The story that inspired the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" has been restored to its original form.
Now in a deluxe red calfskin leather limited keepsake.
As Seen on the NBC Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda
THE GREATEST GIFT is a short holiday story with an illustrious history, but almost unknown in literary form.
Begun in 1937, it was completed in 1943 but never recognized or published. Instead, the author sent 200 copies out as a small holiday booklet to friends, one of which came back as a movie offer. That offer turned into a movie classic – It’s a Wonderful Life.
Here, the lost novella has been recreated in its incredible original form, including the size, illustrations and cover. Also included is an afterward by the author’s daughter detailing the history of how this short story became a movie.
The book's re-creation has the indelible mark of a Graphic Image effort with newly recreated illustrations printed in duotones inspired by the original.
One of those originals which was signed by the author has been used to make what scholars consider a perfect reproduction - down to the most minute detail.
A very limited edition that SendAFrame is proud to be able to offer you, this Red Calskin Leather version is available with personalizing.
Written by Philip Van Doren Stern
Originally published by him in 1943 as a Christmas gift for family and friends
Illustrations by Rafaello Busoni
Calfskin red leather Hardcover, 48 pages
Shipped a special dust case created for this special edition
A sweet, profound tale, charmingly illustrated with woodcut images
Became the basis for It's a Wonderful Life, the 1946 classic starring Jimmy Stewart
Reissued in 2011 by Graphic Image, Inc., whose founder, Bennett Glazer, was among the lucky recipients on the author's Christmas card list
The original story, as it was written
Same size, illustrations and format
Vintage two color presswork
Includes a personal account of its history by the author s daughter
First edition of this lost story literary classic
Graphic Image™ hand-crafts genuine leather books and gifts that have set the modern day standard for quality and design.
From the book:
On the night before Christmas, a mysterious stranger saves a man from despair by giving him a precious opportunity to understand the difference that his unassuming life makes to the world and those around him.
A twentieth century parable, The Greatest Gift celebrates the difference that each life, no matter how simply lived,can make. This poetic and evergreen reminder of eternal
human value formed the basis for Frank Capra’s classic film It’s a Wonderful Life.
The Greatest Gift has been recreated in its original size, with the same format and illustrations that would eventually inspire the creation of one of the most enduring movies of all time.
Experience the story as it was originally presented; a holiday card sent by Philip Van Doren Stern to 200 of his friends, one of which would eventually slip into the hands of a Hollywood
producer. And then read in the Afterward the account by his daughter, Marguerite Stern Robinson, how this wonderful novella became one of the most popular short stories of all time.
From the Afterword by Marguerite Stern Robinson (author's daughter)
… (My father) waited until the spring of 1943 before he rewrote the story and showed it to his agent, who said that she liked it but that it would be difficult to sell a fantasy to the magazines. My father wrote, "After she had tried everything from The Saturday Evening Post to farm journals it was evident that no magazine would touch it. By this time I had become fond of the story that nobody wanted. I revised it again and had 200 twentyfour-page pamphlets printed at my own expense. I sent these out as Christmas cards for Christmas, 1943."
A few months later, in March 1944, I (his daughter) answered the telephone one evening in our house in Brooklyn. It was a telegraph operator who wanted to speak to my father— and I knew that in 1944 receiving a telegram often meant bad news. My father took the phone, listened to the operator read the telegram, and then turned to my mother saying, "Hold me up! I can't believe it." I thought something terrible had happened. It was, however, a telegram announcing that he had received a serious offer to buy the movie rights to “The Greatest Gift.” My father agreed, and planning began in Hollywood.
In an interview for American Film published in October 1978, Frank Capra commented on the screenplay for It's a Wonderful Life: "[This] was my first picture after having been in uniform and out of theatrical films for five years. I was scared to death....We were at RKO and Charles Koerner, the studio head, came in and said, 'Have you got your first project?' I said, 'No, not yet.' [He said] 'I've got just the story for you. My wife said there's only one guy, Frank Capra, who can make this film. You've got to read it. We've got three scripts on it’.... I said, 'Well, what about the scripts?' He said, 'Oh, they missed the idea.’ ‘What idea?' ‘The idea I paid for when I bought this Christmas card. I paid $50,000 for it....' 'You paid $50,000 for a Christmas card? Boy, I've got to see that ‘Christmas card.'
And there it was...a story about a man who thought he was a failure and who was given the opportunity to come back and see the world as it would have been had he not been born. Well, my goodness, this thing hit me like a ton of bricks."