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WORTH NOTING ON TV

By Alan Bunce / June 16, 1994



* THURSDAY

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Challenge (Discovery Channel, 10-11 p.m.): This series, featuring treks and other adventures around the world, is offering a two-parter called ``Live! The World's Greatest Stunts,'' and its contents more or less justify the Barnum-like title. In one feat, for instance, a parachutist decides it's old hat to leap from a plane to the ground, so he climbs onto a catapult and is shot up to an airplane. In another, a motorcyclist jumps over a train. For the fan of such exploits - heck, for anyone - these are breathtaking feats.

Part 2 airs June 23.

In Search of Oz (A&E, 10-11 p.m.): The 1939 Judy Garland film, with its unforgettable Harold Arlen score, may be the most visible manifestation of this classic tale, but the book by L. Frank Baum, ``The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,'' published more than 90 years ago, continues to serve as the subject of television programs and print articles. Not long ago, a made-for-TV movie told the story of author Baum.

This edition of ``A&E Stage'' delves into the background of the work and its creator, and studies the meaningful fantasy's enduring impact. Writers like Ray Bradbury, Gore Vidal, and Salman Rushdie remark on the book, as do film director Martha Coolidge and Baum's grandson Frank Baum. The program samples clips from various lesser-known film versions of the work, including a 1908 production by Baum himself. Outtakes from the 1939 film are also shown. * FRIDAY

Nightly Business Report (Weeknights on public stations - check local listings): Outside of Japan itself, no group feels the effects of that country's recent political turmoil more than business people do.

To study the issue, this program is launching a five-part nightly series, ``The View From Japan,'' that deals with the impact of parliamentary upheavals and other troubles. It covers several topics, from the commercial strategies of the US and Japan to why the Japanese appear somewhat leery of investing in their own firms, while Americans are pouring money into mutual funds that focus on Japan.

Please check local listings for these programs.