For children: holiday treats on TV, from Shirley Temple to Rin Tin Tin

Aside from religious associations and holiday goodies, the Christmas/Chanukah season is also a time when children are home from school and looking for interesting things to do.

WNET, New York, has decided to help parents find things for the kids to do this year and suggests that other PBS stations around the country might want to follow its example.

With a grant from the Heckscher Foundation for Children, WNET is presenting a festival of special daytime holiday programming for children for two weeks, beginning Monday and continuing through Friday, Jan. 3. Every day from 10 a.m., starting with ``Wonderworks'' through early afternoon, there will be fun movies, ice- and roller-skating programs, animated specials, vintage cartoons, and music and dance extravaganzas.

Some of the highlights: This Monday there will be Shirley Temple in ``Little Miss Marker''; on Tuesday, Truman Capote's ``A Christmas Memory'' and ``Little Lord Fauntleroy,'' the original film with Freddie Bartholomew. You remember him?

There'll be Errol Flynn in ``Kim,'' Shirley again in ``The Little Princess,'' an ice-skating spectacular with 1984 Olympics winner Pete Carruthers as host, the National Roller Skating Championship, and a tribute to screen animals featuring Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.

But not all will be frivolous. On Christmas Day there'll be Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and on New Year's Day a celebration by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a repeat of Jacques D'Amboise's classic ``He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'.''

WNET programming executives feel that parents can schedule their youngsters' nighttime viewing for themselves; preventing the children from watching ``Dallas'' and ``Dynasty'' has always been their own problem. But during the holidays, with the extra free time, they feel all of us need help with the children. You can't send them outside to play all of the time.

So, for WNET it's ``Deck the halls with boughs of holly; deck the channel with kiddie jollies.'' Already many local PBS stations are taking note, and this may turn out to be the best electronic holiday season ever for youngsters, and thus for adults, too.

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