in a bid to save her health. In White Christmas, her costumes had to be designed to cover her arms and chest in order to hide her emaciated body.
Mary Wickes made a career out of playing the wise-cracking assistant, best-friend, sister or in the case of White Christmas ... maid. Modern audiences probably remember her best as Sister Mary Lazarus in the Sister Act movies.
Dean Jagger is one of Hollywood's most successful character actors. In a career spanning nearly 60 years he appeared in supporting roles in over 100 films.
George Chakins appeared as Vera-Allen's un-credited dance partner in the Mandy number and the Abraham number. Seven years later, he would win the much coveted role of Bernardo in the movie version of West Side Story. Learn more in our Tribute to West Side Story.
Johnny Grant was a Radio personality in the 40's and 50's who would periodically appear in movies. However, he's best know as serving as Hollywood's Honorary Major from 1980 until his death in 2008. You can learn more at his official site.
White Christmas On Location
Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
In the early 1960's, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce developed the idea of the "Hollywood Walk of Fame." The sidewalks of the most famous streets in the heart of Hollywood were lined with "stars" recognizing celebrities' life-long contributions to the entertainment industry. Receiving a star is still to this day considered a huge honor. Here's where you can find the stars of White Christmas celebs Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, director Michael Curtiz, and songwriter Irving Berlin:
Bing Crosby Walk of Fame Star (Motion Pictures)
1611 Vine St.
Bing Crosby Walk of Fame Star (Radio)
6769 Hollywood Blvd.
Bing Crosby Walk of Fame Star (Recording)
6751 Hollywood Blvd.
Rosemary Clooney Walk of Fame Star (Recording)
63259 Hollywood Blvd.
Danny Kaye Walk of Fame Star (Motion Pictures)
6563 Hollywood Blvd.
Danny Kaye Walk of Fame Star (Radio)
6101 Hollywood Blvd.
Danny Kaye Walk of Fame Star (Recording)
6125 Hollywood Blvd.
Michael Curtiz Walk of Fame Star (Motion Pictures)
6640 Hollywood Blvd.
Irving Berlin Walk of Fame Star (Recording)
7095 Hollywood Blvd.