Wonderful Life, part one: "He's got the IQ of a rabbit!"

We open on the town of Bedford Falls, where we hear prayers from all over town: all for George Bailey. "George is a good guy," says Ernie the cabbie. "Give him a break, God." (Already I'm tearing up a little - pull it together, Hudson!)

These prayers soar up to - heaven? It looks like outer space. God and St. Joseph are represented by star clusters, and they discuss the part that everyone remembers: George Bailey is about to kill himself, and Clarence Oddbody is the guardian angel who's got to stop him. What people might not remember is that Clarence is a bit of a screwup (he's been trying to earn his wings for two centuries!), and Joseph doesn't think they should entrust him with something as important as a man's life. Space God thinks Clarence's faith will see him through.

So they call over Clarence (represented by a tiny star), and he's happy for the opportunity. He's got an hour before George bites it, and he thinks the most important thing to do with that hour is to dress to blend in with the 1940s folks he'll be meeting. Joseph is like, "Seriously, dude? No, you're going to watch this movie of the life of George Bailey so you'll know how to deal with him when you do meet him. You're going to tell him you're a 200-year-old wingless angel anyway - may as well be dressed like a visitor from colonial Williamsburg while you're at it. No wonder you're still AS2."

(I like how Joseph is pretty much only in this scene, but you still get a sense of how exasperated he is with Clarence. Space God says pretty much the same thing, but he's much gentler about it.)

The screen goes dark: we're seeing from Clarence's point of view, and apparently the watching-movies-of-people's-lives power comes with having wings. Joseph, a little sarcastically, helps Clarence see, and gradually the picture comes into focus: George Bailey as a 12-year-old boy.

(on to Part 2)


Mike_R said...

Isn't it nice to know there will still be office politics and asshole bosses in Heaven?
Way to set the scene. Not too much...leave em wanting more. I want to watch it now, but i'll wait until after this series.

AE said...

Isn't that 12-year-old the guy who just died? Some kid in that movie just died.

Kelly said...

Hmm, now I'm curious! To the IMDb!

... Sure enough: Robert J. Anderson, who played young George Bailey, died in June of this year. He had a fairly prolific acting career throughout the '40s and '50s, and then he moved into production. His final film credit was as "executive in charge of production" in Demolition Man.

I hope at the Oscar montage they show clips from his 1948 film Let's Cogitate. Any movie with "cogitate" in the title ought to be good.

AE said...

I thought it was young George. Nice work, Clarence. Stay the hell away from me and mine.