Here’s why I think a lot of us were preoccupied with ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ this week


A new version of Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” airs Tuesday night, but I had a different take on the 1947 Thanksgiving drama during its initial release on NBC.

Over the radio broadcast, George Bailey’s guardian angel Clarence explained that George wasn’t to blame for all the “God-awful stuff” in his life:

“All of this,” said Clarence, standing there on the grass at the bottom of Bedford Falls, “is a result of the enormous cloud of doom that rolled in when you lost your powers of judgment. The clouds, with great joy, swirled around you like the wind and whistled up toward the heaven. This cloud of doom, Clarence, is the byproduct of the people you love. What is one of the consequences of the world you loved? You lost their love.”

Good grief.

Scary as it might sound, that line hit home for me as a 6-year-old, a kid who is supposed to be ready to grow up and stop viewing the world through rose-colored glasses.

Flashback to Christmas week, and you will hear from friends and family what they’re writing on social media and the water cooler: What about this?

NBC aired “It’s a Wonderful Life” the night before the Radio City Music Hall performance of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” a holiday classic that also starts with “Lost in the Sun” sung by Bing Crosby and played by Phil Silvers. When looking at last year’s older episodes of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I couldn’t help but notice the two-for-one deals. For a little something each week, with even cooler pictures and more holiday cheer, why not?

After so many years of being reminded about how much we love George Bailey — the Teddy Roosevelt figure with the vast wealth from Santa’s Christmas tree who thinks he’s the smartest person alive and who, before the angel enters his life, constantly acts as if it’s his alone — it’s hard not to wish he were your friend instead of George Bailey, the caroling good guy with a secret problem?

And this year’s Christmas episode sees George’s death — part resurrection, part heavy metal soundtrack — through the eyes of Clarence. It’s a very satisfying journey.

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