Until 1997, "White Christmas" was the best selling music single ever. It was passed at that time by "Goodbye, England's Rose", the Elton John rework of "Candle in the Wind" done for Princess Diana's funeral. These two songs still rank #1-2.
At the end of the first time Jim (Bing Crosby) and Linda (Marjorie Reynolds) sing "White Christmas" the fireplace seems to suddenly flare up and then die down. In an interview the Director (Mark Sandrich) admitted it happened when the stage hand controlling the gas flame in the fireplace turned the control valve the wrong way, up instead of down.
Some controversy surrounded the history of the song "White Christmas" when it was reported in a 1960 news item that Irving Berlin wrote the song in 1938. Had the song been published or introduced outside of the film, it would have been ineligible for an Academy Award nomination. But sources agree it was written for the film, copyrighted as unpublished in 1940 and then published along with the film's release in 1942.
This movie is one of over 700 Paramount Productions filmed between 1929 and 1949 that were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.
The first public performance of the song "White Christmas" was by Bing Crosby on his NBC radio show "The Kraft Music Hall" on Christmas Day, 1941, during the middle of filming Holiday Inn (1942), which was released seven months later. The song went on to become one of the biggest selling songs in the history of music. This was the first of three films to feature Crosby singing "White Christmas" and featuring Irving Berlin's music.
Dale Evans was brought to California to audition for the part of Linda Mason. After her first cross-country flight left her sick, agent Joe Rivkin rushed her to a beauty parlor and took her to the studio. He did most of the talking, but when she finally admitted she couldn't dance she was abandoned for the role. It did lead to a screen test for other roles though and an eventual one year contract at Fox, then work at Republic with Roy Rogers.
Irving Berlin got the idea for the film after writing the song "Easter Parade" for his 1933 show "As Thousands Cheer", and planned to write a play about American holidays, but it never materialized. He later pitched the idea to Mark Sandrich who got the ball rolling for this film.
A turning point in the life of Alan Sues, a regular on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1967), was an unauthorized visit to Paramount Studios as a teenager when he jumped a fence and watched a scene being filmed for the movie Holiday Inn (1942).
When Linda Mason first arrives at Holiday Inn, the scene opens with Jim nailing the Holiday Inn sign to the roof. The soundtrack is off and the sound of the hammer hitting the nail is heard on the backswing, instead of when the hammer hits the nail. The rest of the soundtrack, however, is correctly synced.