Kick Your Cares Down The Stairs

What famous motel chain got its name from a movie? No, not the "White Men Can't Jump Lodge." From the 1942 film starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, it's "Holiday Inn."

The story goes that when motel founder Kemmons Wilson was planning his chain in 1952, architect Eddie Bluestein named the place after the Crosby/Astaire vehicle as a joke, and the handle stuck. Other movies from the same year were "The Mummy's Tomb," "The Corpse Vanishes," and "Bambi," so he chose well.

"Holiday Inn" is a terrific picture, about a singer and a dancer who start a swinging joint that's only open on holidays. This allows for lots of Irving Berlin musical numbers based around Valentine's Day, the Fourth of July, and so on, with an unfortunate blackface segment for Lincoln's birthday (he freed the slaves, get it?). Of course, the most famous piece of all is saved for the song "White Christmas." What, you thought the song "White Christmas" debuted in the film "White Christmas?" That's just silly.

Here's a great video review of "Holiday Inn" -- with clips -- from the New York Times.


Emily Anne said...

only open on holidays--probably not the best business model...same with blackface...

Motel Me More said...

Definitely. And don't even start on the marketing.