This guide is designed to alert readers to the scope and variety of programming coming up. Listing is not meant to represent blanket endorsement. Viewers are urged to be selective. FRIDAY
Blind Tom: The Story of Thomas Bethune (PBS, 10:30-11 p.m.): Incredible true tale of blind Thomas Bethune, who was born a slave before the Civil War, learned to play piano, and moved from plantation to concert stage.
World Series of Golf (CBS, 1 p.m.; also Sunday, 4 p.m.): Live from Akron, Ohio, the top players in the world compete for $800,000.
The New England Ragtime Ensemble on Stage at Wolf Trap (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): Conductor Gunther Schuller leads the ensemble in the music of Scott Joplin, James Scott, and Joseph Lamb.
Vietnam War Story (HBO/pay cable, 9-10:30 p.m.): Three realistic original Vietnam war stories.
West 57th (CBS, 10-11 p.m.): Disco-beat newsmagazine for those whose attention span is too short for ``60 Minutes'' or ``20/20.''
Maurice Sendak: Mon Cher Papa (PBS, 9-10:30 p.m.): ``American Masters'' highlights the life and work of this famous illustrator of children's books, including the strong influence of Mozart on his creativity.
Airdance/Landings (PBS, 10-10:30 p.m.): ``Alive From Off Center'' features two unusual dance works by Elizabeth Streb, plus two other dance works by others.
Voice/Dance (PBS, 10:30-11 p.m.): Improvisational performance by vocalist Bobby McFerrin and the innovative Tandy Beal Dance Company.
To Taste a Hundred Herbs (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): Second episode of ``One Village in China,'' a three-part series about life in the tiny rural community of Long Bow. This one concerns medical and religious practices.
Company Town (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): Second segment of three-part series, ``Silicon Valley,'' looks at the people who make up the region considered to be the heart of high-tech and the harbinger of tomorrow.
The Republican Presidential Candidates (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): A ``Firing Line'' special presents the first joint appearance of Republican candidates for the presidency. William F. Buckley is host, of course.
New Image Teens: Peer Pressure (PBS, 10:20-11 p.m.): Written and performed by teens, this special explores many aspects of peer pressure with help on how to withstand it.
Our World (ABC, 9-10 p.m.): One of 1987's best series, now doomed, repeats the program that recalled April 12, 1961, just before the Bay of Pigs invasion.
20/20 (ABC, 10-11 p.m.): Barbara Walters's trip to China is the sole topic of TV's next best (after ``60 Minutes'') newsmagazine show.
Listings are in Eastern time; other zones may vary. Please check listings for all PBS programs, since local option often results in differing days and times.