Friday, December 19, 2014

Good Story 098: It's a Wonderful Life

Julie and Scott learn what the world would be like if this podcast never existed. They both decided to keep doing it, anyway. It's a Wonderful Life is the subject of Episode 98.

Download or listen via this link: |Episode #098|

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Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends. Julie and Scott are blessed with many. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  1. I watch this movie every year and it never fails to make me smile. It really speaks to the heart and cuts to the center of what I think we all go through some times. So good. I think I'll give it a watch this weekend.

    The fact that it wasn't a hit when it came out and only gathered steam later has always fascinated me. Of course, now it's the most parodied and referenced movie of all time. I don't think there isn't a person out there involved in pop culture in someway that hasn't done a joke based on this movie.

    My personal favorite:

    Congratulations on four years and near 100 episodes! It's the podcast that keeps on giving, even when listening to old episodes. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Julie and Scott and to both of your families.

    1. Thank you JD! I hate to admit it but I usually have an old episode on my iPod just because I've actually forgotten some of the things we discussed. Some could think that egotistical but I think it speaks to the strength of shared conversation and ideas ... and my spotty memory! :-)

    2. Killing spree ending - Ha! Hahahaha, oh that's hilarious.

      Thanks JD, Merry Christmas to you. Thanks for the laugh.

  2. I remember reading some years ago about how the movie made it into the public domain which lead to its showing regularly on broadcast TV. I was surprised at this since I could hardly imagine a time when this wasn't a beloved movie for everybody. The film did receive 5 Oscar nominations including best picture/actor/director but didn't win in any categories. "The Best Years of Our Lives" was the winner that year.

    One thing that always amazes me on rewatch was how perfect the casting was. There just were'nt any weak performances. The young actor who played the young George Bailey was very good. The scene between him and the depressed druggist always gets me teary. It makes me wonder about whatever atmosphere came about to bring about so many great performances.

    I liked your points about the romance shown and there is true tension there. Amazing what you can do without a shortcut to a bedroom scene. Family tensions were also well-done here.

    A couple of years ago I had been wondering about the Mr. Potter in a wheelchair. I couldn't think of any movie that had a villain in a wheelchair. Turns out that this was accidental as Lionel Barymore had a hip injury and arthritis and so this became part of the movie. Still they used it to full effect with the wooden wheelchair which looked like an executive's throne. So FDR probably is not a factor at all.

    I am annoyed when people use the term "Capracorn" which while a clever term is not a very useful one. I see idealism in his movies but not corn.

    A random thought just entered my mind of a comparison between this story and Dicken's "A Christmas Carol." They both end up with a conversion of joy on Christmas, yet arrive there quite differently. Bailey is shown a world that is worse without him. Scrooge is shown a world that is worse with him. They both have a visitation of past history and there are other semi-echoes.

    "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." G.K. Chesterton

    I see that same gratitude in both stories.

    On another aside I would love for you two to give your attention to one of Chesterton's stories. Surely the Fr. Brown ones would be great, or "The Man Who Was Thursday", although "Manalive" is also one of my favorites as it rings through with gratitude.

    Congratulations on 4 years and for selfish reasons I wish for many more as this is certainly one of my very favorite podcasts and I listen to a lot of podcasts.

    1. That makes perfect sense. Can't believe my husband and I didn't look it up, but we obviously had a lot more fun thinking about the symbolism so I can't be sorry.

      Yes, there is gratitude and examining the effects of our own lives on those of others but I love how Capra (with NO corn!) turned A Christmas Carol on its head. I believe Charles Dickens would have approved.

      I will turn my mind to the Chesterton idea. My favorite of his short stories is The Club of Queer Trades. That one might be fun. I haven't really read his novels but probably should.

      Thank you so much for your kind comment ... it means a lot because I KNOW you listen to podcasts as voraciously as I do!

    2. Thanks a million, Jeff! I also love the idea of talking about some Chesterton. I haven't read "The Man Who Was Thursday", but it has been on my list forever.

  3. I love that this episode took a film I already give 5 out of 5 stars and made me esteem it even more. A verse that comes to mind is "So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin."- James 4:17 NET. The fascinating thing about George Bailey is that it didn't come to that with him. When faced with a great need to act selflessly, he didn't hesitate- but reacted instantly. Selflessness was such an integral part of George's character that Clarence used it for his deliverance at the bridge when he jumped in the icy water, knowing that George would dismiss his suicide attempt and jump in to save a stranger. What a well written character!

    Congrats on 4 years of the show now. I love to hear stories examined with a spiritual perspective that I hadn't thought of myself.

    I have to award Julie with the A Good Story is Hard to Find quote of the year when she said "A little less Buffalo Gals". If you'll note- she didn't say to remove ALL the Buffalo Gals, just SOME of them, which I find quite reasonable.

    Happy Christmas! May God bless us, everyone. :-)

    1. Hi Philip,

      Wonderful points about selflessness and George's character. Well written, indeed!

      Thanks a million for listening, Philip, and I hope you had a (nearly) Buffalo Gal-free Christmas. :)

  4. Just returned from Christmas vacation but wanted to drop in the combox and wish both of you a very Merry Christmas season! I look forward to each new episode with anticipation - a nice treat for listening on my Friday commute. Listening to your conversations is like sitting down to tea with a couple of old friends (at least it feels that way after so many episodes!).

    Can't wait for the 100th episode! (and the surprise mystery guest...)

  5. Of course, this movie is notorious among librarians due to the terrible, terrible, fate that meets Mary: "You're not gonna like it, George.... she's downtown -- CLOSING THE LIBRARY!" My first year of library school, I watched Wonderful Life with several of my classmates, all women, and we jeered and screamed and threw popcorn at the screen through the whole scene. But I have to admit, I can't think of another fate that would have set up the scene so well. ;)