Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life!

I was not a rebellious kid. More of a goody-two-shoes with an edge. Well, that’s how I saw myself. But I did engage in one act of pure disobedience. It made me feel naughty and deliciously sneaky.

Drugs? Sex? Rock and Roll?

Nope. I got out of bed, snuck into the living room and watched old movies. I know, I was a wild child.

Once, when I was 12 years old, I turned on the TV at midnight and began watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the first time. I was hooked. It’s been my favorite movie ever since. So many wonderful lines. Remember at the very first when the Head Angel is giving Clarence his assignment? Clarence is told that he needs to help George Bailey.

“Is he sick?” Clarence asks.

“No, it’s worse.” replies the Head Angel, “He’s discouraged.”

My 12-year-old heart filled up that night and of course, I cried at the end, just as I have every time I’ve seen it since.

Out of that experience I fell in love with Jimmy Stewart. I even met him once. My sister Karen was visiting me in San Diego and we drove to Beverly Hills and used a Star Map to see celebrity’s homes. In front of his house, Jimmy was walking his golden retrievers. After hyper-ventilating and almost passing out, I opened the window of the car and yelled, “Can we take a picture of you, Mr. Stewart?” He said yes and we took one and told him how much we loved him. As we drove off, he called to us, “Have a wonderful night.” Yes, he almost said wonderful life!

In our haste, we took a picture that was a bit blurry, but Karen and I could totally recognize Jimmy. When we showed the picture to our two brothers, they were in unison.

“This is fake. You guys got some old man to pose with a couple of dogs. Kind of shameful.”

Brothers. Whatever.

Last night, my church held a women’s dessert extravaganza. The special speaker was Karolyn Grimes, who played ZuZu Bailey, George’s youngest. What a wonderful evening of celebrating a movie that has touched so many people. What an incredible treat to hear one of the actors tell us some of the behind the scenes scoop. And what a touching moment when she used the movie to point each of us to dependence on God!

If for some reason unknown to mankind you have NOT seen this movie, take time and watch it. It is more relevant now than ever, due to the economic woes of nowadays.

Michal, my friend from my Mothers in Touch group took some pictures from last night:

I got a little wound up with giddiness when we got there. I love the movie and I was maybe a bit too excited!

Michal took my picture with Karolyn Grimes (ZuZu.) When I get overly nervous, my face gets red and I say stupid things. Right before Michal took the picture, I said “I am an “It’s A Wonderful Life Stalker.” Karolyn and the women around us laughed, but right after this picture, she gave me an “Okay, you can go now” look.

On the tables, we each received a bell with the note “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”

Karolyn spoke of the movie, Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart, and her life. The behind the scenes trivia was fascinating to me! A couple of examples:

This movie was the first to use silent snow not painted cornflakes that crackled when stepped on. But they used Ivory Soap flakes so when it melted it looked like soap bubbles. Watch the movie and you can see soap suds on cars.

When the bank run happens, George looks at his dad’s picture. Below it a sign that read, “All that you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.” Then George proceeds to go into the Bailey Building and Loan and give away his honeymoon money.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” was Jim Henson’s (creator of the Muppets) favorite movie.He named the Muppets Bert and Ernie after the cop and taxi driver in this movie.

Karolyn Grimes also played Debbie in "The Bishop's Wife." If you want to read more about her or order some really cool movie memorabilia go to her site at

Karolyn's favorite scene in the movie is when George Bailey is at the bridge desperately wanting his life back. He says, “Please Clarence! I want to live again.” And then he puts his head in his hands and says, “Oh God help me.” The moment he says God, snow falls and his old, wonderful life is given back to him.

Isn't that cool? In a subtle way, this movie points out a powerful truth. God is the way to a restored life!

Now, go get the movie and watch it!


Kay Day said...

I love the movie, too! I'm glad you had such a great time!

Momstheword said...

How wonderful for you! That must have been very exciting.

Megan DiMaria said...

What fun! I'm glad you enjoyed your evening.

ChicagoGirl said...

Robbie, this is so cool! I know of your deep love affair with Jimmy, so this must have been an honor. I love your red face of excitement!

Julie said...

Wish I could have been there too. Glad you had a good time.

Jan Parrish said...

Love that animated shot. It's almost like an animation. Love your joy and zest.