The Christmas Classic ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ Almost Didn’t Happen!

(PCM) In 1943, author Philip Van Doren Stern failed to find a publisher for his short story The Greatest Gift and was on the verge of giving up hope that his work would ever be available to a reader. He eventually printed 200 copies of the story and distributed them as Christmas gifts to his family, friends and colleagues.

Anyway, Van Doren Stern’s novel will end up in the hands of a film producer, who will immediately buy the film rights. The story caught the attention of RKO producer David Hempstead, who showed it to Hollywood agent Cary Grant. In April 1944, RKO Pictures bought the rights to the story for $10,000, hoping to make it a lead role for Grant. RKO produced three unsatisfactory scripts before the planned film hit theaters, and Grant continued to work on another Christmas movie, The Bishop’s Wife.

On the recommendation of Charles Kerner, director of the RKO Studio, Frank Capra read The Greatest Gift and immediately recognized its potential. RKO, wanting to get rid of the project, sold the rights in 1945 for $10,000 to Capra’s production company, Liberty Films, which had a distribution agreement for nine films with RKO.

The story was eventually adapted into It’s a Wonderful Life, which became a classic of traditional festivals, but when it was first released in 1946, it didn’t have much box office success. It is now considered one of the most popular films in American cinema.

Although the film didn’t bring in much at the box office, This Wonderful Life got a whole new lease of life on television – especially when the copyright expired in 1974 and the film was made available for free to anyone who wanted to screen it for the next 20 years. (Which explains why it was constantly on television during the holidays). The Free for All program ended in 1994.

In the film, James Stewart plays the role of George Bailey, a man who abandons his dreams to help others and whose impending suicide on Christmas Eve leads to the intervention of his guardian angel Clarence Audbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how life in his community of Bedford Falls would have been different if he had never been born.

Seneca Falls, New York, says that when Frank Capra visited their town in 1945, he was inspired by the Bedford Falls model. In December, the city hosts the annual It’s a Wonderful Life festival. In mid-2009, the Clarence Hotel opened in Seneca Falls, named after George Bailey’s guardian angel.

The 10th. In December 2010, the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum opened in Seneca Falls. Carolyn Grimes, who plays Zuza in the film, cut the ribbon. Philip Van Doren Stern said in an interview in 1946: By the way, the movie is set in Westchester County. Actually, the city I was referring to was California, NJ. The historic Califon Iron Bridge looks like the bridge George Bailey thought he jumped off in the movie.

It’s a Wonderful Life is considered one of the most acclaimed films of all time. The film was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, and was recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films of all time.

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