Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki

"The Old Man" is a song that bookends the start and finish of the feature film White Christmas, along with the famed title song. It is composed and staged by two of the men under the command of General Thomas Waverly in World War Two, showmen Bob Wallace and Phil Davis. As the General is sent back stateside, all the men sing it in devotion to their hard-boiled but beloved commanding officer.

As the film reaches its finale, the General has come upon hard times financially and is feeling irrelevant. Bob and Phil reassemble as many of their old comrades as they can, and they surprise the general with a full-throated reprise. This rise in bookings not only helps save the General's hotel but lifts his spirits and drives him to tears, just as a small Christmas miracle outdoes the showmen. The first time, it was sung on the battlefront in the European War Theatre, the second time in the dinner theater of the General's hotel.

Irving Berlin, who wrote the titlular Christmas classic, also wrote this song. The men sing some of the verses repeatedly, making the song's run time a bit longer than the lyrics would imply.


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