The Greatest Gift [It's a Wonderful Life]
Self-Published, 1943. The story that became the film It's a Wonderful Life. Van Doren Stern wrote the story in 1939; unable to get it published, he had it privately printed as a chapbook, in an edition of 200, as a gift for his friends at Christmas, in 1943. Signed by the author. Initially purchased by RKO Pictures as a vehicle for Cary Grant, The Greatest Gift went through three unsatisfactory scripts before being shelved by RKO and then sold to Frank Capra's production company. Capra's 1946 movie was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, but won only the Technical Achievement Award for the simulation of falling snow. A 19-page story, featuring George Pratt (Bailey in the film), Clarence, Mary, and George's (deceased) brother. Remarkable for how much of the familiar feeling of the film is conveyed in the short story, and equally remarkable how true the film stayed to the intent of the story. Handling apparent to covers, else near fine in stapled wrappers. There was a book publication in 1944, and a later publication at the Capra film, but the original edition is extremely scarce: the two primary online auction records show no copy appearing at auction as far back as their records go (the 1970s); OCLC WorldCat identifies only 7 libraries as holding a copy of the original edition. [#031690] SOLD

All books are first printings of first editions or first American editions unless otherwise noted.