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Friday, December 18, 2020
Its a Wonderful Life

2020 has been a dark period and the holiday will not be the same. We can look back to past happier memories in more normal times. One holiday favorite was the old movie from 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life, a story of the ups and downs in a man and families life.

It’s a Wonderful Life and story

Like many of you, one of the films I like to watch seasonally is Its a Wonderful Life, from Frank Capra who produced many classic movies. The snow scenes look like upstate New York or New England in winter.

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It may surprise you that the Bedford Falls set, according to Life.com: “It covered four acres of the RKO ranch [in Encino, Calif.] and included 75 stores and buildings, a tree-lined center parkway with 20 fully grown oak trees, a factory district and residential areas. Main Street was 300 yards long, or three full-length city blocks.”

The snow was fake snow. Frank Capra - who trained as an engineer - and special effects supervisor Russell Shearman engineered a new type of artificial snow for the film. At the time, painted cornflakes were the most common form of fake snow, but they posed a bit of an audio problem for Capra. So he and Shearman opted to mix foamite (the stuff you find in fire extinguishers) with sugar and water to create a less noisy option.

Here were the fans that blew the snow over the set.

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The film was done in the the summer I was born and filming at times occurred during a heat wave, which forced them to shut down for days. Though they were romping in what looked like snow, they were perspiring.

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Though not popular in its day, the movie became a holiday favorite on TV and ranked number one on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time.

One more note: when I was watching It’s a Wonderful Life and saw someone playing the rent collector for Potter (Lionel Barrymore) who looked very familiar.

It was Charles Lane - here was a photo of him.

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Charles Lane was an amazing man who appeared in 250 movies for over 80 years and lived to 102 years of age!!!! He is very much the actor extraordinaire. See the incredible list here.

He looked familiar. It occurred to me, he was the spitting image of John Podesta, Clinton and Obama advisor.

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Posted on 12/18 at 09:11 AM
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