Zuzu brings 'Wonderful' art to museum

Actress adds snow globes with in holiday classic scenes

McClatchy-TribuneDecember 8, 2012 

  • Details What: “It’s A Wonderful Life” Museum Where: 32 Fall St., Seneca Falls, N.Y. When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment Cost: Free (donations appreciated) Info: 315-568-5838 or TheRealBedfordFalls.com

The little girl who wanted Jimmy Stewart to save a special flower has just added another distinctive collection to a museum that preserves the legacy of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Karolyn Grimes, perhaps better known as Zuzu Bailey, the child in the 1946 film classic starring Stewart and Donna Reed, has put a number of snow globes featuring scenes from the beloved holiday movie on display at the Seneca Falls “It’s A Wonderful Life” Museum.

Located near Syracuse, N.Y., Seneca Falls is considered by many to be the inspiration for the setting of fictional Bedford Falls. Grimes herself cites the main street architecture and steel truss bridge over the canal – all part of the landscape in this village on the shores of Cayuga Lake. And museum coordinator Anwei S. Law notes that the collection contains envelopes addressed to the “Bedford Falls” station.

“They write to the Seneca Falls Post Office from all over, people seeking a postmark from Bedford Falls,” Law said.

The museum, tucked into what was the first movie theater in Seneca Falls, features primarily Grimes’ personal collection of memorabilia: original press book, lobby card and stills; autographed items from various cast members; movie tie-in collectibles; different signs that have been made over the years; out-of-print books written about the movie; and a very rare Clarence ornament.

“There is also a display of images from the film along with quotes from Frank Capra, focusing on his philosophy of filmmaking with an emphasis on the value and dignity of each person,” Law said.

Added Grimes: “It’s a little jewel that’s starting to grow, but it’s already special.”

This December marks the museum’s second anniversary. To commemorate the occasion – as well as the 66th anniversary of “It’s A Wonderful Life” – a special event is taking place Sunday in Seneca Falls: “The Bailey Sisters Return Home” brings Zuzu and Janie Bailey (Grimes and fellow child actress Carol Coombs-Mueller) to the “Real Bedford Falls” for the “It’s a Wonderful Life” Festival.

“Watching this movie is a tradition,” Grimes said. “People have brought this movie into their homes and hearts. It is a movie with many layers, one that gives inspiration and hope and shows that each one of us is important – we do matter. We’re going to keep watching ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ for many years to come.”

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