"Bedford Falls Village" Collection
Shipman's rare collection of the '93-'94 issued Cape Craftsman
"Bedford Falls Village," displayed just how they
appeared in the IAWL film.
are some pictures of my
Bedford Falls Village from the Cape Craftsman Collection. They were
only made in 1993 & 1994 a fact I was not aware of when I first
saw and fell in love with the collection. They are all larger than
the more common small villages I had seen previously.
My son was stationed in Pearl Harbor and his wife, Cinthia, had
to have emergency surgery so I went to take care of their 4 month
old baby for a few weeks, in December 1993. After she had recuperated
we saw a "Welcome Home" Store that looked interesting
so we went in. There was a large area filled with "It's a Wonderful
Life Items" including some buildings,water globes, afghans,
and assorted other items. The buildings were so beautiful I knew
I would start collecting them when I got back to Illinois. Little
did I know they were not available here. However, I never forgot
them and just hoped somehow, someday I would find them. We had been
watching the "It's A Wonderful Life" video for a number
of years and I just loved it. (In fact, I think when people get
a marriage license they should be immediately ushered into a room
where they MUST watch the IAWL film - then if they still want to
get married - that's great!)
About 2 years passed and my son was stationed in Monterey, Ca.,
and I got an exciting, unexpected phone call from Cinthia. She said
"Mom, you've got to come out here - I've found your Village!"
Sure enough we went out to visit them and we bought 1 of each building,
explaining to the clerk how I came to know about them, and she told
us that the company only made them in '93 and '94! I shipped them
to Illinois and immediately called the company in North Carolina
that originally distributed them, and purchased as much of the remaining
buildings, characters, trees, fences, water globes, etc. They were
so accomodating and advised me to keep watch and some of the pieces
I still needed might be found on Ebay. At that time, I didn't know
what Ebay was and didn't own a computer! But I never gave up on
the missing pieces.
Later my daughter gave me a computer (July, 2000) and I began to
search Ebay. Little by little I found pieces including the Bedford
Falls Church which I had never seen! Now I have only the "Bedford
Falls Library" to find and I believe my set will be complete!
I have also purchased some pictures, various books, a cookbook and
some posters. You will notice the large one in front of my display.
Once I had my buildings, they question was - how and where can I
display them??? They we came up with the idea of laying the top
of my grand piano downand covering it with a flat white sheet. Then
we bought a sheet of foam insulation (4X8) and Ron (my hubby) trimmed
it up a bit, and covered the area with a sparkling snow blanket
and started setting the Village up. We tried to tell by the movie
exactly where the buildings were in relation to each other but were
not sure on some of them. He managed to wire them so one switch
turns the whole City on and we are so proud of our efforts!
Karolyn, we live in a town of 1,000 or less people and I do believe
my Village was the most exciting thing that happened this Holiday
Season! I'm the "Mary Kay Lady" here so I know most of
the town and they have followed my dream of securing all the Cape
Craftsman buildings. It gave me so much pleasure for people to stop
in and look because they, too, love the film! I don't plan to take
it down for awhile yet and hope someday to have a permanent display
that's open all year long!
I still have the dream of attending the "Donna Reed" Festival
held in Iowa every June. It would only be an 8 or 9 hour drive so
perhaps when my husband retires, we'll get all the info and go check
I trust this hasn't been too lengthy but I wanted you to know how
much I appreciate your book and what an inspiration you are to me
and others! Let me know what you think of my "Bedford Falls"
and if you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them. I'm
trusting you will recognize the buildings but if not - I'll identify
Thanks again for all your help. Perhaps we'll get to see each other
face to face sometime!