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‘Captain Planet’ Mixes Cartoon adventure with an environmental message

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tell your teacher you want to begin a recycling program in school.

Carry a lunchbox.

Ride your bike or walk whenever possible.

These environmentally friendly tips are brought to young viewers by Captain Planet and the Planeteers, which kicked off its second season last week.

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Billed as “the world’s first animated environmental action-adventure program,” the series attempts to mix the fun of cartoons with serious messages about the Earth’s future.

The result is episodes with villains such as Hoggish Greedly, Looten Plunder and Duke Nukem, who exacerbate such problems as water pollution, toxic waste and deforestation. Each episode ends with tips for viewers on how to become “part of the solution.”

Listen carefully for the voices of Ed Asner, Whoopi Goldberg, Sting, Louis Gosset Jr., Dean Stockwell, Danny Glover, LeVar Burton and Martin Sheen.

“Captain Planet and the Planeteers,” Sundays 5:30-6 a.m. and 12:30-1 p.m. TBS; Saturdays 6:30-7 a.m. KNSD and 10-10:30 a.m. KTTV. For all ages.

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Also doing her bit for environmentalism is veteran journalist Linda Ellerbee. “Nickelodeon Special Edition,” the first of three half-hour monthly newscasts produced by Ellerbee, reports on how kids are working to save the Earth. Nickelodeon Special Edition, today 6:30-7 p.m., Monday-Thursday 6:30-7 a.m. and Wednesday 8-8:30 p.m. Nickelodeon. For 7- to 12-year-olds .

MORE KIDS’ SHOWS

“Abel’s Island” (today 9-9:30 a.m. KCET), on Long Ago & Far Away, is a version of the tale of Robinson Crusoe, using a stranded mouse as the central character. For 2- to 11-year-olds.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Disney’s Burbank Studios, The Best of Disney: 50 Years of Magic (today 7-9 p.m. Disney Channel) looks at romance--Disney style--with clips of favorite films through the years. For ages 8 and up.

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Hey teachers: Assignment Discovery (Weekdays 7-8 a.m. Discovery Channel) is an hourlong block of commercial-free programming, perfect for taping and using in the classroom. Each hour ends with a “Video Bulletin Board,” which has listings of news, opportunities and resources for teachers.

New episodes of Reading Rainbow (weekdays 11:30 a.m.-noon KCET), the LeVar Burton-hosted series designed to inspire young children to read, continue this week. For 5- to 8-year-olds and their parents.

Why Do These Kids Love School? (Monday 8-9 p.m. KLCS) looks at innovative teaching techniques. For parents.

The second season of Wonderworks Family Movie begins with “A Cry in the Heart” (Monday 8-9:30 p.m. KCET), based on the Newberry Award-winning book “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen, tells the tale of a 13-year-old boy who is stranded in the wilderness after a plane crash. Jared Rushton, Ned Beatty and Pamela Sue Martin star. For ages 8 and up.

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Henry’s Cat (Thursday 4:30-5 p.m. Showtime) is a fun-loving animated feline who gets into adventure after adventure. For all ages.

Rex Harrison talks to the animals in the 1967 fantasy film Doctor Dolittle (Friday 11 a.m.-12:35 p.m. HBO), which includes lots of fun songs. For all ages.

The perennial favorite 1979 film The Muppet Movie (Saturday 3-5 p.m. KTLA) stars Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, plus the other Muppets, in a tale of an amphibian’s quest for fame. For all ages.

A segment on Fight Back! With David Horowitz (Saturday 6:30-7 p.m. KNBC) exposes sneaky sales techniques geared toward kids and young adults. For all ages.

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Carol Burnett narrates Happily Ever After (Saturday 6-7 p.m. Disney Channel), an animated tale of a little girl who learns to deal with her parents’ divorce. For 6- to 13-year-olds.


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