“Life” is Wonderful

It’s that time of year again — the airing of Frank Capra’s classic “It’s A Wonderful Life.” And it’s the 60th anniversary of the film which toplined Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed plus an all-star supporting cast.

NBC airs it both Saturday, Dec. 16 and Christmas Eve. And once again Jimmy Hawkins is out reminding everyone of the film — and his role in the film as Tommy Bailey.

Hawkins was four-and-a-half when he worked the 12 days (at $50 a day). He’s written four books on and about the movie and the latest is his “It’s A Wonderful Life for Kids!” (Dutton) with lifelike cartooned characters colorfully adding to Hawkins’ story.

Hawkins’ own life is as wonderful as the movie — to hear him tell it. Now 64, of course, he has remained single, with no children and lives in the same Los Feliz area home in L.A. with his mother who is 90.

Hawkins dedicates his book to “Mikey (8) and Scotty (3)”. When Mikey was three, Hawkins, then 58, was given “caregiver custody” of the boy whose mother was going through a difficult period. Hawkins retained the loving care for three years after which his mother regained full custody, later remarried and, five years later, had son Scotty.

Hawkins says the three years with Mikey “were the happiest in my life. I feel blessed to carry on this message and that kids will be instilled with message in this book. Hawkins says he’s made over 500 movies and TV shows, producing many “underdog stories.”

As for the future of “Life,” Hawkins tells me he’s received offers to continue “Life” — as an animated film. But — he says it would have to be “wonderful” for him to continue the legend.