Buster Keaton at his best

Today's TV

April 17, 1997|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Yesterday, an evening of Charlie Chaplin. Tonight, Buster Keaton. Thank you, TCM.

"Friends" (8 p.m.-8: 30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- The millionaire she's struggling to fall in love with buys Monica a restaurant, meaning she could finally realize her dream of becoming a head chef. But wouldn't accepting it lead poor Pete (Jon Favreau) to believe she likes him more than she does? Meanwhile, Joey and Chandler adopt an Easter chick and struggle to be the fowlest parents they can be. NBC.

"The World's Deadliest Volcanoes" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- An hour of things that blow up real good. ABC.

"Seinfeld" (9 p.m.-9: 30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- In a repeat from January, George finds who he believes is the perfect girlfriend: a beautiful woman who thinks he's great and spends her free time (in fact, spends all her time) in jail. All the fun of having a girlfriend, but none of the entanglements of actually having to spend time with her that is, until she shows up at his front door one day. How very George. And very funny. NBC.

"Moloney" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Tough but compassionate (and glib-as-heck) cop shrink Nick Moloney (Peter Strauss) tries to save a girl from being pulled back into the gang life he thought she had left behind. CBS.

"Turning Point" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Diane Sawyer continues her chat with Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. ABC.

"ER" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Greene has to publish, if he's going to become a teacher. Hathaway's worried she did lousy on the medical boards. Carter pushes to have a man operated on, even after being warned the patient might not survive the surgery. Weaver treats a suicidal AIDS patient. Benton tries to make nice with Carla. And the Kitchen Sink shows up as a guest star. (Not really, but the show seems to have everything else.) NBC.

Cable

"Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow" (8 p.m.-11 p.m., repeats 12: 30 a.m.-3: 30 a.m.), "The Cameraman" (11 p.m.-12: 30 a.m.), "Spite Marriage" (3: 30 a.m.-4: 50 a.m.) and "What! No Beer" (4: 50 a.m.-6 a.m., TCM) -- Even more than Chaplin (whose pathos can sometimes wear thin), Buster Keaton can still delight audiences; among the three great silent movie clowns, his humor still seems the freshest (although the woefully neglected Harold Lloyd, showcased on TCM tomorrow, should not be underestimated). The three-hour "Hard Act to Follow," from the brilliant film historians David Gill and Kevin Brownlow, offers a fine overview of his career and his genius. "Cameraman," with Buster as a newsreel cameraman desperately trying to impress a girl, is a fine example of what he could do with that famous deadpan of his. So is "Marriage," in which he plays a pants presser pretending to be a millionaire (again, to impress a girl). "Beer," his last American starring vehicle, is something of a sad relic, one of a series of uninspired talkies he did at MGM (many, including this one, with Jimmy Durante) after the studio had wrested creative control from him.

Pub Date: 4/17/97

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