Dr. Onalee McGraw


In 1947, I was a seven-year-old little girl, watching It’s a Wonderful Life in the Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo, California.  The images from the scenes of that film stayed with me until the next time I saw it in 1964, during the first year of my marriage to my dear late husband, Bill.


The love of these films and the lessons they teach would later bring about the start of my non-profit, Educational Guidance Institute, where we are passionate about helping instructors use classic film to present universal truths to today’s youth by teaching: Character, Virtue, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

The lessons of these films apply to youth of every background.  Our program history attests to this as it includes public school classrooms, after-school programs, special events in detention homes, pilots for college students and young adult groups, and parent-teen events in communities and churches.


2014 was Turner Classic Movies’ 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.  This mission and love for this work lead me to have the great privilege to introduce one of my favorite films, 12 Angry Men, with the late and great Robert Osborne on Turner Classic Movies!  During my interview with Robert, we discussed the theme of justice portrayed in the film.

Fast forward to November 2019. I made the journey up from Front Royal, VA to Indiana, PA visit the Jimmy Stewart Museum.  I had the honor of presenting one of my study guides “The Films of Jimmy Stewart: The Uncommon Common Man” to the Executive Director, Janie.  We talked about Jimmy and the powerful messages of the value of life that are displayed in It’s a Wonderful Life, the film that has been with me through all these years.


Time and again, the great classic films of Hollywood’s Golden Age have proven relevant to the generation of today, for they depict enduring values and truths of human nature that are timeless.  These stories touch the deepest longing of the heart and elevate the soul.