WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Donna Reed charmed Jimmy Stewart — as well as moviegoers around the world — in the 1946 Christmas classic: "It's a Wonderful Life." On Sunday, her youngest child will bring that same charm to a screening of the film, in Washington Heights.
Reed's daughter, Mary Anne Owen, will introduce the special screening at the United Palace of Cultural Arts.
Owen's appearance came thanks to another happy coincidence in Washington Heights recently. One of the UPCA's greeters ran into a friend of Owens' who had attended a "Casablanca" screening at the theater the night before.
Tina Ritter, who worked in Coogan's pub and had worked the door at the movie screening on Nov. 17, said Owens' friend was so moved by the grandeur of the movie theater, she asked Ritter "if they were doing a Christmas movie."
When Ritter said they weren't planning to, the woman added, "I'm friends with Mary Owen' and she gave me her phone number," Ritter said.
UPCA program director Mike Fitleson said the whole idea was a wonderful coincidence that would have made Donna Reed's character in the movie proud.
"It was just this wonderful moment of everything coming together," Fitleson said.
In addition to the film screening, Fitelson said that carolers would be on hand at the theater to lead a group sing-along. In addition, Fitleson promised guests further surprises.
Door will open for the event at 5 p.m. Sunday, with the screening beginning one hour later. Tickets to the screening can be purchased for $10 online at the UPCA's website or for $15 at the door. Guests that show a valid AARP membership card will recieve free admission. The UPCA is also running a toy drive and asking guests to donate new, unwrapped toys.