Irving Berlin and the Great American Songbook

Singer Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) and dancer Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire) are both in love with Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale). When Lila jilts Jim for Ted, Jim decides to quit show business and live on a farm. Jim converts his farm into a nightclub and hotel called the Holiday Inn, which is only opened during holidays throughout the year. When Jim meets Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds), she agrees to appear in his shows at the inn, and the two fall in love. However, Jim works to keep Linda from meeting Ted, who was also jilted by Lila-so he doesn’t steal her for an act and her heart.

While the film boasts 10 songs, there are two songs that are still played today: “White Christmas” and “Happy Holidays.” These two Berlin-written songs are still two of the top holiday songs, and “White Christmas” was introduced in this film by Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds, who was dubbed by Martha Mears.

“I wrote it (White Christmas) for a review I intended on producing, changed my mind and put it away until it was used in a Bing Crosby picture,” Berlin said in a Dec. 14, 1954, interview with the Los Angeles Examiner. “At the time, I had no idea ‘White Christmas’ would be a perennial hit or that Paramount would add to its popularity with a movie of the same name. When the song first became popular, I attributed it to the war and the fact that Christmas means peace. ”

Berlin didn’t think “White Christmas” was going to be the major song of the film, he said in a 1953 interview. It was the Valentine’s Day song, “Be Careful It’s My Heart,” that he thought would be the hit of the movie.

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