White Christmas

During December, the AMC cable channel ran the 1954 holiday classic White Christmas over and over, allowing viewers to dip into their favorite scenes of the movie again and again. On December 17 and 18, 2010, I got to enjoy that film in the same way on the big screen of the Redford Theatre.

That weekend, I helped with the presentation of that movie at the Redford by putting up a display table that included publicity from when that movie first opened in Detroit, and ended up watching most of all three showings of the movie. What made that especially fun was the fact that White Christmas first played at the Redford on Christmas Day in 1954.

All through that weekend, I kept imagining what it was like for families to crowd into their favorite neighborhood theater during the Christmas break in 1954, watching the dynamic color and VistaVision of White Christmas fill the spacious Redford screen.

I also got to sing along with White Christmas at the Michigan Theater on Sunday, November 28. The house was packed that afternoon, as everyone wound down the Thanksgiving weekend, and got ready for the Christmas season.

Visitors to the show, one in a continuing series of sing-along musicals at the Michigan, were given “props” with which to enjoy the movie. These included handkerchiefs to wave whenever the housekeeper started crying, and a little white horse to trot whenever Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby talked about the difficult “knight on a white horse” standard that might interfere with their journey to true love.

And I will never forget the gasp of amazement from a young girl sitting near me when Dean Jagger walked out on the front porch of his tourist inn to see the peaceful beauty of falling snow.

Detroit Movie Palaces Home Page

Copyright © 2010 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.

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