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OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN

'Bedtime Stories' opens more chapters in its second Showtime season

September 19, 1993|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

What child doesn't love a good bedtime story? And what child wouldn't love one read by some of the most engaging actors around? Sunday marks the second season of the animated Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories, all of which are narrated by a lineup of celebrities including Billy Crystal, Charles Grodin, Rhea Perlman, Richard Dreyfuss, Shelley Long, Morgan Freeman, Mary Steenburgen, Ed Begley Jr., Kathy Bates, Duvall and others.

"Bedtime Stories," Duvall's fourth Showtime series, is produced and directed by Arthur Leonardi, a 30-year veteran of the business, who first received acclaim for his work on developing the original animated Pink Panther for the first Blake Edwards film.

The debut episode will feature Steve Martin ("L.A. Story") and Candice Bergen ("Murphy Brown"). Martin, who played a baddie in "Little Shop of Horrors," narrates "Tugford Wanted to Bad," the story of a young mouse who decides he wants to be like the "bad" guys in the movies. His great "outlaw" scheme backfires when he discovers he has almost foiled his own birthday.

"The Little Penguin's Tale," narrated by Bergen, is about Little Penguin, who learns a very important lesson about straying too far from the flock when he slips away and nearly gets eaten by a whale. His Grand Nanny tells a surprisingly similar tale of adventure from long ago to the other little penguins in his flock.

"Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories" airs Sunday at 8-8:30 p.m on Showtime. For ages 2 to 8.

MORE FAMILY SHOWS

Also bowing in for its second season Sunday is American Heroes & Legends (Sunday 7:30-8 a.m. Showtime). The six-episode weekly series premieres with Garrison Keillor's narration of the classic American tale "Johnny Appleseed." This story of the tree-planting folk hero features music by Nashville (and Grammy winner) fiddler Mark O'Connor and illustrations by Stan Olson. Appleseed is the American naturalist who roamed the Ohio Valley region in the early 1800s, planting orchards, caring for stricken animals and spreading good will. For ages 2 to 8.

"The humor is from the kids themselves," says Baby Races host Fred Travelena of the new Family Channel show (Sunday 7 p.m. Family Channel) featuring families and their children ages 18 months to 5 years. Kids play with their folks in such events as "Paint by Numbers," "Don't Spill the Beans" and "Jungle Worm Toss." The fast-paced show's 26 episodes were shot in 10 days at Disney World. For families.

He's not only "smarter than the average bear," he's also older than one, too. Yogi Bear celebrates his 35th birthday and he's still looking for picnic baskets to snatch. Yogi & Friends (premieres Monday 6:30-7 a.m. KCAL) features three cartoons: one with Yogi and two with his pals Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Magilla Gorilla, Snagglepuss and the Goofy Guards--Yippie, Yappee & Yahooey and others. The season-opener features the 'toons "Pie Pirates," as Yogi and Boo Boo try to get by a vicious dog to steal a huckleberry pie in the kitchen window; "Sheriff Huckleberry," who goes after desperado Dinky Dalton, and "Scary Prarie," where Quick Draw and his sidekick Baba Looey, go after Grumbleweed the polecat. For ages 2 to 8.

From lullabies to school songs, music plays an important role in young people's lives. The two-part ABC special Rhythm and Jam (Part 2 airs Saturday 11:30 a.m.-noon) concludes by presenting music education in an energetic music-video style format. Saturday's show concentrates on melody and harmony and introduces the a cappella group The Jamtones. Rap artist and host Kool Moe Dee performs his original song "Microphone Check." For ages 8 to teens.

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