Merry Christmas! Sit down and watch a mostly forgotten christmas cookie of a film that most people couldn’t view on television from the late 80s until just a couple of years ago. Why I’m talking about It Happened on 5th Avenue, a saccharine sweet confection of a film that couldn’t offend anyone if it tried. This isn’t quite treacle on the levels of White Christmas or It Happened on 34th Street, but this is a hopeful, comedic slice of life where Victor Moore plays the homeless Aloysius T. McKeever, who winters from December to March in the house of the second richest man in the world Michael J. O’Connor, played expertly and somewhat stuffily by Charles Ruggles, one of our favorite actors ever. Along the way McKeever picks up a couple of homeless families and the luckless Jim Bullock (a wonderfully funny Don DeFore), who catches the eye of Trudy O’Connor, played by Gale Storm, who discovers our squatters, but think so little of her father that she befriends them and aids them in staying in her house without them knowing who she really is.
Dan DeFore and Gale Storm add a lovely romantic tone to this movie, and we here at The Bedroom think that it’s high time to add It Happened on 5th Avenue to your regular Christmas rotation. This is a fine film that while somewhat loaded with some heavy topics (homelessness, poverty, unemployment, and the treatment of war veterans returning from WWII), never sinks into the mire of drama, preferring to remain an optimistic comedy even though some of our characters are dealing with some life altering events. So stick an unfortunate man in a Santa costume and give him your mansion! After all, you might just learn to love life again…after you find It Happened on 5th Avenue.