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Merry Christmas, George Bailey (1997)

Performance of the 1947 Lux Radio version of "It's a Wonderful Life", taped live in the historic Pasadena Playhouse as a benefit for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.


Matthew Diamond


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Casey Kasem ... Radio Announcer
Bill Pullman ... George Bailey
Penelope Ann Miller ... Mary Hatch Bailey
Nathan Lane ... Clarence
Martin Landau ... Pa Bailey / Mr. Potter
Sally Field ... Mrs. Bailey / Narrator
Joe Mantegna ... Joseph / Nick
Christian Slater ... Harry Bailey
Jerry Van Dyke ... Uncle Billy
Robert Guillaume ... Mr. Gower
Carol Kane ... Cousin Tilly / Mrs. Hatch
Bronson Pinchot ... Mr. Carter
Dan Lauria ... Bert
Craig Sheffer ... Ernie Bishop / Ed / Bridgekeeper
Armelia McQueen Armelia McQueen ... Mrs. Thompson


Performance of the 1947 Lux Radio version of "It's a Wonderful Life", taped live in the historic Pasadena Playhouse as a benefit for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

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Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Bill Pullman plays George Bailey, and Mae Whitman plays Zuzu Bailey, one of his daughters. This is the second time that they have played the roles of father and daughter. In Independence Day (1996), Bill was President Whitmore and Mae was his daughter, Patricia Whitmore. See more »


Version of It's a Wonderful Life (1946) See more »


It's a Wonderful Life
(It's a Wonderful Life (1946))
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
See more »

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User Reviews

Not that wonderful
31 May 2018 | by jhkpSee all my reviews

This was a great idea, a recreation of the 1947 Lux radio Theater version of the film classic, It's A Wonderful Life, with an all-star cast of the late-90s. Almost all of the actors are excellent. People who think Hollywood movie stars can only play themselves, or are unable to give theatrical performances in front of an audience, should see this.

The one exception for me was Bill Pullman, who doesn't seem to connect to the role of George Bailey with even a small fraction of the emotion or concentration of James Stewart. From what I've been told (not sure if it's accurate), Tom Hanks was supposed to play George, but had to drop out, and Pullman stepped in at the last minute. He seems under-rehearsed, and, at times, confused. Since George is in almost every scene, well, it's unfortunate. Because he's likable and seems like the right type.

It's a good recreation of an old-time radio show in almost every particular, from sound effects men to a full band. The only way it differs significantly is that on shows like Lux, the actors wore street clothes, they didn't dress up as the characters they were playing, the way some seem to here (Craig Sheffer, for ex).

Anyhow, take a look - it's something offbeat for the Christmas season. And listen to the original broadcast with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Victor Moore (as Clarence).

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