Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is a holiday tradition for many. Growing up, our family watched it every year, to the point where I think I could recite the entire screenplay for you. But there are a number of fun, behind-the-scenes facts about the movie that I’d love to share with you this holiday season.
- Jimmy Stewart’s role was initially given to Buddy Ebsen, but Buddy had to drop out to play the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.
- Bedford Falls is a fictional town but it is based on the real life city of Detroit.
- Henry F. Potter’s character was originally named Harry Potter, but Frank Capra changed it so that audiences wouldn’t mix him up with the boy wizard.
- Jimmy Stewart was forty-seven years older than Donna Reed.
- The actors playing George Bailey’s children are Jimmy Stewart’s real life children: Patrick Stewart, Martha Stewart, Rod Stewart, and Stewart Copeland.
- In spite of saying otherwise, Violet Bick always cared about how she looked.
- Every single actor from The Little Rascals has a part in the film.
- Contrary to popular opinion, Kermit the cop and Big Bird the cab driver were not named after Sesame Street characters.
- In an early version of the script, Mr. Martini’s bar was to be a front for a drug trafficking ring run by Harry S. Truman.
- The gym floor that opened over a swimming pool is based on a real life school gym that opens up over a pit of fiery lava.
- The Old Granville house was Frank Capra’s actual residence. They tore it apart and roughed it up for the movie. Fortunately, actress Donna Reed got everything fixed up again during filming.
- Young George Bailey always wished he had a million dollars. This is the same amount of ransom money that Dr. Evil wanted in Austin Powers. Coincidence!?
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my contribution to the Fake News machine. Why, it’s almost like you can’t trust the internet anymore. But I hope even more that you have a wonderful Christmas and get some well-deserved rest. Be sure to drop by next week for my 2016 Year in Review.
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