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WORTH NOTING ON TV

By Alan Bunce / December 2, 1993



* THURSDAY

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Live Viewer Call-in Program (C-Span, 9:15 - 10 a.m., E.T.): Senate Majority leader George Mitchell (D) of Maine will accept questions by phone.

`Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in' Past and Christmas Present (NBC, 10-11 p.m.): From 1968 to 1973, this variety show was terribly ``in.'' Featuring an eccentric comedy format presided over by its loony hosts, Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, it gave an early boost to Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Flip Wilson, Ruth Buzzi, Henry Gibson, Eileen Brennan, and other talents who were regulars in the lively and creative cast.

The clips featured in this holiday special include outtakes not previously aired. They are like little time capsules preserving some of the ad hoc atmosphere that used to fill the show. Some new material with original cast members is also included. * SATURDAY

Joe Cocker: In the Spotlight

(PBS, 11:30 p.m. to 12:30, a.m.): Joe Cocker, the gifted, guttural blues singer from Britain who's been popular for some 30 years, stars in this edition of the notable music series. The performance - taped in 1992 at the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany, during a world tour - offers many Cocker hits like ``Cry Me a River,'' ``You Are So Beautiful,'' and ``Up Where We Belong,'' many of them greeted rapturously by the audience. One of these favorites is Cocker's version of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's ``With a Little Help From My Friends,'' which was No. 1 on the charts in 1969.

Cocker's somewhat quirky stage style made a hit at Woodstock that many still recall, and was spoofed by the late John Belushi on NBC's ``Saturday Night Live.'' Cocker has also recorded film music still viewed by many as among the best of the past 15 years or so.

By the way, the show airs during pledge week, so you'll have to put up with interruptions while local public stations - quite understandably - make pitches for funds. But in Cocker's case, it's worth it.

Please check local listings for these programs.