Champions fight to save films

TV: A special on Turner Classic Movies examines the need to preserve and restore deteriorating films.

April 14, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Turner Classic Movies marks its fifth anniversary today with a special that looks at the history of, and need for, film preservation.

"The Race to Save 100 Years" uses interviews with director Martin Scorsese, film historian Kevin Brownlow and others to emphasize how threatened films are -- an estimated 90 percent of all films made before 1929 have been lost, and color films made between 1950 and 1975 are in danger of fading beyond recognition.

Both Scorsese and Brownlow have been invaluable in the preservation fight. Scorsese has used his high profile to great advantage, serving as one of preservation's most vocal proponents, while Brownlow has helped save hundreds of silent films that might otherwise have been lost.

"The Race to Save 100 Years" will also include side-by-side examples of restored and unrestored film, as well as examples of footage once thought lost (including Technicolor sequences from the silent version of "Ben-Hur" and censored scenes from "King Kong"), that have been saved thanks to the work of collectors and preservationists.

The one-hour special makes its debut at 8 p.m., with an encore airing at 11 p.m.

TCM will also devote its programming today to movies that have been restored or otherwise preserved. Among the highlights are: Esther Williams in "Thrill of a Romance" (1945, noon-2 p.m.); Fred Astaire in director Vincente Minnelli's "Yolanda and the Thief" (1945, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.); Jane Powell and Ann Miller in "Small Town Girl" (1953, 4 p.m.-5: 45 p.m.); Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (1949, 9 p.m.-11 p.m.); and John Wayne in John Ford's "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949, midnight-2 a.m.).

Tribute to Cash

Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Chris Isaak are just some of the performers set to perform during TNT's "An All-Star Tribute to Johnny Cash."

A sharecropper's son whose career has spanned nearly 50 years (he started as a contemporary of Elvis Presley), Cash is both a talented songwriter and a man blessed with one of the most distinctive voices in country music. He's been inducted into both the Country Music and Rock and Roll halls of fame.

The concert, taped April 6 in New York, premieres on TNT at 8 p.m. Sunday.

`World' will end

"Another World," a staple on NBC for 35 years, will air its final episode June 25, as the network revamps its daily lineup and replaces the veteran soap with a fresh offering from James Reilly, a former head writer for "Days of Our Lives."

Beginning July 5, NBC's afternoon lineup will consist of "Lives" at 1 p.m., followed by the new "Passions" at 2 p.m. and Aaron Spelling's "Sunset Beach" at 3 p.m.

"I thank all the people working on `Another World' for an incredible job at giving their audience an amazing 35-year run," NBC Entertainment President Scott Sassa said in announcing the new lineup. "It was a very tough decision."

The changes are the latest moves by NBC to strengthen its daytime offerings. In the early-morning hours, that means expanding the high-rated "Today" franchise. The network previously announced plans for "Early Today," a joint effort between NBC and CNBC that will air weekdays at 4: 30 a.m. and concentrate on business news. In addition, the network will be launching "Later Today," with host Jodi Applegate, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., beginning in September.

Those new programs spell the end of the line for "NBC News at Sunrise," which debuted in 1983. NBC's "Leeza," former "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Leeza Gibbons' entry in the talk sweepstakes, will continue, but in syndication.

The programming folks at WBAL, Channel 11, have yet to decide how much of NBC's new daily lineup they will carry.

Pax and `Hope'

"Hope Island," an hourlong weekly drama based on the popular British TV series "Ballykissangel," has been picked up by the Pax Cable network and should premiere sometime in August.

The series will chronicle the exploits of Daniel Cooper, a young minister who arrives on the island to discover a population of eccentric characters who could really use his help.

The drama is slated to be part of Pax's new season schedule, to be announced next month.

Pledge drive breaks records

Maryland Public Television had itself a record-breaking pledge drive last month, passing the $1 million mark for the first time.

In all, $1,042,000 was raised, including both pledges and matching grants, during the three-week drive. the bid money-raisers were "The Irish Tenors" ($126,003), Suze Orman's "The Courage to Be Rich" ($122,990), a gardening marathon featuring Jerry Baker ($61,577), "The Morgan Choir: A Celebration" ($54,087) and "Ipi Ntombi: An African Dance Celebration" ($53,815).

Pooled together, programs produced by MPT and looking at Maryland's diversity and ethnic heritage accounted for nearly $350,000 in pledges. Viewers also proved anxious for advice; financial and self-help programs raked in more than $261,000.

Sun wire services contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 4/14/99

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