If a child can watch Barney, can't that same child also enjoy watching Charlie Chaplin or the Marx Brothers? And as they get older, wouldn't they grow to like screwball comedies (His Girl Friday), women's weepies (Imitation of Life), and westerns (The Searchers)? The answer is yes once they've have learned that "old" does not necessarily mean "next channel, please." Here is a guide that introduces the delights of the golden age of movies. FOR THE LITTLE ONES (Ages 3 to 6): Fast-paced movies that are simple without being unsophisticated, plainspoken without being dumbed down. Singin' in the Rain and Bringing Up Baby are perfect. FOR THE ONES IN BETWEEN (Ages 7 to 12): "Killer stories," placing easily grasped characters in situations that start simply and then throw curveballs. The African Queen and Some Like It Hot do the job well. FOR THE OLDER ONES (Ages 13+): Burr recommends relating old movies to teens' contemporary favorites: without Hitchcock, there could be no The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; without Brando, no Johnny Depp.
Starter kits: First old movies to watch with your toddler, tweener, or teenager The Kong Island theory, or old movies not to watch with your children Comedy Drama Musicals Action, adventure, and westerns Horror, science fiction, and fantasy Foreign-language classics The people who made them Afterword: Toward a reasoned defense of black and white in a multicolored world.