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"It's A Wonderful Life" play - Music & Sound Effects Tracks

by Tony Palermo

Many drama troupes staging "It's A Wonderful Life" need professional quality pre-recorded music and sound effects. I offer music and SFX tracks that can support any dramatized version of Frank Capra's famous film. Additionally, I offer a sound effects "cookbook" that details how to produce the many live SFX used in the show.

The pre-recorded music tracks are NOT the ones used in the Hollywood film. Instead this original score was composed by Jonathan Green, and employ an authentic 1940's-style organ plus some piano, accordion and jazz combo tracks.  

These music and sound effects tracks work with any version that follows the plot of Frank Capra's film. Please note that some “Wonderful Life” scripts may not use all of my sound effects (such as the ice pond breaking/splashing, Uncle Billy’s car, wind, crickets, traffic, 1920s-40s telephones, etc.)  or music cues (such as the wartime montage, Janie Bailey's piano practicing, the "Auld Lang Syne" sing-along at the end, etc.)

TO ORDER: See below for prices and how to pay. The pre-recorded music cues and pre-recorded sound effects tracks can be downloaded as MP3 files. They are sold as collections. I do not sell individual tracks. The Sound Effects Cookbook is delivered as a PDF file.


It's A Wonderful Life pre-recorded sound effects and period-correct musical underscore tracks.

MUSIC:
Pre-recorded musical tracks for "It's A Wonderful Life":
36 minutes worth of Jonathan Green's original music--featuring 1940s theater organ, piano, accordion and jazz combo--available as downloadable MP3 files.

Here's an MP3 clip demonstrating the "Wonderful Life" score's authentic organ sound and how it accompanies the show's intro:
        DEMO-Wonderful-Life-organ-and-intro.mp3 (1.4 MB)

Here's a 5-minute walkthrough of a dozen different music tracks from the dramatic score:
        DEMO-Wonderful-Life-music-track-walkthrough.mp3 (4.8 MB)

Track

Description

1.

(BED) “Wonderful Overture"

2.

(BED) “Wonderful Life Intro”

3.

(BED) “Heavenly”

4.

(BRIDGE) “Gower’s Sad Drugstore”

5.

(BED) “Tender Moment”

6.

(BRIDGE) “Up and Segue into “Heavenly”

7.

(BED) “Heavenly”

8.

(BRIDGE) Last 2 Bars of “Buffalo Gals” setup

9.

(BRIDGE) “Tragic” into “Heavenly”

10.

(BRIDGE) “Oh Well” segues to “Heavenly”

11.

(BRIDGE) “Downtown Bedford Falls”

12.

(BRIDGE) “From Violet to Mary”

13.

(BED) “Wrenching”

14.

(BED) “Heavenly”

15.

(BRIDGE) “Wedding March Taxi”

16.

(BED) “Act 1 Outro”

17.

(BED) “Wonderful Life Act 2 Intro”

18.

(BED) “Heavenly”

19.

(BED) “Time Passing”

20.

(BRIDGE) “Bride” to “Heavenly”

21.

(BRIDGE) “Indignant” to “Sleepy”

22.

(BRIDGE) “Baby” to “Heavenly”

23.

(BED) “War Montage”

24.

(BRIDGE) “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” - ends sourly

25.

(BRIDGE) “Lost” to “Heavenly”

26.

(BRIDGE) “Desperate”

27.

(SOURCE) Janie Piano Practice - #1 - “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

28.

(SOURCE) Janie Piano Practice - #2 - “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

29.

(SOURCE) Janie Piano Practice - #3 - “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

30.

(BRIDGE) “Troubled”

31.

(BRIDGE) “Cruel” to “Heavenly”

32.

(SOURCE) “Santa Lucia” on accordion--gets abruptly stopped

33.

(BRIDGE) “Alone” to “Heavenly”

34.

(BRIDGE) ACT 2 Outro --ends in suspense chord

35.

(BED) “Act 3 Intro/“Dire Bridge”

36.

(SOURCE) “Juke Joint Jingle Bells”--Honky-Tonk piano

37.

(SOURCE) “Pottersville Streetscene”--Jazz combo

38.

(BRIDGE) “I Know That Girl”

39.

(BRIDGE) “Empty Granville House”

40.

(GLISSANDO UP) “Magical Help”

41.

(BRIDGE) “Escape” to “Mean Mother”

42.

(BED) “Shattered” to “The Cemetery”

43.

(BRIDGE) “Lightly” to “Old Maid”

44.

(BED) “Lynch Mob” to “Redemption”

45.

(BED) “Organ: Hark The Herald Angels Sing”

46.

(BED) “Piano: Auld Lang Syne” – Janie playing

47.

(BED) “Piano: Auld Lang Syne” – Regular playing

48.

(BED) “Organ: Auld Lang Syne” – Chorus only

49.

(BED) “Organ:Auld Lang Syne” – Verse & 2 choruses

50.

(BED) “OUTRO - an extra long version of the "Wonderful Overture"

The pre-recorded Wonderful Life music tracks and sheet-music are available without purchasing script performance royalties for my stage or radio adaptations.

Sound Effects:
Pre-recorded sound effects for "It's A Wonderful Life":
I offer 30+ minutes of pre-recorded tracks (of sounds not easily-produced live), available as downloadable MP3 files.  

I offer 27 pre-recorded sound effects tracks—30 minutes worth—of the more unusual sounds: ones that would be difficult to produce manually (crickets, wind, 1920s-40s telephones, jumping in the river splashes, harp glissandos, the 78 RPM record of "Buffalo Gals", 1940s traffic, etc).

While your troupe’s Sound Designer could assemble such sounds from various SFX collections, here, they are already edited, layered and ambience has been added. It will cost you more time and trouble to do this yourself than to purchase these tracks from me.

Please note that sounds generated by the characters, such as doors, footsteps, plates, forks, bells, typing, cash registers, etc., are NOT included. Either your actors or a live sound effects artist will have to produce those manually. However, I do offer a SFX Cookbook that details how to make those live manual sound effects—see below.

Here's a 2-minute walkthrough of a variety of pre-recorded sound effects tracks for "WL!":
        DEMO-Wonderful-Life-sound-effects-track-walkthrough.mp3 (2.2 MB)

Track

Description

01

Icy splashes into pond

02

Gower’s phone rings (3X) – can be done live, also

03

Crickets #1

04

Distant window shattered by rock #1

05

Distant window shattered by rock #2

06

Car pulls up, idles--under

07

Downtown Bedford Falls (Traffic)

08

Ernie’s cab pulls away from curb

09

Crickets #2

10

“Buffalo Gals” 78 RPM record

11

Mary’s phone rings (20X) – can be done live, also

12

Interior of cab driving #1

13

Cab pulls over

14

Uncle Billy’s phone rings (1-½X) – can be live, also

15

Office phone rings (1-¼X) – can be done live, also

16

Potter’s clock ticking in background #1

17

Bailey phone rings (2X) – can be live, also

18

Potter’s clock ticking in background #2

19

Clarence jumps in river, splashes around

20

George jumps in river, splashes around

21

Magical harp glissando--UP

22

Wind #1

23

Downtown Pottersville (Traffic)

24

Interior of cab driving #2

25

Wind #2 (Cemetery)

26

Wind #3 (Bridge)

27

Magical harp glissando--DOWN


SFX COOKBOOK:
I also offer a colorful 20-page guide about how to do the sound effects for Wonderful Life. This includes info and photos on making the devices for the doors, footsteps, ringing phones, fights, Mr. Potter’s squeaky wheel chair, typing, etc., These live sounds are NOT included in the pre-recorded SFX collection above. There are also sections on integrating live and pre-recorded sounds, setting up the SFX area, how to mic SFX, monitoring, and getting the various telephone voice effects used in the show. I’m a professional AFTRA sound effects artist who’s mentors worked with Orson Wells, Jack Benny and Jack Webb. I’ve made my extensive knowledge of the gadgets and techniques of radio sound effects available in this unique guide focused on Wonderful Life SFX. (Note: It is inauthentic to use the film term “Foley”—which dates from the mid-1980s—in describing radio “sound effects.”)

SAMPLE LISTING FROM SFX COOKBOOK:

PHONE BEING DIALED:
Use an old rotary dial phone--a Western Electric model #500 or #302 phone will do. See Wikipedia for info on those two models. To purchase one, try flea markets or e-bay. Beware of modern reproductions with pushbutton numbers inside a fake rotary dial

PHONE RINGS: (If you want to use a live sound effect instead of the pre-recorded phone rings I provide)
Ring Rhythm: Ring for 2 seconds, then pause for 4 seconds of silence, then repeat.
Take two “handbells” (the kind where the clapper is held on with a small spring) and ring them.
Search the web for Kidsplay Chromatic Add-On Handbells.
OR wire up an electric “delivery bell.” Search Google for: Heath Zenith 2-1/2” Wired chime Model# 172C-A. It’s available at many hardware stores. This bell can run on a 6-volt lantern battery or from AC power--via a transformer. Use a quiet pushbutton.

FOOTSTEPS IN SNOW:
Take a 1 lb. package of corn starch (about the size of a thick paperback book)--available at any grocery store--and reinforce the seams with duct tape, so it won’t leak. Then with two hands, squeeze the box close to the mic, in a walking rhythm: 1-2, 1-2, 1-2. You’ll have to “break in” the cardboard box a bit. Keep extra duct tape nearby to seal leaks. Beware of covering the entire box with duct tape--as this will muffle the sound

List of live sound effects for "It's A Wonderful Life":
The SFX cookbook offers detailed instructions on how to find/make them.

1.

TINGLING WIND CHIMES

2.

 ICE CRACKING

3.

 PHONE RINGS

4.

 PHONE HANDSET PICKED UP/HUNG UP

5.

 PHONE BEING DIALED

6.

 FACE SLAPS

7.

 DINNER PLATES/FORKS

8.

 FOOTSTEPS ON SIDEWALK

9.

 DOG BARKS/HOWLS

10.

 ROBE BEING RIPPED

11.

 SHAKING FLOWER BUSH

12.

 GAVEL

13.

 JIMMY, THE TALKING BIRD

14.

 DOOR OPENING/CLOSING/SHUT

15.

 BELL ATTACHED TO DOOR RINGS

16.

 CREAKING DOOR OPENING

17.

 DOOR LOCKING

18.

 PHONOGRAPH CLICKED ON

19.

 NEEDLE SCRATCHES RECORD

20.

 ENVELOPE OF MONEY RUSTLED

21.

 CAB DOOR OPENS/SHUTS

22.

 FLAPPING BIRD WINGS

23.

 KNITTING NEEDLES QUIETLY KNITTING

24.

 TYPEWRITER (KEYS AND BELL)

25.

 SQUEAKY WHEELCHAIR

26.

 NEWSPAPER FLEXED/HANDED OVER

27.

 FOOTSTEPS IN SNOW

28.

 MODEL BRIDGE BEING DESTROYED

29.

 PAPER HANDED OVER

30.

 BARROOM GLASSES CLINKING

31.

 PUNCH

32.

 BODY DROP

33.

 THUNDER ROLL

34.

 CASH REGISTER KA-CHING & BELL

35.

 DRINKS BEING SET DOWN ON BAR

36.

 BOTTLE BEING SLAMMED DOWN ON BAR

37.

 SCUFFLES

38.

 CRASH OF TRASH CAN

39.

 WOMAN STAGGERS IN HIGH HEELS

40.

 FRANTIC POUNDING ON DOOR

41.

 POLICE WHISTLE

42.

 GUNSHOTS

43.

 SEARCHING A POCKET

44.

 CHAMPAGNE CORK POP

45.

 BOOK OPENED

46.

 SMALL TEA BELL RUNG

 


--Order Information--

PRICES:
Pre-Recorded Music tracks:  USD (one-time fee) --as MP3 downloads
Pre-Recorded SFX tracks:  USD (one-time fee) --as MP3 downloads
Live Sound Effects Cookbook for "Wonderful Life":  USD --as PDF download.

Once you download the MP3s, you can burn them to audio CDs or trigger them from a computer or MP3 player. 

Official PayPal Seal

HOW TO PAY FOR MUSIC & SOUND EFFECTS TRACKS:

I accept credit card payments via the free and secure www.PayPal.com service.

1) Go to the www.PayPal.com website, click on the “Send Money” button, and register for free.

2) Use my e-mail address of: to send the money to my PayPal account.

3) PayPal has an info box on their payment page that allows you to send a note to me, use it to specify WHAT show you are ordering (I offer 25 different shows) and, if you want either/both music tracks and SFX tracks. For all orders, include your e-mail address and postal mail address—for my tax reporting purposes.
NOTE: If you do not specify WHAT you are ordering, I cannot send you ANYTHING.  

4) NOTE: You must pay in U.S. dollars—which is easy to do on Paypal.
For how-to info, see: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/sell/mc/mc_send-outside

DELIVERY:
Once your payment has been received, I will e-mail you links to special download pages for the MP3 files of the tracks. 

If you have any questions, contact:


TONY PALERMO is an audio theatre producer, performer, and educator living in Los Angeles, California.
He performs professionally, conducts workshops, and produces programs for hire.
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Last modified: 10/11/17