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Guardian angel's tour

Mary Owen introducing film
Mary Owen (at bottom of photo) introduces a screening of It's a Wonderful Life -Julie Gold photo

Donna Reed's daughter becomes guardian angel of her mother's film.

For the past 15 years Donna Reed's daughter, Mary Owen, has been introducing screenings of It's a Wonderful Life in small independent theaters.

It's become a tradition she enjoys; especially seeing the enthusiasm of the various audiences and their relationship to the film.

"I love seeing how audiences change every year and they are getting younger, especially in New York City," said Owen. "It's also a way to celebrate the holidays, in a strange way, with Mom."

This year's appearances have included:

Dec. 2 - Penn Theatre in Plymouth, MI for a sold-out showing where, previously, over 200 fans had rallied to protest Fathom Events' takeover of the film, denying small theaters from screening the film during December. Read the story.

Dec. 9 &10 - It's a Wonderful Life Festival in Seneca Falls, NY as they celebrated the 76th anniversary of the film's release. She participated in a time capsule ceremony; did a presentation with the local Suicide Prevention group using an episode of The Donna Reed Show; participated in a reenactment of Frank Capra's special dinner and screening he held at the Ambassador Hotel in 1946 for his Hollywood friends; accepted an award on behalf of her mom from the International Mensch Foundation; and introduced screenings of two additional episodes of The Donna Reed Show.

Dec 12-16 - IFC Center in New York City to introduce four screenings of the film. This is where her tradition began while living in New York City.

Dec. 17-18 and 21-22 - FilmScene at The Chauncey in Iowa City for four screenings of the film. Owen now resides in Iowa City, moving here two years ago to coordinate the 100th anniversary of her mother's birth.


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