Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How to Get Your Kids Interested in the Classics (Classic Movies, That Is...)

Every parent wants their children to be happy, healthy, and well educated...and it wouldn't hurt if they developed an aesthetic taste along the way and show a little class. What better way to give your children (grandchildren, nieces, nephews, siblings) some culture than to introduce them to Gene Kelly. Quick, before it's too late! If you think that today's ADHD, tv-addicted children are too hyped up on iPods and Wii to enjoy a good, old fashioned musical...well, you just may be wrong. To paraphrase a commercial from my own tv-addicted youth...try it, they'll like it. Here are three movies guaranteed to hook your kids on classic movie musicals.

1 - Singin' in the Rain - To paraphrase Lena (Jean Hagen) herself, "Well of course they'll like it, don't everyone?" Adults have frequently bestowed the "best" title upon SITR on many lists of favorites, and children will certainly agree. Face it, even without the singing and dancing, this movie is just plain funny! Both my friend's son and my niece were absolutely captivated. Even boys have to laugh when R.F. pulls the microphone cord and Lena falls on her you-know-what. Cosmo's (Donald O'Connor) "Make 'Em Laugh" does just that no matter the age, and the antics in "Good Morning" are fun, too. Don (Gene Kelly) ripping his coat leaving Kathy's (Debbie Reynolds) car? Lena getting a pie in the face? Hilarious! Besides, children understand exactly how much fun it is to splash around in a puddle! Happiness is universal whether you're an adult who just fell in love or a kid who just got a present. Give them this one, and they'll want more!

2 - Anchors Aweigh - Have the remote ready to fast forward through any scene with either Aunt Suzy (Kathryn Grayson) singing or Jose Iturbi performing. While we are trying to add culture to the kiddies' lives, operatic singing may have to wait for adulthood. Then again, I'm an adult and I still fast forward through Kathryn...but I digress. Kids will really identify with Donald (Dean Stockwell) because he's a kid too. Joe Brady (Gene Kelly) dancing with Jerry the Mouse will hold the interest of your youngest movie-watchers, despite the fact that the live-action-plus-cartoon routine is a common effect today and not quite as "special" as it was in 1945. Good for a laugh - Joe walking like a "dame" so Clarence (Frank Sinatra) can try to ask her out. Despite the innuendo with Clarence wanting to be a "Sea Wolf" like Joe, it will go over the little ones' heads and its 1945 humor is squeaky clean by today's standards.

3 - On the Town - Much of the 1949-era lingo will be lost on anyone born after 1940, but everyone will enjoy three crazy sailors on a quick and fun-filled day in New York. Okay, so it does become a search for women, but this is 1949 - it's clean! Kids will laugh at the havoc our guys cause in the museum (warning: don't try this on your next field trip) or dressing in drag at Coney island to hide. The quick pace will keep today's fast-paced children smiling.

7 comments:

genesbrood said...

With my boys (whom we were trying to wean from Big Time wrestling), the first Gene Kelly movie that they thought was cool was The Three Musketeers. They thought that Gene's swordfighting was amazing, and were able to follow the plot. From there, we went to Singin'in the Rain, since they were convinced by now that Kelly was "cool."

Gene Scene said...

genesbrood, The Three Musketeers is a great idea, especially for boys. Not only might it interest them in classic movies, but in classic literature at the same time!

Sandy said...

This subject is so appropriate after today, when my 9 year old son asked me what I liked better: a snake, crocodile, or lizard. He asks me these kinds of questions all the time!! So, I turned the tables on him today and asked him, What his 3 favorite Gene Kelly movies are. He has seen them all with me many times over.....though he won't readily admit that he likes Gene's movies. So, I was pleasantly surprised when he shot off 3 movies in a blink of the eye!! Number 1 is "It's Always Fair Weather" because of the zany fight scene at the end of the movie. In 2nd place he likes "Anchors Aweigh" because of the jumping on the beds number. I reminded him of the Jerry Mouse dance number and he loves that too! 3rd place goes to "Cover Girl" because he loves the Alter Ego dance.....and he even called it that himself! I was impressed indeed!! So, tonight I watched a Star Wars movie with him......and informed him that tomorrow night is Gene Kelly movie night!! HaHaHa! I'm sure he will enjoy watching those dinosaur bones come tumbling down!!

Gene Scene said...

Hi, Sandy! That's fantastic - your son sounds like a very cultured young man. When I first read "It's Always Fair Weather" I wondered why he'd enjoy that one before I finished the sentence. But, of course, the fight and I'm sure that dancing on trash can lids is pretty cool, too. The more I think about it, I think that just about every Gene musical has SOMETHING that children would enjoy! I think I need a "Part 2" post. Try "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with him - the baseball antics are a lot of fun, and "The Pirate" since pirates are a lot of fun, too. I wish I was your son's Aunt - since I love Star Wars as much as Gene, we'd have a lot of fun watching movies together!

Sandy said...

Hi Again,

Thank you so much for your kindness!! There is most definitely something in every Gene Kelly musical that is catchy for kids......something for them to enjoy!! The films are such a gift to everyone!! I hope you caught the video over on youtube of "What if George Lucas restored Singin' In The Rain?" There's a mix for you of both Gene Kelly and Star Wars......and yes my son loves it!! It's adorable!!

Gene Scene said...

Sandy, No way! I missed that one on Youtube but I'm heading over there right now to find it!!

Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!