Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's A Wonderful Life - Then & Now

Thought I'd make a little post having something to do with favorite Christmas movies. Just up the road a bit from where I live is where they filmed the 'Bailey Park' section of Frank Capra's great holiday classic - It's A Wonderful Life. It's actually in La Cañada, California (for you out of towners!) The movie takes place of course, in the fictional town of Bedford Falls NY, which the residents of Seneca Falls NY say the town was modeled after. I thought I'd share some pics of the fictional Bailey Park of 1947 and Viro Road today in La Cañada where it was filmed. It really was today too, as I took these pictures this afternoon. So enjoy.

1947 - Entrance to Bailey Park. Obviously a new development of $5000 homes going up just after the war. Big housing boom in the Los Angeles suburbs like everywhere else after the war.

2007 - Entrance to this side street in La Cañada. The old tree is missing, and I didn't quite get the angle right but I didn't want to trespass on the owner's property to the left on the corner. Nice mature trees & paved roads. You can barely make out the mountains in the back. A very nice neighborhood too. I'm sure it's quite pricey today, about a half mile from Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

1947 - The front of the new Martini home that George Bailey got them via the old Building & Loan.

2007 - The same house today. Some paint and trim and walkways have changed but basically it's the same place 60 years later.

1947 - Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed welcome the Martini's to their new home, at number 4587.

2007 - No one was home, but the number is still up there the same as it was. I actually wonder how many visitors they get on this street during the holidays, or that maybe the owners leave town as not to get bothered.

15 Comments:

At 12/29/2007 11:12 PM, Anonymous bronnie said...

Oh Kevin, that is soo cool!
Thanks for posting!

 
At 12/30/2007 11:34 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Thanks Bron - it's pretty neat to see it now compared to back then.

 
At 12/30/2007 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Kevin. My family and I did the same thing the next day, took a walk down Viro to see the "It's a Wonderful Life" house. Several of us that took the walk grew up in La Canada and never heard until recently that this area and the houses were in the classic movie. Gosh, it seems like we would have heard about this earlier, especially in high school since it was right around the corner and that is when that kind of thing is a big deal. Or maybe it is a bigger deal now that we are all grown up. Anyway, it is pretty cool.

 
At 1/05/2008 1:37 PM, Blogger VonRiesling said...

Nice shots. I love the then and now pics.

 
At 9/01/2008 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really cool. I've searched for this location for awhile now. The common lore is that the scenes were filmed in La Crescenta, but after reviewing maps of the area against film footage, I knew that was false.

Good job and thanks for posting the info!

 
At 9/01/2008 4:32 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

I thought they were La Crescenta too, until I came across this. The other location for most of Bedford Falls scenes is where Woodley Park is now in Van Nuys. Actually the Bedford Falls location on the old RKO studio lot is a subdivision just to the west of the Balboa Sports Center between Burbank Blvd and Oxnard, including the sports field. But you'd have a hard time telling that there ever was a studio lot there now.

Thanks for looking. I love this old stuff. It's too bad they tear down so much history in LA.

 
At 12/20/2008 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've noticed that every few days the owner of this house removes its notation on Wikipedia. I'm glad your site is here so that people will know how to find the house. I have a rule, if you're going to buy a house that was in a movie, it shouldn't surprise you when people come see it.

 
At 12/20/2008 6:15 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

I didn't know that. Yes, you're right about buying a movie house.

 
At 12/20/2009 6:49 PM, Blogger Corey said...

This blog is totally cool! I was wondering if that was a real subdivision as I was watching the movie tonight. Great photo documentation. How did you figure this out as nobody noted it on the IMDB webpage?

 
At 12/20/2009 7:28 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

I found it on the internet somewhere a couple of years ago. I knew it was around here somewhere. It's pretty neat to see how it's grown - like in the trees, but the street is pretty much the same.

 
At 1/16/2010 4:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We watched the movie last night and wondered what Bailey Park would look look like today. Now we know, thanks tou your site.

 
At 12/06/2011 6:31 PM, Anonymous JSTC said...

Great Movie and great pictures.

 
At 12/24/2012 3:25 PM, Anonymous james michael freer said...

just stopped the full movie (colored on you tube)to research the obvious non backlot subdivision and came very quickly to your site,just searched bailey city La canada, anyway thanks for your work,Ill probally just cruise on my way to my moms house,ok back to the movie!

 
At 12/24/2012 3:47 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Glad you all like this!

 
At 1/26/2013 9:49 AM, Blogger jednv said...

Thanks so much. My folks bought a new house at the top of Viro in 49 I think . . . my brothers & I grew up there, with the mountains as a back yard.

Jed

 

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