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Mary Owen wasn’t accustomed into the apple until added than a decade afterwards Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Activity fabricated its premiere in 1946. But she grew up attention the blur and accepting the central beat on its authoritative from its star, Donna Reed—who aloof so happens to be her mom. Though Reed anesthetized abroad in 1986, Owen has stood as one of the film’s best committed historians, consistently introducing screenings of the ultimate anniversary classic, including during its anniversary run at New York City’s IFC Center. She aggregate some of her mom’s memories with us to advice acknowledge 25 things you ability not accept accepted about It’s a Wonderful Life.

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After years of abominably aggravating to boutique his abbreviate story, The Greatest Gift, to publishers, Philip Van Doren Stern absitively to accord the allowance of words to his abutting accompany for the holidays aback he printed up 200 copies of the adventure and beatific them out as a 21-page Christmas card. David Hempstead, a ambassador at RKO Pictures, concluded up accepting a authority of it, and purchased the cine rights for $10,000.

When RKO purchased the rights, they did so with the plan of accepting Cary Grant in the lead. But, as happens so generally in Hollywood, the activity went through some ups and downs in the development process. In 1945, afterwards a cardinal of rewrites, RKO awash the cine rights to Frank Capra, who bound recruited Jimmy Stewart to comedy George Bailey.

By the time It’s a Wonderful Activity fabricated it into theaters, the adventure was abundant altered from Stern’s aboriginal tale. That’s because added than a half-dozen bodies contributed to the screenplay, including some of the best acclaimed writers of the time—Dorothy Parker, Dalton Trumbo, Marc Connelly, and Clifford Odets amid them.

Though they’re accustomed as the film’s screenwriters with Capra, the bedmate and wife autograph duo were not admiring with the analysis they accustomed from Capra. “Frank Capra could be condescending,” Hackett said in an interview, “and you aloof didn’t abode Frances as ‘my baby woman.’ Aback we were appealing far forth in the calligraphy but not done, our abettor alleged and said, ‘Capra wants to apperceive how anon you’ll be finished.’ Frances said, ‘We’re accomplished adapted now.’ We put our pens bottomward and never went aback to it.”

After laying out the artifice band of the blur for Jimmy Stewart in a meeting, Capra accomplished that, “This absolutely doesn’t complete so good, does it?” Stewart recalled in an interview. Stewart’s reply? “Frank: If you appetite me to be in a account about a guy that wants to annihilate himself and an angel comes bottomward called Clarence who can’t bathe and I save him, aback do we start?”

Though Donna Reed was hardly a newcomer aback It’s a Wonderful Activity formed around, accepting appeared in about 20 projects previously, the blur did mark her aboriginal starring role. It’s difficult to brainstorm anyone abroad in the role today, but Reed had some austere antagonism from Jean Arthur. “[Frank Capra] had apparent mom in They Were Expendable and admired her,” Mary Owen told Mental Floss. “When Capra met my mother at MGM, he knew she’d be aloof adapted for Mary Bailey.”

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Before you ask whether Owen was called afterwards her mom’s abundant admired It’s a Wonderful Activity character, “The acknowledgment is no,” says Owen. “I was called afterwards my abundant grandmother, Mary Mullenger.”

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Beulah Bondi, who plays Mrs. Bailey, didn’t charge a lot of call to comedy Jimmy Stewart’s mom. She had done it three times previously—in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Human Hearts, and Vivacious Lady—and already afterwards on The Jimmy Stewart Show: The Identity Crisis.

Though their aggregate filmographies abide of a brace hundred movies, Capra, Reed, and Stewart accept all cited It’s a Wonderful Activity as their admired movie. In his autobiography, The Name Above the Title, Capra took that acclaim alike one footfall further, writing: “I anticipation it was the greatest blur I anytime made. Better yet, I anticipation it was the greatest blur anybody anytime made.”

Though it has become a quintessential American classic, It’s a Wonderful Activity was not an actual hit with audiences. In fact, it put Capra $525,000 in the hole, which larboard him scrambling to accounts his assembly company’s abutting picture, State of the Union.

Though it didn’t accomplish abundant of a cavity at the box office, It’s a Wonderful Activity begin a accomplished new activity on television—particularly aback its absorb accomplished in 1974, authoritative it accessible royalty-free to anyone who capital to appearance it for the abutting 20 years. (Which would explain why it was on television all the time during the anniversary season.) The affray concluded in 1994.

Though Capra had a stuntman at the accessible in adjustment to shoot out the window of the Granville House in a arena that adapted Donna Reed to bandy a bedrock through it, it was all a decay of money. “Mom threw the bedrock herself that bankrupt the window in the Granville House,” Owen says. “On the aboriginal try.”

Shot on a account of $3.7 actor (which was a lot by mid-1940s standards), Bedford Falls—which covered a abounding four acreage of RKO’s Encino Ranch—was one of the best busy cine sets anytime congenital up to that time, with 75 food and buildings, 20 fully-grown oak trees, factories, residential areas, and a 300-yard-long Main Street.

Though Bedford Falls is a apocryphal place, the boondocks of Seneca Falls, New York swears that it’s the real-life afflatus for George Bailey’s absorbing hometown. And anniversary year they affairs a abounding calendar of holiday-themed contest to put locals (and yuletide visitors) into the anniversary spirit.

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Though the aggregate of the blur was filmed on pre-built sets, the ball at the gym was filmed on area at Beverly Hills High School. And the retractable attic was no set piece. Better accepted as the Bathe Gym, the academy is currently in the action of abating the battleground filming location.

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Though he’s bearding in the part, if Freddie Othello—the little antic who pushes the button that opens the basin that swallows George and Mary up—looks familiar, that’s because he is played by Carl Switzer, a.k.a. Alfalfa of The Little Rascals.

Though she was a Hollywood icon, Donna Reed—born Donnabelle Mullenger—was a acreage babe at affection who came to Los Angeles by way of Denison, Iowa. Lionel Barrymore (a.k.a. Mr. Potter) didn’t accept it. “So he bet $50 that she couldn’t milk a cow,” recalls Owen. “She said it was the easiest $50 she anytime made.”

It may be an iconic Christmas movie, but It’s a Wonderful Activity was absolutely attempt in the summer of 1946—in the bosom of a calefaction wave, no less. At one point, Capra had to shut filming bottomward for a day because of the boundless temperatures—which additionally explains why Stewart is acutely afraid in key moments of the film.

Capra—who accomplished as an engineer—and adapted furnishings administrator Russell Shearman engineered a new blazon of bogus snow for the film. At the time, corrective cornflakes were the best accepted anatomy of affected snow, but they airish a bit of an audio botheration for Capra. So he and Shearman autonomous to mix foamite (the being you acquisition in blaze extinguishers) with amoroso and baptize to actualize a beneath blatant option.

Though It’s a Wonderful Activity is a basic of abounding ancestors anniversary cine marathons, that wasn’t the case in Reed’s home. In fact, Owen herself didn’t see the blur until three decades afterwards its release. “I saw it in the backward 1970s at the Nuart Theatre in L.A. and admired it,” she says.

Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu in the film, didn’t see the blur until 1980. “I never took the time to see the movie,” she told Detroit’s WWJ in 2013. “I never aloof sat bottomward and watched the film.”

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How Famous Rock Stars Would Look Today If They Were Still … – famous painters that are still alive | famous painters that are still alive

In 1947, the FBI issued a announcement acquainted the blur as a abeyant “Communist aggression of the motion account industry,” citation its “rather accessible attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘Scrooge-type’ so that he would be the best hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a accepted ambush acclimated by Communists.”

Yes, the cop and cab disciplinarian in It’s a Wonderful Activity are called Bert and Ernie, respectively. But Jim Henson’s longtime autograph partner, Jerry Juhl, insists that it’s by accompaniment alone that they allotment their names with Sesame Street’s stripe-shirted buds.

“I was the arch biographer for the Muppets for 36 years and one of the aboriginal writers on Sesame Street,” Juhl told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2000. “The rumor about It’s a Wonderful Activity has persisted over the years. I was not present at the naming, but I was consistently absolute [the rumor] was incorrect. Despite his abounding talents, Jim had no anamnesis for capacity like this. He knew the movie, of course, but would not accept remembered the cop and the cab driver.

“I was not able to affirm this with Jim afore he died, but anon thereafter I batten to Jon Stone, Sesame Street’s aboriginal ambassador and arch biographer and a man abundantly amenable for the show’s format,” Juhl continued. “He assured me that Ernie and Bert were called one day aback he and Jim were belief the ancestor puppets. They absitively that one of them looked like an Ernie, and the added one looked like a Bert. The cine appearance names are absolutely coincidental.”

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Well, two people: Producers Allen J. Schwalb and Bob Farnsworth, who appear in 2013 that they would be continuing the adventure with a sequel, It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story, which they planned for a 2015 release. It didn’t booty continued for Paramount, which owns the copyright, to footfall in and assure bent admirers of the aboriginal blur that “No activity apropos to It’s a Wonderful Activity can advance after a authorization from Paramount. To date, these individuals accept not acquired any of the all-important rights, and we would booty all adapted accomplish to assure those rights.”

“It’s the damnedest affair I’ve anytime seen,” Capra said of the film’s archetypal status. “The blur has a activity of its own now and I can attending at it like I had annihilation to do with it. I’m like a ancestor whose kid grows up to be president. I’m proud… but it’s the kid who did the work. I didn’t alike anticipate of it as a Christmas adventure aback I aboriginal ran beyond it. I aloof admired the idea.”

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