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OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN

'Calliope' on USA Network Gives Children Something to Think, Write and Talk About

March 01, 1992|LAUREN LIPTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Calliope"? Is that a new show for kids?

You may never have heard of "Calliope," but it's cable's longest-running children's show--having recently begun its 14th season on USA (which is longer than most of its viewers have been alive!). The show, hosted by the grandfatherly Gene, an animated character, and his dog, includes a mix of animated and live-action segments from Eastern Europe, Italy, Great Britain, Japan, Canada and the United States. Many of the films showcased have gone on to win awards.

The series deals obliquely with ethnic and social issues, the arts and nature. It encourages children to participate by writing in with their opinions and answering weekly questions. There's even a segment, "Calliope Photo Album," that features photos of viewers from across the country. It's a recipe for success that obviously works.

"Calliope," Sundays 7-8 a.m. USA. For 2- to 6-year-olds.

MORE KIDS' SHOWS

Choices '92 (Sunday 11:30 a.m.-noon KTTV) examines the Los Angeles Unified School District magnet school program, which helps elementary, junior high, and high-school students focus on particular subjects and specialized approaches to learning. For parents.

A small-town family man brings home an unwieldy new "pet"--a 7-foot Sasquatch--in the 1987 film Harry & the Hendersons (Sunday 6-8 p.m. KTLA), starring John Lithgow. For 4- to 13-year-olds.

"Hardcore," an episode of the local-issues magazine Life & Times (Tuesday 7:30-8 p.m. and midnight-12:30 a.m. KCET) profiles a deputy probation officer and a deputy district attorney who deal with kids, gangs and the criminal justice system. For parents.

Two episodes of The Wonderful World of Disney (Tuesday 8-10 p.m. KTTV) look at nature: "White Wilderness," featuring scenes of Arctic inhabitants, and "Ringo, the Refugee Raccoon," a portrait of a young raccoon. For all ages.

The TV movie Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the xxxxxxxx (Wednesday 8-10 p.m. ABC) serves as the season premiere for the new Young Indiana Jones series, based on the boyhood adventures of the fictional hero. For ages 6 and up.

Tempestt Bledsoe and Della Reese star in "The Gift of Amazing Grace" (Thursday 3-4 p.m. ABC), an ABC Afterschool Special about a teen who can't sing in a family of gospel singers. For 11- to 17-year-olds.

Rin Tin Tin and the Paris Conspiracy (Friday 1-3 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Family Channel) is a feature-length film starring the furry hero of the Family Channel's "Rin Tin Tin K-9 Cop" series. For ages 7 and up.

The Nickelodeon Sports Special is part an ongoing series of six magazine-type shows (Saturday 5-5:30 p.m. Nickelodeon) spotlighting popular sports figures and activities. A team of four kids serves as host. For 6- to 15-year-olds.

"My Mother the Witch," a Young People's Special (Saturday 5:30-6 a.m. KNBC), is set during the Salem Witch trials of the 17th Century, when a young girl becomes suspicious of her mother's mysterious powers. For 6- to 12-year-olds.

Matt Dillon and Emilio Estevez star in Tex (Saturday 6-8 p.m. KTLA), the 1982 drama about two teen-age brothers who come of age without parental guidance; based on an S.E. Hinton story. For ages 12 and up.

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