Last week, I did a quick-hitter post, highlighting a Hanukkah song written by a Mormon senator. This week, as it’s Christmas, I highlight the most popular Christmas song, written by a Jewish songwriter. I can’t let the week go by without highlighting the concluding scene from one of my favorite Christmas movies, White Christmas.
I love this movie, and the pairing of the slow, lazy Bing with the frenetic and kooky Danny Kaye seems inspired, in hindsight. The pairing of Danny Kaye as dance partner to Vera-Ellen would seem, on the surface, to have been a mistake. Vera-Ellen was a superb dancer who could do both ballet and tap, but in watching the two dance, it’s always a surprise to find that I’m watching Kaye as he matches V-E step for step.
But the song. Yes, the movie is a great holiday film, but I wait for the final scene with anticipation. I’ve always loved Bing Crosby (a fellow-Washingtonian), and his recording of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is the best-selling single of all time. According to Wikipedia, Der Bingle’s recording has sold over 50 million copies. When he wrote White Christmas, Berlin realized just how monumental a song it was. He is said to have told his secretary, “Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!”
Capturing both the joy and wistfulness of the holiday season, and coupled with the warmth of Crosby’s mellifluous crooning, this scene puts a final bow on top of a wonderful holiday present-ation.