Glens Falls in 1947 — ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’
It was almost spring before the now Christmas classic “It’s A Wonderful Life,” released nationally in December 1946, reached Glens Falls.
“It’s Here! Jimmy’s New Picture,” The Rialto Theatre advertised on Feb. 28, 1945, the day before the film opened for a week-long run at the Warren Street theater. “Here Is The Academy Award Candidate That Thousands Cheered At The Local Sneak Preview!”
The Rialto had already shown “It’s A Wonderful Life” in a single Hollywood Prevue” showing at 9:40 p.m. Feb. 25.
The regular run opened March 1 with five showings daily at 1, 3:15, 5:30, 7:45 and 10 p.m.
“’It’s A Wonderful Life,’ the film whose success was guaranteed with the initial selection of director Frank Capra, and star Jimmy Stewart, will open a week’s engagement Saturday at The Rialto Theatre,” The Post-Star reported on Feb. 28. “Both director and star thought deeply about their homeland during their Army service and, as a result, their first postwar film is nostalgic but close to bedrock democracy.”
On March 4, The Post-Star praised it as “the kind of picture theatre fans have always been waiting for — the story of the guy next door or maybe the man down the street.”
The final showing, for that run, was March 7.
The Strand Theatre in Hudson Falls showed “It’s A Wonderful Life,” on April 6–7, Easter weekend, demonstrating that the now Christmas classic was not limited to any one season.
“A perfect Easter gift, the film which is Stewart’s first since his return to civilization after a meritorious record of Army service, encompasses one of the most human and realistic tales of life in these United States since the memorable ‘Ah Wilderness,’” a 1935 film about small-town life at the turn of the century, the theater advertised.
Coincidentally, Lionel Barrymore starred in both “Ah Wilderness” and “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
“It’s A Wonderful Life was shown a third time in the Glens Falls area on Aug.6–7 at Empire Theatre on South Street.
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