FRIDAY American Playhouse

(PBS, 9-11 p.m.): American history's most noted defense lawyer, Clarence Darrow, is known today mainly through Spencer Tracy, Orson Welles, and other stars who have played him. This time it's Kevin Spacey's turn, in the title role of "Darrow." The drama covers 30 years - before and after 1900 - in the personal and public life of an Ohio farm boy who became a passionate defender of personal freedom in several famous and sometimes losing cases.

The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball

(A&E cable, 8-9 p.m.): A one-legged actor trying out for Tarzan is typical of the outrageous comedy in this tenth-anniversary version of Britain's annual charity event. Reunited after almost 20 years, Dudley Moore and Peter Cooke recreate some of their best sketches, with lunatic help from 'Monty Python John Cleese and Michael Palin.


The Tale of Peter Rabbit

(HBO, 7:30-8 p.m.): This animated musical version may have kids in mind, but consider its adult attractions: narration by Carol Burnett, original songs by Sheldon Harnick ("Fiddler on the Roof") and Stephen Lawrence - and of course the ageless Beatrix Potter fable itself, wherein a young rabbit learns a few of life's hard lessons.


(PBS, 9-10:00 p.m.): Blacks, whites, and others vent their half-hidden feelings about race in 'The Color of Your Skin.' It covers a unique project - at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida - that puts racially mixed groups behind a one-way mirror as part of a revealing, sometimes wrenching 16-week course in personal prejudice.

Please check local listings, especially on PBS.

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