Rosemary Clooney was not allowed to record her voice for the soundtrack album because it was being released by a record company (Decca) other than hers (Columbia). She was replaced on the soundtrack album by Peggy Lee.
In supplemental information on the DVD Rosemary Clooney revealed that 1. She took the role mostly so that she could perform with Bing Crosby. 2. Danny Kaye caused many retakes when his antics made everyone laugh when they weren't supposed to. 3. She considered "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" as "her" song since it was her only solo. 4. After the final shot they were informed that they would be redoing the finale because the King and Queen of Greece would be visiting the set and the producer wanted to "give them something to remember". They "reshot" the sequence with no film in the camera and without Bing Crosby who had skipped out to play golf. In later years she and Bing recorded several record albums together.
According to Rosemary Clooney, in Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye's "Sisters" performance, Crosby's laughs are genuine (and unscripted). Many takes were attempted, but Crosby was unable to hold a straight face due to Kaye's comedic dancing. The scene shown in the film was the best take they could get (which includes some laughter from Kaye as well).
The original concept was to reunite Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, as they had been successful in Holiday Inn (1942). Astaire refused, as he had "retired" at the time, so the part was reworked for Donald O'Connor. O'Connor pulled out due to a protracted bout with Q-Fever (contracted from Francis the Mule), and the part was reworked at the last minute for Danny Kaye.
For the song "Gee, I Wish I Was Back In The Army", there is the lyric, "Jolson, Hope And Benny all for free". This is a reference to three wartime entertainers: Al Jolson, Bob Hope and Jack Benny. The original words were "Crosby, Hope and Jolson all for free", but the lyric was changed because with Bing Crosby in the cast the original lyric would break the fourth wall.
Vera-Ellen's singing voice was dubbed. Numerous sources mistakenly assume Rosemary Clooney sang Vera-Ellen' s part in "Sisters" thus duet-ing with herself, but Trudy Stevens (who was Trudy Stabile at the time) was Vera-Ellen's voice double in all of her songs, namely "Sisters", "Snow" and the "White Christmas" finale. Some Gloria Wood articles and album liner notes have mentioned through the years that she was the one who sang for Vera-Ellen, but although she was the initial choice for the job, Rosemary Clooney intervened to have her friend, Trudy Stevens, sing the role instead. Vera's own singing voice is heard ever very briefly singing in the "arrival in Pine Tree" scene at the railroad station where the quartet reprises - live - the opening lines of "Snow"
Although this movie musical has been a beloved favorite for decades - especially at Christmastime - there has never been an official "original soundtrack" album released in any form. Decca controlled the soundtrack rights, but Rosemary Clooney was under exclusive contract to Columbia, who would not allow her to appear on a competing label. As a result, Decca and Columbia each released their own White Christmas albums in 1954, although neither is an official soundtrack. Decca's album featured the movie cast minus Rosemary Clooney, with Peggy Lee taking over Clooney's part. Columbia's album had Rosemary Clooney singing 8 songs from the film. Both albums have been issued on CD in recent years.
While preparing to go on stage for the Sisters routine, Betty and Judy mention their brother being out of the country working in Alaska. This movie was released in 1954 and even though Alaska wasn't admitted as a state until 1959, it was still a territory of the United States, so he was in fact in their country.
The TV camera in the Ed Harrison Show scene is a real one (a classic RCA monochrome) the call sign atop it was real as well - it was that of Channel 4, NBC's (and thus RCA's) flagship station in New York, which changed its call sign to WRCA-TV the year of the film's release. (They adopted their current WNBC-TV calls in 1960.)
The song "Snow" was written by Irving Berlin a while before the film was made but with a different lyric and title and indeed subject (it had nothing to do whatsoever with snow): it was called "Free" and it was recorded by the composer.
The "Ed Harrison TV Show" that Bing Crosby appears on is a reference to The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) better known as The Ed Sullivan Show, that featured known stars, new talent and vaudeville acts. Ed Harrison was played by Johnny Grant who did not have a long acting career in the movies, but was the honorary Mayor of Hollywood, California who officiated over the unveilings of Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame from the early 1960s until his death in 2008.
When Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) appears on the Ed Harrison TV show, he is briefly shown - as if the audience is watching him at home - on a 1950s television set. The brand of the television is DuMont, one of the first manufacturers of TVs in America and the name of TV network from the 1950s. Jackie Gleason, Morey Amsterdam and Bishop Fulton J. Sheen were some of the notables that began on the DuMont Network, which ceased operations in 1956.
Though Rosemary Clooney couldn't be on the original album due to contractual conflicts, she recorded the song "Sisters" with her real-life sister, Betty Clooney. On the official album, Peggy Lee recorded the song and sang both parts via overdubbing, a new technology in 1954.
When Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby are at the bar for the "sandwich" scene, getting a midnight snack, Crosby says the menu is not the same as "Toots Shor's". Toots Shor's was a real restaurant at 51 W. 51st Street in New York. It was somewhat of a hangout for show business personalities.
The musical stage adaptation premiered in San Francisco in 2004 followed by productions in Boston, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Detroit, Louisville and the United Kingdom. The Broadway production opened on November 23, 2008 at the Marquis Theater and ran for 53 performances earning two Tony Award nominations. The musical was revived at the Marquis Theater for the 2009 Christmas season.
It appears that a lot of the recycled hotel set from the black and white movie "Holiday Inn" may not have been repainted in new colours for the colour movie as its very grey, making some interiors appear they have been colorized. This would make sense to have painted the black and white movie sets in greyscale as colour palette schemes would have been a waste of resources.
They took the train from Florida to Vermont, which would have required changing trains in New York. That was alluded to by showing two different trains back to back, but they were on the wrong coastline! The Santa Fe's 'San Diegan' (note the palm trees) followed by the Southern Pacific's 'Coast Mail', a coach only local. Neither railroad ran anywhere near the east coast. It's not at all unusual for Hollywood movies from the period to use Southern Pacific stock footage for any train, anywhere.
When General Waverly is preparing to "inspect the troops", the bugler sounds off with "Ruffles and Flourishes." This is traditionally played to announce the appearance of a flag officer (generals or admirals); the number of times it is repeated corresponds to the number of stars on the officer's collar. The bugler plays it twice, signifying General Waverly as a major general (two stars).
Just after Phil and Judy finish their dance number to "The best things (Happen while you're dancing), the house band in the club is playing a rendition of "Snow." (The song that the group sings on the train)
Throughout the film you can hear tunes from the musical movie "Holiday Inn" starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Two examples being when Betty walks in the kitchen at the top of the Midnight snack scene, you can hear Bing playing on the piano part of the Washington's Birthday song. The other example would include when Judy dances in her yellow dress, the time she dancing to is Abraham's birthday song sped up.