Next week, the Prairie Players will stage It’s a Wonderful Life at the William GlesbyCentre for their fall production. Under the direction of Lisa Marie Tessier, a diverse and talented cast will play multiple roles. You don’t want to miss Terry Tully, Stephanie Kauffman, Autumn Thornton, Jeffery Arndt, Jon Britton, Kevin Hamm, Rob Froese, Rob Smith, Laurel Giesbrecht, and Christopher Kitchen as they bring this classic story to life. (On a side note, we’re all proud of our president Christopher Kitchen for winning the well-deserved 2014 Arts/Cultural Person of the Year award!)
I didn’t manage to land a role on stage this time, but am working on my best 1940s outfit to wear while I take your ticket and hand out programs. And I can hardly wait to see the production! If you’re a fan of the 1947 movie starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, test yourself on the following trivia. Did you know…
It’s a Wonderful Life was the first movie Jimmy Stewart made after serving in World War II and his personal favourite. He admitted he felt nervous about the phone scene kiss, but Stewart filmed the scene in only one unrehearsed take. It worked so well, they cut part of the embrace because it was too passionate to pass the censors. Oh, how times have changed.
And speaking of changed times, Stewart’s character, George Bailey, says “Holy mackerel” and “Doggone it” each three times in the movie. Shocking, I know.
For the scene that required Donna Reed to throw a rock into the window of the Granville House, director Frank Capra hired a marksman to shoot it out for her on cue. To everyone’s amazement, Reed broke the window with true aim without assistance. She had played baseball in high school.
As a drunken Uncle Billy is leaving George’s house, it sounds as if he stumbles over some trash cans on the sidewalk. In fact, a crew member dropped some equipment right after Uncle Billy left the screen. Both actors continued with the scene, with Uncle Billy ad-libbing, “I’m all right, I’m all right!” Capra decided to use it in the final cut, and gave the clumsy stagehand a ten dollar bonus for improving the sound.
The gym floor that opens to reveal a swimming pool was real and located at Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles. The actor who pressed the button, in an uncredited role as Freddie Othello, was Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer of Little Rascal fame.
Despite being set around Christmas, the movie was filmed during a heat wave near Encino, California. That’s why George Bailey is sweating profusely in the bridge scene. It turned so hot, Capra gave everyone a day off to recuperate. The special effects people utilized a newly developed method for creating the fake snow used in the film and earned a Class III Scientific or Technical Award from the Motion Picture Academy.
The screenplay originally called for the movie to end with Ode to Joy, not Auld Lang Syne.
In 2006, the movie was voted the #1 inspirational film of all time in the American Film Industry’s “100 Years, 100 Cheers.”
Whether It’s a Wonderful Life is your all-time favorite movie or whether you’ve never seen it, you don’t want to miss this play. On Wednesday and Thursday, November 12 and 13 at 8:00 p.m., you can see the play for $15, rush seating. If you’d rather attend the dinner theatre on Friday and Saturday, November 14 and 15, $45 will buy you a ticket. Get yours at the William Glesby Centre. There is still time—but not much. Hope to greet you there!