Saturday 20 December 2014

It's a Wonderful Life Facts

1.  Sesame Street characters Bert & Ernie were not named after the police officers Bert and Ernie in "It's a Wonderful Life".

2.  The Charleston scene where Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed's characters dance was filmed in a Beverly Hills high school.  The gym floor really did open up to reveal a swimming pool.

3.  Usually painted snowflakes were used as snow for movies.  However they were too noisy.  For "It's a Wonderful Life" the crew used a combination of ice, gypsum plaster and formite-soap-water mixture.

4.  Jimmy Stewart's daughter, named Zuzu, brought home a flower from school, its petals falling off.  Zuzu's Petals became the name of a rock band, a character in the movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane and a Far Side comic.

5.  In 1943, writer Philip Van Doren penned the story "The Greatest Gift" as a Christmas card to family and friends.  Frank Capra renamed the tale "It's a Wonderful Life".

6.  RKO bought the movie rights to "It's a Wonderful Life" for $10,000 in 1946.

7.  Little Rascal "Alfafa", Carl Dean Switzer, played the ill-fated dance partner of Donna Reed's character.

8.  The bridge scenes were actually filmed during a California heat wave.  As Jimmy Stewart contemplates jumping off the snow covered bridge, he is actually sweating.

9.  "It's a Wonderful Life" was actually a box office bomb, costing 3.7 million to make, but generating only 3.3 million in sales.  It wasn't until the movie was replayed on television in the 1970's that it developped a true following.

10.  Ginger Rogers, Olivia de Havilland and Jean Arthur all turned down the starring role of Mary Bailey because it was too "bland".

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