Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blogging From A to Z - T is for "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"

Welcome to the It's A Wonderful Blog's Blogging From A to Z April (2015) Challenge. For this challenge, I will post every day in April (except for Sundays) about topics related to the Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart film, It's a Wonderful Life.

"Twinkle Twinkle Little Star":

A traditional children's song became the equivalent of a text message or tweet in a classic 1940s film.

Vintage sheet music for "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
In It's a Wonderful Life, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is played on a xylophone ... or possibly a toy piano ... to indicate communication between angels.

The first time we hear the tune, Joseph pages Clarence. He sends a message in the form of the first seven notes of this childhood song.

Just before he is told to do that, Joseph's boss (see my entry on the letter B to learn the identity of the boss) tells him that Clarence has “got the faith of a child — simple.”

This is a hugely important factor in why "Twinkle Twinkle" was used as the tune to communicate between angels in the film.

In the Bible, Jesus addresses the innocence and faith of children:

“'Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?' Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, 'I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.'" (Matthew 18:1-4)

Clarence has the faith of a child because we are all called to have the faith of a child. Jesus tells us that if we do so, we will have access to Heaven. And when we get there, we will be angels. According to this logic then, all angels have the faith of a child. So it is fitting that a children's lullaby would be their communication system - or at least represent communication between angels.

It is also an appropriate song because whenever a star or a solar system talks, it twinkles. We can hear them talk when they are together because they are together. The song is a paging system, or a text message. We hear it only when angels are not together. It is their method of long-distance communication, like a text message or a tweet.

To reinforce the idea of the childlike faith, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is sung to the same tune as the "ABC Song."

We hear the tune another time, during the Pottersville sequence. After George and Clarence are thrown out of Nick's Bar, George decides to search for answers by himself and leaves Clarence behind. Alone, Clarence begins to talk to Joseph. We can hear his words because he is on Earth - even if he is in an alternate version of our world. When Joseph replies, it comes to us as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

Although hear the tune instead of the music, we know that Joseph asks Clarence if he drank anything in the bar, to which Clarence strongly responds, "No, I didn't have a drink!"

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