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Harry Bailey's wonderful football life

George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart, center) is reunited with

George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart, center) is reunited with his wife, (Donna Reed, left center) and their children during the final scene of Frank Capra's 1946 movie, "It's A Wonderful Life." Credit: Handout

As you know, thanks to George Bailey’s quick thinking on a frozen lake back in 1919, his younger brother Harry went on to become an All-America end in college and later a war hero.

As you likely did not know, the original script for “It’s a Wonderful Life’’ had Harry (and Sam Wainwright) attend Cornell, until RKO lawyers ordered the reference changed to a generic college.

Still, this got me wondering how good Harry really was. While statistics for fictional players from more than 80 years ago are difficult to come by, circumstantial evidence suggests he must have been very productive indeed.

After graduating Bedford Falls High in 1928, Harry would have been a sophomore in 1929, when the Big Red went from 3-3-2 the previous season to the first of back-to-back 6-2 finishes.

In 1931, Harry’s senior season as (presumably) a two-way end, Cornell went 7-1, outscoring its opponents in the seven victories by 239-6. Only a 14-0 loss to Dartmouth marred an otherwise wonderful season.

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