[N.P.]: Privately Printed by the Author for Distribution to His Friends, 1943.
True First. 21,  pp. 1 vols. Small Octavo. "It's a Wonderful Life" Stapled orange wrappers with printed paper label, light wear to wrappers else fine, signed by the author, reportedly one of 200 copies Item #346823
Writer and editor Philip Van Doren Stern was best known for his works on the Civil War until a fictional short story he published in 1943, about a man who doesn't realize what a wonderful life he has until he wishes he was never born, became the basis for one of American cinema's most-beloved Christmas classics. Stern's first draft of "The Greatest Gift" was written in 1938, and set aside until 1943 when he rewrote it with a Christmas setting. Unable to sell the story to magazines, he had it privately printed and issued as a holiday greeting to his friends. The story made it's way to Hollywood, where the wife of an RKO studio chief insisted that it be made into a movie. Director, Frank Capra chose Jimmy Stewart, who had just returned from the war to star in what would be titled "It's a Wonderful Life," and though it ostensibly takes place in upstate New York, according to an article in the NJ Star Ledger, Stern may have had the small New Jersey town of Califon in mind when he wrote his story (just one town over from our Old Mill Bookshop). The movie opened to mixed reviews in 1946, and did surprisingly poorly at the box office but it has gone on to become an iconic pop culture classic and is now considered one of the greatest films of all time. A "wonderful" first edition of this scarce film source book.
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