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"The Borrowers" pull together and set up house on TNT

OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN

November 21, 1993|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

No one lives alone in author Mary Norton's world. It's populated by The Borrowers, little people who set up house beneath floorboards and fill their world with bits and pieces of ours.

They decorate in English country tiny: A matchbook becomes a chest of drawers, a biscuit tin a bed.

A TNT original movie premiering Saturday based on two Norton books, "The Borrowers" and "The Borrowers Afield," features Ian Holm and his wife Penelope Wilton and Rebeca Callard as the Borrowers: Pod, Homily and Arreitty.

They see human "beans" as two-dimensional giants whose homes they live in. And, they don't trust any of them, until they find themselves lost and must rely on an 8-year-old to help them.

Director John Henderson says the stories were childhood favorites of his. He believes the sense of family they instill makes them valuable in today's world. "What it really does is bring out family values, as the family rallies rally around together to get through things, despite the pressures of modern life. I think the people who like it so much do so because they pull together on things.

"Everyone can be charmed into the story," Henderson insists, from London where he is finishing Parts 3 and 4 of "Borrowers" stories "The Borrowers Afloat" and "The Borrowers Aloft"). "It's for ages 2 to 92," he adds.

"The Borrowers," aired in London and won the equivalent of two British Emmy Awards in April for best youth and family programming, and a second for best photography.

"The Borrowers" was originally made in 1973 with Eddie Albert ("Green Acres"), but Henderson says the TNT production is shot "strictly from a Borrowers' point of view." The previous film, was done from both humans' and Borrowers' perspectives. "The production cry on this film was the constant emphasis that 'we are a Borrowers' film crew," Henderson adds. "The 1973 version was brave at the time, but now we have more toys to play with. We had something like 600 blue-screen processes," explains Henderson.

Despite the technical feats, Henderson emphasizes that the film is \o7 not \f7 a special-effects film, but a family one.

\o7 "The Borrowers" airs Saturday at 4 p.m., with Part 2 airing at noon on Nov. 28 on TNT. For ages 4 and up.\f7

MORE FAMILY SHOWS

Set at all four Disney theme parks (California, Florida, Paris and Tokyo), Disney's Countdown to Kid's Day (Sunday 7-8 p.m. NBC) will feature entertainment and a look at the issues facing today's youth. Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Joey Lawrence, Alan Jackson, Sinbad, the Harlem Boys Choir and Kris Kross will appear. \o7 For ages 4 and up.\f7

Pilgrim hunter Miles Standish is out to catch Yakko, Wakko and Dot's pet turkey when the Animaniacs (Monday 4:30-5 p.m. Fox) find themselves in Plymouth, Mass. The Warner siblings must fight to save their friend. \o7 For ages 2 to 12.\f7

All Turner Entertainment Networks (Cartoon, TBS and TNT) will preempt their regular programming for The Great International Toon-In (Friday 3 a.m. to 5 p.m.) marathon. TBS hosts a "Bugs-A-Thon," TNT presents "Cartoon All-Stars" and the Cartoon Network airs "Cartoons A-Z." The new cartoon "Moxy" opens the marathon with its debut. \o7 For ages 2 and up.\f7

Five hours of animated activity is scheduled for Kids' Day Off (Friday 9 a.m.-noon KTLA, XETV, KESQ) with "The Moo Family Holiday Hoe-Down," "Super Trolls," "Bubsy: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?," "Battletoads" and "The Moo Family Stall of Fame." \o7 For ages 2 and up.\f7 The marathon ends with a show for adolescents, "So You Want to Be . . . ," which looks at career opportunities. \o7 For ages 11 and up.\f7

The premiere of Babar: The Movie (Friday 8-10 p.m. Family Channel) follows the pachyderm from his mother's tragic death to his coronation. \o7 For ages 2 and up.\f7

A new series The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends (Friday 7-7:30 p.m. Family Channel) shows kicks off with "The Tailor of Gloucester." \o7 For ages 2 and up.\f7

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