“It A Wonderful Life” Actor – Bob Anderson

My wife likes to tell people I have a “It’ A Wonderful Life” philosophy of life. I do believe that everyone’s life is important. We all have a part in the way this world is.

The reference is, of course, from 1946 film produced and directed by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. It takes place in the town of Bedford Falls where plays Stewart as George Bailey, a man whose attempted suicide on Christmas Eve, gains the attention of his guardian angel, Clarence who is sent to help him in his hour of need. Much of the film is told through flashbacks spanning his entire life as we see all the people whose lives have been touched by George and the difference he has made to the community in which he lives.

During those flashbacks young George is played Bob Anderson. It is Anderson who has taken his Final Taxi at age 75.

Robert J. Anderson grew up in Hollywood to a movie family. His father, Gene, was an assistant director and later a production manager. His uncles were directors William Beaudine and James Flood and his brothers and cousins were editors and production managers.

Anderson’s introduction to films began when he was literally snatched from his crib by relatives to appear in a movie scene that called for a baby..

He was 7 when he appeared in the 1940 Shirley Temple film “Young People” and went on to appear in other movies such as 1945’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

Bob Anderson (right) with H. B Warner (left) in 1946 film "It's A Wonderful Life."

But he was best known for his role as the young Bailey in Frank Capra’s 1946 “It’s a Wonderful Life.” In one scene, the story called for him to spot a potentially fatal error made by a drunken druggist, played by H.B. Warner.

Warner took the role seriously and on the day of shooting had been drinking and was “pretty ripe” as the scene called for Warner’s character to slap the boy.

Anderson told the Los Angeles Times in 1996 that the scene and its rehearsals were painful.

“He actually bloodied my ear,” Anderson told the paper. “My ear was beat up and my face was red and I was in tears.”

“At the end when it was all over, he (Warner) was very lovable. He grabbed me and hugged me, and he meant it,” Anderson said.

After “Wonderful Life” Anderson played in “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947), and in Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah ( 1949) among others. He also appeared on TV, including a supporting role to Disney’s “Spin and Marty” characters in the 1950s. I remember seeing this during the reruns of the Mickey Mouse Club.
Anderson enlisted in the Navy during the Korean War, serving as a photographer on aircraft carriers. After the war, he spent four decades in the movie industry. From the 1950s through the 1990s he worked steadily, rising from second assistant director to production manager for movies and TV shows.

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Favorite Christmas Movies – Thank You Very Much, Anton Rodgers !

There are thousands of Christmas movies out there and everyone seems to have a favorite.
It’s one of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit by dusting off your favorite Christmas films and watching Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Ralphie, Clark Griswold, Ebenezer Scrooge, and other classic characters as they celebrate the yuletide season.

Among the top holiday classics includes that one that we see every year on TV for 24 hours straight. It does not have Jack Bauer, but it does have Ralphie and his family along with at leg lamp. “A Christmas Story” had been around since 1983 and has become a must see every year for many families. The director of that movie Bob Clark took his Final Taxi earlier this year. ( Look for the Bob Clark podcast on Finaltaxi.com) “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”

Another favorite is the James Stewart and Donna Reed movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. This is my wife’s favorite Christmas movie but I can watch it anytime of the year. It tells that each of our lives are important and without one of us the whole world can change.

Other Christmas favorites include Miracle On 34th Street, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Bells Of St. Marys , Ill Be Home For Christmas , Scrooged, Earnest Saves Christmas , White Christmas, The Bishop’s Wife, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to name just a few.

TV shows get into the season as well. What is Christmas without a few Rankin-Bass animagic cartoons? Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer is a must see classic every year as well as Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. I love the Charlie Brown’s Christmas and Frosty the Snowman. How many TV series have done Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol? I remember the Flintstones, The Simpsons, Mr. Magoo and even BlackAdder meeting the three spirits of Christmas.

All this talk about Christmas movies is to tell you that my all time favorite Christmas movie is called Scrooge.

Scrooge was a 1970 musical film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic 1843 story, A Christmas Carol. It was filmed in London, directed by Ronald Neame, and starred Albert Finney in the title role. The film’s musical score was composed by Leslie Bricusse and Ian Fraser. With eleven musical arrangements interspersed throughout, the award-winning motion picture is a faithful musical retelling of the original, with one exception. That one departure from the novel takes place during the visit of The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. In a nightmarish scene, Scrooge falls, screaming, through his own open grave, through a seemingly bottomless shaft, and into the very bowels of hell, where Marley tells him of his appointment as Lucifer’s personal clerk. The frightened Scrooge’s massive chain arrives on the backs of several burly, hooded “demons” who wrap it around him, fairly crushing him to the floor, amid his futile cries to Marley for help. This scene is so intense that it is often edited or censored from television airings. I was a very small child when I saw it and it scared me silly.

One musical number received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. The piece was called Thank You Very Much. During it Scrooge is unaware that he is seeing his own funeral in the future. He finds everyone singing and dancing on his coffin. The ring leader and main singer is Tom Jenkins, played by actor Anton Rodgers .

Anton Rodgers has taken his Final Taxi at the age of 74 on December 1 2007.

Anton was known for his television performances, specifically his long-running roles in the television sitcoms Fresh Fields and May to December. However, he has also had a long career as an actor on both stage and film. Onstage he ranged from contemporary comedy and satirical farce to Restoration comedy, Ibsen, Shaw and Wilde, and Peter Nichols. He appeared in films such as The Fourth Protocol (1987), The Day of the Jackal (1973), and Son of the Pink Panther (1993). He was also in the Frank Oz film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) where he played Inspector Andre along side Steve Martin and Michael Cane.
He was married to the actress Elizabeth Garvie, whom he met while filming the 1982 drama series, Something in Disguise.

Thank you very much, Anton Rodgers.

I am sure there are several other Christmas movies or TV shows that I have missed. What is you favorite holiday film? What movie or show gets you in the Christmas mood?