Monday, December 21, 2015

It's a Wonderful Podcast: The Collector's Edition

So, December 14 wasn't what I expected it to be.

I was minding my own business and noticed on Facebook that I had a new friend request. I checked it and found out that it was a guy named Richard Goodson.

As a "Lifer" (fan of It's a Wonderful Life), this is a very well-known name. It's also one of those names and people who seem like they are inaccessible. I have know who he is for years, but it never dawned on me to contact him because I'm me and he is him.....seemingly untouchable.

So who is he? Only one of the biggest collectors of It's a Wonderful Life memorabilia. While my collection includes store-bought village pieces, Christmas tree decorations, lots of angels and LOTS of bells, Goodson collects the less commercial, more meaningful, ephemeral stuff. For example, he has two sets of earrings that Gloria Grahame (Violet) wore in the film. He recently collected photos of Jean Gale (who played young Mary Hatch) as a child. He even has checks written by Marian Carr, who played Jane Wainwright, an uncredited role. His collection is so extensive, here are a few pictures because my words can't do it justice:

Impressive, right? That's not even half of it.

Anyway, Goodson provides photos for authors, as well. He takes his display around to festivals and events and hangs out with Karolyn Grimes (Zuzu) on a regular basis.

So I'm not stupid. I accepted the friend request. Almost immediately, he starts up a chat with me. Okay, I'll bite. He starts talking about how he has stories he wants to tell me. And suddenly I get an idea.

I have this blog, see. And at work, I co-host a podcast about prevention. Prevention of what you ask? Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, gambling, destructive behaviors, mental health issues, suicide. Basically, if it hurts you, we work to prevent it and help people through it when they find themselves fighting against it.

Our podcast began in September and we worked diligently (and successfully) to fight the commercialization of marijuana in Ohio in November. We have run a number of episodes about the opiate epidemic, as well as episodes about distracted driving and other issues. The plan was to record and post an episode about the Parents Who Host Lose the Most campaign, which warns parents of the dangers and consequences of hosting an underage party and serving alcohol this week before our office closed for a two-week holiday break. That fell through and there wasn't Plan B.

But I had an idea. I have read multiple stories about how It's a Wonderful Life has prevented others from attempting suicide. I have read other stories about judges making it required viewing while sentencing criminals. I wrote about suicide extensively during the A-Z Blogging Challenge in April.

It's a Wonderful Life is a passion of mine (if you hadn't guessed). It's timely for the holiday, and it was on-topic for work! So within 10 minutes of meeting Mr. Goodson on Facebook, I was asking him to record a podcast with me. To my surprise, he was open to it, and within 45 minutes of meeting him, we were recording.

Unfortunately, due to timing and illness and out-of-town meetings, we were unable to augment this podcast with commentary from a suicide prevention specialist or psychologist, so we couldn't use it as a holiday special. However, my boss was willing to allow me to post it on my blog, so here it is.

Mr. Goodson and I talked about a lot more than what was captured on audio. I hope Mr. Goodson and I can continue our discussions and share more stories as time goes on. Thank you Mr. Goodson, for reaching out to me and for sharing your collection and knowledge with the world.

I'll stop typing now and let you listen to the podcast, which consists of a discussion between two passionate collectors of IAWL memorabilia. I hope you enjoy.

I've mentioned it before and I'll say it again: TALK to somebody. People like Potter are in the vast minority. Someone out there can help you. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Life can be hard but it's worth fighting for. So FIGHT!

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