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What Becomes This Legend Most? Hard Work and Strong Determination

OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN

January 31, 1993|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the classic tale of man vs. machine, John Henry, the powerful steel-drivin' man of legend, is pitted against the newly invented steam-powered automatic drill . . . and wins! Shortly thereafter, he collapses and dies of exhaustion. The legend of his physical prowess and skill, however, lives on.

In honor of Black History Month, American Heroes & Legends presents his story in "John Henry," featuring narration by "Malcolm X's" Denzel Washington and music by B.B. King.

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"American Heroes & Legends: John Henry" airs Wednesday 7:30-8 a.m. on Showtime. For ages 2 to 12.

MORE FAMILY SHOWS

Gabrielle Carteris, who plays the crusading Andrea on "Beverly Hills, 90210," becomes an animated crusader as the voice of Fiona, Rowane's friend and Prince Valiant's competitor, in The Legend of Prince Valiant: The Last Rival (Sunday 10:30-11 a.m. Family Channel). When Fiona's abilities win her the favor of Camelot--she's even asked to be the belle of the queen's ball--a jealous Rowanne withdraws her friendship. Rowanne learns a lesson about envy . . . and to appreciate her own accomplishments. For ages 2 and up.

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The Natural World: Together They Stand (Monday 5-6 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. Discovery) examines the unusual family structure of the dwarf mongoose. The ferret-like animals will stand up to any enemy, no matter how deadly, to protect one another. For ages 7 and up.

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Kids can learn about space exploration and have an opportunity to win a trip to U.S. Space Camp by watching The Cosmic Challenge ... For Kids' Sake (Monday 5-6 p.m. WGN). Entrants must be in fourth through ninth grades and answer nine questions for a write-in quiz. The first 100 entries with the correct answers win five-day trips (air fare, room and board included) to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. Each winner will be offered an $8,000 college scholarship to Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., if the winner is accepted there. For ages 9 to 14 .

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Despite her single-mindedly anachronistic flapper notions of marrying money or instantly making it big in showbiz, Betty Boop still holds a naive charm. Max Fleischer's cartoon and comic-strip character stars in The Romance of Betty Boop (Tuesday 7-7:30 p.m. Disney), which profiles the cutie before her legendary film career, as she performs in 1939 New York City nightclubs and juggles admirers: Freddie, the handsome iceman; Waldo, an arrogant preppie, and a gangster. For ages 4 and up .

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Beakman's World (Wednesday 5-5:30 p.m. and 8-8:30 p.m. The Learning Channel) addressesthe curiosity of youngsters with answers to such questions as how do cassettes work and how can someone lie on a bed of nails and not get hurt. Beakman demonstrates how the cassette player changes sound into magnetic signals that are stored on the tape. He also shows that when many pins are used in a bed, they spread the force of the weight out so that each pin only supports a fraction of the weight. He uses two examples: a balloon on a bed of pins and a tomato to be sliced with the flat side of a knife. As a final demonstration, Beakman lies down on a bed of real nails. For ages 7 and up.

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Celebrations of love and honor are on the yellow feline's imaginative mind in Henry's Cat: Valentine's Day/President's Day Special (Saturday 7:30-8 a.m. Showtime). For ages 2 to 8 .

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