From 1962 till his sudden death in 1985 Frazier Thomas hosted “Family Classics” on Sunday afternoons on WGN-TV, Channel 9, Chicago. It became a Chicagoland tradition to watch these films on those cold, gray, dark winter Sunday afternoons until we kids knew these movies by heart. These films became old friends to any kid that grew up in the 1960′s or 1970′s in Chicagoland. If I remember right, Family Classics aired on Sunday late afternoon, cleverly timed to safely occupy the kids while Mom got Sunday supper ready for the family.
Frazier Thomas personally picked and edited the movies to be shown on Family Classics to insure they were safe for children to watch. But this did not mean the films were dumbed down, and adults enjoyed them too. Even if you did not grow up watching Family Classics, this is an excellent list for any parent today who is looking for DVD’s to rent or buy for their whole family to enjoy.
It is amazing how our memories fade over time. This list took the efforts of myself, and friends C. Bernard Doyle and the members of The Hoosier Brain Trust to put together. I know the movies on Family Classics changed over time so this list represents the titles that were shown from 1962 till about 1973. Titles marked with an asterisk * were suggested by readers of my old weblog. Many thanks to all who suggested titles and shared your memories.
This list is very old, it has been moved around as I have changed blogs over the last 20 years. At one time, years ago, it was copied and used by someone (without acknowledgement) on Wikipedia.
The list may still not be complete and if you have any questions, comments, additions or deletions please post a comment below.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
The 39 Steps (1959, Dir. Ralph Thomas, Starring Kenneth More)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938)
The Black Shield of Falworth (Tony Curtis) (based on the book “Men of Iron” available for free)
The Canterville Ghost*
Captains Courageous (1937)
Charge of the Light Brigade
A Christmas Carol (Reginald Owen)
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court* (1949) (Bing Crosby)
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Hans Christian Anderson*
Heidi (Shirley Temple)
John Paul Jones (1959) (Robert Stack)
Journey to the Center of the Earth
The Jungle Book (1942)
King of Khyber Rifles
Lassie Come Home (1943)
The Little Princess (Shirley Temple)
Lloyd’s of London
The Lost World
The Mark of Zorro (1940) (Tyrone Power)
Miracle on 34th Street*
My Friend Flicka
A Night to Remember
The Prince and the Pauper
Robin Hood (1938)
Sink the Bismarck
The Song of Bernadette*
Stanley and Livingstone
The Story of Louis Pasteur (1935) Starring Paul Muni.
The Time Machine (1960) (Directed George Pal)
Tobor the Great
Treasure Island (1934) (Wallace Berry and Jackie Cooper)
Union Pacific* (1939)
When Worlds Collide* (1951)
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Young Tom Edison* (1940) (Mickey Rooney)
Update: 9 May 2011 – added 3 more titles to the movie list, King of the Khyber Rifles, Lloyd’s of London and Stanley and Livingstone.
Feel free to below and tell us about your Family Classics memories and favorite movies.
The terms “WGN-TV”, “Family Classics with Frazier Thomas” and “Family Classics” might be Trademarked, no infringement or claim is intended by me, by their use.
See also my Classic World War II Movie List.