The Angel who inspired Its A Wonderful Life

A story about an angel.

Santa Monica Sunset

"Its a Wonderful Afterlife" is on sale via Amazon  (

I watched the Capra film the other night, annual tradition, and I was asked the story that Capra recounted about the genesis of the film (and how I came upon the title for my book.)

Frank says in his book "Name Above the Title" he started deflecting meetings by telling his agent "I'm not feeling well."  He had spent a fortune fighting his boss Harry Cohn for stealing his name and putting it on films in England ("Frank Capra presents" even though he had nothing to do with the films.) Capra was exhausted from the lengthy court battle (which Cohn eventually settled, but the scene where George Bailey screams at his kids and destroys the bridge model is based on what Capra did after losing the first round. He says he screamed at his family, then went up the hill behind his house and was so filled with rage it made him nauseous.) 

Capra said once he started telling people he "wasn't feeling well" he wasn't feeling well, and doctors came to see him and couldn't tell him what his problem was.  But it was so bad, he says he was at death's door - lying in bed,  refusing to get out, or see anyone.  And then one day his assistant Max told him that "someone was here to see him" but the man wouldn't give a name and insisted on coming up to his bedroom.

Capra says he crawled out of bed to go to the next door room where the man was sitting.  He described him as a short bald man with glasses, but a nondescript face.  He had never seen the man before, and neither had Max.  But the man started railing at Capra saying "You have to get out of bed. You're in there feeling sorry for yourself, when people out in the world need your talent."  Capra says that Max had the radio on, and he could hear Hitler shouting in the next room.  The bald man said "You hear that man shouting hatred in the next room?  How many people can he reach with his voice? A million? You can reach tens of millions of people in the dark in a theater."  He told Capra to "stop feeling sorry for himself, to get out of bed and get back to doing what you were put on Earth to do."

Capra says after the man left, Capra called his writing partner and the two of them drove out to Two Bunch Palms and locked themselves into a room until they hammered out "It's a Wonderful Life."  (Capra said the studio purchased a self published book which is credited in the film, but Capra claims it was this little man who inspired his film.)

Years later, when National Security Advisor in the Reagan administration Robert McFarlane tried to commit suicide, he got a copy of the film in the mail from someone anonymously. (Perhaps from Reagan himself? Makes sense). 

Robert Mcfarlane IAGS.jpg
Robert "Bud" McFarlane

But watching the film made McFarlane realize he had more things in life to live for - (Bud is still alive, still kicking) - but he says he never knew who sent him the videotape.  

Perhaps a little bald man with a nondescript face?

Merry Christmas!

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