Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Part I: Seeing the Costumes from "White Christmas" (1954)!

This panaramic shot makes the room look huge but it was probably around 1000 sq. ft.

Last January, the costumes from White Christmas (1954) that are housed at the Rosemary Clooney house in Kentucky made their way to a museum near me. Me, my mom, and my two brothers went to see them. We have watched the movie as a family every year at Christmas time for as long as I can remember. Before that, my mom watched it with HER family whenever it came on television. A few years ago we all went to see the film on the big screen as well. I also made my own soundtrack cd (I get so angry thinking about the stupidity and stubbornness of those who didn't allow Clooney to record an official soundtrack with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Trudy Stevens, who provided the singing voice for Vera-Ellen). It is one of our favorite movies. It also has my favorite movie costumes of all time, designed by the wonderful Edith Head. If I had the money (and the figure), I would have replicas made of several of the gorgeous dresses worn throughout the picture AND build a replica of Columbia Inn


We had the room to ourselves for over and hour, so I was able to take as many photos as a wanted (over 300) and then just go around the room and really drink it all in. I have to admit, I almost burst into tears when we first walked in. It was such an amazing experience, and one I will never forget.

I guess I will just "start at the door" and take you around the room with me :) Before you start, you can start my White Christmas playlist on YouTube.

To the left when we entered there was a large sign about the film and exhibition:








To the right of the entry was the first costume: Rosemary Clooney's red robe she wore in the scene at the club before she and Vera-Ellen perform their Sisters number in front of "Wallace and Davis" (Crosby and Kaye). It also appears later in the film at the Inn when she can't sleep and sings Count Your Blessings.


Photo by my brother.


I was struck by how small the robe is! The tie on the belt is not original. It was so hard to resist reaching out and touching it!


It looked pretty fragile and was very faded looking.

Next to the robe was the outfit worn by George Chakiris in the Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me number. Hollywood Comet recently interviewed him. You can read about his experience working with Clooney here. 



The shirt is not original.




My brother would probably kill me if he knew I was sharing these lol. 
He unintentionally wore the perfect shirt.


Next there was a glass case containing the gloves Clooney wore during this number and Vera-Ellen's hat worn when they first arrive at the inn.







It was difficult to photograph the hat through the glass.

The back of the hat.




In the corner there was a display with some of the original chairs from the Inn and a pretend cake, as well as several movie posters.





Photo taken by my brother

Photo taken by my OTHER brother (the one shown above).

At one time there were gold accents painted on the chairs. You can barely make out a harvest/pumpkin design. My mom actually found an identical style chair on Etsy. It's a "Hitchcock" chair. 

Detail of the gold accents on the legs.




The next wall held three military uniforms worn by Dean Jagger (left), Bing Crosby (center), and Danny Kaye (right). 


Replica backdrop from the beginning of the film.

There was no sign for this, but it doesn't look like the music box in the film.


Photo taken by my other brother.

Dean Jagger as General Waverly

Two-Star General (photo by my brother)

Sleeve detail on Jagger's uniform.


Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace

Bob's uniform jacket

A little closer. It was kind of hard to photograph these with the being up on a step (and me being 5'3").

Photo by my brother

Danny Kaye's uniform (photo by my brother - I managed to forget to take a full shot of this one).

Kaye's jacket. His shoulders were very broad!


The backs of the jackets. 

In the next corner were the "Cast Party" dresses worn by Vera-Ellen, Rosemary Clooney, and Mary Wickes. 

Photo by my brother.


Here is Mary Wickes dress (as the housekeeper Emma). This calls for champagne!

Wickes' necklace was the only piece of jewelry in the exhibit. I had hoped there would be some of the fabulous earrings we only glimpse on-screen.


You can see the texture of the fabric.




Clooney's green velvet dress. It's in surprising great shape!



Bust: 36 | Waist: 23
Do you SEE THOSE MEASUREMENTS?!? Poor Rosemary always looks rather large next to Vera-Ellen but that's because she had a 19 INCH waist. 19!!

The dress was about one foot away from my hand. My hand span here is seven inches.

Judy's cast party dress is the most delicate in the collection (aside from maybe the feather fan). It was positioned in the corner so that it too far away to reach. I had to borrow my brother's long arm for some of the photos ;)

The best shot of the beaded embroidery I could get. If I didn't look so bad in cream, I'd buy a turtleneck and try to replicate this pattern.

Photo by my brother. Note the dart.

Bugle beads and pearls. Also taken by my brother.

Check out the drape detailing!



We couldn't see the back of this costume. Wish they would have put a mirror behind it!

A closer look at the fabric. You can see the shadow of my hand and phone. I had to really lean for this. 

Against the far wall was a giant sleigh (I guess the one at the end of the movie when it starts snowing) that is usually in storage, as there is no room to display it at the Rosemary Clooney house. Next to it are REPLICAS of the red gowns worn at the end of the film. They were pretty good but nowhere near the sumptuous quality of the originals (that definitely isn't real fur). 

The best spot for photographs (the backdrop is blurry, not my photo). For scale, the bottom of the white bar holding the sign is almost exactly six feet off the ground.

Note the gold eagle head for the reins to go through.


Replica of Clooney's gown.



The original costume had large sparkling beaded snowflakes.

Replica of Vera-Ellen's gown.




They also had these amazing Barbie-size dolls by Tonner wearing the iconic red gowns. 




Her little hair piece ♥





PART II will have the "Sisters" dresses and costumes from the "Mandy" number!!
It will be posted next week :)

Merry Christmas everybody!!!
And may all your Christmas' be white!

My mom as Betty and me as Judy. We were the only ones in the room so we took our masks off really quick. They didn't have it lit very well, unfortunately. I put my face in further than I wanted to. 

7 comments:

  1. Breathtaking! What a joyful experience, and what a treat to have you share it with us.

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  2. What a fun experience. It's always such a joy when opportunities like this bring the magic of classic films even closer to us and allow us to experience them in more personal ways. I'm so glad you got that chance.

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    1. Classic film related events seldom come near my area so I was so excited when this happened, and with my favorite costumes!!

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  3. The chairs are one of many designs from the Hitchcock Chair company. I have some of the style shown in the movie, but in black instead of what looks green in your pictures. (They made black, brown, white, green, and probably other colored chairs, tables, mirror frames, etc.) If the studio had a barn full of those Hitchcock chairs and let them get in that poor shape...what a shame! Enjoyed reading your post! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. That’s so neat how you have some!! They looked pretty sturdy for being nearly 70 years old. I bet they were in several other movies and the gold wore off with use. It would be interesting to know if those were the only ones left or if they were the best ones. Thanks for reading!!

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  4. What a fun exhibit! I always spend about half that movie thinking about how many of the clothes I want or wish I could replicate!

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