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. 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.
All songs were written by Irving Berlin. The centerpiece of the film is the title song, which won that film an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1942. In addition, ‘Count Your Blessings’ earned the picture its own Oscar nomination in the same category.
The song “Snow” was originally written for Call Me Madam with the title “Free,” but was dropped in out-of-town tryouts. The melody and some of the words were kept, but the lyrics were changed to be more appropriate for a Christmas movie.
Playback singer Trudy Stevens provided the singing voice for Vera-Ellen, except for “Sisters“, where Rosemary Clooney sang both parts. When the time came to record the soundtrack album, Clooney’s contract with Columbia Records made it impossible for her to participate, therefore Peggy Lee stepped in. A soundtrack album with Crosby, Kaye, Clooney, and Stevens was not released until the recent CD anniversary reissue, in which the songs were taken directly from the film.
Within the film, a number of soon-to-be famous performers appear. Future Academy Award winner (for Bernardo in West Side Story) 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”. – Edited from Wikipedia