It started as a short story
April 8, 1946 - Shooting begins for It's a Wonderful Life.
After years of unsuccessfully trying to shop his short story, The Greatest Gift, to publishers, Philip Van Doren Stern decided to give the gift of words to his closest friends for the holidays. He printed up 200 copies of the story and sent them out as a 21-page Christmas card. David Hempstead, a producer at RKO Pictures, ended up getting ahold of it and purchased the movie rights for $10,000. Now, It's a Wonderful Life has become a Christmas television staple.