A big Happy Birthday to Big Bird: PBS throws a roller-skating party

TIMES STAFF WRITER

That lovable featherbrain Big Bird is the life of the party in Big Bird's Birthday, or Let Me Eat Cake, a new PBS special for fans of all ages. Guests at this A-list event include Cookie Monster, Snuffleupagus, the Count and other members of the Sesame Street gang; plus celebs, including Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Candice Bergen, Ray Charles and Robert MacNeil. TV Times spoke with Big Bird from his nest in New York about his plans for the party:

TV Times: Happy Birthday! How old are you?

Big Bird: Thank you. I'll be 6 years old. I feel like i'm 7 maybe, 'cause I'm very bright for a bird. We're going to have a roller-skating party.

TV Times: You can roller-skate?

B.B.: I like to, but Snuffy, my best friend, has a lot to learn. He's about the size and weight of a small automobile, so he doesn't want to fall down.

TV Times: What kind of cake will you be having?

B.B.: Birdseed, I hope.

"Big Bird's Birthday, or Let Me Eat Cake," Monday 7:30-8:30 p.m. KVCR; Tuesday 7:30-8:30 p.m. and Friday 10-11 a.m. KCET. For 2- to 5-year-olds and their families.

MORE KIDS SHOWS

In The Wilder Summer (Sunday 2-3 p.m. Nickelodeon), Charlie Wilder spends his first time at camp scheming to get together with the most beautiful girl at the lake. For 10- to 15-year-olds.

Two kids discover an old trunk that takes them back to the olden days in Out of Time (Sunday 3-4 p.m.), where they must act to save the family farm. For 8- to 12-year-olds.

The twentysomething producer of the short film Bread and Honey (Sunday 5-5:15 p.m. Bravo) already has recieved awards for this charming live action/animated tale. In it, a little boy draws a picture of his mother in school and, on the way home, meets a crocodile, a rabbit, a giraffe and an elephant, who all give him suggestions on how to make it better. For ages 5 and up.

Bugs, beetles and other yucky creatures star in "National Geographic Explorer" (Sunday 9-11 p.m. and early Tuesday 1:05-3:05 a.m. TBS), a segment of which profiles Hollywood "bug wrangler" Steve Kutcher, who works with insects in movies. The show also features reports on gorillas in captivity and a "lost" swampland under the ice of the Artic. For ages 8 and up.

Easter egg-citement is already building on the Disney Channel. Easter Egg Mornin' (Monday 6-6:30 p.m.) describes what happens when the Easter Bunny is short on eggs. The animated The Easter Bunny is Comin' to Town (Tuesday 8-9 p.m.) tells the tale of Easter in the town of Kidville. In Peter and the Magic Egg (Sunday 11:30 a.m.-noon; Thursday 7:30-8 p.m.), a wisecraking bird brings spirit back to a Pennsylvania town. For 3- to 10-year-olds.

Yours to Keep (Wednesday 6-7:30 a.m. HBO) is a family documentary about a young man with Down's Syndrome who is determined to graduate from high school and find a job. For ages 10 and up.

Catch a personal glimpse into the lives of the New Kids on the Block in Videopolis: StarTracks VI (Wednesday 9:35-10:05 p.m. the Disney Channel), which includes interviews and concert footage of the popular singing group. Also featured: a chat with actress Jasmine Guy. For 11- to 16-year-olds.

Danny Glover narrates Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby (Friday 8-8:30 a.m. Showtime), a version of the classic story of the wily rabbit who outwits his nemesis, the fox. For 5- to 10-year olds.

How to Raise a Drug-Free Child (Early Saturday 4:05-4:35 a.m.) stresses education, involvement and awareness as the best weapons to fight drug abuse by children and teens. It also answers some of the most commonly asked questions about drug use. For parents.

In the Family Channel's original comedy/drama The Girl From Mars (Saturday 8-10 p.m. the Family Channel), an eccentric 13-year-old gets so tired of being teased by her peers about being "from another planet" that she sets out to prove them right. For ages 8 and up.

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