Although It's A Wonderful Life is now considered one of the most critically-acclaimed American films of the 20th century, at the time of its release it was viewed as a disappointment at the box office and lost out at the 1947 Academy Awards. It was nominated for 6 awards, but won only the Technical Achievement Award for a revolutionary new method for simulating falling snow on film sets. Before It's a Wonderful Life, fake movie snow was mostly made from painted cornflakes and made so much noise when actors walked on it that any snow-filled scenes with dialogue had to be re-dubbed afterwards. So, working with Russel Sherman, RKO studio's head of special effects, director Frank Capra developed a new type of quiet fake snow. Mixing a material used in fire extinguishers, with sugar, water, and even soap flakes, a sprayable version of artificial snow was created that could be quickly blasted over set pieces.
Our Production Manager, Brian Proball, and the rest of the production team at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage, will be bringing our own special extra-long lasting snow effect for our stage production of It's a Wonderful Life opening November 15th. See you then!
Cassandra Proball Education Director & Dramaturg