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Wonderful Living

Some of the stuff we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

A Wonderful Flick

Holiday chestnut It’s a Wonderful Life debuted 75 years ago, and it was kind of a flop.

Reviews were frosty after the film’s premiere, December 20, 1946, at New York’s Globe Theatre, and it bombed at the box office.

After that, it was mostly unknown except among film buffs.

But its reputation grew throughout the 1970s as it appeared on American cable TV, and it really took off when copyright was allowed to lapse in 1974 and channels could air it for free.

You’ll have seemingly endless opportunities this month to revisit George Bailey’s struggles with his sense of failure only to find—SPOILER ALERT—boundless joy on Christmas Eve.


Worth Repeating

“Look, Daddy. Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

— Zuzu Bailey 


“I never applied to be an astronaut,” Vanessa Wyche said in a July interview with Texas Standard. “I have been hooked on being able to put experiments in space and to fly people in space. That’s what I get my joy from.”

True Trekker

As a little girl, Vanessa Wyche watched Nichelle Nichols portray Lt. Nyota Uhura in Star Trek. “I got inspiration by seeing someone on a TV screen that looked like me, that made me think that I could do that,” Wyche said in a July interview with Texas Standard.

Wyche, director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston since June, is the first Black woman to lead a NASA center. The multidecade veteran of the space agency prioritizes safety and inclusivity in her leadership.

“Part of [leading a team] may be understanding that diversity of thought and personnel is very important for us to bring everything to bear,” she said.


Be Enlightened

If every American replaced one incandescent lightbulb with an LED, we would save about $600 million in annual energy costs and stop 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That’s enough to power 3 million homes and roughly the amount of gas produced by 800,000 cars in a year.


During the Civil War, before she founded the American Red Cross, Clara Barton risked her life to bring supplies and support to soldiers in the field.

Print Collector | Getty Images

A Red-Letter Day

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was born 200 years ago this month.

The Red Cross, started in 1881, was largely devoted to disaster relief for its first 20 years. Barton participated in her last relief mission in September 1900, when, at the age of 78, she distributed financial assistance and supplies to survivors of the deadly hurricane and tidal wave that struck Galveston.

Barton was born December 25, 1821, in Massachusetts.


Covering Co-ops

50 years ago: Texas Co-op Power reminded readers in the December 1971 issue that the second edition of its Typically Texas cookbook would make a perfect holiday gift.

25 years ago: TCP visited the Texas towns that twinkle for the holidays in December 1996.

Oilers’ Adieu

The Oilers played their final game in Houston 25 years ago—before owner Bud Adams moved the franchise to Tennessee. The Oilers lost that game December 15, 1996, at the Astrodome, 21-13, to Cincinnati.

The team continued to be called the Oilers for two seasons in Tennessee before being renamed the Titans.


50 Years Ago

The Crock-Pot made its way into American kitchens, as did Hamburger Helper, in 1971.

The Rothko Chapel, designed by abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko and a string of architects, opened in 1971 in Houston.