When Bing Crosby first crooned “White Christmas” on his NBC radio show on Christmas Day 1941, it was 40 years before the launch of MTV in 1981. So it's hardly surprising that there's never been an official video for the singer's classic holiday tune.
"White Christmas,” history's top-selling single with estimated sales exceeding 50 million copies worldwide, has resurfaced with its first-ever official music video. The Crosby chestnut is set to a heartwarming animated clip that depicts a forlorn soldier in a war overseas writing a Christmas card to his wife and daughter. The daughter grows up to enlist in military service and also is separated from her husband and child during the holidays. The story, dedicated to the men and women in the armed forces, happily ends with a tearful reunion. Crosby appears in the video sporting a purple fedora and also as the mailman.
The Irving Berlin composition, originally proposed but rejected for the 1935 Fred Astaire film Top Hat, was recorded by Crosby in 1942 and featured in his film Holiday Inn. His daughter Mary Crosby pronounced the new video “a wonderful tribute to his love and appreciation for the troops."
She said in a statement, “Dad believed supporting the troops was one of the most important contributions that he made in his life. When he was asked about his career, it wasn't his awards or the fame that came his way, it was that in some small way, if he made the life of a soldier a little bit easier then, that was what mattered."
The new video is the result of a partnership between Universal Music Enterprises and the estates of four late iconic singers who recorded treasured yuletide songs. Other animated videos that have been unveiled include Crosby's “Winter Wonderland,” Ella Fitzgerald's “Frosty the Snowman,” Chuck Berry's “Run Rudolph Run” and Frank Sinatra's “The Christmas Waltz” and “Mistletoe and Holly."
The six hand-drawn, hand-painted videos, created by Fantoons Animation Studios, are clever, uplifting and nostalgic. All are available on YouTube.
Here's a preview.
Bing Crosby, “Winter Wonderland”
This whimsical video finds the singer attempting to spread holiday cheer with a hot beverage cart. Crosby sets up his Bing-O-Matic machine in Bluesville, where snow is falling on the glum townsfolk. He attempts to entice them with free espresso, cocoa, eggnog and cider, but they frown and rush past. The mood lifts when he presses the emergency button, which summons dancing gingerbread man cookies and a winter wonderland of lights, decorated trees and fireworks.
Frank Sinatra, “Mistletoe and Holly"
Old Blue Eyes leaves a posh hotel lobby and takes a New York winter stroll, passing Dino's and his own marquee on Broadway, encountering Santa in a barbershop and taking a seat at a Christmas feast. Sinatra cowrote the wistful song, which was released in 1957.
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Frank Sinatra, “The Christmas Waltz"
Dapper in his houndstooth hat, the Chairman of the Board chills at home, snuggling with his kids and a dog that mimics his look. He's seen motoring along a coast dotted with decorated palm trees and hanging out in a Palm Springs night club. Written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne specifically for Sinatra, “The Christmas Waltz” was released in 1954 and later covered by Doris Day, Peggy Lee, Pat Boone, the Carpenters, Mel Tormé and scores of others. Nancy Sinatra says her dad “might be the voice of Christmas. The sentimentality of my dad's recordings is what grabs people. He was emotional when he sang them, and people are emotional when they hear them. That doesn't really change."
Ella Fitzgerald, “Frosty the Snowman”
In this lively video, the jazz queen sings the tale of the melting snowman from a storybook to a young boy. When Frosty comes to life, he and the boy hop a train and take a joy ride through town until they are stopped by a police officer. The boy is crushed when Frosty waves goodbye but brightens when his carrot-nosed friend reappears at Lady Ella's concert with a full orchestra of snowmen. The song, first recorded by Gene Autry in 1950, appears on Fitzgerald's 1960 album, Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas.
Chuck Berry, “Run Rudolph Run”
Reindeer pull Chuck Berry's hot red convertible down freeways and across the sky in a comic-book style video. The rock ‘n’ roll pioneer plays a guitar solo atop a skyscraper as fans cheer below. Charles Berry Jr. loves the “dazzling visualization” added to the blues-rock tune his dad released in 1958, adding in a statement, “The marriage of animation and music could not be better. You can't beat flying reindeer, Santa Claus and electric guitar!"