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'Biography' Profiles Burton of 'Apes'

July 31, 2001|STEVEN LINAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A&E takes advantage of the hoopla surrounding the release of "Planet of the Apes" by carrying a new "Biography" (8 p.m.) of director Tim Burton.

The profile recalls his childhood in Burbank, where he was hooked on horror, spending his allowance on monster magazines and fright fests at local theaters.

A boy with a vivid imagination who felt like a misfit, Burton could identify with the sensitive outsiders played by his hero, the late Vincent Price, who supplied the voice-over for his 1982 animated short "Vincent" and had a supporting role in "Edward Scissorhands."

Always looking for projects in which he could express his dark and unique vision, Burton felt frustrated at Walt Disney Studios, where he hated his first assignment on the animated film "The Fox and the Hound." Disney's "The Black Cauldron" was more suited to Burton's style, but his off-kilter designs were rejected by the studio.

In 1985, Burton got his big break from Paul Reubens, who chose him to direct the sleeper "Pee-wee's Big Adventure."

Tonight's "Biography" also recalls the filmmaker's hits ("Batman," "Sleepy Hollow") and box-office disappointments ("Ed Wood" and "Mars Attacks"), which brings us to "Planet of the Apes," his loose remake of the 1968 original.

The program includes conversations with Michael Keaton, Jeffrey Jones and "Toy Story" director John Lasseter, but the snippets of Burton interviews have been pulled from publicity material for his earlier films.

Surf Report

SERIES

After reading Donna's journal, Eric obsesses about not having a dangerous side on a repeat of "That '70s Show" (8 p.m. Fox).

"Prosecutors: In Pursuit of Justice" (8 p.m. Discovery Channel) examines a case in which a family outing ended in death.

"Air Power" (9 p.m. History Channel) reports on B-17s and B-52s.

Raquel Welch guests as Paul's mother on a "Spin City" repeat (9:30 p.m. ABC).

SPORTS

The Dodgers open a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds (7 p.m. Fox Sports Net 2).

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