One of my favorite childhood memories was a weekly television series in my home town of Chicago called Family Classics, hosted by local children’s TV star Frazier Thomas. My family watched it together each week, and that made it extra special. It was the beginning of my interest in old movies.
I thought of that series when I heard that Turner Classic Movies has announced Essentials Jr., a family-friendly companion piece to its superb “Essentials” series of classic films. Starting just as school lets out for the summer, this is a wonderful opportunity for families to sit down together with Blackberrys, iPods, cell phones and everything else turned off and enjoy the films together.
TCM Essentials Jr. will offer parents the perfect opportunity to introduce their kids to such classics as National Velvet (1944 – airing June 1), The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963 – June 15), Harvey (1950 – June 29) and Meet Me in St. Louis (1944 – July 13). The new showcase demonstrates TCM’s ongoing commitment to cultivating the next generation of classic movie fans. Like the network’s popular Essentials franchise, TCM Essentials Jr. will provide background on the movies and what makes them a must-see for people of all ages.
It is co-hosted by Chris O’Donnell (“Scent of a Woman”) and Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Nim’s Island”), who both appear in the new film, “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.”
It opens tonight with one of my very favorite films for families, “National Velvet,” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney. Enjoy!