A Little Inside Scoop on “It’s a Wonderful Life”

This film was a historic box office flop but ended up with five academy awards nominations. Such is the cultural relevance of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” it’s crazy to think that it wasn’t a huge hit right away. Many decades later, the story has taken on a life of its own.

A poster for the film.
Photo by RKO Radio Pictures/Getty Images

Frank Capra, its director, licensed the black and white fantasy drama to American television. From that moment on, it only increased the interest of young and old alike in the story of a troubled hero who almost commits suicide at Christmas. Here we take a look at some great facts from the film.

Black And White Almost Half a Century Later

With the immense amount of CGI and stimulating effects that new films contain, how is it that new generations don’t change the channel when “It’s a Wonderful Life” is rebroadcast? Those 1946 graphics have aged relatively poorly, but that doesn’t matter. It may seem outdated, but the incredible story never gets old.

The cast of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: RKO Pictures

Every Christmas, a new young person connects with George Bailey’s dramatic story. Every Christmas, a member of another generation learns about the value of solidarity and selfless help to others. Allowing it on television was Capra’s most significant contribution to American culture.

Famous Products in the Film

The cultural influence of “It’s a Wonderful Life” is so significant that many people have images of favorite products in their minds because they saw them for the first time in the film. At the end of the Great Depression in the U.S., Corporations were beginning to take off.

Children sit in a sode shop in a scene from the film.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: RKO Pictures

There are clear reminders to a time of economic resurgence and the increase in consumer culture in numerous scenes. Camel and Lucky Strike cigarettes were in the mouths of the leading roles. Medicines such as Bayer aspirin or the famous Penetro cough syrup could be found in Gower’s pharmacy. On several occasions, characters refreshed themselves with a Coca-Cola.

A Hot Shoot and Plenty of Coke

Coca-Cola wasn’t just in the fiction. The actors needed hundreds of cans to beat the heatwave that occurred in the summer of 1946 when the film was shot. Thankfully the famous brand was there to give them the refreshments they needed.

Jimmy Steward on the set of the film.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: RKO Pictures

Capra was forced to suspend filming on several occasions because the technical equipment could fail. In some scenes, there is unwarranted sweating on the protagonist. Despite the efforts of the make-up and wardrobe team, nature sometimes played a trick on them, and they found it very hard to hide the fact they weren’t actually in a winter wonderland.