Family Classics

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Family Classics
Set of Family Classics and host Frazier Thomas
The set of Family Classics and host Frazier Thomas.
Genre Classic Films
Created by Fred Silverman
Frazier Thomas
Presented by Frazier Thomas
Roy Leonard
Dean Richards
Theme music composer Dennis Berry
Opening theme "Moviescope"
Ending theme "Moviescope"
Country of origin US
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 39
No. of episodes 982 [1]
Original network WGN-TV
Picture format 480i (4:3 SDTV) (1962-2000)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2017)
Original release First Run:
September 1962 (1962-09)[2] – December 2000 (2000-12)[2]
Second Run:
December 8, 2017 (2017-12-08)

Family Classics is a Chicago television series which began in 1962 when Frazier Thomas was added to another program at WGN-TV. Thomas not only hosted classic films, but also selected the titles and personally edited them to remove those scenes which he thought were not fit for family viewing.[3] After Thomas' death in 1985, Roy Leonard took over the program.[4] The series continued sporadically until its initial cancellation in 2000.[4][5] A few props from the Family Classics set are on exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications.[6][7]

On November 10, 2017, WGN announced that Family Classics would be returning as a one-night special after a 17-year hiatus with a presentation of the 1951 version of Scrooge to air on Friday, December 8, 2017, with a rebroadcast to follow on December 24. WGN further announced that its longtime entertainment reporter, Dean Richards, would be the host.[8]


In 1962, Fred Silverman, then a WGN-TV executive, conceived the idea of the show by scheduling classic family films at a prime time Friday night position rather than a late show slot where children wouldn't see them. The show was a huge ratings success and inspired the networks to schedule recently released films in prime time. When the networks began showing first run films in prime time, the show was rescheduled to Sunday afternoons.[3][6]

The set[edit]

The theme music was a piece of library music recorded on the Berry/Conroy label, entitled Moviescope, and was written by Dennis Berry. The camera would slowly zoom in on the set designed by Thomas that resembled a study with a painting on the wall of Garfield Goose done by Roy Brown, a model sailing ship sitting on top of a shelf of books with the titles of the films to be shown that were repainted encyclopedias and dictionaries also done by Brown that Frazier would introduce.[4][9][10][11]

List of titles[edit]

Frazier Thomas died in 1985 therefore, any movie released after this date, was NOT part of the original Family Classics.

Crystal128-tv.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.


  1. ^ "WGN 9 Chicago "Family Classics" Movie Timeline". WGN 9 Chicago. 
  2. ^ a b Tufts, Chris. "Family Classics-titles and air dates". epguides. Archived from the original on 28 February 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Okuda and Mulqueen 2004, pp. 60-62.
  4. ^ a b c Feder, Robert (2 May 2010). "Remembering a Chicago Classic:Frazier Thomas". WBEZ Radio. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Johnson, Allan (3 April 1988). "At 50, WGN Finds The TV Picture and Audiences Have Changed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Frazier Thomas". Chicago Television. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Pridmore, Jay (12 June 1992). "Lights, Camera, Action..." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Chicago's Merry Own: 'Family Classics' returns to WGN-TV for special holiday showing of 'Scrooge' hosted by Dean Richards". WGN 9 Chicago. 11 November 2017. 
  9. ^ Berger, Daniel; Jajkowski, Steve, eds. (2010). Chicago Television. For the Museum of Broadcast Communications; Foreword by Bob Sirott. Arcadia Publishing. p. 168. ISBN 0-7385-7713-8. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "This classy portrait by Roy Brown of Garfield Goose adorned a wall on the set of "Family Classics."". LA Times. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Okuda and Mulqueen 2004, p. 61.


  • Okuda, Ted; Mulqueen, Jack (2004). The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television. Lake Claremont Press. ISBN 978-1-893-12117-1. 

External links[edit]