Niagara Gazette

November 25, 2013

CITY DESK: Gobble, gobble, get a grip

By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — They are killing me. Absolutely killing me.

First “It’s A Wonderful Life” and now the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Is nothing sacred anymore?

In case you missed it, some mean-old-Mr.-Potter types announced plans to produce a sequel to arguably one of the greatest films of all time. That’s right, somebody actually thought people would enjoy “It’s A Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story.” 

Not sure if the plan called for George Bailey to have a pistol-packing, vigilante son or what, but any attempt to top one of the great American Christmas classics surely would have gone the way of other less-than-spectacular follow-up attempts in the vain of “After Mash” or “Grease 2.” 

Some things are sacred, better left as is. “It’s A Wonderful LIfe” is certainly one of them. 

There’s no need for “The Rest of the Story” because the original is so darn good it has been watched and re-watched by most of America for decades. 

In our house, it is a Christmas-season staple, must-see viewing, right up there with that other treasured “Christmas Story,” the one with the “you’ll-shoot-your-eye-out” kid. 

I’m giving thanks already for knowing that Paramount — the studio that holds the rights to all things George Bailey and Bedford Falls — has slapped the sequel miscreants with a cease and desist order. That, coupled with the strong backlash from fans like me, appears to have pretty much derailed the worst idea for a follow-up to a classic since George Lucas unleashed those heinous Star Wars prequels on an unsuspecting population of nerds. 

While “Hot Dog!” Bailey may be preserved for future generations, there’s trouble a brewing in New York City as America prepares for its annual late-November feast of Turkey, football and parading. 

First came the South Dakota ranchers who were upset with the decision to place rocker, vegetarian and animal rights activist Joan Jett on the state’s float. South Dakotans do so love their beef don’t you know. 

Then came word late last week that animal rights activists, led by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, plan to bring attention to the plight of whales living in captivity at SeaWorld by, you guessed it, protesting a float promoting SeaWorld. 

Not sure if it will be there this year or not, but I seem to recall a float of a giant turkey with flapping wings in previous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades.

Seems to make sense, under the circumstances.

But when you stop to consider all the feathered birds that will be sacrificed in the name of good eats on Thursday, one can’t help but wonder if the PETA folks may be tempted to lie down on the New York City pavement in an all-out effort to stop Tom the Turkey from floating down the line.  

I’m an animal person and certainly don’t like to see any of living thing mistreated or worse. 

I do, however, believe in a general standard of “time and place.” 

It’s Thanksgiving — one of the most relaxing holidays of the year. The parade and all of its oversized balloons and gaudy floats and second-rate acts usually accompanying them are all part of the experience.

Seriously, where else are you going to see the guys from “Duck Dynasty,” those freaky Cirque du Soleil people, the cast of “Sesame Street” and a giant Spongebob Squarepants balloon all in the same place in a span of about four hours? Entertainment thy name is Macy’s.  

Let’s save the whales and fight over the benefits and disadvantages of beef for another day. 

It’s a parade, people. A holiday too. 

Gobble, gobble, gobble ... get a grip. 

Contact City Editor Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250.

Contact City Editor Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250.