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Added by blankend on 2 Jan 2012 08:02
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The Evolution of "It's a Wonderful Life" (Updated)

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December 1943

Philip Van Doren Stern sends Christmas cards to friends and encloses a 21-page, 4,000-word short story, "The Greatest Gift."
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April 1944

RKO buys the film rights for $10,000, after pressure from George Bailey wannabe Cary Grant. Later, Frank Capra snags the rights from RKO.
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December 21, 1946

The studio rushes the film to the box office because it lacks enough copies of planned holiday release, "Sinbad The Sailor."
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December, 1946

Critical reception is lukewarm. The New York Times: "The weakness of this picture ... is the sentimentality of it-its illusory concept of life."
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January 7, 1947

The studio earns a mere $3.3 million from the release (production and distribution cost was $3.8 million), and nabs five Oscar nominations but zero wins.
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Late 1940s

Capra becomes informant for House Un-American Activities Committee; seven of the film's other eight writers end up blacklisted.
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Late 1960s

More than 20 years after its release, the film gains modest followings in collegiate film societies.
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CBS begins to air the film about once a year in the days before Christmas.
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Capra memoir and museum retrospective set off craze. John Cassavetes says, "Maybe there really wasn't an America, maybe it was only Frank Capra."
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Copyright owner Republic Pictures fails to renew rights; local TV stations use it as low-cost holiday fare throughout the next half decade.
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December 11, 1977

Time for a gender-bender TV remake: Marlo Thomas stars as Mary Bailey Hatch in "It Happened One Christmas."
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Now a TV mainstay in the weeks before Christmas, the movie is sold on tape by more than 100 distributors during the VHS revolution.
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December 1986

James Wolcott asserts, "It's the perfect film for the Reagan era, celebrating the old-fashioned values of home and hearth that everyone knows ... have eroded."
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Seneca Falls, NY - the town that claims it's the "real-life" Bedford Falls - hosts the first annual "It's a Wonderful Life" weekend.
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Republic Pictures wrestles the copyright back and inks deal with NBC for exclusive broadcast rights.
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June 14, 2006

The American Film Institute puts the film at No.1 on its list of the 100 most inspiring films of all time.
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Seneca Falls opens the "It's a Wonderful Life" museum with a walking tour that includes 13 stops based on scenes from the movie.

Bonus Feature - TV Variations/Adaptations -

Its a Miserable Life - Golden Girls - 1986

Its a Wonderful Job - Moonlighting - 1986

Its a Blunderful life - Charles In Charge - 1989

Its a Bundyful Life - Married With Children - 1989

Its a Wonderful Life - Designing Women - 1990

Its a Wonderful Zorro - Zorro - 1990

Hey Harry, F'Crying Out Loud - It is a Wonderful Life ... Sorta - Night Court - 1991

Its a Wonderful Wife - Cheers - 1991

Its a Wonderful Afterlife - Beetlejuice - 1991

Its a Wondeful Laugh - Doogie Howser - 1991

Its a Wonderful Leap - Quantum Leap - 1992

Chuckie's Wonderful Life - Rugrats - 1994

Its a Wonderful Lie - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - 1995

Its a Miserable Life - Beavis and Butthead - Dec 19 1995

Its a Wonderful Life (Without You) - Weird Science -1996

Its a Wonderful Cake - Good Eats - 1999

Its a Wonderful Life - That 70's Show - 2001

Its a Wonderful Wife - Bernie Mac - 2004

As the film turns 65, here is a timeline that illustrates how a box office bomb became a beloved classic.

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