Can you dance through this White Christmas quiz?

By: Abi Luftig
Image: Paramount Pictures

About This Quiz

Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen, and other top Hollywood stars sang and danced their way into our hearts in this beautiful Christmas story. 

The film has remained so popular that countless families make it a tradition to watch year after year during the holiday season. It culminates with a gorgeous snowfall, a business boost for a friend and former commanding general, and a happily-ever-after love story. Why wait for your happy ending? Take the quiz now and enjoy reminiscing about one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time. 

Staged against a backdrop of World War II, this story struck a chord with the boys who had come home but also was so entertaining that it drew a vast audience. The comical scene of Wallace and Davis lip-syncing in partial drag to the Haynes Sisters' signature song is one of the most recognizable scenes in cinema. Plus the songs were both amusing and engaging with lyrics such as "Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister." And you are sure to recall the Oscar-nominated song, "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep." 

Don't wait to get your share of Christmas joy. Start the quiz now, then start singing and dancing your way through the day. 

What is the name of the Broadway performer who is also a captain during the war?

Bob Wallace was played by the legendary Bing Crosby, who was one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. As a recording artist, movie star, and radio personality, he is one of the elite group of 33 individuals to have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also, Bing was a nickname. His real name was Harry Lillis Crosby, Jr.

What is the name of the hapless private who saves him?

Private Phil Davis was played by comedian and singer Danny Kaye, best known for his physical comedy. In 1954, the year White Christmas was released, Kaye was named the first ambassador-at-large of UNICEF. His charity work also earned him a Danish knighthood in 1983.

During which war did they serve?

Wallace & Davis served in the Army during World War II. When the film opens, their division is stationed in France.

What division are they serving in?

Wallace & Davis are part of the Army's 151st Division. In reality, the 151st Infantry Regiment was primarily stationed in the South Pacific in WWII.

What is the name of their beloved general, who is being forced into retirement?

Major General Thomas Waverly was played by Dean Jagger. Jagger is best known for his role in Twelve O'Clock High, for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Where will the 151st follow the old man?

As a send off, the soldiers serenade the general with a rendition of The Old Man, which was written by Irving Berlin. The full lyrics are "We'll follow the old man wherever he wants to go/ Long as he wants to go opposite to the foe./ We'll stay with the old man wherever he wants to stay/ Long as he stays away from the battle's fray./ Because we love him, we love him/ Especially when he keeps us on the ball./ And we'll tell the kiddies we answered duty's call/ With the grandest son of a soldier of them all".

Who sends Wallace and Davis a letter asking them to see his sisters perform?

Wallace and Davis receive a letter from their old mess sergeant, Freckle-Face Haynes, the dog-faced boy, or as his family knew him, Bennie. Judy shows Bob and Phil a picture of Bennie, which is a photo of Carl Switzer, who played Alfalfa in Our Gang.

How does Bob explain a guy as ugly as Freckle Face Haynes having such pretty sisters?

It might be considered brave to have more children when your first child is apparently dog-faced, but it's also brave to launch a stage adaptation of the film. This bravery was actually attempted in 2004 but was not terribly successful or well-received. One review said it was "fresh and appealing as a roll of Necco wafers found in a mothballed Christmas stocking." Ouch.

How does this lyric end: "Lord help the mister"

This song actually turned into a real duet between sisters off-camera. In 1954, Columbia Records released an album called Irving Berlin's White Christmas, which featured Rosemary Clooney singing Sisters as a duet with her actual sister, Betty.

With which Haynes sister does Bob find himself smitten?

Bob is instantly smitten by Betty Haynes, played by Rosemary Clooney, while Phil is taken by Judy Haynes, played by Vera-Ellen. In interviews, Clooney said she took the role specifically to work with Bing Crosby.

Which Haynes sister is the eldest?

In the film, Betty is the eldest of the Haynes sisters. In reality, Rosemary Clooney was seven years younger than Vera-Ellen, her on-screen younger sibling.

According to Phil and Judy, when do the best things happen?

While leaving the room to give Bob and Betty a chance to get acquainted, Phil and Judy begin to dance while singing "The Best Things Happen When You're Dancing". Judy Haynes was played by Vera-Ellen, who also danced with Gene Kelly in On The Town.

Who actually sent the letter to Wallace and Davis?

Betty catches on to Judy's ploy of sending the letter in Bennie's name and mentions that Bennie is "out of the country" in Alaska. Some people regard this as a movie goof since Alaska is a US state, but those people are incorrect. At the time the movie was made, Alaska was five years away from statehood and technically was out of the country.

How do Wallace and Davis stall the sheriff looking for the Haynes sisters?

The scene of Wallace and Davis lip-syncing in partial drag to the Haynes Sisters' signature song is one of the most recognizable scenes in cinema, but it wasn't originally meant to happen. According to Rosemary Clooney, Crosby and Kaye were goofing off on set and came up with the lip-sync bit as a joke. Director Michael Curtiz thought it was fantastic and added it to the film.

Who gives the train tickets to the Haynes sisters?

There is a bit of confusion regarding the train scenes in the movie. When they board the train, the girls are shown to have a drawing room, but a later scene shows them waking up in berths. Since there was no direct line to their destination, they likely changed trains in New York, and their accommodations changed.

What does Phil hope to get by helping the sisters?

In an earlier scene, Phil laments how hard he and Bob have been working and how he wishes Bob would slow down a bit. He says, "I want you to get married. I want you to have nine children. And if you only spend five minutes a day with each kid, that's forty-five minutes, and I'd at least have time to go out and get a massage or something." When he helps the sisters, Judy remarks "But... but you might get yourself in an awful jam. Why should you? I mean, what's in it for you?" to which Phil cryptically replies "Forty-five minutes all to myself."

Which state are the sisters travelling toward?

The Haynes sisters were heading to Vermont to an inn at which they were booked to perform. Vermont is the second-least populous state in America and leads the nation in maple syrup production.

What is missing when the quartet arrives in Vermont?

When the quartet arrives in Pine Tree, Vermont, they find the landscape devoid of any snow. This is especially jarring as they had just sung a song about how much they were looking forward to snow.

What is the name of the inn the sisters are set to perform at?

The Haynes Sisters are booked to perform at The Columbia Inn, in Pine Tree, Vermont. Sadly, the town of Pine Tree is fictional, and the inn was created on a sound stage at the studio.

Who runs the Columbia Inn?

Bob and Phil are stunned when they see their former commanding officer walking into the Columbia Inn carrying firewood. They assume he is a janitor or caretaker, but he assures them it's “Worse. I own the place.”

Why is General Waverly depressed?

General Waverly requests to be reinstated in the Army, as he feels useless without the military. He receives a reply that essentially says he's too old to reenlist. Despite his character repeatedly being referred to as old, Dean Jagger (General Waverly) and Bing Crosby (Bob Wallace) were the same age (51) during the making of the film.

What is the name of the busybody housekeeper who looks after General Waverly?

Busybody housekeeper Emma Allen was played by Mary Wickes, who made a career of playing supporting characters with sharp tongues. One of her last roles before her death was Sister Mary Lazarus on the Sister Act films.

What is the name of the Army buddy turned TV host who helps Bob reach the other members of the troop?

Bob and Phil served in the 151st Division with Ed Harrison, the host of a nightly variety show. Ed Harrison was an homage to The Ed Sullivan Show, which helped the launch the careers of countless musicians, comedians, and various other acts.

Why do Phil and Judy pretend to be engaged?

Judy explains that Betty is like a mama hen and views her sister as "her little chick". She believes that Betty will never enter into a serious relationship with Bob until she knows Judy will be ok without her.

What does Bob count instead of sheep?

Both Bob and Betty find themselves unable to sleep, and Bob sings "Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep)" to her. "Count Your Blessings" earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song but lost to Three Coins In The Fountain

What song does Betty sing at the club in New York?

When Bob sees Betty perform at the club in New York, she sings "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me," highlighting the hurt feelings between the two. Rosemary Clooney said that she considered this to be "her" song because it was her only solo.

Why does Betty reject Bob?

Thanks to some confused meddling from Emma, Betty thinks Bob is going on the Ed Harrison show to use the General for publicity for his new show. In the DVD commentary, Clooney mocks her character for this misunderstanding, saying “I always thought I overreacted to this. I mean, come on. Why didn’t she just ask him what was going on? Dummy!”

How does this title end: "Gee, I Wish I Was Back"?

Once the General has been welcomed, the Christmas show starts off with a rendition of "Gee, I Wish I Was Back In The Army". The song talks about USO shows by "Jolson, Hope And Benny all for free", a reference to Al Jolson, Bob Hope, and Jack Benny. Berlin's original lyrics were "Crosby, Hope and Jolson all for free", as Bing Crosby was well-known for his support of the USO, but the lyric was changed once Crosby agreed to do the film.

Phil tells Judy that "You know, in some ways, you’re far superior to" what?

Phil initially deflects Judy's affections by saying he likes her, but he also likes his cocker spaniel. When they kiss, Phil remarks "you know, in some ways, you're far superior to my cocker spaniel."

Which character did not actually do their own singing?

While Vera-Ellen was an accomplished dancer and actress, her singing voice was less than ideal and was dubbed for the film. Rosemary Clooney was able to convince producers to hire her friend Trudy Stevens sing the role in place of Gloria Wood, the studio's first choice.

Who distracts the General so he doesn't see Bob on The Ed Harrison Show?

In order to prevent the General seeing Bob's broadcast on The Ed Harrison Show, Phil pretends to fall down the stairs and says he needs the General's help to walk it off. Danny Kaye was well-known for his physical comedy, including pratfalls.

What does Phil do to guilt Bob into doing things?

Whenever Phil wants to guilt Bob into doing something, he touches his arm. This serves as a reminder of how Phil injured his arm while saving Bob's life in France. However, at the beginning of the film, when Bob visits Phil in the infirmary to thank him (the first time we see Phil do this gesture), Phil is able to take his arm out of the sling and move it around freely, confirming the audiences suspicions that he is jokingly exaggerating the extent of his injury.

How does General Waverly respond when Phil says he and Bob wouldn’t be any good as Generals?

The General questions the logic of Wallace and Davis staging a show at his inn. The pair deflects by saying that they are the professionals and the General wouldn't be any good at setting up a show, just like they wouldn't be any good as Generals. The General jokingly shoots back that they weren't any good as Privates.

What is the reason Bob and Phil keep giving each other when talking them into doing things they don’t want to do?

Throughout the film, the reasoning, "We're doing it for a pal in the Army" is used by both Wallace and Davis. In reality, neither Bing Crosby nor Danny Kaye ever served in the military. However, Crosby was heavily involved (as a civilian) with the Armed Forces Radio Service. He registered for service after Pearl Harbor, but between his age at the time (38) and the fact that he was married with dependents, his name was very low on the draft priority list.

What does the movie suggest is the response to "How do you do?"

When asked "how do you do" at the cast party, one of the dancers replies "mutual, I'm sure". This dancer was the soon-to-be-famous Barrie Chase, who often danced alongside Fred Astaire on his tv specials.

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