Thursday, May 29, 1997

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

Page: 7

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Text Content of Page 7 of New Braunfels Herald Zeitung on Thursday, May 29, 1997

New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 29, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas HeraldZeltung fl Thursday May Q 7 Attractions Arts Leisure Networks Unlock Doors to Higher Quality By Robert P Laurence Copley News Service In some ways childrens television is a lot like grownup television Theres a lot of it and it ranges wildly in quality But theres one big difference Childrens TV is improving Its considerably better than it used to be and it promises to get even better Kids TV like adult TV ranges from the sublime to the plain ugly from the simple enduring magic of Mister Rogers Neighborhood to the brutality of from the inspired lunacy of KaBlam to the brooding film noir atmosphere of Batman and to the charming fragile whimsy of Bananas in It can be wildly imaginative utterly beyond anything on adult TV and astonishingly hip Some of the zaniest programs are those leastknown to adults Tune to Samurai Pizza Cats on a weekday afternoon and you might hear the cartoon characters singing Some enchanted evening youll meet Farley Granger which may leave the adult viewer wondering how many of todays 10yearolds recognize the song Some Enchanted or if any of them have heard of Farley Granger a minor movie star of the 1940s On a cartoon variety show the animated hosts are named Henry and June a notso subtle reference to Henry an obscure but very adult 1990 movie from the studios of Steven Spielberg is rife with insideHollywood gags about stars and movies of the distant past Keeping track of childrens programs can be maddeningly confusing with the same shows or similar shows with almostthe same titles running simultaneously on different channels Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego is a PBS staple while Fox recently ran a similar show from the same producers Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego Shows that die on one channel are revived on another in the fall CBS will air The Ghostwriter based on an earlier PBS show Not that the mindless violent cartoons that for so long seemed to dominate kids TV have vanished suddenly from the landscape Joe is still there along with DarkStalkers and Power Rangers But an increase in the number of stimulating programs is changing the balance And theres more to come COMPETITIVE EDGE The reasons are simple First competition as it does in horse racing has improved the breed Cables Nickelodeon channel has raised the bar several notches while new entrants in the field such as Fox Spielberg and even HBO have nurtured and encouraged upcoming writers and artists There have been new standards set over the last few years with moresophisticated writing more sophisticated said Lucy Johnson CBS senior vice president for daytime and childrens programming It opened up the area Nickelodeon had a great deal to do with it Fox and Warner Bros had a lot to do with Second the Federal Communications Commission prompted by the Clinton administration has told broadcasters that beginning Sept 1 they must carry at least three hours of educational and informational childrens programming every week As a result dozens of new shows described by producers as FCC friendly are being advertised in the trade press hoping to attract the attention of local stations and get on the air in the fall The FCCs enforcement mechanism is weak at best however and optimism must be tempered by skepticism and a waitandsee attitude Youre going to see very little effect until somebody sues a station and some station loses its cautions Linda Ellerbee producer of Nickelodeons Nick Then the networks will take it seriously Right now its a game of Put on what you like and see if anybody CHILDRENS CHOICES It may be the children themselves who do the most to improve childrens TV just by the choices they make Judging from visits to secondgrade and fifthandsixth grade classrooms at Jefferson Elementary School in San Diego the kids themselves seem to favor programs that offer them some benefit They can be discriminating knowledgeable viewers with strong informed opinions Ask what they think of Foxs X Men a violent cartoon that has long been the bane of those who yearn for better childrens TV and most of the kids sit silently with puzzled neverheardofit expressions on their faces A few respond with a disdainful Nooo and sounds of disgust Eeeuw One boy remarks that the drawings keep on getting worse and the stories arent as good And theyre mostly But mention a PBS program in which a Jack Russell terrier is costumed as the hero of various works of classical literature such as Sherlock Holmes or and hands fly up and in unison the kids shout out an approving Oooh because it shows you old said one One pupil read Mark Twains The Adventures of Tom Sawyer after watching the Wishbone version and decided The book was One even tackled Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet after she saw but concluded that Wishbone made it Another viewer said Wishbone was educational but its still funny Its not like Reading Rainbow a PBS Thats too educational If youre watching TV you dont want to go back to One more revelation Most of the kids said they and their parents do pay attention to televisions new ratings system and their parents dont let them watch programs unsuited to their age group If it says my mom will sit down to watch it with said one lucky fifthgrader If they have a single favorite it may be a childrens TV phenomenon A nightly feature on Nickelodeon Rugrats regularly occupies half or more of the top spots in Nielsens weekly cable ratings Every showing of every episode is rated individually so the same program can appear on the list several times and Rugrats The episode on Hanukkah explained the Jewish holiday with wit verve and originality and a recent episode dealt with nothing more people talk more about doing more consequential to a grown good childrens television And up at least than a toddlers fear of perhaps thats a going down the drain with the bath Nickelodeon has made itself a Landa Station ngvir FULL BAR Margaritas Beer Specials TUE Jam Night Barlow FRI Blue Sky SAT 381 Landa St New Braunfeis 6293311 To Go Window Shows like PBSs Sesame Street programming water Its for bigger kids too because they used to be that said one boy GOOD STUFF PBS with such perennial favorites as Sesame Shining Time Station and The Magic and Nickelodeon are two of the chief purveyors qf childrens programming NBC has pulled out of the 2to 11yearold market as childrens TV is defined in the industry to concentrate on teens and CBS already has announced it will drop its animated programs in the fall in favor of educational shows designed to meet its stations federal requirements But Disney owned ABC remains a major player in the field Alice Cahn director of childrens programming at PBS believes that theres more good stuff I think theres just as much bad stuff though Does that make the balance any better I dont know Its like saying theres more good food on the table but its still easy to have chocolate for breakfast There are more places on the dial for kids to go more stores for them to shop Whats positive Cabn said is that afterjast summers long public debate that led to the FCCs three hour directive You are seeing lead the way in quality childrens dominant player in the last few years through persistence the sheer quantity of its childrens programming and a few hits such as Rugrats and The criticism and the focus on kids television is only going to bring more quality stuff to the air and thats a good said Cyma Zarghami Nickelodeons general manager and senior vice president of programming The more its in the press and in the faces of parents the more theyll pay attention and make choices that are smart for their said Zarghami whos been with Nickelodeon for 13 of the channels 17 years I think there should be a quality mandate before theres an educational she added Because kids can take just as much from good quality programming that reflects things that are relevant in their lives as they can from a show that teaches them how to DUBIOUS VALUE One doesnt have to search far to find examples of programs of dubious value The CBS fall childrens lineup includes not only the worthwhile science show Beakmans but also Wheel of Fortune 2000 and The Sports Illustrated for Kids Both would seem to be halfhour infomercials transparent promotions for an adult game show and a sports magazine but CBS Johnson denies it Im doing nothing at all like she said Im doing programs with entertainment and educational value that have some familiar marketing ingredients for kids Im not here to sell magazines and Im not here to of Im not promoting the sale of magazines Were not advertising magazines on Sports Illustrated for To discover how a TV station might try to meet the FCC requirement without really educating children a viewer need only check the twohour block of Sundaymorning programs that 69 in San Diego bills as educational The Why Why which explains some simple scientific principles in terms small children can understand happens to the food we eat was one recent seems worthwhile But Oscars Orchestra has animated musical instruments as characters in inane cartoon stories its thin claim to the educational label lies in the use of classicalmusic clips on the Worst of the batch is Gladiators a junior version of the American Gladiators combat game show Kids 12 years old or so compete in pseudobattle contests running obstacle courses and shooting rubber balls at each other Every now and then the game stops for a quiz which may or may not be educational Oral hygiene was the theme of one episode and contestants were asked this WEDNESDAY VOLLEYBALL THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY JUKEBOX POOL SHUFFLEBOARD SUNDAY BRETT GRAHAM COUNTRY uo cover 625HALL 255 Saengerhalle Childrens Three Day Workshops 9 AM 3 PM or 8 AM 5 PM sessions for 4 to 7 year olds and 8 to 11 year olds PRESENTED BY THROUGHOUT AT Montessori Educators June July Ferguson Farms for information and reservations 2109642191 7200 JM 306tyio Braunfeis IX White Dove Traders American Legion Post 179 4io w Coll New Across from the library 6250179 ARTIFACTS SANDPAIN7INGS ORIGINAL ART AND MORE Direct reservation buyers from New Mexico arid Arizona Indian Art Show Sale June 6th 7th 8th Live Oak Civic Center 8101 Pat Booker Rd Live Oak at 1604 IH35 Exir Pat Booker Rd Featuring Jewelry Pottery Music Kachinas Oils Prints Artifacts Rugs Clothing Blankets Original Art Much Much More FREE ADMISSION Don I miss ilus eveiu 3 DAVS ONLY Artwork from Over 150 Anises Sold Below Recall co the Public Friday Sun 10 am 6 pm Abo A Selection or iouthwesccrn Ar Visa MC Discover Personal Checks Accepted 31 1 1 a i 1 s a question written on the screen by someone who apparently flunked thirdgrade grammar and spelling What is the most common reason a person looses their teeth Then the kids were informed that the scientific name for bad breath as if 12yearolds should worry about bad breath is Wrong Halitosis was a word dreamed up by an advertising agency for a mouthwash commercial Any parent seeking a cure for illiterate educational television will face a difficult struggle The FCC has issued guidelines but stations decide for themselves if their programs are Bright as the future may look in childrens television the possibilities for abuse for trash disguised as are as infinite as the venal imaginations of greedy producers programmers and station owners As always it will fall to parents to make sure their childrens minds are getting some nourishment from their TV sets and not just empty calories TMEilTS UNLIMITED Exotic Dancers 15 yrs experience Have been on major talk shows Call Sean aka Stormin Norman 6203211 Night Clubs 1 Special Events Well go the oceans or at We do s lot of fishing to get the best in tasty seafood shrimp fish selected seafoods Creoles paellas and pastas all served with fresh seasonal vegetables variety of delicious salads fresh breads and scrumptious desserts Only per person children under 12 eat price IQomei iy some oil our 1051 IH 35 East New Braunfele TX 6250017 Times good thru Lost World PG13 The Fifth PG13 Lost PG13 r Fathers Day PG13 J Austin Powers J Breakdown R Presented SOUND Times thru Addicted ffj 1 L f Fri 1 I J