The day after Irving Berlin stayed up all night writing "White Christmas," he reportedly told his secretary, "Grab your pen and take this down I just wrote the best song I've ever written. Heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!"
The other part of the story goes that Berlin wrote the song while he was in a very warm climate; he was either in a hotel in Arizona or at a hotel near Palm Springs, Calif.
Bing Crosby's version of "White Christmas" set the bar so high that the song made the Guinness book of World Records for record sales (more than 100 million copies sold around the world, with at least 50 million sales as singles). The very first public performance of this song was by Crosby on his radio show, the Kraft Music Hall, on Christmas Day 1941, a fateful time just following the Pearl Harbor bombing.
"White Christmas" then went on to star in two major motion pictures. After Crosby premiered the song on his radio show, it premiered in the film Holiday Inn in the spring of 1942, but it was overshadowed by that film's big hit song, "Be Careful, It's My Heart."
But the tide turned; by the time October 1942 rolled around, "White Christmas" was topping the charts, where it stayed for a long time. It was a special favorite with U.S. troops overseas, with all the references of home at Christmas, and it was also the number-one requested song on the Armed Forces network.
Then in 1954, Hollywood named a whole movie after the song, and the film starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen in a delightful story about a song-and-dance team that joins a sister act and goes to a ski lodge in Vermont to help out the boys' former commanding officer from World War II.
On this week's Flicks in Five, Bing Crosby sings "White Christmas."
Bing Crosby & Martha Mears - White Christmas