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OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN

Disney's 'Wolves' Tells a Tale of Overcoming Greed and Treachery and Terro

October 18, 1992|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Wolves have long been embedded in children's lore as cunning animals to mistrust, if not fear. Consider the classic story of "Little Red Riding Hood."

In carrying on with this tradition, The Disney Channel Discovery: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase presents a fictional England of 1832, a time when ravenous wolves have overrun the country and surrounded Willoughby Chase, where Bonnie lives safely with her loving parents and loyal servants.

When Lord and Lady Willoughby must travel abroad, Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia are left in the care of Miss Slighcarp, a sinister new governess (Stephanie Beacham). Driven by greed and envy, Slighcarp pillages Lady Willoughby's wardrobe and appoints herself lady of the manor, conspiring with the corruptible Grimshaw to make Willoughby Chase her own.

Slighcarp's reign of terror includes imprisoning the girls in the Blastburn orphanage, an industrial dungeon of child labor. With ingenuity and some cunning of their own--and a bit of help from Simon, a boy who lives in the woods--Bonnie and Slyvia are able to thwart Slighcarp.

"The Disney Channel Discovery: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase," Saturday 4-5:30 p.m., Disney Channel. For ages 11 and up. (The show incorporates some rather grim depictions that may be too intense for younger children.)

MORE FAMILY SHOWS

Farley, the Pattersons' dog, has been scolded all Halloween day and finally runs away, but when the Pattersons' son Michael gets into trouble trick-or-treating Farley comes to the rescue and becomes a hero in the "For Better Or For Worse" episode The Good for Nothing (Sunday 5:35 p.m. Disney Channel). For ages 7 and up.

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A special edition of "Scott Ross Prime Time Specials," Scott Ross: Safe Sex? (Monday 4-5 a.m. the Family Channel) is cablecast for the "Cable in the Classroom" program. This look at AIDS features Dr. Michael Gottlieb, the physician who published the first clinical report on the disease in June, 1981. Gottlieb, who was also Rock Hudson's personal physician, will be joined by Karyn Parsons ("Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"), Michael Gross ("Family Ties") and musician Roger McGuinn (The Byrds). For ages 12 and up.

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The Emmy-nominated Scenic Wonders of America: Canyons of Wonder (Tuesday 10-10:30 p.m. Disney Channel) explores Zion and Bryce canyons. The beauty of both parks is presented, as well as a discussion of their geological history and the plant and animal life there. For ages 10 and up.

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The result of a several months-long survey, Kids Pick the President (Friday 5-8 p.m. Nickelodeon) profiles kids' thoughts and concerns on the presidency, the election and the issues that concern them. Also included will be an introduction of the candidates and their positions on these concerns. Kids can call in and vote for their favorite candidate via a toll-free phone line, the results of which will be announced on Snick (Saturday 8-10 p.m.). For ages 7 and up.

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The bizarre, the weird and the just plain unusual have been a fascination for children of all ages. Nick's new Beyond Belief (Saturday 1-1:30 p.m. and Sunday 6:30-7 p.m. Nickelodeon) is designed to profile such oddities, including jousting knights, spooky stories, weird collections, mummies and their curses, mad inventors and other interesting and strange things from around the world. For ages 6 and up.

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The Marvel comic book super-hero team X-MEN (Saturday 10:30-11 a.m. KTTV, XETV) are brought to animated life, as leader Cyclops and his mutant team fight evil forces. For ages 7 to 13.

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Child abuse is a frightening and shocking crime. The "Justice Files" segment, Against Our Kids (Saturday 7-8 and 9-10 p.m. Discovery), looks at how society ignores the tragic situation and what some people are doing to change it. For parents.

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