It’s not a holiday without Holiday Inn

I have this little tradition around the holidays. I always watch Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” movie at least once. I don’t know what it is about this movie, but I just love it. It gets me into the holiday spirit. Have you seen it? If not, it’s a charming tale of an entertainer that decides to quit life in the fast lane and move to Connecticut to be ‘lazy’ as a farmer. Eventually he decides that being a farmer is a whole lot of work, and goes back into show business, but decides to do it at his Connecticut Inn – which he dubs “Holiday Inn”. His big plan is that the inn will only be open on holidays, only about 15 days a year!

Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire star in this holiday classic from the early 40’s, and it’s just heaven to listen to Bing’s scoopy full voice and watch Astaire’s bright smile and quick and graceful legs. This movie is from the ‘good old days’ and is still going strong – this year I bought the DVD and it turns out it even has special features on it such as an interview with Ava Astaire (Fred’s daughter) and a voiceover of the whole movie by a film historian. Quite interesting – even after seeing this movie probably about 30 times, I learned some things that I didn’t know. For example, I didn’t know that Marjorie Reynolds’ singing voice was dubbed in the movie, nor that Fred Astaire was actually drunk in the New Year’s Eve scene he plays in in which he is supposed to be dancing drunk. (He drank two shots of liquor before they started shooting, and drank another shot for each successive take – and there were seven takes.) All this knowledge has taken my regular old Holiday Inn experience to a whole new level.

This past weekend was the weekend for watching Holiday Inn – the movie, and now all the features. But who knows? I might just watch it again … just for old times’ sake.

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