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Highlights

TURN ON, TUNE IN OR MISS OUT : Easter on the mountain with the Waltons; soaps retell old stories; the celebrated 'Party of Five'

March 30, 1997|STEVEN LINAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sunday

"Scams, Schemes & Scoundrels" / 5 and 9 p.m. A&E

Have you ever been the victim of a con man? Costly as that experience may have been, there are other people throughout history who have been taken for a ride, as it were, and this two-hour show introduces them. To wit: In the 1920s, a fellow passed himself off as a French official who sold the Eiffel Tower to scrap metal dealers. And before World War II, a Dutch painter exacted revenge on his critics by forging the works of Vermeer. It's enough to make you believe P.T. Barnum was right about a sucker being born every minute.

****

"Hard Rock Live" / 8 p.m. VH1

Jewel, the folk-based pop singer raised in Alaska, opens this new concert series taped before a studio audience in New York. "I get bored easily, so when I sing, I have to change characters," the youthful vocalist has said of her chameleonic style. Upcoming shows will feature the interesting pairings of Simply Red and Maxwell, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin, and Robert Palmer and Cheap Trick.

****

"A Walton Easter" / 9 p.m. CBS

It's been nearly 25 years since the tightly knit Waltons first struck a chord with viewers who were touched by their sentimental stories of life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. In this, the network's third TV movie of the Walton kin, New York writer John-Boy (Richard Thomas) and his pregnant wife Janet (Kate McNeil) visit Walton's Mountain for the 40th wedding anniversary of parents John (Ralph Waite) and Olivia (Michael Learned). The original cast is intact here (sans the late Grandpa), with Ellen Corby, Judy Norton, Mary McDonough and Jon Walmsley.

Monday

"A Daytime to Remember" / 11 a.m. ABC

The network's new serial "GH2" won't be ready until June 2. What to do until then? Over the next nine weeks, ABC will carry old episodes of "All My Children," "One Life to Live" and "General Hospital." That means a run of shows featuring the early work of such stars as Kim Delaney, Lauren Holly, Judith Light, Demi Moore, Janine Turner and John Stamos. First up on Monday: a 1970 episode of "All My Children" featuring Susan Lucci as the imitable Erica Kane.

Wednesday

"Party of Five" / 9 p.m. Fox

The best news from Fox in recent weeks was its decision to renew this appealing family drama for a fourth season. Given the overwhelmingly positive press and improved ratings, that may have seemed like a no-brainer, but networks don't always do the right thing. In this season finale, one of three couples will tie the knot. Will it be Charlie and Grace, Julia and Justin or Bailey and Sarah?

****

"Great Performances" / 9 p.m. KCET

Best known as the author of "Looking for Mr. Goodbar," Judith Rossner also wrote the 1980 novel "Emmeline," a true tale about a young woman in the pre-Civil War era. The story takes on a dark edge when the unwed heroine gives up her son and then unknowingly marries him 20 years later. Ordinarily, that scenario would be the basis for a suggestive TV movie. Instead, composer Tobias Picker has turned it into a musical piece performed by the Santa Fe Opera, with Patricia Racette, Victor Ledbetter and Curt Peterson in the key roles.

Saturday

"Tigers of the Snow" / 8 p.m. NBC

An elusive feline that can sprint across winter terrain at a speed of 50 mph, the Siberian tiger is a feared yet endangered beast. In this "National Geographic" special, veteran filmmaker Mark Stouffer ("Wild America") travels to a territory where the number has dwindled to 300 because of poachers who fetch high prices for body parts. A Siberian tiger pelt alone can bring $10,000. Richard Kiley narrates the hour, which includes a look at the work of big cat expert Maurice Hornocker.

****

"Bullet to Beijing" / 9 p.m. TMC

Michael Caine is back in the spy business. And, if you hadn't heard, The Movie Channel is now in the business of showing made-for-TV movies. In this one, Caine reprises his role as Harry Palmer, the wry Cold War character he played on the big screen in "The Ipcress File," "Funeral in Berlin" and "Billion Dollar Brain." The plot: A Russian recruits a downsized Palmer to recover a deadly poison. Jason Connery, Mia Sara and Michael Sarrazin co-star in the thriller, which was filmed in the former Soviet Union.

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