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Frank Capra, Jr. Collection

Identifier: SC-MS-250

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of production files related to the Frank Capra, Jr. production of FIRESTARTER (1984), which was filmed locally in Wilmington. The collection has been arranged into three series:

Series one covers pre-production through post production and documents the numerous business dealings, agreements, and various documents utilized through production, including but not limited to photographs, scripts, inter-office memos, correspondence, clippings, financial records and cast and crew employee files. Of particular note are the various documented production issues ranging from theft, vandalism, and natural disaster. This series comprises the bulk of the material in the collection.

Series two consists of general office files from Frank Capra, Jr. productions, including expenses, files related to other film or television deals (many of which seem to be unproduced), and office memos.

Series three consists of material related to Capra's time at AVCO Embassy Pictures, including correspondence related to various tax shelters and financial deals. Of particular note are the production slate lists, contracts, and correspondence for various unproduced films or films that would be produced by other studios, including an adaptation of TERRY AND THE PIRATES, THE BLOB, and SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES among others.


  • Creation: 1976-1984


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use. One folder of material is restricted from public access.

Copyright Statement

Copyright retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


3.75 Linear Feet (Contains 11 document boxes and 3 map case folders)

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Frank Capra, Jr. in July 2003.


Frank Capra, Jr.(March 20, 1934 – December 19, 2007) was a producer and filmmaker, and son of the famed director Frank Capra. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from Pomona College in 1955, Capra, Jr. started his filmmaking career producing industrial films before graduating to television work in the 1960s. In the 1970s he oversaw several PLANET OF THE APE sequels for 20th Century-Fox and PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM (1972, Paramount) before joining AVCO Embassy Pictures. When that corporation folded, Capra, Jr. moved to independent production. Working for Universal Pictures, he came across a magazine in the Universal Research Library with Orton Plantation on the cover, which fitted his idea for the CIA hideout in Stephen King's FIRESTARTER. Unable to find a suitable alternative, he contacted the North Carolina Film Commission to film on location at Orton, near Wilmington. The majority of FIRESTARTER was originally set to be filmed elsewhere in the state, but costs were prohibitive, and the production was moved to Wilmington in 1983. Production Head, Dino De Laurentiis, fresh off the heels of DUNE (1984, Universal), and Capra, Jr. on location in Wilmington, eventually decided to form a studio there, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (now EUE/Screen Gems studios). Capra, Jr. would continue to return to Wilmington, starting a tradition of annually screening his father's film IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946, Liberty Films) at UNCW. FIRESTARTER kicked off the modern era of local film in Wilmington, making it a major production hub and destination to this day.
Frank Capra Jr. Collection
Matthias Smith
2021 January 13
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Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository