The annual viewing of Irving Berlin's classic holiday film White Christmas has been a part of our family Christmas traditions since before our kids were born. Now that our girls have grown up and found the loves of their lives, we still enjoy watching the film with the whole crew, but this year we added a twist that makes adult viewing oh so much more fun -- booze.
Annie, Bonnie, Kyle, and Chad, along with me and Bob, the love of my life (and founder of the feast), sat down last night with the film, a notebook and pencil, and a variety of boozes that ranged from Bob's amazing Dark Cherry Stout, Chad's key lime pie cocktails (my favorite), and Kyle's delicious classic Rye Manhattans, and we created The White Christmas Libation Extravaganza -- or, how to How to drink a blue Christmas white, and we knew immediately that we wanted to share the product of our labors with you. (What's that saying? It's a tough job but...)
It's pretty simple, actually. Load up the film (which can be streamed from Netflix or from Amazon for 5 bucks), gather your beverages of choice* and get ready to imbibe. (*You might also want to gather a glass of water for each participant to sip on when the going gets tough.)
Here are your drinking cues -- and remember a sip counts, you don't have to guzzle. Drink whenever anyone says the following words:
when anyone salutes
when Danny Kaye touches his arm
when Danny Kaye's voice cracks
when anyone notices an inconsistency in the film (check out when Vera Allen is pouring coffee in the dressing room she shares with her sister (drink!) Rosemary Clooney)
We've designed the game so that there are moments of hilarity, (particularly during a couple of Berlin's great songs like "Sisters" and "Snow") but there are plenty of lull times so you can enjoy the great classic film that White Christmas is.
In an effort to expedite this blog and get back to celebrating the holidays with my beloved (the girls have traveled to the homes of their sweeties for the holidays this year, hence the early celebration of Boiter-Jolley Christmas), I've lifted the following info directly from Wikipedia, but it gives you some background on the production of the film.
White Christmas was intended to reunite Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire for their third Irving Berlin showcase musical. Crosby and Astaire had previously co-starred in Holiday Inn (1942) – where the song 'White Christmas' first appeared – and Blue Skies (1946). Astaire declined the project after reading the script and asked to be released from his contract with Paramount. Crosby also left the project shortly thereafter, to spend more time with his son after the death of his wife, Dixie Lee. Near the end of January 1953, Crosby returned to the project, and Donald O'Connor was signed to replace Astaire. Just before shooting was to begin, O'Connor had to drop out due to illness and was replaced by Danny Kaye, who asked for and received a salary of $200,000 and 10% of the gross. Financially, the film was a partnership between Crosby and Irving Berlin, who shared half the profits, and Paramount, who got the other half. Within the film, a number of soon-to-be famous performers appear. Dancer Barrie Chase appears unbilled, as the character Doris Lenz ("Mutual, I'm sure!"). Future Academy Award winner George Chakiris also appears as one of the stone-faced black-clad dancers surrounding Rosemary Clooney in "Love, You Didn't Do Right by Me". John Brascia leads the dance troupe and appears opposite Vera-Ellen throughout much of the movie, particularly in the "Mandy", "Choreography" and "Abraham" numbers. The photo Vera-Ellen shows of her brother Benny (the one Phil refers to as "Freckle-faced Haynes, the dog-faced boy") is actually a photo of Carl Switzer, who played Alfalfa in The Little Rascals, in an army field jacket and helmet liner. Robert Alton is credited as the film's dance director, although some choreography was created by Bob Fosse, who was not credited.
White Christmas ends up starring Bing Crosby and the beautiful Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and the anorexic Vera Allen (who was a phenomenal dancer, but so thin she could be painful to watch), and premiered in 1954. You know the name of the director Michael Curtiz from Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Mildred Pierce. (Curtiz was often criticized for lacking in character development -- which I think he addresses in this film, albeit rather simplistically -- and playing on emotions rather than intellect -- which, in White Christmas, is as true as can possibly be.)
But, we don't watch a movie at Christmas to analyze it -- we watch it to celebrate! And, this year, we invite you to watch White Christmas to drink!
Merry Christmas on behalf of the staff of Jasper Magazine and the crew at Muddy Ford! Thank you for all the love and support you've thrown our way this year. And may all your Christmases be white.