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TV Smarts

November 05, 1998

Some broadcast and cable programs contain material included in the public school curriculum and on standardized examinations. Here are some weekend home-viewing tips:

* Thursday. "Inventor's Specials: Galileo on the Shoulders of Giants" (HBO 4-5 p.m.) This is a documentary for younger viewers on the history of science. VCR+404853

Also, "America on Wheels: Driving Force" (KCET, 8-9 p.m.) is a documentary about the evolution of the assembly line and the consumer/automobile society that it spawned. VCR+29655

* Friday. "Divided Highways: The Interstate and the Transformation of American Life," (KCET, 9-10:30 p.m.) This documentary, describes the effects that autos have had on daily living and the shape of cities. VCR+29506 Recommended reading: "The City in History" by Lewis Mumford.

* Saturday. "Mythic Warriors-Theseus: Hero of the Maze" (KCBS 4:30-5 p.m.) This is the premiere of a new animated series based on Laura Geringer's books for young readers. Greek myths about Andromeda, Atalanta, Hercules, etc. will be presented weekly. Today it's Theseus vs. Minotaur. VCR+552.

Also, "As It Happened: America Held Hostage-444 Days to Freedom" (HIST, 5-7:30 p.m. repeating 9-11:30 p.m) This is a historical documentary about the powerful influence of a prolonged hostage crisis on a presidential election--when Iran took American embassy personnel captive 20 years ago. VCR+ 54842.

* Sunday. "The Urban League Presents African Americans Working for a Better America" (KNBC 11 a.m.- noon) This is a documentary special about community action in Houston, Louisville, Detroit and Chicago to maintain affirmative action programs, fund business development and teach kids about the stock market. Participating on-screen are Dick Gregory, Billy Hunter and FCC Chairman William Kennard. VCR+53972

Also, "Mama Flora's Family" (KCBS, Part I, 9-11 p.m., Part II, Tuesday 9-11 p.m.) This is a dramatic miniseries adapted from the recently published novel of the same title by Alex Haley and David Stevens. Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood, Queen Latifah and Mario Van Peebles star in a story which takes up where "Roots" left off and follows the black American experience through the 1970s. VCR+4866, VCR+9300


--Compiled by Richard Kahlenberg in consultation with Crystal J. Gips, associate director for teacher education, Cal State University System. For references to books, videos and Web sites recommended in the past month's TV Smarts log on

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