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HBO drives home the story of a teen and a mistake he'll never forget

OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN

February 28, 1993|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Seventeen-year-old party guy Kevin Tunell celebrated New Year's 1982 in a big way, with lots of beer and champagne to ring in the new year. When he bragged to friends, "Nothing ever happens to me," he couldn't have been more wrong. After insisting he could drive home, his car hit and killed 18-year-old Maggie Glendon.

He was tried and sentenced to probation until he was 21 and community service for a year; his license was also suspended.

But Maggie Glendon's parents asked for, and received, an additional penalty: Every Friday for the next 18 years, Kevin was to send them a check for $1. Their lawyer said, "What is important is that the Glendons will know that for at least those few minutes it takes to write out a check, at least once a week for the next 18 years, Kevin Tunnell will have to remember the life he took."

A year later, Kevin didn't meet his Friday deadline. Then he wrote and sent 17 years' worth of checks; they were returned. Finally, he stopped the checks, telling his lawyer, "It hurts too much." In court, the original trial judge reaffirmed the sentence and jailed him for 30 days for contempt of court. Lesson learned.

Lifestories: Families in Crisis, Dead Drunk: The Kevin Tunell Story concludes with an appearance by the real Tunell.

\o7 "Lifestories: Families in Crisis, Dead Drunk: The Kevin Tunell Story airs Tuesday at 10:15-10:45 p.m. on HBO. For ages 10 and up.\f7

MORE FAMILY SHOWS

Adventures in Wonderland (Monday 7:30-8 p.m. Disney) offers a lesson in making judgments based on what other people say. In this week's "I Am the Walrus," residents are adamant about excluding a walrus from Wonderland. After all, they have heard that walruses are dishonest, rude and smell! The Red Queen refuses to grant the silly residents their wishes and gives them a dose of their own medicine by throwing a "walrus-only party." \o7 For ages 2 to 11\f7 .

One of the first things young children are fascinated by--even before they learn how to use it--is the toilet and its amazing flushing capabilities. Using a transparent toilet model, Beakman scientifically demonstrates its functions and why modern science prevents natural gas from returning from the sewer. He then takes a look at roller coasters: why they make your stomach feel funny during turns, why the first hill is the biggest, and why people don't fall out of their cars during a loop-de-loop. Concepts of inertia, conservation of momentum and centripetal force help understand roller coasters on Beakman's World (Wednesday 5-5:30 p.m. Learning Channel). \o7 For ages 7 and up\f7 .

A young logger named Zak discovers a hidden glade in the Australian rain forest filled with magical creatures in the television premiere of Ferngully . . . The Last Rain Forest (Wednesday 8-9:20 p.m. Disney). Zak fights to save rain forest creatures who are threatened by humans and their bulldozers. Featured are the voices of Christian Slater, Tim Curry, Samantha Mathis, Robin Williams and Grace Zabriskie. \o7 For ages 4 and up.\f7

First he starred in a couple of boy-and-his-dog movies, then the ever-earnest child actor Roddy McDowell starred in a couple of boy-and-his-horse movies, including Thunderhead, Son of Flicka (Thursday 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. AMC). Not quite as good as "My Friend Flicka," but it gets its message across in an enjoyable manner. \o7 For ages 6 and up\f7 .

The fantasy-fulfilling Name Your Adventure (Saturday 10:30-11 a.m. KNSD and 11-11:30 a.m. KNBC) shows host Mario Lopez and adventurers what it's like to be a SeaWorld Animal Trainer, a snowboarder and a deejay with L.A. 's Power 106 morning radio man, Jay Thomas (who also co-stars in CBS' "Love & War"). \o7 For ages 8 to 14.\f7

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