WGN’s “Family Classics” with Frazier Thomas

Frazier ThomasWhen I was growing up in Oglesby, Illinois in the late 60s and early 70s, late Sunday afternoons (at least from September-May) were reserved for Family Classics, a weekly movie program hosted by Frazier Thomas on WGN-TV Channel 9 out of Chicago.

It became a Chicago-land tradition (and also for those of us just outside of the city in the early days of cable TV) to watch these films on those cold, gray, fall and winter Sunday afternoons until we knew these movies by heart (most of the same films were shown every year). To be sure these films became old friends to any child sitting down in from of the television set and watching Family Classics every Sunday.

Frazier Thomas personally picked and edited the movies to be shown on Family Classics to insure they were safe for children to watch, but the films—many classic Hollywood productions—were equally enjoyable for adults. As host of the show, Thomas introduced each week’s film with a short commentary, and then, during commercial breaks provided additional commentary and getting us ready for the exciting climax/conclusion.

The show, which ran from 1962 until 2000 (Frazier Thomas was the host until his sudden death in 1985) was noted for many of its classic and family oriented Hollywood movies from The Adventures of Robin Hood and Lassie Come Home to holiday favorites like Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Carol.You know, life seemed simpler and more innocent back then if you were a child growing up—even though it was a turbulent time in America. Many of the movies shown fueled our imaginations and gave us celluloid heroes to admire from fictional ones like Robin Hood and Huckleberry Finn to real life heroes like Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Graham Bell. Some films like Sink the Bismarck! and Yellow Jack (a film about the doctors who tried to eradicate Yellow Fever in Cuba) taught us about history and other heroes. However, what I think these movies instilled in us—at least what they instilled in me was this whole notion of a simpler time. It was a time when kids could still just be kids.

So, yeah I am waxing a little nostalgic today and thinking about one of the films that I remember watching on Family Classics so many years ago, Mysterious Island.

This is a splendid adventure story adapted freely from the Jules Verne novel. A group of union soldiers in a Confederate prison hijack a weather balloon during a storm, which, due to some very strange climatic conditions, takes them across the United States and over half the Pacific ocean. Miraculously, they land on an island, where they soon encounter, among other things, a giant crab, bees the size of cows, and a smoking volcano as well as another Jules Verne character Captain Nemo (played by a young Herbert Lom).

Mysterious Island

The story is too good to give away, and much of the pleasure of the film is the way it unfolds, chapter by chapter, as it were, without seeming episodic or forced. Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion creatures are breathtaking, and movie is overall beautiful to see, very imaginative, managing to walk a fine line between the fantastic and the realistic, with just enough artifice in some of the exterior shots to make it seem larger than life, but not so much as to come off as contrived. Director Cy Enfield deserves his share of credit for keeping the focus on the story, not the special effects, and maintaining a deliberate pace with veteran actors like Gary Merrill.

It was the perfect film to be shown on Family Classics and one that you looked forward to seeing again and again.

And that’s exactly what I intend on doing today—watching Mysterious Island.

Cue the theme music now…

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80 Responses to “WGN’s “Family Classics” with Frazier Thomas”

  1. Jim August 13, 2008 at 10:36 pm # Reply

    What was the theme song to family classics?

  2. Scott Gallatin August 17, 2008 at 3:06 pm # Reply

    Is there a list somewhere of all the movies that were played on “Family Classics?

  3. Carl October 15, 2008 at 8:23 pm # Reply

    Found the opening theme to “Family Classics”

    http://www.toontracker.com/kidra/kidra.htm

    • smokie March 3, 2009 at 7:20 am # Reply

      about the theme to family classics,do you have any idea who wrote it?

      • Jeffrey March 3, 2009 at 7:46 am # Reply

        Thanks for your comments, Smokie. I have no idea who wrote the theme song but it is one of those themes, that if you grew up watching Family Classics and listening to that theme, it is hard to get out of your mind.

        Thanks again for your comments.

  4. Bryan November 4, 2008 at 9:07 pm # Reply

    there used to be another version of a chistmas carol that used to be played on family classics. I think it may have been called just Schrooge . there was a particular scene where Bob Crachet is throwing snow ball back at these kids that are throwing snow ball at him . and then he start to show these kids how to make snowballs better then one of the kids tells him someone is coming . so Bob Crachet gets ready to throw the snowball and when the person gets there he throws the snowball and knocks the person’s hat . the person turn out to be Mr.Scrooge and then the hat get ran over by a horse carriage bugy after that Schrooge demanded that Crachet pay Schrooge for the hat . that after wards Crachet is walking down the sidewalk sad. there is smeone walking in front of him carrying a turkey or some type of a bird home for dinner. Crachet is lookin at the bird then all of sudden he starts to smile as if he was getiing in to the christmas spirit . then he start saying merry chritmas to everyone and laughing. does anyone remember that version of a christmas carol. like i said it maybe called schrooge. anyway i wanted to know where i could find it. I sick of seeing the other one they show every year with: Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison, i think that one was made in 1950 . not thato don’t like it i just get sick of seein that version.

  5. Mark December 16, 2008 at 11:59 pm # Reply

    My #1 movie on Family classics was Snowfire…anyone remember that one..

  6. Mark December 17, 2008 at 12:00 am # Reply

    Anyone remember the movie Snowfire…

  7. Jeff December 17, 2008 at 1:55 am # Reply

    You’re looking for the 1938 “A Christmas Carol” with Reginald Owen as Scrooge, which was the version Frazier Thomas showed on “Family Classics.”

  8. Richard February 24, 2009 at 3:44 am # Reply

    Some of you posted asking about the movie Snowfire. I grew up watching Frazier Thomas until I moved out of state in 73. I still miss that show. At any rate I am trying to remember what that movie is about. Could someone post a quick synopsis, please.

  9. Dave March 5, 2009 at 7:57 pm # Reply

    Try this for a quick list
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Classics

  10. Deirdre March 8, 2009 at 1:17 pm # Reply

    We watched these every Sunday growing up in Elmhurst…any one remember a strange one about a ghost who died behind a brick wall (ala Poe style)? Strangely enough, it was a comedy.

  11. Artinchicago March 11, 2009 at 8:55 pm # Reply

    The 1960s would have been the golden years of television, had it not been for that terrible announcement during Bozo on November 22nd, 1963, by Walter Cronkite. Only through the efforts of great men like Frazier Thomas, Ned Locke and Ray Rayner were we, the last of the baby-boomers saved for another half of a decade. These men would give us good advice, and make us feel like someone cared. Once the liberals took over the networks, nothing would remain sacred. I still remember Frazier Thomas reminding us to” tell our parents to take us to Church or Temple over the weekend”, at the end of Garfield Goose on Friday afternoon. May God rest their souls, and may we never forget their love and good advice.

  12. Duane March 19, 2009 at 2:54 am # Reply

    Does anyone know if WGN is going to release any DVD’s of these shows? It would be a real shame if they didn’t!!

  13. RW March 22, 2009 at 10:32 pm # Reply

    @Duane: many boomers from the era have asked WGN this question. The deal is that the original tapes were taped-over, and the family owns the rights. Whatever we remember of Fraze et al exists only in our heads.

    I was a very sick little boy when Frazier Thomas and his invention kept up my spirits, and love everything about him. I wish I could reproduce it all. I’ve searched the web forever.

  14. Jeffrey March 23, 2009 at 8:28 am # Reply

    I appreciate all the comments on Family Classics. It is amazing how many people remember this show and the memories they have watching it. Sunday afternoons were always a special time for us kids back in the 60s and 70s when we would watch this show. In a way, it carries us all back to a time of innocence in our lives even though the 60s and 70s were a turbulent time in America. Thank you again for all your comments. It just shows how important Family Classics was to us all.

  15. rich April 25, 2009 at 6:53 am # Reply

    Great memories, for sure.

    I believe I read somewhere that the Family Classics theme came from a stock music library…possibly music from the BBC library if memory serves me.

    One of my favorite childhood Family Classic selections was “Tobor the Great,” a 1950s-era robot movie. “Tobor” was “robot” spelled backwards. It’s now on DVD if anyone shares my nostalgia for that particular movie.

    On another note, when Frazier Thomas was doing Garfield Goose (oh how I wished I had some unusual hobby that would allow me to appear on the “Hobby Corner” segment back then), I wrote and requested an autograph. A few days later I got a nice color postcard with Frazier’s autograph on the back. Long ago lost of course, as is often the case with childhood memorabilia.

    Nice to share the memories with you guys…

  16. Timmer April 25, 2009 at 6:40 pm # Reply

    I no longer live in Chicago, the Air Force took me ’round the world and we settled in Boise. Trying to explain to my wife how wonderful WGN was growing up in the 60s and 70s is difficult. Explaining Ray Rayner and Fraser Thomas is difficult at best. They even sound weird coming out of my mouth these days.

    But how lucky we were! Ray every morning doing the weather and traffic, the whole family in the room at one time or another. My Gramma lived with us and LOVED Garfield Goose. She’d yell “Hotdogs, Hamburgers, Spaghettie and Meatballs” to wake up the dog with me.

    Thanks for the memories.

  17. Scott April 29, 2009 at 8:38 pm # Reply

    RW,

    Thanks a million for the Family Classics theme song .mp3 file; I’ve been looking for it for a long time! Now, if I can only find the name so I can look for the entire piece.

  18. Howard Berry April 30, 2009 at 10:38 pm # Reply

    Hello all – I’m amazed at how many people have remarked on the theme music used to Family Classics. I live the UK and had never heard of the show until very recently when I received an email from an American man who was so enamoured with the theme that he decided to track down the details regarding who wrote it.

    The piece of music is called “Moviescope” and is a piece of what is known as ‘library music’ – music written and then catalogued with a number of descriptive tags so that someone can pick it out from the catalogue and already have a general idea of what they will hear. It’s accessible and cheap to use and so that’s probably why library music is popular for television soundtracks. Moviescope is from the Berry/Conroy label, library number BM-292, and is most certainly out of print.

    However, my main reason for writing here is because it was written by my grandfather – Dennis Alfred Berry. He was a self-taught composer who originally worked as a floor sweeper at music publishers Boosey & Hawkes. At the height of his career he was the head of the entire Peer-Southern Music library and often wrote and published his own library music – just like Moviescope. Some other music he has written has found its way into television, and you can hear it in shows such as Spongebob Squarepants, The Osbournes and even in-hotel resort videos at Disneyland.

    I’m so thrilled that my grandfather’s music has brought you all so many happy memories and I hope that you found what I’ve said interesting.

    • Jeffrey May 1, 2009 at 2:20 am # Reply

      I think it is amazing how so many people remember Family Classics and the theme music. It has been really nice reading all the comments here about the show and what it means to so many people. Thank you all for commenting.

  19. Deb May 5, 2009 at 1:54 am # Reply

    The theme song from family classics haunted me for 30 years. I wondered what it was. I even sang it to my music theory professor in college to see if she recognized it. I thought maybe it came for the opera repertoire or something, but no. NOW I know! Thanks

  20. cinda June 5, 2009 at 1:03 am # Reply

    please help this is driving me crazy…does anyone remember an animated movie shown yr after her…all I really remember is that I think the main character was a grasshopper or some kind of insect and the only other thing I remember is something about rain….don’t know if I imagined this or if it truly was a movie…if you can give me info thanks in advance

  21. anthony June 13, 2009 at 7:20 pm # Reply

    Wow!
    Those were the days, I sure miss going to my grandparents and can’t wait for Family Classics to come on. All my brothers and sisters and cousins would get around the TV and watch.
    Loved all the movies!! Thank you for the memories

  22. Bonnie Hady June 29, 2009 at 8:01 pm # Reply

    I think you are thinking of “Hoppity Goes to Town”. That movie was by the Fleischer brothers, who also did “Popeye” and “Gulliver’s Travels”.

  23. melinda July 10, 2009 at 2:29 am # Reply

    Born in 76 and Frazier Thomas is a HUGE part of my early memories. Yes, cuddling up in a homemade afghan on a dreary Sunday afternoon to watch him after church was tradition. He warmed my soul then and I never knew everyone else felt the same way until I started searching the internet. I was sad when he passed and felt like I had lost a piece of me though I was only 9. I relied on routine I guess and it just wasn’t the same for me on Sunday after that. I wonder if he could have ever guessed at the heritage he left behind in all his viewers. I can’t even leave my children alone with the TV now for fear of commercials. I’m so thankful to have been born in a time when innocence was still celebrated. Thank you Frazier Thomas.

  24. Edna July 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm # Reply

    I grew up with Frazier Thomas and all his movies were a treat to watch and wholesome, and when I came on this web site to look for a movie there were some comments already there. I am looking for the movie snowfire for my sister who seen this movie when she was a child and asked if I can look for it, if there is anyone with this movie that can help me please contact me. thank you

  25. Mary July 16, 2009 at 9:58 pm # Reply

    Does anyone have the movie Snowfire? I want a copy of this movie to share with my daughter. It was such a feel good movie.

  26. Dave July 20, 2009 at 7:06 pm # Reply

    has anyone identified the song used for theme of “Family Classics” with host Frazier Thomas? Or whether it was written for the show?

    • Jeffrey July 21, 2009 at 5:29 am # Reply

      Dave, scroll down the comments and you will see a post written by one of the family members of the man who wrote the theme music as well as a link to hear it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Jeffrey

  27. Catie August 4, 2009 at 2:50 am # Reply

    I was born in 1964 & remember watching “Family Classics” from the time I was about 5. My father would build this roaring fire on Sunday afternoons and as I got older, would share some “Mogen David” or Blackberry Brandy with us while we watched good old Frazier. Even as I got older friends would come over and watch with us too or I’d be watching at their house. I went to college in the Fall of 82 & watched at Christmas (always Christmas Carol) & Easter (Song of Bernadette) when I was home. A friend I worked with at Strack’s in Schererville had me video tape it so I could send to him in Korea as there was a contingent of people from the Chicago area who missed the show as well.
    It makes me sad though that kids today won’t have the memories that obviously so many of us today cherish, even if we complained about having to watch every single Sunday.
    Sometimes when I’m stressed the music pops into my head as well. Glad to see I’m not the only one.

  28. Rick August 10, 2009 at 11:08 am # Reply

    I have been searching for a title and composer of the Family Classics theme song for years. It has driven me, and several of my siblings mad for a long, long, time. I hear that song, and instantly, I’m thrown back to a Sunday afternoon, deep into Autumn, in which my brother and I are in my parents living room (occasionally, my older sister would join us) watching the show. The music would start, the credits would roll, and then there was Frazier in his “film library.” He would pull a volume from a shelf, and then begin to tell us about that afternoon’s film presentation. I may have the sequence of the show’s opening wrong, but that’s how I remember it; and it is fond to recall, and is a strangely comforting memory. The power of music amazes me. The theme song from that show is haunting and dramatic, and slightly melancholic; and has the power to stir in me many a fond childhood memory. I’m so glad (relieved) to finally have found out its origination. Thank you.

    Rick
    Glen Ellyn

  29. Sian August 14, 2009 at 3:53 am # Reply

    I remember Snowfire! It was a favorite of mine too. I want to see if Netflix has it. Family Classics was such a bright spot in life back then..

  30. Thom August 26, 2009 at 11:01 pm # Reply

    Many thanks, Howard Berry, for the interesting information about your very talented grandfather!

    “Moviescope” was an incredible piece of music, and simply unforgettable (you can see the proof here, after so many years). It certainly rose far above the term, “library music.”

    Here are the entries now on Wikipedia about both Family Classics and Dennis Berry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Classics

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Berry

    Also, for anyone living near Chicago or planning a visit, the Museum of Broadcast Communications has props from Family Classics as well as other popular Chicago television shows:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_Broadcast_Communications

    http://www.museum.tv

  31. Thom August 26, 2009 at 11:18 pm # Reply

    To see a nice tribute video about Frazier Thomas, go here and sign up for a free archive viewing account:

    http://archives.museum.tv

    Then search for “Frazier Thomas Highlights”

    In addition, there are lots of other great videos of your favorite Chicago TV personalities and shows.

  32. Lee August 27, 2009 at 1:14 pm # Reply

    Great musings and info, folks. I too grew up watching this beloved show. I miss those times sitting in rapt attention as swashbucklers, paupers, thieves, and historical figures help fuel my imagination and made Sundays more bearable. (Well, you know, school on Mondays, ugh!).

    There is one movie which I vaguely recall whose title I am seeking. Perhaps if I describe it someone can help. The premise, so far as I can remember, is 2 Japanese boys, who are good friends, have a falling out, then try to reunite at the end of the movie. I believe one of the children’s name was “Tomatsu”. Does this ring any bells for anyone?

    BTW the movie with the walled up character was “The Canterville Ghost”, which starred Robert Young and Charles Laughton. Made in 1944, I believe.

    • Jeffrey August 27, 2009 at 2:16 pm # Reply

      Lee,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting! That Japanese movie you referred to sounds very familiar. I recall watching this B&W Japanese one hour show on a Saturday afternoon at least once or twice about two Japanese boys–one was overweight and the other one was skinny. The overweight boy had all kinds of problems at school but was befriended by the thin boy. Well, one day the overweight boy moves away from the village and his friend is sad. However, his friend goes to see him in another village and he is doing much better.

      Thanks again for your comments.

      Jeffrey

  33. Jeffrey August 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm # Reply

    Lee,

    The film I was referring to and the one I think you were thinking about was Chibideka Monogatari (1958) also known as “Skinny and Fatty.”

    I remembered this one quite well as a child and how much that it moved me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX7k9vqtx9Y

  34. Mr Al September 30, 2009 at 8:55 am # Reply

    I grew up in southern Wisconsin, and WGN was one of the few stations we could get with our rooftop antenna. “Family Classics” was a Sunday tradition!!!I loved all the movies he showed. But now, I have a question about one of them. I need a title. The movie was British, late 50’s early 60’s, in color. It was a variation of the “Robinson Caruso” (pardon my spelling) theme with an English girl becoming shipwrecked. She thinks she is alone on a tropical island until she meets a “native” girl the same age. The movie is about their adventures and in the end, the girl is, somewhat reluctantly, rescued.

    Does anyone remember this film? I can only remember seeing it once. Which, for “Family Classics”, is rather odd. I saw it in the early 70’s, during the “classic” period. I have been racking my brain, and the internet, for the longest time trying to find it. Any help would be dearly appreciated.

    Go Cubs!!!!!!!!

  35. Harry Mudd October 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm # Reply

    Hello,

    where can i find the “Family Classics” theme song?

    thanks

  36. michael reiter November 12, 2009 at 7:34 am # Reply

    Does any one remember the movie where the earth split into two pieces…and to any one who cares most movies are already on DVD just look on the web…they are there
    I have a few already…..

    • Jeffrey November 12, 2009 at 7:53 am # Reply

      I think the movie you are referring to, at least the one I have seen is A Crack in the World.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Someone provided a link to a Wiki listing of all the Family Classics’ movies.

      Perhaps it is time for WGN to get on board and bring back this classic Sunday afternoon family program

  37. Duane H. November 15, 2009 at 12:33 am # Reply

    I grew up watching Frazier Thomas in the Chicago land area as well. I do remember the movie Snowfire and have been looking for it for quite some time. It was about a white horse. I can’t remember if it was ever ridden, which I don’t believe it was. Part of the music theme was, ” Snowfire, Snowfire, Snowfire was white as a ball of snow…” This is of course if my memory serves me correctly. I would like some help finding this movie also.

    • Jeffrey November 15, 2009 at 10:25 am # Reply

      Hey Duane,

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. It is always nice to hear from another person who grew up watching Family Classics. If you scroll through the comments you will see some links to the films that were shown on Family Classics as well as some other information about the show.

  38. Razaa November 16, 2009 at 5:02 am # Reply

    I grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin and we could get Channel 9 (WGN) via antennae. My siblings and I watched Family Classics every week. I remember Hardrock, Coco, and Joe and Suzy Snowflake on the afternoons during the week and the great movies like, “Moby Dick” and “Prince Valiant” on Family Classics each weekend. The early 60’s were turbulent and I, being an African American in a small, overwhelmingly white and sometimes hostile town, took great comfort and stability from Family Classics. I miss that simpler time and am saddened that our grandchildren have so little of substance to watch on TV. Cable has yet to produce anything as good as Family Classics. I learned so much from the films Frazier Thomas edited, including the strength to persevere. Frazier Thomas, wherever you are, know that you had an positive impact on a generation of children (and families) within the signal strength of WGN and may God bless you. Rest in Peace, Fraz.

  39. michael reiter November 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm # Reply

    Hi you may post the following with my blessing…please do so…Hi Mike,
    The theme from WGN’s Family Classics was a British”Library” piece of music called “MovieScope” by Dennis Berry. Library or catalog music is used for TV and movies and is royalty free, so TV stations or movie studios can make a one time purchase and use it whenever without paying over and over. I have tried to find the actual recording, but to no avail. Moviescope is from the Berry/Conroy label, library number BM-292, and is most certainly out of print. A few years ago, i met an old WGN engineer who actually called Roy Leonard (who hosted the show after Thomas’ death in 1985). Roy said he could not find the piece and was probably “long gone” from the WGN library. One day, someone will find it on some obscure tape or record LP, but until then…we can only hope!

    Happy Holidays!

    Take Care,
    Dan Siciliano
    e-mail
    siciliano66@yahoo.com

    It is the best i can do for you this christmas….your friend mike….

  40. michael reiter November 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm # Reply

    To here the theme music from family classics
    go to the following web site and you can here it ….
    http://wgntvclassics.50megs.com/photo4.html

    your friend mike

  41. dAs December 5, 2009 at 2:54 am # Reply

    Wow… I moved out of the Chicago area many years ago and while walking the dogs tonight on this chilly evening the ‘warm thoughts’ of being a kid watching Family Classics on our B/W tv with wonderful smells coming from the kitchen popped into my head. I had to see what I could find on the web, thanks for the information. Time to find some of those films and watch them with my kids.

    All the best,

    dAs

  42. Marion December 13, 2009 at 12:39 am # Reply

    I really miss those Sunday family classics. I would love to find where I could buy the whole collection. Its something I would love to share with my kids and grandkids. I talk about how much I miss those movies. Heidi Lassie Lassie Come Home. The Bells of Saint Mary’s. White Christmas and I could go on. Let me know where I can go to purchase these movies please I need a web site address. Thanks

    • Jeffrey December 13, 2009 at 6:51 am # Reply

      I am not sure if there is a Website that sells the entire Family Classics‘ collection; however, someone did put together a list of the movies that were shown on the program. Best bet is to buy them individually through Amazon or Barnes and Noble; might even try Netflix. However, not all the movies are available. I have been looking for Yellow Jack for years and it never made it to DVD.

  43. Richard December 13, 2009 at 4:46 pm # Reply

    Found a youtube video preview of snowfire, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogYZ-olgEaU. Also found Snowfire listed in Turner Classic Movies database, http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=90637

    I still have not found out if it is available on video yet.

  44. Patti G December 30, 2009 at 6:27 pm # Reply

    Do you know where I could find out about some of these movies that were showen on Family Classics? One that comes to mind is the Littlist Hobo.

    Any information would make me so happy.

    Thank you

    Patti G

  45. Chris O March 15, 2010 at 4:33 am # Reply

    Wow!! I cannot believe this site exists! I was just sitting here reminiscing about better times and decided to search on Family Classics with Frazier Thomas and bam! I’m here. I wish I had the opportunity to sit down with my own son to wait for Mr. Thomas to make his peaceful introduction to the upcoming movie. It was like everything stopped, like the world settled down during those few hours of the week. I still remember waiting for the Sunday paper so that I could grab the TV Guide to see what would be playing on Family Classics.

    This is utterly amazing!

    And to see the names of the pictures: Tobor the Great (my favorite), Snowfire, The Christmas Carol (the one in which Scrooge was hit with the snowball), Moby Dick, Sink The Bismark, etc!!!

    But I must admit, my memory is fuzzy when it comes to details. So if anyone can help me, I would appreciate it greatly. Was a movie called Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang ever shown on Family Classics? Also, I remember seeing a movie about a cougar. I can’t remember the name given to the cougar, but there is a scene near the end in which the cougar is being chased. The cat reaches a small canyon, and with no where to go, takes a leap. Problem is, there is a bullet in one of the cougar’s hind legs. I cannot remember if the cougar made it, but I do remember crying throughout the scene. I hope it was tears of joy. Does anyone remember if this movie was shown on Family Classics, and if so, the name of the movie?

    Wow!

  46. Patti G March 24, 2010 at 12:59 am # Reply

    Looking for the movie shown on Family Classics call The Littlest Hobo. Would Love to find it. Been looking for years.

    Thank you for any help you can offer.

    Patti G

  47. Gilbert Rodriguez April 19, 2010 at 10:51 am # Reply

    DOES ANY ONE REMEMBER THE NAME OF THE MOVIE THAT PERTAINED TO A MEXICO LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM COMING TO THE U.S. FOR THE FIRST TIME. IT WAS A BLACK AND WHITE FILM MAY BE DONE IN THE FIFTIES OR SIXTIES. I WATCHED THIS MOVIE WITH MY DAD AND BROTHERS ON “FAMILY CLASSICS”. TO THIS DAY I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE PLAY AGAIN. I AM A FATHER OF TWO BOYS AGES 12 & 13 AND I SURE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THIS MOVIE WITH THEM. I BELIEVE THE NAME WAS ” HOW LITTLE IS THE GIANT”. I’VE TRIED GOOGLE SEARCH WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS. DO ANY OF YOU REMEMBER THIS AND GUIDE ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. THANKS SO MUCH.

  48. Linda May 18, 2010 at 2:37 am # Reply

    Anyone out there remember a movie about a St. Bernard Dog rescuing a little girl that went skiing? I believe it was a Disney Movie. It was such a good movie

  49. Dan June 21, 2010 at 10:53 pm # Reply

    My original creation inspired by this classic TV series..check it out!

  50. Bill August 2, 2010 at 8:09 pm # Reply

    Even after 30+ years, the thought of the old Channel 9 and Family Classics brings a smile. Today I have over 5oo channels to watch, but would trade of all them for the old WGN…..

  51. Jeff Gerard September 2, 2010 at 8:54 am # Reply

    WGN was everything to me as a child in the 60s and 70s. Family Classics, When Movies Were Movies and Creature Features gave me an introduction to the best movies in the world — and some of the worst. And I enjoyed them equally. I can still hear the theme music and see the mock set they used for the intro to When Movies Were Movies. Family Classics memories truly warm my heart. I remember laying on the floor in suburban Bellwood, Illinois, chin in hands, engrossed in afternoon movies on cold winter afternoons.

  52. Edmonton Cub Fan September 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm # Reply

    I grew up in a small isolated northern Canadian town. We were fortunate enough to receive WGN by cable in the late 1970’s early 80’s, and this station helped me realize the world was so much larger. So WGN’s programming didn’t just have a positive impact on the Chicagoland kids, it impacted remote spots in North America. I fondly remember the Cubs, Scooby Doo on weekday afternoons, Lone Ranger and Cisco Kid Sunday mornings, Charlie Chan, Abbott and Costello,Vincent Price movies and of course Family Classics. Many a cold Sunday was spent watching Frazier’s classic shows that were always kid friendly. That Family Classics song just sticks with you, and everytime I hear it, I can’t help but smile. Plus I’m still a Cub fan after all these years. I could never get behind the Blue Jays or the Expos, Harry and Steve got me hooked and I bleed cubbie blue. Next year right? Go Cubs Go!

  53. Patrick Crane September 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm # Reply

    Gilbert Rodriguez the name of the movie you are looking for is Los Pequenos Gigantes 1960. You can buy the movie an Amazon for around $18.00.

  54. Steve Sr. October 7, 2010 at 2:12 am # Reply

    I go back over 40years, when I used to watch Family Classics on WGN in Chicago. Yes there were times when things got turbulent, but I could always turn on channel 9 and enjoy calming movies based on sound watchable values.

  55. Patrick Crane October 10, 2010 at 7:56 am # Reply

    Linda the St. Bernard movie is a Disney movie made for tv in 1977 called Barry of the Great St. Bernard.

  56. Dan Siciliano October 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm # Reply

    Here is the complete “Family Classics” theme….enjoy!

  57. Heather January 31, 2011 at 7:38 am # Reply

    I watched Family Classics as a child in the 80’s and into the 90’s as a teenager. I lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Way, way, way, North of Traverse City on the other side of the Mackinac Bridge. We got two TV stations before WGN miraculously appeared on UHF one day when I was around 6 or so. Scooby Doo, Bozo and the Cubs during the week. My favorite was Sunday with The Lone Ranger, Rawhide and best of all Family Classics. I can’t even remember the last time I thought of the show. It just popped into my head today. I was thinking about how my Mom’s crockpot venison & rice would be almost ready and Family Classics would be coming on TV. The theme instantly popped into my head:) Wish it was still on. I would love to sit and watch it with my kid’s now.

  58. johnfahlsing March 23, 2011 at 10:33 am # Reply

    And I’ll bet you guys and gals forgot the commercial sponsored during Family Classics, well most of the time?

    Bert Wienman Ford!

    Spelled wrong, but heck what a memory..

    • Jeffrey March 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm # Reply

      Good ole Bert, your TV Ford Man,

      And don’t forget Empire, Celozzi Ettleson, and a host of commercials that we will always remember…

  59. Unclebucky April 19, 2011 at 7:51 am # Reply

    Some people here, like me, are fascinated with the theme of Family Classics. It is available on the net on a site that lovingly pays homage to Frazier Thomas and his work.

    http://midnightmonsterclub.tvheaven.com/fcmain.html

    The theme is called “Moviescope” by Dennis Berry of the UK. On the above page is a history of it.

    You can find more about Family Classics in Wikipedia and in YouTube, of course.

    At the bottom of the above link there is a 1:39 minute sound file of nice quality. There are ways to rip it if you want to keep it closer to your heart.

  60. RadioFlyer June 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm # Reply

    Wow, did these posts bring back great memories that we all seem to share sbout Family Classics. My brothers and I were just talking about the theme song origins, so it was nice to find that information here.

    A number of you mentioned the movie “Snowfire.” The good news is that Turner Classic Movies will air this movie again next month/July 2011. See http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/90637/Snowfire/

  61. Kent July 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm # Reply

    Another memorable 1970s Chicago television icon has left us. Lynn Hauldren, the “Empire Carpet Man,” passed away on April 26, 2011 at the age of 89. Lynn was actually an advertising copywriter who worked on the Empire account. Unable to find a suitable mascot, the owner of Empire asked Lynn to be the “Empire Carpet Man,” and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

    In addition to being the Empire Carpet Man for decades (right up until his passing), he was also one of the singers in the babershop quartet that sang the famous Empire telephone number jingle: “Five Eight Eight, Two, Three Hundred, EMPIRE!”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Hauldren

    http://www.empirecarpetman.com

  62. Jeffrey July 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm # Reply

    Thanks, Ken for dropping by and letting us know about Lynn Hauldren. You are so right, another Chicago, icon for sure.

    Thanks for the links, too.

  63. Robert July 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm # Reply

    Where do you think we would watch Moby Dick with Gregory Peck?

  64. Rick Klein January 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm # Reply

    Hi Jeffrey,

    Just wanted to let you and your readers know of a website – http://www.FuzzyMemories.TV – it’s the Museum of Classic Chicago Television and has over 3500 clips of vintage Chicago TV broadcasts including original Family Classics openings (Mysterious Island too!), When Movies Were Movies, WFLD’s Monstrous Movie, and tons of classic commercials. Basically, if you remember it from Chicago TV and you grew up in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, you will find it there.

    Cheers,

    Rick Klein

  65. Mark Thompson August 17, 2014 at 12:18 am # Reply

    Wow, was trying to explain to my wife the significance of Frazier and his impact on my childhood and came upon this thread. You hit a solid nerve Jeffery, one we all feel deeply. I miss Frazier as much as any long loved family member. He was wonderful and taught me to love movies, a love affair that continues to this day. I have downloaded the opening music which brings me back instantly to a time I treasured and long for again. I play it before watching those same classics Frazier introduced those many years past. Thanks for the memories, it’s been great reading the comments.~ Mark

  66. Decatur Cook Jr. May 29, 2016 at 7:21 am # Reply

    Looking for the set of movies of the show family classes

    • Marsha Woerner July 2, 2016 at 3:58 am # Reply

      Me too!

  67. Marsha Woerner July 2, 2016 at 3:55 am # Reply

    Does anyone know how/where I can get hold of the Fraser Thomas editions of these movies? I have so many fond memories!

    • http://www./ November 3, 2016 at 10:02 pm # Reply

      I probably care more about the impact of colonialism than Don Brash does, but it’s no excuse for violent crime. Governor Grey did not make the Kahuis kill their kids.d

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