"It's a Wonderful Life" is a staple of the holiday season which can be viewed at various times each year during the month of December. This heartwarming movie about George Bailey was actually inspired by a short story which was published as a 21 page Christmas card. When Phillip Van Doren Stern could not sell "The Greatest Gift" as a book, he self-published it in the form of an extended holiday card which he sent out to 200 friends. A Holywood agent obtained rights to the product and director Frank Capra got his hands on it. He turned the story of a man who wished he had never been born, into one of the most beloved films of all time.

'It's a Wonderful Life' initially was about George Pratt

Van Doren Stern's short story was about a man named George Pratt who got to see what life would have been like had he never been born. He was on a bridge contemplating suicide when a stranger intervened. The unknown "angel" granted Pratt's wish, to view the world as it would have been had he not existed. When Frank Capra got ahold of the script he changed the name of the hero to George Bailey. The title was switched to "It's A Wonderful Life" and history was born.

The short story that was turned into a 21 page Christmas card and eventually became a holiday classic that people never get tired of watching. The tale of George Bailey who was down on his luck and wishing he had never been born is one that seems to become more endearing every year.

When initially released in theaters "It's a Wonderful Life" actually lost money at the box office but is now a hit every December on network television. It is the only movie that for decades could be viewed on multiple television stations often with shows overlapping.

Rejection brings success to It's 'A Wonderful Life'

Phillip Van Doren Stern did not allow the initial rejection of his short story to deter him.

His decision to be a blessing to 200 of his family and friends with the 21 page Christmas card was a seed of faith that has been multiplied many times over and "It's A Wonderful World" has become a staple in the hearts of many who love the holiday season. The highlight of the movie comes at the end when George Bailey's loved ones save him from financial ruin.

Most of the town has shown up to help the man who gave up a college education to be a blessing to those in need. As everyone is singing around the tree one of the ornaments rings like a bell. The smallest Bailey child, little Zuzu, proclaims that her teacher says every time a bell rings an angel get's it's wings. The Frank Capra classic will no doubt continue to be a source of peace and joy at Christmas for many years to come.