john lithgowIt’s hard to deny the lovability factor of John Lithgow. This Golden-Globe winning actor (Dexter) has been in a slew of memorable movies. This is perhaps why Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has nabbed him to return for a second year as host of Essentials JR, which is a summer movie showcase for a younger viewing audience. And if you need to catch up in your movie education, it’s worth the watch no matter what your age. (It’s never too late to see Casablanca!)

“John Lithgow is an extraordinary talent who not only knows his movie history but also serves as a champion of children’s education, making him the perfect guide for parents and kids as they share these wonderful classics together,” said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming for TCM. “It’s thrilling to have him back for another year of ESSENTIALS JR.”

The Summer 2010 launch of Essentials JR begins on June 6th with Old Yeller, a classic from the late 50’s. The 13 movie run will include Duck Soup (a movie I shamefully know nothing about exact that Rory Gilmore watched a lot of it on Gilmore Girls her freshman year at Yale) and Bye, Bye, Birdie. Whenever cool things were shown/mentioned on Gilmore Girls, I always wanted to make sure I watched them or looked them up. In this way, fans created kind of a Bucket List of things that would keep them cultured, as taught by the master, Amy Sherman Palladino, herself. If you haven’t seen Duck Soup, now is the time!

TCM’s ESSENTIALS JR. will run each Sunday throughout the summer and will include such movies as the Marx Bros. classic Duck Soup (1933); a special Father’s Day presentation of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), featuring Gregory Peck’s OscarÒ-winning performance as Atticus Finch; and the Dr. Suess fantasy The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953).

The following is a complete schedule for Essentials Jr. All films begin at 8 p.m. (ET):

June 6 Old Yeller (1958)
June 13 Duck Soup (1933)
June 20 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
June 27 The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)
July 4 Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
July 11 Speedy (1928)
July 18 Beauty and the Beast (1946)
July 25 Buck Privates (1941)
Aug. 1 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
Aug. 8 Road to Morocco (1942)
Aug. 15 The Secret Garden (1949)
Aug. 22 Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
Aug. 29 Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)