Ari, The Classic Movie Muse is hosting the It's a Wonderful Life Blogathon, A 75th Anniversary Celebration. Click HERE to access the tributes to Capra's Classic. Assuming you have lost count of the number of times you have watched the movie, spoilers abound.
It's a Wonderful Life is a story of dreams, expectations, and reality, specifically, the expectations and reality of George Bailey played by James Stewart. The rich screenplay by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett fills George Bailey's world with nuanced characters we come to know and love. Their time on screen may be limited but their impact is great thanks to the impeccable casting and the cinematic storytelling talent of director Frank Capra.
It is the marriage of George to Mary Hatch when we next see Ernie. George and Mary stop kissing long enough for George to notice, "Oh look, there's somebody driving this cab."
Ernie acts as a butler to the honeymooners and then joins Bert in serenading the couple with I Love You Truly. Ernie kisses Bert on the forehead at the song's conclusion and Bert smashes Ernie's hat before they go their separate ways. The friendships are long standing and filled with ease.
It is the Christmas Eve of George's crisis and his guardian angel Clarence arranges for George to see what the world would be like if he had never been born. Bedford Falls is now Pottersville, a wide-open town.
George accosts the unmarried, lonely, and frightened Mary Hatch shouting about their family and their love. The loss of Mary is too much for George. He begins to run as far and as fast as he can from the nightmare that is Pottersville. This time Bert draws his gun to shoot at the crazed George. When he reaches the bridge where he first met Clarence, George prays the prayer of the sincere that he get back to his wife and kids no matter what happens.
Help came in the form of friends contributing anything they could to help George. Ernie reads a telegram from Sam Wainwright, the richest of their circle of friends, who authorizes his office to give George up to $25,000. Bert has escorted medal winner Harry from the airport. Harry had left an official banquet and flew through a blizzard to be with his brother George, "the richest man in town." The happy crowd sings Auld Lange Syne with Bert on the accordion. Oh, and Clarence is no longer an Angel 2nd Class.
Nebraska-born Bond was attending the University of Southern California when he and fellow footballer John Wayne found work at Fox Studios as prop men and extras in the John Ford picture Salute, 1929. Unexpectedly, his life's path was set on a show business career with 262 film roles, big and small following and in each and every one, Bond was never less than believable.
Bond's 1930s output includes the bus driver in It Happened One Night, the doorman in Dead End, a Union officer in Gone with the Wind, "Jack Cass" in Young Mr. Lincoln, and boisterous Adam in Drums Along the Mohawk.
The 1940s would find Bond in fine form as John L. Sullivan in the biopic Gentleman Jim, a Nazi in The Mortal Storm, the penitent "Yank" in The Long Voyage Home, peacekeeper Tom Polhaus in The Maltese Falcon, Moose Molloy in The Falcon Takes Over, sympathetic Al in A Guy Named Joe, duplicitous Judge Garvey in Tall in the Saddle, the murderer Honey Bragg in Canyon Passage, Morgan Earp in My Darling Clementine, brave and confident Sgt. Major O'Rourke in Fort Apache. The finest of these roles are for director John Ford who frequently used the actor as a favourite "whipping boy." Bond was thick-skinned enough to take it and prove his mettle as a screen actor.
The 1950s would bring Bond the opportunity to play/spoof Ford as director "John Dodge" in The Wings of Eagles. He played the title character in Wagon Master, the trustworthy Rev. Clayton in The Searchers, Buck in 3 Godfathers, and the amusing Father Lonergan in The Quiet Man - all for Ford. Other outstanding rules include the reactionary John McIvers in Johnny Guitar and the grieving Walter Brent in On Dangerous Ground - both for Nicholas Ray. Note: Ida Lupino also directed portions of On Dangerous Ground.
Television would make Frank Faylen even more familiar to audiences as The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis hit the home screen in 1959 and ran until 1963. Frank and Florida Friebus played Herb and Winifred, the parents of Dwayne Hickman's girl-crazy Dobie. The antics of the teen characters, his own son in particular would drive grocer Herb to shout to the Heavens, "I gotta kill that boy!" Check out "Dobie" on YouTube or DVD if you haven't yet seen the program. It is a gem.