I saw “White Christmas” at the Paramount Theater!


One of the things that Mom and Dad really like doing during the holidays is watching OLD Christmas movies so they can get their holiday groove on.

Their list of must-see Christmas classics include: The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven; the original Miracle on 34th Street with Edmund  Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, and a young Natalie Wood; and of course It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and the wonderfully evil, Lionel Barrymore.

But last night, instead of sitting in front of our TV and popping in a DVD, the three of us saw the 1954 classic White Christmas at Austin’s Paramount Theater.  Wow! The Paramount Theater is amazing, both in its history and beautiful art deco architecture.  It was built in 1915 for vaudeville acts, and then remodeled in the 1930’s for “moving pictures.”  Thankfully, preservationist saved it from the recking ball in the early 70’s and it was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1977.

As mom has yet to master indoor or night time shots with her camera, so she went to Google images and borrowed these, because the ones she took last night pretty much blew.

Gorgeous huh?  The theater was decorated for Christmas and we even had a picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus!
I believe everyone was required to word red in order to be in the picture!

Naturally, mom made me pose in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby.  I decided the picture would look better with two people, so asked this incredibly nice grandma to pose with me.  Both she and her friend cheerfully obliged.  Sadly, the flash didn’t go off on the first picture, so you don’t get to see what the other grandma looks like.  It is amazing how I can manipulate charm people.

But I digress!  The whole point of this story is to tell you that I thought White Christmas was wonderful. If you’ve never seen this film you really should add it to your Netflix Que.  (Unless of course you’ve already canceled your membership with them when they doubled their rental fees a few months ago.)  According to mom, the writing is sharp and filled with snappy one-liners.  While Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney are considered the headliners, Danny Kaye steals the show.  Or so says my mom.

Maybe it is because my brother Stephen is in the Army now, but there is a scene at the end of the movie that had both my parents in tears. (And plenty of other people as well, because I heard a lot of sniffling going on.)

You see, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) are army buddies from World War II who have become a very successful song and dance team.  General Waverly (their former commanding officer) has sunk his entire savings into a Vermont Lodge.  Through clever plots points and romantic mishaps, Wallace and Davis end up at the very lodge the general now owns.  And guess what?  The general is perilously close to losing his beloved lodge because there hasn’t been snow since Thanksgiving and he doesn’t have any guests at the lodge.  OMG!  What is the General going to do?
Because Wallace and Davis have such respect for General Waverly, they decide to put on an entire show at the lodge (free of charge!) to help drum up business.  AND Wallace goes on national television to ask all the men from General Waverly’s division to (shhh!) surprise him at the Christmas Eve show, in uniform.  The General’s wily housekeeper is in on the secret, and (whoops!) sends both of his suits to dry cleaner, forcing him to wear his Army uniform.
Somehow everybody manages to arrive at the lodge, park their cars, and store their suitcases without the General suspecting a thing.  When he enters the room, he is absolutely stunned to see the theater jam-packed with men from his former unit standing at attention so that he can address them.  (And yes, this is where the sniffling and silent tears start to flow.)

After a moving address from the General, Wallace and Davis (both sporting Santa suits) start to sing, along with the sister act, followed by a giant Christmas tree on wheels, and several pint-size ballerinas and some grim looking boys.  Of course they sing White Christmas, and then it starts to snow, on Christmas Eve no less!

And just in case you don’t already have the song memorized, here are the lyrics:
White Christmas
I’m dreaming of a white christmas,

just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
to hear sleigh bells in the snow

I’m dreaming of a white christmas,
just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
to hear sleigh bells in the snow

I’m dreaming of a white christmas,
with every christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright,
and may all your christmases be white

I’m dreaming of a white christmas,
just like the ones I used to know
May your days be merry and bright,
and may all your christmases be white

I’m dreaming of a white christmas,
with every christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright,

and may all your christmases be white

May your days be merry and bright,
and may all your christmases be white

And may all your christmases be white (All your christmases be white)
And may all your christmases be white (All your christmases be white)
And may all your christmases be
(All your christmases be white)
(All your christmases be white)

And don’t freak out – but there are only 24 more days till Christmas!

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