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It's a Wonderful Life is a wonderful Christmas season movie! I see this movie as Jimmy Stewart's finest performance. The film's success when released was disappointing, and didn't become America's most loved Christmas film until it entered the public domain, at which time the TV networks started showing it every Christmas in the 1970s. It seems America's love for this family film keeps growing each Christmas. This is Jimmy Stewart as his best.
It’s A Wonderful Life is considered one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made, and Jimmy Stewart one of the most beloved actors. With his southern drawl that seemed to drawl all the more as he aged, the audiences found him both appealing and accessible. But James Stewart didn’t start his life as an actor, rather he was a baby like the rest of us. His dad owned a hardware store in Indiana, Pennsylvania which had been in the family for 3 generations and Jimmy was next in line for it. His family also had a legacy extending back to the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the American Civil War. His mother was an excellent pianist, but his dad didn’t regard that as a skill fitting for a young man, and he discouraged Jimmy’s request for lessons. Wanting to play some sort of musical instrument, he learned to play the accordion after his father acquired it as a gift. That would turn out to be the instrument he would play throughout his acting career. It seems that Jimmy was gifted to be able to do so many different things. As a child, he was shy and spent much of his free time in the basement working on model airplanes, mechanical drawing and chemistry. He dreamed of aviation. When he was 19 years of age, he was stricken with scarlet fever at the same time that Charles Lindbergh was making his legendary flight. Jimmy followed from his sick bed the progress of that flight, only to star as Lindbergh himself in a movie role some 30 years later.
Read the article in its entirety in the 6-page November 2014 Bevil newsletter, which accompanies the cover.
First Day of Issue
August 17, 2007
Universal Studios, CA 91608