It’s A Wonderful Life
Okay, I didn’t win the lottery, so maybe life could be more wonderful and since everybody knows this movie, some of us line by line by heart, this is more a personal reminiscence than any kind of review, with apologies Mr. Capra!
I’m just guessing here, but I was probably about eight years old when my parent’s black and white console Zenith first presented me with “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Prior to this my favorite annual viewing was “The Wizard of Oz” usually around Easter and intro’d by none other than grown up Dorothy Gale. This was new, okay…old…but new to me. I was as hooked on Capracorn as Rimbaud was to the Green Goddess!
Just like Oz, my perceptions of IAWL changed with each annual presentation with maturity. As a child, Beulah Bondi scared me about as much as the winged monkey minions of the Wicked Witch of the West. My attitude towards the tramp Violet Bick softened over the years as well. And Mary Bailey, well what was there never to have loved about Donna Reed? (has anyone ever created a drag persona based on her?)
Before Ted Turner got a hold of it, along with other nefarious Cable TV types, IAWL aired annually on Thanksgiving night, CBS. Our family was always together for the Bird Day and watching the film together was part of our tradition, or at least I watched while the family watched me. It seems I’d developed a pattern. The scene that opened the floodgates of my tears concerns the Druggist a young George Bailey worked for as Soda Jerk and delivery boy. A terrible mix up has occurred, poison accidentally put in pills…Mr. Gowan receiving news of his soldier son’s death…confronting George and…here it comes…boxing him on his bad ear…I’m tearing up now just writing about it. THIS IS IT! I start weeping and it morphs into outright sobbing and throttling paroxysms of wailing and I’m out of control, I survey the room and all eyes are on me, have been on me the whole time, I’m pretty sure my Dad and Brother have a wager going, everybody watching me watching IAWL to see if I’ll cry on cue!
Oh and I have tried, how I have tried, even bought a copy to watch in the off-season, but no luck, the aversion therapy a total failure, in fact the psychosis increased, now I begin blubbering from the first, building to the eventual crescendo! So I’ve given up, it is what it is and always will be.
A debt of gratitude to whomever opted out of the Thanksgiving traditional airing of “It’s A Wonderful Life” and a sparing of being an object of mirthful derision for family gatherings.
Happy Holidays All!
Written by: Daniel