Bert & Ernie Stopped By

I decided to visit Bedford Falls this evening. I spent time with the Baileys and even admired Zuzu’s petals. I pondered the parallels of Pottersville and a more recent Potter-dom. But I savored the supporting roles of the original Bert and Ernie most as I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

More in the morning … good night for now.

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Good morning (at least for the next thirty minutes in the Central time zone).  I am being exceedingly lazy this Sunday morning, lounging around the house, reading a space opera and visiting with my dad, who stopped by to return the house key I left him while we were away in Texas.

According to the Trivia section of IMDB’s entry for ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie muppets were NOT named for the characters in the film:

Two of Sesame Street’s Muppets, Bert and Ernie, share their names with the film’s cop and cab driver, respectively, but it’s believed to be just a coincidence. While Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu, claimed that the two Muppets were named after the characters because the movie was Jim Henson’s favorite, according to longtime Muppets head writer Jerry Juhl in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, Ernie and Bert were not named after the movie’s characters. Juhl said, “I was not present at the naming, but I was always positive the rumor was incorrect. Despite his many talents, Jim Henson had no memory for details like this. He knew the movie, of course, but would not have remembered the cop and the cabdriver. I was not able to confirm this with Jim before he died, but shortly thereafter I spoke to Jon Stone, Sesame Street’s first producer and head writer and a man largely responsible for the show’s format. He assured me that Ernie and Bert were named one day when he and Jim were studying the prototype puppets. They decided that one of them looked like an Ernie, and the other one looked like a Bert. The movie character names are purely coincidental.”

The characters antics in the context of the early twentieth century (late 20s, the Depression and during WWII) showed their age while I watched it last night.  Uncle Billy using string tied around his fingers are reminders, which he never remembered (compared to my use of electronic calendars and text message alerts).  Live bands and dance contests, with such classics as the Charleston and the Jitterbug (while my kids play DDR on a game console).  The ‘Hee-Haw’ salute shared among the Bedford boys still slips my grasp; I can’t imagine what children born in the twenty-first century think of it.  Two piece telephones, telegrams, phonograph records, trains, all things I’ve never seen or experienced, but I at least knew someone who had and could connect with that past.

But regardless of the context where and when the film was cast and shot, the story shines, nearly as classic as Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and an annual favorite in my household.