Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"Dance by the light of the moon"

On Thursday prior to Christmas I was able to sit down with my quilt and my Maker's Mark on the rocks and have my annual viewing of Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life. This year's viewing had an odd effect on me which I've yet to figure out. But that perhaps will have to wait until another day. For today I'm at home with the boys (not due back in the office for two days) and will spend that time logging into the network at my office now and then to monitor emails, play with the boys, and continue to work on my basement remodeling project. In the meantime, here are a few words from Jimmy Stewart himself from an interview he gave regarding my favorite movie.

Then one day Frank Capra phoned me. The great director had also been away in service, making the "Why We Fight" documentary series for the military, and he admitted to being a little frightened too. But he had a movie in mind, so we met to talk about it.

He said the idea came from a Christmas story written by Philip Van Doren Stern. Stern couldn't sell the story anywhere, but he finally had 200 twenty-four-page pamphlets printed up at his own expense, and he gave them to his friends as a greeting card.

"Now listen," Frank began hesitantly. He seemed a little embarrassed about what he was going to say. "The story starts in heaven, and it's sort of the Lord telling somebody to go down to earth because there's a fellow who's in trouble, and this heavenly being goes to a small town, and ..."

Frank swallowed and took a deep breath. "Well, what it boils down to is, this fella who thinks he's a failure in life jumps off a bridge. The Lord sends down an angel named Clarence, who hasn't earned his wings yet, and Clarence jumps into the water to save the guy. But the angel can't swim, so the guy has to save him, and then ..."

Frank stopped and took a deep breath. "This doesn't tell very well, does it?"

I jumped up. "Frank, if you want to do a picture about a guy who jumps off a bridge and an angel named Clarence who hasn't won his wings yet coming down to save him, well, I'm your man!"


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