I just found out that today is Antonio Varacalli Day.
Who is Antonio Varacalli? According to the residents of Seneca Falls, NY, 98 years ago today, Varacalli saved a drowning woman near a bridge, just as George jumped to save Clarence. They claim that this event, and the bridge and town themselves served as inspiration for It's a Wonderful Life.
Interestingly, I cannot find any reference to Varacalli jumping from the bridge. All of my research indicates that the woman jumped. However, that same research indicates that Varacalli probably jumped in to save her from the bank, with a rope tied around him, which someone on the bank was holding.
Here is the Facebook post from the It's a Wonderful Life Museum:
Here are some pictures from my trip to Seneca Falls in August, 2015:
|The sign commemorating Varacalli's act|
|A plaque recognizing the bridge's connection to It's a Wonderful Life.|
|This is the bridge from a distance.|
See Varacalli's grave here. It contains my favorite Bible verse.
Learn more about Antonio Varacalli here.
Here is another news story about what happened the day Varacalli saved someone's life.
And other story about Varacalli's bravery.