The Bedford Falls Sentinel

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A quick look at the Enesco Bedford Falls Boston Co. Suitcase Store

   The movie, and thus our tour of Bedford Falls takes us face to face with adult George Bailey. In the famous close up freeze frame with Jimmy Stewart's hands outstretched as Joseph and Clarence discuss the update from young George in the years around 1919.

 The next stop on our visit through the town immediately shows us our only look at the suitcase store and unless you read the window in the background we never even hear the name of the store. The address is 417 something Bedford Falls though :) Everything is shot from purely the interior. We are introduced to Joe, presumably the proprietor/owner of the store and hear some extended and comical narration by the other angel in the movie known only as Joseph. We met Joseph at the beginning of the film of course in stars scene depicting heaven getting the pleas for George. We never see him but his voice is very meaningful for the film as it's basically our narration for most of the movie. His deep voice leaves its impression as he mildly chastises Clarence and we hear him coach his fellow angel as they learn more about this man called George Bailey. Joseph's voice is that of ironically Joseph Grandby, who was a bit actor and lent his talents to various films and televisions shows up to the 50's before his death in 1960.

   In mostly uncredited roles throughout his career, I was able to find him online acting in an episode of The Cisco Kid titled The Phony Heiress in 1951. Look for him at around the 22:55 mark as a judge. Look quick as he's only on screen for a few seconds. It's good to put a face to the voice we love so much yet never see in It's a Wonderful Life. On a side note (something I tend to note) for those (who like me) are just as much in love with the era and classic period of the 40's and 50's ... Grandby's roles led me to a couple of great sites concerning Westerns and Toys of that era. My wife will likely have to block that toy site for fear of outgoing funds!

 Our other Joe is well ... named Joe, and is as much as we know about him. Just Joe, as George calls him. They seem close as they discuss George's plans for world travel before heading off to becoming that architec and builder in some far off place. George mentions his 'trick' ear when he finds out that his suitcase is free. The actor Ray Walker played this small part. Walker acted in dozens of television shows over the next few decades.

      The store is also a sporting goods store as you can read on the front door again in the background. You see the luggage behind Joe at the counter and some ski's and what looks like bowling pins in the front windows. Watch the background and you'll see some various period clothing and even a couple men wearing those all too famous 1920's straw hats! Capra's appreciate to detail is always appreciate by this devout fan.

   This store might have a very small part in the film, but I like to think that it has strong significance on George. I've often thought (and apparently not the only one) of that suitcase as it probably sat somewhere on 320 Sycamore for years collecting dust rather than foreign stamps. George mentions 3 places specifically that he wants to visit. Italy , Baghdad, and a town now in Uzbekistan that has the distinction of being a town conquered by Alexander the Great ... Samarkand around 1928. Odd to think of George Bailey vacationing in the Soviet Union :) Still though, it must have served as a nice memory as a gift from a close friend.

   But lets move on to the village piece. The Enesco village put the suitcase store in the 4th series and is my favorite series of the village. It was 1 of 4 in the set. The 4th series also seems to be the rarest of all them (excluding the last one that I really don't equate with the others) , even more than the 5th. I apologize for the lower resolution of these images as my wife's camera was out of operation for these. I might go back and replace at a later date, but hopefully the better camera will be back in action for the next stop in our tour ... the Florist shop which again has only a very small part in the actual film. So here she is: The Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store. Unboxing first.

I love the 4th Enesco series

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store: Front box face. Rest of the images below, under 'Read More'. 

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store Cert

Enesco Logo

  And onto the shots of the house in the light. This one has a unique shape and quality to it.

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store Front

Front of store, the reverse view of what we see in the film

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store

Back of the shop with the larger door. 

Nice brick layout on the long side without the ledge

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store: Angle

Nice roof pattern. Love that little ledge. This building is its own shap and stand out when with the other buildings. 

Upper story of the shop

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store

   And Bedford Falls at its best ... all lit up.

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store

Enesco Boston Co. Suitcase Store

 nice store name on the window just as  you could from the interior in the film 

Another side view. I like that the snow on the buildings base glows out distinctly from the brick 

Rear view, with garage door and others. 

Rear view, with garage door and others. Close up

Side view lit up, brick comes through nicely. 

Roof lit up, with pretty snow pattern. 

Reverse angle shot of Boston Co. Suitcase store lit up

As you'll probably see it in your village set up. I normally have it close to the main street as  we know its on that main drag of Bedford Falls and I try to have it on the end so you can see the buildings profile

Clarence"Hmmm ... It's a good face. I like him. I like George Bailey. Tell me, did he ever tell anyone about the pills?"
Joseph" "Not a soul."
Clarence"Did he ever marry the girl? Did he ever go exploring?"
Joseph"Well ... wait and see"


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