Robert J. Anderson as young George Bailey. (National Telefilm Associates/Wikimedia Commons)
The Blood Was Real
Poor George Bailey had a hard time hearing, partially due to an ear infection after he saved his brother but also because he was slapped in the ear by the pharmacist as a child. In fact, he was slapped so hard, you can actually see blood pouring out of his ear in the film. It’s not movie magic: Actor H.B. Warner apparently got a little too “method” in the scene and really boxed the child actor, Robert J. Anderson, hard enough to make him bleed. They both stayed in character, however, and after the scene, Warner apologized and hugged the boy, who didn’t hold it against him. “He was very lovable,” Anderson later told the L.A. Times. “He grabbed me and hugged me, and he meant it.”
But The Snow Was Fake
You may think Jimmy Stewart is sweating through the final act because his character is going through some major stress, but really, it’s because much of the movie was filmed during the summer in Los Angeles, and during a major heat wave, no less. Because so much of the movie’s climax revolves around Stewart running through the town in the snow, the studio couldn’t use the old tricks of fluttering out cornflakes because of the loud crunch they made when stepped on. Ever the innovative bunch, the special effects team decided to make their own “chemical snow” out of foam, sugar, and soap. It was so successful that their unique mixture became the staple fake snow for years to come.