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Gifts for Old Time Movie Lovers

Updated on October 27, 2013

Fun Gift Ideas for Elderly Lovers of Classic TV Shows and Movies

I have a challenge! It is a challenge that is becoming more and more common as our population ages and adult children are becoming the caregivers for their elderly parents... What to get my 95 year old mother for Christmas, her birthday, Mother's Day or just because :)

For over two years now, my Mom is living with me and for over a year now, she is completely bedridden. She also has dementia and I need to constantly remind her who I am. So her main form of entertainment is the TV (she also loves to listen to music!).

As her eyesight and hearing gradually worsen, I find her often staring at the TV with a blank look on her face. I may ask her about what she is watching and she will say something completely off-the-wall--- she is definitely not seeing the same thing that I am :)

So, I have been observing to see what it is that interests her, that she seems to enjoy and that she can follow.

Here are some of the things I've noticed that help me select good DVD's for her and that may help you too if you are in a similar situation.

Things to Look for in DVD Gifts for the Elderly

How to Pick Good DVD Gifts for Grandparents

First of all, the sound quality of the movie or TV show has to be good--- if it is an old movie with sound that crackles a lot, turning up the volume does not help and only makes it worse (not to mention drives ME crazy).

Having poor eyesight now, she seems better able to watch black and white movies and know what is happening. She even enjoys watching old silent movies- maybe because they have a lot of close ups and show the facial expressions very well and the body language is so exaggerated. (Actions speak louder than words :)) The old black and white TV shows and movies can be somewhat grainy, so it helps if the DVDs have been remastered and restored.

The plots must be obvious and easy to follow. Complicated plots and character development lose her right away. Good vs. Evil, bad guys vs. good guys, love conquers all, funny situations, those are themes that get her attention. So many of the classic TV shows of the 50's had simpler, basic themes and these seem to be the kind she enjoys.

TV shows and old movies that she remembers from years ago are also favorites for her. There are many shows that we enjoyed watching on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings- she remembers many of those. And besides that, one of the positives of having dementia is that it doesn't matter how many times she watches one of her favorite movies- it is always new for her :)

So, here a few of the movies and old TV programs that she never tires of watching and that make great gifts for a person such as she. (Plus I enjoy them as well!)

Movies for Old Time Movie Lovers

Shirley Temple: America's Sweetheart Collection, Vol. 1 (Heidi / Curly Top / Little Miss Broadway)
Shirley Temple: America's Sweetheart Collection, Vol. 1 (Heidi / Curly Top / Little Miss Broadway)

Mom LOVES Shirley Temple movies- especially "Heidi" and the great thing about this collection is that you can view them in black and white or in the colorized version!

Greatest classic Films Collection: Tarzan - Volume one (Tarzan the Ape Man / Tarzan Escapes / Tarzan Finds a Son! / Tarzan and His Mate)
Greatest classic Films Collection: Tarzan - Volume one (Tarzan the Ape Man / Tarzan Escapes / Tarzan Finds a Son! / Tarzan and His Mate)

Tarzan movies were favorites of my Mom (and mine). These are 4 of the very first with Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan! Can't beat them!

Ma & Pa Kettle Complete Comedy Collection
Ma & Pa Kettle Complete Comedy Collection

We watch these over and over and get a kick of watching the antics of Ma and Pa Kettle and their family. The movie where Ma and Pa are introduced is "The Egg and I" a classic starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert and is included! 10 films on 5 discs

TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Legends - Errol Flynn (The Adventures of Robin Hood / Captain Blood / The Sea Hawk / Adventures of Don Juan)
TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Legends - Errol Flynn (The Adventures of Robin Hood / Captain Blood / The Sea Hawk / Adventures of Don Juan)

This collection of Errol Flynn movies is one of our favorites. Adventure, romance and great acting by one of the best actors that Mom remembers.


Fun Gifts for Fans of Classic TV Shows - Gifts of Entertainment that Grandparents Love

As my Mom continues to progress in her dementia, one of the things she still greatly enjoys is music and laughter. These collections of classic TV shows provide hours of enjoyment for her.

She also loves the classic adventure and family fun shows that we used to watch. I hope these suggestions will provide many hours of entertainment for your loved ones as well.

Lawrence Welk Christmas Shows
Lawrence Welk Christmas Shows

Mom LOVES watching the Lawrence Welk show for the great music and dancing. This 3 show DVD brings back lots of wonderful memories.

Ed Sullivan Presents: Topo Gigio and Friends
Ed Sullivan Presents: Topo Gigio and Friends

18 appearances of Topo Gigio on the Ed Sullivan show- It was a family tradition to watch Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights and we loved Topo Gigio!

Adventures of Superman: Season 1
Adventures of Superman: Season 1

The first season of Superman episodes- 26 shows- in black and white. Great memories- great shows!

The Cisco Kid Box Set
The Cisco Kid Box Set

One of the first series with a Hispanic hero- this set contains 26 episodes digitally restored.

1950s TV's Greatest Comedies
1950s TV's Greatest Comedies

12 shows on 3 dvds- Has a sampling of episodes from some of the popular TV shows of the 50's including Red Skelton, Burns and Allen, Make Room for Daddy and Ozzie and Harriet.


Selecting DVD Gifts - Getting Good Value For Your Dollars

It's tough sometimes to pick out good DVD's. It may seem like a good deal to get a collection of 100 episodes of a particular show for a bargain price. Then when you watch it, the quality is bad, or it doesn't have a way to select the episode you want to watch, etc. Sometimes, poor quality DVD's are packaged in great "vintage-looking tins" so that you are paying more for the packaging than the movies.

So, being thoughtful about the DVD selections we purchase will defiinitely make a difference in the enjoyment of the gift we give. Here are a few tips that I have found very helpful as I shopped for DVD's of Classic Movies and TV Shows.

  • Be wary of DVD's that offer tons of episodes or movies at surprisingly low cost!

    I think twice about purchasing those collections. Often the recordings are extremely low quality- the picture is very grainy and the sound is awful. In addition, there may be no program guide or listing of all of the titles in the collection so that you cannot select the movie or episode you want to watch and have to search around blindly for the one you want. Not fun!

  • Read the product description carefully!

    I have purchased a DVD thinking I was purchasing a particular show and it turned out to be a DVD about the STAR of the show!

    Or, you may be looking for a certain version of a movie and inadvertently buy a copy of the remake instead.

    Now, I carefully read the product description so that I know that what I am purchasing is exactly what I wanted.

  • Do read the product reviews (and be wary of those that have let's say, a five star rating but only ONE review).

    I have found that reading the product reviews has often saved me from making a selection that I would have regretted.

    When I am shopping for a particular item, I like to start out with those that have at least a 4 star rating... and at LEAST 5 reviews, usually MORE. Then I carefully read a few of the reviews to determine if the item seems to meet my expectations.

    More than once, I have read a review that helped me change my decision. For example, I found a great classic tv show collection that came in a cute "vintage lunch box tin." It was a little pricey, but I really liked the tin that the DVD's came in. Well, fortunately as I read the reviews, it turned out that the quality of the recordings was very poor. So sadly, I decided against the cute little tin in favor of a collection that was remastered and of much better quality (as well as cheaper!)

LINKS TO GIFT GUIDES FOR THE ELDERLY - Gift Ideas for the Seniors in your Life

Thinking of gift ideas for the elderly can be very challenging. Here are a few sites that offer a variety of suggestions. Hope you find something for your loved ones!

Thanks for your tips and suggestions!

What tips do you have for purchasing Classic TV Show or Movie DVD's? - Look out for...???

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    • Ivylore profile image

      Ivylore 4 years ago

      @ecogranny: Thanks, Grace!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I hadn't thought about purchasing DVDs because we use a popular subscription service, but this might be a terrific idea for my mom, and I thank you for the tips, the selection ideas, and the concept. Congratulations too on your feature on Squidoo's Celebrate Magazine.

    • toshia lm profile image

      toshia lm 4 years ago

      great ideas thank you for sharing