This is a guest article by Mannie Barling. There is little doubt the the film It’s A Wonderful Life has been watched and enjoyed by many millions of people. It is a timeless classic that crosses generations. I won’t date Mannie, but I will say this, he was an invited guest at the event….. Simon

On December 23, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending “It’s a Wonderful Life Day in Hollywood” which was celebrated on the World famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.  It was wonderful day of tributes to the film, to the Capra family and to Jimmy Hawkins, the child star who appeared in the film.  Jimmy Hawkins is also famous for singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause.”

The event was covered by Conan Nolan from NBC News.  I returned home and turned on the evening news and chuckled at all of us grinning for the cameras while Tom Capra, the son of Frank Capra, delivered a speech worthy of any of his father’s scripts.  It was vintage Hollywood in all its bygone splendor.  No limos, no entourages and no paparazzi.

Tom Capra, who led KNBC Channel 4 to the top of the ratings as news director, was the Executive Producer of Today Show, produced the Barbara Walters Specials, and the General Manager of FOX Channel 11 in Los Angeles.  I know that Frank Capra was never pleased that his son went into television, which Frank thought ruined the movies, but he would have been proud of his son that day.

I could not get the words of Tom Capra out of my mind so I felt compelled to offer the many Frank Capra fans out there the words of Tom Capra which is about as close to the genius of his father as any of us will get.  We should think of these thoughts about life every day of the year, not just at Christmas.  The message is clear and resounding.  These are Tom Capra’s words.

“I would like to thank the City of Los Angeles and Councilman LaBonge for declaring this day to be “It’s a Wonderful Life Day” in Los Angeles.  It is an honor and a privilege to be here.


Left to right, Tom Capra, Frankie Capra, and Councilman Tom LaBonge.

My father always said that “It’s a Wonderful Life” was the best movie he ever made, as a matter of fact, he said it was “the best movie ever made.”  He won the Golden Globe that year for best director and was nominated for an Academy Award.

What most people don’t know is that when it first came out in the theaters it was not a huge box office success.  Some critics even called it “terribly depressing.”

It wasn’t until it came to the small screen of television, and audiences around the world watched it again and again at Christmas time that it became a Holiday Classic.  People realized that it was not depressing at all.  On the contrary, it was incredibly uplifting.  It carried with it the message that you can find in each one of my father’s films … the message of HOPE.

Our country and nations around the world are struggling with difficult and uncertain times.  Maybe, like George Bailey, we should pause for a brief moment and examine our lives and see the people whose hearts and lives we have touched.  And to understand that we can make a difference as long as we never give up.

I know my father would be happy and proud to know that “It’s a Wonderful Life Day” has come to Los Angeles.  On behalf of myself and my family I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.”

Councilman LaBonge punctuated Tom’s message with the simple observation, “There should be more George Baileys in this world and less Potters.”  No truer words were ever spoken.

As we all go through the horrors of this economy and the stress it generates, we should all recall the message of hope raised by Frank Capra that lives eternally on the small screen and in video stores around the world.  We should all stride to be more like George Bailey than Henry F. Potter.  And then maybe our collective prayers will be answered.

Mannie Barling is an Attorney, Author, Business Adviser and Voting Member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  Mannie is also the co-host of Barling & Barrett – Criminal or Civil with Simon Barrett, heard on on Sunday afternoons at 4 PM EST, 1 PM PST.

Mannie Barling is the co-author with Ashley F. Brooks of the award winning books – Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS (Books and Authors 2010 Best Books in the Health, Diet & Reference Categories); Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula (Blogger News Net 2010 Best Health And Nutrition Book Award winner); It’s Not Your Fault; and The Food Revolution Papers  –  available at, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world.

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