'Best of Outdoors Maryland' features rockfish, spelunkers, hot air balloons


May 18, 1991|By STEVE MCKERROW

Chesapeake Bay anglers may argue the point after last weekend's opening of a limited rockfish season produced few fish, but the nurturing and return of the bay's native game fish makes a nice, timely lead item in a diverting Maryland Public Television special tomorrow night.

"The Best of Outdoors Maryland" airs at 8 o'clock on MPT (channels 22 and 67, with a repeat at 8 p.m. May 25), and includes the rebroadcast of eight segments of previous editions of the occasional nature/travelogue series MPT has produced with state agencies.

And in "Rocky Recovery," viewers review the state's efforts to revitalize the bay's population of rock, elsewhere known as striped bass, by imposing a fishing ban and launching an artificial spawning operation in Waldorf.

While the narration is sometimes hyperbolic -- such as in the rockfish piece when announcer Larry Lewman intones the fish is, "once again master of its birthright" -- the features combine to project the diversity of life and recreation in our little state.

"From its great depths to its majestic heights," is how the show describes the state early in the show, referring to a piece on cave explorers near Cumberland and a lyrical hot air balloon flight over Baltimore County, the latter to the nice accompaniment of Debussy's "Clair de Lune."

Other segments include: a study of the biological diversity of the Great Falls region, a feature on the tourist attraction of Lilypons, an examination of owls, a visit to the isolated life on Smith Island and a piece on hobbyists who restore mahogany motor runabouts built in the region in the 1920s and '30s.

Last year's compilation, "Best of Outdoors Maryland 1990," is the winner of a CINE Golden Eagle Award from the Council on International Nontheatrical Events.

Elsewhere on the weekend watch:

* Bond lovers take note: Tonight's ABC movie is "For Your Eyes Only," one of the more underappreciated entries in the roster of movies about novelist Ian Fleming's daring Agent 007.

If memory serves, the 1981 film with Roger Moore as Bond is a relatively purer adaptation of the source work than most of the high-tech special effects Bond movies. It is more similar, say, to the original "Dr. No" (1962) than to the preceding "Moonraker" (1979).

The skiing stunts are first rate, there's an ingenue figure skater and her apparently oppressive guard, and the Mediterranean island climax involves spectacular scenery and a droll appearance by Israeli actor Topol as a guerrilla fighter.

In any case, it's a better bet than tonight's competing CBS movie, Eddie Murphy's exploitative, repetitive "Beverly Hills Cop II" (beginning at 8, Channel 11).

* Somehow, it is nice to sense some humor in serious subjects, as cable viewers will hear in a special edition this weekend of "National Geographic Explorer," probing why people take up "Dangerous Jobs" (at 9 p.m. tomorrow).

The lead segment is "Firefighters," an intimate look at the men of New York City's 181st Street Station that clearly shows the life-and-death nature of their work.

"It's a macho job," agrees one firefighter. "You have to eat the meals that the other guys cook."

Other jobs examined in the show include those of snake collectors, bridge workers, sumo wrestlers and wildlife photographers.

* WBAL-Channel 11 is airing the "18th Annual Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame" awards show at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Robin Givens, Mario Van Peebles and M. C. Hammer are the hosts, and a special feature is a tribute to the late Sammy Davis Jr. by comedian Bill Cosby.

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