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Bing Crosby performing for a crowd of overseas soldiers during WWII
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32 VERMONT MAGAZINE
song had grown far beyond the original composition .
According to Robert Bader , Vice President of HLC Properties and overseer of Bing Crosby ’ s archives , this critical change allowed “ White Christmas ” to appeal to a wider range of audiences . “ Taking that original verse out made the song truly resonate around the world . Had those original lines stayed in the song , the Vermont connection with the film White Christmas might not have ended up being nearly as strong .”
Bader adds that the change also played an important part in making “ White Christmas ” a song that captured the homesick feelings of soldiers who were fighting overseas in World War II at the time of its release . “ The song ‘ White Christmas ’ brought immense amounts of comfort to World War II soldiers , which directly led to the song ’ s enduring success . Bing Crosby also performed at several special overseas concerts for soldiers during World War II . He was driven around in Army jeeps near the front lines , and his concerts helped to revive the morale of the troops who were fighting over there .” Crosby ’ s wartime performances later served as the inspiration for the opening scene of the film White Christmas , where his onscreen character , Bob Wallace , performs “ White Christmas ” to an audience of World War II soldiers . In the first moments of the scene , Bob Wallace stands in front of a picturesque painting of a wintry mountain forest scene with Phil Davis , who is played by Crosby ’ s charismatic co-star , Danny Kaye . In the
scenes that follow , Crosby and Kaye ’ s characters team up as a performance duo , and go on to find considerable success in the entertainment industry . Through a series of serendipitous events , they eventually find themselves on a train to Vermont with their army friend ’ s beautiful sisters .
In one of the most memorable moments from White Christmas ’ train scenes , Crosby and Kaye sit next to Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney in a booth in an otherwise-empty club car . In the center of the frame , a stylized tourism poster stands against a windowsill bearing the following words :
Vermont : The Winter Playground of America
Crosby ’ s character is initially hesitant to follow his creative partner and the aspiring starlets to Vermont , but he gradually opens up to the idea , as he sits in the booth by the tourism poster . The four of them then break into one of the film ’ s most spirited numbers , “ Snow .” The song heavily references Vermont ’ s ski culture and wintry charm , and builds anticipation for Crosby , Kaye , Ellen and Clooney ’ s arrival in the Green Mountain State . When they finally arrive in the fictional town of Pine Tree , Vermont , they are greeted by a snowless landscape on their way to the Columbia Inn . Once there , Crosby and Kaye ’ s characters discover that the Columbia Inn is owned by General Waverly , a compassionate and stoic military commander who oversaw their infantry division during World War II . Finding the General in low spirits ,