By Neely Tucker, December 21, 2022
Elizabeth Brown is a reference librarian in the Researcher and Reference Services Division. This article appears in the Library of Congress Magzine, Nov.-Dec. 2
Perhaps the most beloved Christmas film of all time got its start during a morning shave. Philip Van Doren Stern, while getting ready for work one day in 1938, had an idea for a story: A stranger appears from nowhere to save a husband and father from a suicide attempt on Christmas Eve, restoring his joy of living by helping him realize his value to others. Stern, an author and editor, eventually wrote a draft that he polished periodically and, in 1943, shared with his literary agent. It didn’t sell.
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Source: How “It’s a Wonderful Life” Almost Never Happened | Library of Congress Blog