Family Classics Movie List

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.

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.

The list may still not be complete and if you have any questions, comments, additions or deletions please post a comment.

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)
Boys Town*

The Canterville Ghost*
Captain Blood
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

Gulliver’s Travels

Hans Christian Anderson*
Heidi (Shirley Temple)
Houdini* (1953)

John Paul Jones (1959) (Robert Stack)
Journey to the Center of the Earth
The Jungle Book (1942)

Kidnapped (1938)

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*
Moby Dick
My Friend Flicka
Mysterious Island

National Velvet*
A Night to Remember
Northwest Passage

The Prince and the Pauper

Robin Hood (1938)

The Seahawks
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.

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.


  1. maggdoodle@yahoo.comJanuary 25, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Help! My friend remembers a Family Classic where there were some boys in a boat (not tom sawyer or huck finn) that ended up in a world with dinasours and such. Not much to go on granted, but does it sound familiar to anybody else? Would love to tell her the title as it's driving us both nuts! Great Site!

    1. Hi maggdoodle,

      Yes there was such a show. However it was not on Family Classics it was a serial show on Garfield Goose and Friends also with Frazier Thomas.

      The serial was "Journey to the Beginning of Time" and it was a 1955 Czech-American production about a group of boys who start out in the museum of natural history in NYC and find themselves in a boat on a river journeying backwards in time.

      You can find more information here

      I hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. "When worlds collide" was my favorite next was "War of the Worlds"

  3. Is there anyway to get copies of the programs? I would love to share them with my kids. Someone must have recording of them somewhere.

    1. Most of the movies are available on DVD from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

    2. I love family classics! my favorite was "young Thomas Edison" and "Tobor the great"... I can't remember if this was a family Classic but I think it was called The 3 worlds of Gulliver.

    3. I am looking for copies of the show with the movie. Does anyone have any leads?

  4. I can track down copies of the movies shown on the program, but what I am looking for is copies of the actual program itself. I would like to see the classic opening, watch Frazier's into and then slide into the film itself. I know these were at the early age of VCRs, but I am hoping someone has a stash of programs out there.

  5. I am trying to find the movies wrapped by the original program. I want my kids to experience the Frazier effect.

  6. One of my favorite "Family Classics" was Lad, a Dog. It starred Peter Breck. I always cried when the barn or stable caught on fire, because I didn't want anything to happen to the puppies. Thanks for your list, it has helped me add to the list of movies I am looking for.