Winter Wonderland

Richard “Dick” Smith was confined to the West Mountain Sanitarium where he battled consumption {tuberculosis} in Philadelphia.  He was a Pennsylvania native, from the town Honesdale.

During his time of treatment, he sent his jingles in for various contest and ads.

He began to dream of all he longed to do once he was better.  Perhaps he even watched a child playing in the snow from his bed or thought of the scenes he’d witnessed as a child.  ” Richard Smith’s sister, Marjorie W. Smith, claimed her brother was inspired by the beauty of the freshly fallen snow in the park when he wrote the “Winter Wonderland” poem.”  This would be Honesdale Central Park.

He was inspired to put pen to paper and began to write.

Parson Brown is reported to be based on the traveling ministers who traveled from church to church preaching and performing wedding and funeral services.

Dick Smith showed his poem to Felix Bernard, a vaudeville pianist, and a friend, who put music to the words.

Winter Wonderland was released in 1934 and recorded by Richard Himber and his orchestra.

Dick Smith died in 1935.  We do not know if he ever heard his words put to music.  “Some reports say he died before he could hear the music Felix Bernard made for “Winter Wonderland”. Other reports say Richard Smith lived long enough to hear Guy Lombard and his orchestra, the Royal Canadians, perform his song the Christmas before he died.”

The song has been covered by more than 200 artists, included chart-toppers Johnny Mercer and Perry Como.

A marker was placed by the Wayne County Historical Society outside of Richard Smith’s childhood home, which is now a law office.