The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Winter Wonderland

Words & Music by Dick Smith & Felix Bernard, copyright 1934

Of my 19 recordings of this song, not one contains the full Introduction written by Smith and Bernard.  However, half of the Introduction (the first three lines of six) is sung on the version recorded by the Judds on their CD "Christmas Time."

William Studwell, The Christmas Carol Reader

"Winter Wonderland" was by far the best effort of lyricist Richard B. Smith (1901-1935) and of composer Felix Bernard (1897-1944). Ironically, neither man had much opportunity to savor the sweet rewards from their highly popular 1934 song. Pennsylvania-born smith died the very next year, and Brooklyn-born Bernard did not live a lot longer, passing away about ten years later. Neither was around for the cheerful best-selling [1946] recordings by the Andrews Sisters [and Perry Como].

William L. Simon, Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook

Felix Bernard, the composer of "Winter Wonderland" also co-wrote the melody of the 1919 hit "Dardanella" (the recording by Ben Selvin's Novelty Orchestra is believed to be the first in history to sell one million copies). Fifteen years later he teamed up with Dick Smith on "Winter Wonderland," an immediate hit for Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians (1934). Then, in 1946, rival recordings were made by Perry Como and The Andrews Sisters (backed by Guy Lombardo) that established the bubbly tune as a Yuletide favorite.

Craig W. Pattillo, Christmas On Record

The Como recording was reissued in 1949; the Andrews Sisters recording was reissued in 1950,  1961, and 1973.

Albert J. Menendez and Shirley C. Menendez, Christmas Songs Made In America

Felix Bernard, born in Brooklyn in 1897, came from a musical family. His father was a professional violinist, and Felix became a composer and pianist (in addition to a one-time vaudeville performer and tap dancer).  The Guy Lombardo recording of 1934 reached the number two position on the Hit Parade.


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