The world depicted in classic television shows and black-and-white movies appears simpler somehow; a time of innocence.
We see Ma in her apron pulling the pot roast from the oven, Dad hollering, “Honey, I’m home!” as he swaps his leather shoes for slippers. Little Johnny is gainfully employed as a paper boy, and seventeen-year-old Suzy gazes out the window behind a frilly white curtain, waiting for her boyfriend to pull up to the curb, get out of his car and ring the door bell, nervously straightening his tie.
Today’s world? We’re becoming a nation that is more and more anxious, angry, fearful, disconnected, disheartened and divided. Communication, more often than not, is carried out via an electronic device. We zap our food in the microwave because the oven takes too long, and it feels as if there’s not enough time to do twice as much, faster.
If we reshot and recast reality as an old-time Hollywood film; could we recapture that innocent flavor?
Let’s give it a try.
Roll the credits, please.
Appearing in this classic take on modern day:
Jimmy Stewart as President of the United States. Everybody loves Jimmy. He’s as American as apple pie. We’d be hard pressed to dig up any dirt on Jimmy. Well, other than the fact that he talks to an imaginary six-foot rabbit named Harvey. But is conversing with an imaginary six-foot rabbit any less ludicrous than believing that Donald Trump could be President?
John Wayne as Vice President, because Jimmy needs a little swagger, a little muscle to back him up.
Myrna Loy as First Lady. She’s got spunk, she’s poised, and she drinks cocktails.
Rodney Colman as Speaker of the House. If you’re going to be Speaker, it helps to have the vocal chops.
The Three Stooges as presidential candidates. They’re perfectly qualified.
Abbott and Costello as presidential candidates. They could argue endlessly about “who’s on first,” to distract the American public from the real issues.
And Frank Capra as God. The great Hollywood director is well-suited to the role. Here’s why:
Capra is famous for feel-good movies. If Frank Capra was God, he would focus our attention on the humor in life and the goodness in all of humanity.
Capra is known for reshooting a scene by having the actors run back into the shot while he kept the cameras rolling. If Frank Capra was God, he would keep life rolling whenever we humans flubbed up, so we could run back through time and do an instant retake.
If Capra was God, he would send down a guardian angel as life preserver the instant that someone spiraled into the dark hole of believing that death was a preferable option to a temporary problem. And the angel would be an elderly, scruffy man named Clarence, because God has a sense of humor.
And finally, if Frank Capra was God, the media would have nothing dastardly to report. The newscasters of the world would be forced to admit, at last: it’s a wonderful life.