The Bedford Falls Sentinel

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Visiting the Bedford Falls City Hall building ... or at least the Enesco village version

   Another setting from the film that is seen little or essentially not at all is the town's city government buildings. Not once do we see a city or town hall, and only briefly glimpse Bedford Falls' court house which must serve the same purpose. It's implied that Potter owns and control large portions or most of the town so perhaps that included much of the city government as well. If this is the case, Capra must have wanted to leave it at that as we get no scenes concerning it. That tiny scene that does showcase at least a visible form of Bedford Falls city government is during the war montage scenes with Mr. Gower and Uncle Billy selling war bonds. This is in front of the court house though rather than an expressly named City Hall. Seen only once more as Uncle Billy passes it on his way to the bank and infamy.

Selling war bonds in Bedford Falls
Pottersville Court House. Left side of main street
Bedford Falls Court House. Right side of Main street

    A few points to mention from the war bond selling scene. First is the relative obscure location of the court house in that it's pinned in between to larger building along the street. Perhaps this is more common than I have seen, but typically small towns always placed their court house in a center of the town square. Keep this in mind when you try to set up your village. Along those same lines, you can see that there is a unique type of sphere shaped bush in front of the court house and this is represented in the Enesco piece we'll look at below. Also, quickly you'll notice that though the narrator mentions Uncle Billy, in fact in this scene it's actually Martini sporting an army cap with Mr. Gower instead. All three of these individuals though seem a bit old for service in World War 1, so we are left to assume that perhaps they served in the Spanish American War instead. Uncle Billy states that he's 55 when they almost close the Building and Loan after Peter Bailey's death which would put him in
that time frame. 

M4 on war bond duty on the Homefront

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   In selling the war bonds, there is a war bonds poster on the barrel of the tank. The tank appears to be just a standard M4 Shermon variant although if I'm mistaken please let me know. Below is a pictured version in a true life example Capra must have modeled the scene on. As a huge fan of the World War posters I always enjoy watching for these throughout the movie in the various town scenes we see in the later half of the movie. This one is titled "Doing all you can, brother?". I've found a larger color image of it seen to the left. 

  Another is quickly seen near here in the Red Cross scene with Ma Bailey and Mrs. Hatch. 

Larger version of poster seen above

Building and Loan poster

Another Red Cross poster on the Building and Loan
       Also seen is Wainwright's factory producing aircraft parts. And a quick look at something similar
Santa Monica factory during WW2

Ground floor of plastics ... 

    Again in the Montage, we see the air raid warden George during the war in one of his many home front duties for the city.Some period pieces also to show Capra did get his details right. 

4F on account of his ear

   Besides some of these small examples, we don't see much of the civil or political side of the town. There is a large exception to that, and represents a living breathing and talking symbol of city hall or the court house. That is of course Bert the cop, who seemingly serves as the lone policeman we see around town and is George's close friend. Bert is married and seemingly presumed to be slightly older than George. He was awarded the Silver Star for service in the North African campaigns. He's a large part of the film, but also worthy of mention also in regards to being played by the great (let me repeat great!) Ward Bond. Bond's career is simply amazing for not only the sheer number of films that he was a part of but also for his seemingly life long knack for the number of films that rank as some of the best and forever famous films of all time. As just a tiny remarck on that, take for example that he's been a part of 11 films that were nominated for best picture, and that's only using the Academy awards as a filter for great films. Here is a very short run of some of his most famous films. Young Mr. Lincoln, Gone with the Wind, Sergeant York, The Grapes of Wrath, The Searchers, The Maltese Falcon, You can't take it with You, and on and on! A best friend to John Wayne as well as John Ford, Bond sadly passed away far too early at age 57 in 1960. 

Ward firing at Jimmy Stewert, and Silver Star 
    Now returning again to the town, here are the pictures for the Enesco village piece. This is the Bedford Falls City Hall, featured in the second series of the collection. 

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Box face. Click the 'Read More' below for more pictures. 

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Side view

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Box rear

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Box angle

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Box top

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Cert

  The color of the building does a good job representing some of the bland color schemes a lot of county or town building sometimes use and the detail of the windows and steps and porch of the building are better than a lot of the village collection.

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Front face

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Front door with nice CHRISTmas decor

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Wish it listed court house for accuracy but oh well

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Detailed steps and railing. 

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Bushes are the one carryover from the film version. See above

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Angled roof is a nice change. 

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Side view

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Rear view. Lots of offices in there

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Side view

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Angle view

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Top 

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall:

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall: Stone foundation with snow that I like

  And the light shots. This one has one of the more 'bright' effects rather than a 'glow' that some do. I think the earlier series had this more so than some of the later series.

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall:

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall:

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall:

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall:

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall:

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall:

Enesco Bedford Falls City Hall:

Ernie: (Watching Violet) "Want to come along Bert? We'll show you the town!"
Bert: "No thanks, I uh ... gotta go home and see what the wife is doing"

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