Q. Why isn't "It's A Wonderful Life" showing all the time
--H.N., Watauga, Texas
A. The practically continuous broadcast of the Frank
Capra classic ended in 1993, when Republic Pictures asserted its right
to receive royalty payments for each showing.
"It's a Wonderful Life" was previously considered to be
in the public domain, so it could be broadcast without payment. This helped
the film become a holiday classic, even though it wasn't a huge success
when released in 1946.
Republic Pictures owns the copyright to the story that "Wonderful
Life" is based on, and it also acquired the rights to the film's music.
"We wanted to get all the rights that were protectable from
the movie and get them in one place under our control," Republic executive
Steven Beeks told Newsday in 1993. "It's in different versions.
People have hacked it up and scratched up negatives. The picture isn't
given its due."
Republic sent written notices to broadcasters, cable channels, and
video dealers cautioning them not to sell, rent, or show the movie without
paying royalties to Republic.
NBC will be the only broadcaster this year, airing it on Dec. 20.
© 1997 Bergen Record Corp.