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It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

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Article 2

Why TV Lost Interest in a Holiday Classic

by Rogers Cadenhead, Knight-Ridder News Service

The Record (Bergen County, NJ), December 10, 1997 p.Y04

Q. Why isn't "It's A Wonderful Life" showing all the time anymore?
--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.

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