Mister Rogers seeks and finds heroes

TODAY'S TV

September 06, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

The best show on television tonight comes from a program supplier, and a TV personality, much more prevalent in the daytime arena: Fred Rogers, who has left his "Neighborhood" long enough to visit with four very special people, whom he dubs TTC Fred Rogers' Heroes," and profiles very carefully and caringly. But, from Mister Rogers, what else did you expect?

* "Apollo Theatre Hall of Fame" (8-10 p.m., Channel 2) -- The big puzzle here is why it took NBC so long to show this tribute, which was taped at the Apollo four months ago. Joining the Hall of Fame: smooth-singing Marvin Gaye, fast-taking Dick Gregory and duck-walking Chuck Berry. NBC.

* "Fred Rogers' Heroes" (8-9 p.m., Channel 22) -- The production elements of this one-hour special are beautifully understated, yet add a great deal to the overall harmoniousness and intimacy of the final program: the music is beautiful, and Mr. Rogers insisted that all his interviews be filmed with two cameras, not just one, so that his reactions, as well as those of the person being interviewed, would be captured in "real time." It seems like a simple thing, but almost no one doing in-the-field interviews shoots that way anymore, and you can see the results -- especially in Mr. Rogers' ultra-intimate talk with youngsters at the Green Chimneys farm in Brewster, N.Y. But the adults profiled here, whom Mr. Rogers calls heroes because of their commitment to children, are the real stars, and Mr. Rogers salutes them in the best and brightest possible manner. This special is so inspirational and meaningful, PBS should consider itself duty-bound to commission further installments. When public television was created, it was with programs such as "Fred Rogers' Heroes," and Fred Rogers, in mind. PBS.

* "Point Break" (8-10 p.m., Channel 45) -- I'll make this point, then take a break. This film was released three years ago, when Patrick Swayze was one of the kings of the action movies, and Keanu Reeves, as the co-star, was a gangly film guy trying something new after the likes of "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Parenthood." Three years later, Mr. Reeves, thanks to "Speed," is a hot new action star, while Mr. Swayze is playing a drag queen. Fox.

Cable

* "Trouble Bound" (10-11:30 p.m., HBO) -- Patricia Arquette made this movie and "True Romance" back to back. Not only do they have very similar themes, but they sit next to each other on video shelves. This one, co-starring Michael Madsen, is lighter in tone, though not quite as satisfying.

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