One of my all-time favorite movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I’m sure I have seen it dozens of times on the television and I even have a DVD of it. It is a fitting backdrop for baking Christmas cookies or sitting in front of a crackling fire. “Hee haw”, “hot dog” and the notion of an angel getting his wings every time a bell rings are synonymous with the movie. George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, as the selfless, small town hero who discovers what it really means to have lived a life well led when he reaches despair is one of my favorite roles and his rescue by Clarence, an unlikely looking angel whose chance to finally get his wings comes one dark, wintry night is the story of every man and woman who come to feel they wish they had never been born. Who wouldn’t want to be saved by Clarence?
It is one thing to watch a favorite movie in the comfort of one’s home, quite another to see it on the big screen in a renovated theater. The scenes are funnier, the faces indeed larger than life, and the mood brighter or darker than on the family room couch.
We got to the Tivoli when the box office opened and went in to quickly claim our seats, having heard that the theater fills up quickly. (It was a sold out showing.) We sat down and discovered this in front of us. Fortunately, the reindeer ears were soon removed. They were just a prop used to help friends find each other.
I am not affiliated with, nor know about, the Sharing Connections Furniture Bank. It seems like such a wonderful organization, however, and the proceeds of the day were going to the organization. Imagine, a fine group of folks who work to raise funds and furniture so that those in need will have a table and chairs, or a crib for the baby to sleep in? Things we take for granted but that are real needs in our own communities. What better movie to tie into such an organization; of a man who selflessly helps his town of Bedford Falls all his life, and they, in turn, help him in his hour of need.
Foreclosures and greed, wickedness and, too, kindness to others are themes that repeat themselves throughout time, don’t they? Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Sunday in such a lovely place on such a cold, cold day reminded me, once again, of how many are struggling this season to just pay the bills and make ends meet, or are homeless and alone in truth or in spirit. Maybe that is why I found tears in my eyes as the movie I know so well came to an end.
The Tivoli was opened in 1928. Just before the Great Crash and Depression. It, along with several other theaters in the area we live in, have been brought back to their original splendor in recent years and serve as hubs in their communities for movie enjoyment, as well as places for benefits. I think that this is a good thing; it brings people to town, provides entertainment, and sometimes a venue for charitable organizations.
We were entertained before the movie by a talented organist. Don’t you love theaters where the organ rises to the stage for some community singing before the feature begins?
So, that’s how it goes. It was a wonderful day with a lot of beauty around me, especially my indulgent family who are my own Clarences, and it is, is it not, really, a wonderful life? By-the-way, the poster above of the Tivoli is one of a series done by our very talented son-in-law, Jason.