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White Christmas

From Academic Kids

White Christmas has three different meanings:

Weather

A white Christmas, to most people in the Northern Hemisphere, refers to snowy weather at Christmas, a phenomenon which is far more common in some countries than in others. For example, in most of the UK, snow is rarely experienced at Christmas except in the mountains; but most parts of Canada except for southern British Columbia stand an excellent chance of experiencing a white Christmas.

Some of the least-likely white Christmases that have happened include the 2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm, which brought the first white Christmas to New Orleans in half a century, and the first ever to Houston, Texas. Exactly 50 years before in 1954, that city had the largest-ever snowfall in its history, also on Christmas. The 2004 storm also brought the first measurable snow of any kind since 1895 to Brownsville, Texas, and its twin city of Matamoros, Mexico. Many young Laredoans also saw snow for the first time in their lives during the storm. The Florida winter storm of 1989 also occurred immediately before Christmas.

Music

White Christmas, 1995 rerelease CD album cover

The song, "White Christmas", by Irving Berlin, was first sung by Bing Crosby in the 1942 musical, Holiday Inn, and, when released as a record, sold over 30 million copies. The song was re-used as the title theme of the 1954 musical film, White Christmas, which starred Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen .

Crosby's single of "White Christmas" sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and was recognized as the best-selling singles in any music category for more than 50 years until 1998 when Elton John's tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, "Candle In the Wind", overtook it in a matter of months. However, Crosby's recording of "White Christmas" has sold additional millions of copies as part of numerous albums, including his best-selling album Merry Christmas, which was first released as an LP in 1949.

The most familiar version of "White Christmas" is not the one Crosby originally recorded for Holiday Inn in 1942. Crosby was called back to the Decca studios on March 19, 1947, to re-record "White Christmas" as a result of damage to the 1942 master due to its frequent use. Every effort was made to reproduce the original Decca recording session, once again including the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers. The resulting re-issue is the one that has become most familiar to the public.

Film

Filming of White Christmas took place between September and November 1953. The movie was the first to be filmed in the new VistaVision process and its Technicolor format has ensured that it has had a long shelf life on TV, Video and DVD. The movie White Christmas was released in 1954 and became the leading box-office draw of that year.

The movie was supposed to reunite Crosby and Fred Astaire for their third Irving Berlin extravaganza of song and dance (the first two being Holiday Inn (1942) and Blue Skies (1946)). However, Astaire bowed out after reading the script. Donald O'Connor was selected to replace Astaire, but he, too, had to pass because of a back injury. O'Connor was replaced by Danny Kaye.

The storyline is based around two World War II US Army buddies, one a former Broadway entertainer, one a would-be entertainer (Crosby and Kaye). Kaye saves Crosby's life when a bombed building falls on them, and after the war, they go into show business together. They make it big in nightclubs and then on Broadway. They become the hottest act around. Whilst in Florida, they audition two sisters, and travel with them to Vermont for a show. They discover that Pinetree Inn (the "Holiday Inn"), run by their former commanding officer, General Tom Waverley, in Pinetree, Vermont is about to go bankrupt, and stage a show to attract patrons. The show of course is a success, and Crosby contrives to invite several more former army buddies to secretly attend the show and fill the inn with customers. Along the way, Crosby and Rosemary Clooney fall in love, as do Kaye and Vera-Ellen.

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