What's on TV
SHOWS WORTH NOTING FOR APRIL 19-27
Anatomy of a Scene: The Cat's Meow (Sundance Channel, 7:30 p.m., check local listings, repeats during the month): One of a terrific series of documentaries, this one goes behind the scenes of Peter Bogdanovich's new theatrical movie "The Cat's Meow" to investigate a long-forgotten mystery involving some of Hollywood's most glamorous stars. William Randolph Hearst hosted a party aboard his yacht in 1924. Among his guests were Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, and Thomas Ince. One of the guests died mysteriously. Orson Welles told the story to the director more than 30 years ago. Film buffs will enjoy the Hollywood history.Skip to next paragraph
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Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story (Showtime, 8-10 p.m.): The harrowing history of a black man framed for murder who lived on death row for eight years is based on a true story. Clarence Brandley (Courtney B. Vance) was a janitor at a Texas high school in 1980 when a 16-year-old girl was murdered. A shocking lack of evidence or motive couldn't save Brandley from conviction by an all-white jury. When Mike De Geurin (Gil Bellows) looked into the evidence, he was aghast at the injustice. The film shows him uncovering the true killer and the conspiracy to cover up the judicial system's horrifying incompetence.
Biography Close Up: Saturday Night Live (A&E, 9-11 p.m.): Biography takes us behind the scenes of the 27-year-old sketch comedy show that made TV history with its fast pace, reflections of the news, and its flamboyant irreverence toward politics and pop culture. It's not too much of a surprise to learn that Monty Python's Flying Circus had more influence on its development than, say, sitcoms or even stand-up. The film takes us through a typical week of writing and choosing material, rehearsing, set-building, and the live show. We also hear from stars past and present.
America's First River: Bill Moyers on the Hudson (PBS, 9-11 p.m., concludes April 24): It may sound a little dull, but Moyers' history of the Hudson River is really the history of American democracy, art, culture, and nature Â- and it's delightful viewing. The river that flows two ways was key to American victory during the Revolutionary War. The Hudson River School is important to American art history. But the river's industrial history is just as relevant as its cultural roots.