Mixed reactions to "It's a Wonderful Life" sequel in Seneca Falls

For years, neighbors in Seneca Falls have thought the town of Bedford Falls, the setting of the Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life, seemed familiar. The movie is set in an riverside town in Upstate New York, and the "Water Street bridge" is unquestionably similar to the bridge just off Water Street in downtown Seneca Falls, and in the mid-1990's, a local barber revealed that director Frank Capra was visiting a relative in nearby Auburn when he stopped in Seneca Falls while writing the screenplay for a new movie: It's a Wonderful Life.

"In the original screenplay, the college that Harry goes to is identified as Cornell," said Fran Caraccilo of the It's a Wonderful Life Museum. "The studio asked Capra to take the name out."

Since then, the town has embraced it's identity as the "real" Bedford Falls, and the It's a Wonderful Life Museum draws visitors from around the globe. Every December, the town hosts a weekend of events themed like the movie and the museum is in the process of doubling in size.

"If you want to have that feeling of Christmas and that feeling of Bedford Falls, just come and enjoy it here," said Anwei Law from the It's A Wonderful Life Museum.

But fans of the holiday staple are speaking out about one Hollywood producer's plans to make a sequel. The controversial idea, though in its beginning stages, would star Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey in the original film.

"A lot of people are not happy, feeling this is a sacred bit of cinematic history," said Caraccilo.

But Caracillo and others in Seneca Falls are hopeful that the sequel will capture some of the charm from the original film.

"Why not?" said Janice Louden of Seneca Falls. "There have been a lot of successful remakes over the years."

The production companies involved, Star Partners and Hummingbird Productions, announced the sequel project on Monday. However, Paramount Pictures, which owns the rights to the original film, says it has no plans to allow another movie.

The producer is scheduled to appear during this year's annual "Wonderful Llife" celebration December 13 though 15th. Organizers hope that talk of a sequel will inspire more fans to visit. And this December, passionate fans of the film can ever get a Bedford Falls postmark on their mail at the Seneca Falls Post Office.