'It's a Wonderful Life'

Editor's Corner

Brian WilkinsonJanuary 10, 2013 

One of the most heart-warming Christmas movies ever made was the 1946 classic "It's a Wonderful Life," starring James Stewart, Donna Reid and Lionel Barrymore.

In the movie, George Bailey (Stewart) grew up in Bedford Falls and spent his life giving to the town, taking over his father's modest building and loan company. On Christmas Eve, George's Uncle Billy loses an $8,000 bank deposit. Believing he will be held responsible for the lost funds, George feels his wife and children will be better off without him and contemplates suicide.

With the help of an angel sent from heaven named Clarence (Henry Travers), George sees what the town would be like without him -- dreary and lifeless. George soon finds the entire community gathering at his house -- donating money to save his business that was set to close for good the next day.

Call me corney, but the townspeople of Oakhurst coming together to 'Save the Met' Cinema on New Year's Eve, just hours before the midnight deadline, made me think of the similarity of the townspeople of Bedford Falls in "It's a Wonderful Life."

Oakhurst loses it's only movie theater that has been in the heart of town since March 1986 -- a theater that served the community for 26 years as an entertainment center and gathering spot for the community's children, parents and grandparents. A place where people could escape to another world -- a place where people laughed, cried and got scared watching hilarious comedies, chilling dramas, uplifting musicals and frightening horror films.

To some degree, the Met's closure, like the possibility of Bedford Falls losing George Bailey's business that was set to close, left Oakhurst a little dreary and lifeless.

But Mountain Area residents rallied against what seemed insurmountable odds, raising more than $50,000 in two months to, at least for now, 'Save the Met.' No small undertaking considering the current economy and the fact many families were cutting back on Christmas shopping, or worse, trying to figure out how they would afford presents at all.

Three homegrown young men -- Matt Sconce, Keith Walker and James Nelson -- came together with a dream, the foresight and their Save their Met 'membership' plan. A plan that asked community members to become "Met Heroes" for $19.95 a month, $34.95 a month for couples, to see every movie that comes to the Met during the month. A plan many thought would never materialize due to the lack of memberships. A plan for now that boasts more than 3,000 heroes.

We congratulate their efforts and the community for coming together to make this happen and hope the plan can be sustainable over time.

Saving the Met is more than reviving one Oakhurst business -- it's about a caring community with heart -- working together and pitching in for the overall well-being of everyone.

We thank those who have become 'Met Heroes' and encourage those who haven't done so to sign up soon, so we can all enjoy movies and eat tons of popcorn for many years to come.

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