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Classic movies for a new generation of kids

Warner Bros.
Scene from "The Music Man" (1962)
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EDITOR'S NOTE: "Red Dirt Mama" is a new column for parents with fun ideas and thoughts on raising kids with homegrown values in the modern era. You can take 'em or leave 'em.      

So I kind of shelter my kids. Probably too much. But I get tired of all the violence on TV and movies. Plus, I like movies that give them a newr perspective on life not just the most high-tech thing out there.  We are increasingly trying to avoid the high-tech lifestyle with our kids. Ironic as I am writing this for an online news site.  Nevertheless, I know my kids will find out soon enough about modern life so while they are young, I want to share these old movies with them.  Please feel free to post other old movies you and your kids love. 

The Music Man, Musical, 1962

The Music Man (1962) Poster

This is one of my all-time favorite movies and I am not going to lie the first time I put it on for my then 3 and 5 year old there was a little moaning and groaning until the opening scene.  They were transfixed.  They loved it.  They have lines memorized from the movie.  “Cash for the merchandise” and “Whadaya Talk”.   

So if you have never seen The Music Man, it is about a con artist played by Robert Preston that sells towns on the idea that they need a boy’s band.  He is a sweet talking swindler that doesn’t know “one note from another”.  Buddy Hackett stars as the sidekick and the amazing Shirley Jones is the beautiful Marian the Librarian. Also, a young Ron Howard plays the lisping boy Winthrop, Marian's younger brother. The Music Man of course plans on leaving River City, Iowa (based on Mason City, Iowa, hometown of songwriter Meredith Willson) after conning all the parents out of their money but falls for the piano teacher Marian.

I know my synopsis above does not sound like something kids would be into.  But the fast dialogue and music really draws them in.  Plus it is a great period piece that they love seeing all the old fashions and the Wells Fargo wagon.

Trust me they will like it.

The Shaggy Dog, Family, 1959

The Shaggy Dog (1959) Poster

Okay this movie has one of my all-time favorite actors Fred MacMurray who I love in The Happiest Millionaire.  But for kids they love when the lead teenage boy turns into a shaggy Old English Sheep dog periodically because of an old spell cast by the Borgia family. This is the first Disney live action comedy. My boys especially love when the shaggy dog brushes his teeth and puts on his pajamas. Plus there are chase scenes and antics with some ‘bad guys’. There is a remake of this movie starring Tim Allen but I always choose the classics.

The Love Bug, Herbie Rides Again, Herbie Goes Bananas, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo

The Love Bug (1968) Poster

If your boys are into cars they will love the Herbie The Love Bug movies.  Herbie is a loveable Volkswagen Beetle (or "bug") that has a mind of his own.  Herbie goes on fast car chase scenes and wild adventures throughout all the movies while performing tricks and foiling bad guy plots.  Dean Jones and Buddy Hackett co-star with Herbie in the original Love Bug movie from 1969.

That Darn Cat! 1965

That Darn Cat! (1965) Poster

Dean Jones also stars in That Darn Cat! and who doesn’t love Hayley Mills?  I could have easily listed any Hayley Mills movie as we watch them all but That Darn Cat! is especially great for kids who love a mystery and some bad guy/good guy story lines.  Hayley Mills is a teenager who has an adventurous disobedient Siamese cat named Darn Cat (D.C. for short).  D.C. is known for prowling around at night and getting into trouble.  One night D.C. gets caught up in a kidnapping with bank robbers…ohhh.  The FBI decides to set up surveillance on the D.C. by sending an agent to Mills’ house and, as they say, antics ensue. 


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Marie Mentesana

Marie Mentesana is a second-generation American of Sicilian descent who started out as a...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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