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KCOP plans to pull off a few stunts with its new animated action show

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Here’s something that seems like a twist in kids’ shows of late (and a throwback to the old days): super heroes who are humans.

Hal Needham, veteran stunt man (“The Spirit of St. Louis”) and director (“Hooper,” “Smokey and the Bandit”) provides the inspiration for the new weekly animated series “Stunt Dawgs.”

Needham also just happens to be the name of the leader of the “Stunt Dawgs,” whose support team includes a wisecracking, fast-driving car expert; a Rhodes scholar and parachutist; a bon vivant street philosopher and motorcycle expert, and a female explosives specialist.

Their arch-enemy is an ex-director (whose movies were shot entirely out of focus) named Richard P. Fungus, who leads a team called the Stunt Scabs.

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The storylines will often be environmentally themed: the Stunt Dawgs battle Fungus’ toxic-waste dump, prevent Fungus from capturing a nuclear sleep missile and stop the overthrow of all major communications satellites.

The show promises educationally oriented characters, such as Word Police and Science Bunny, who join the Dawgs and Scabs to offer definitions, explain scientific phenomena or other concepts.

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“Stunt Dawgs” airs Monday - Friday 7-7:30 a.m. KCOP. For ages 4-11.

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MORE FAMILY SHOWS

Veering a bit off the original Mark Twain tale, the several times remade 1949 version of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Sunday 6:30-8:30 a.m., 2:30-4 p.m. AMC) becomes a musical starring Bing Crosby and Rhonda Fleming. For ages 8 and up.

The Rocketeer (premieres Sunday 7-9 p.m. Disney Channel), stars Bill Campbell as a barnstorming stunt pilot during the 1930s who finds a rocket-powered backpack that enables him to fly. For ages 4 and up .

Based on the Herge illustrated stories, HBO presents “The Adventures of Tintin.” The intrepid international reporter Tintin finds himself in the good ol’ U.S. of A. as he travels to Chicago to report on gangsters and becomes embroiled in a dangerous crime ring in Tintin in America (Monday 7:30-8 p.m.).

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Friendships are important at any age--and between any age, for that matter--as depicted in “The Railway Dragon,” in which a very modern little girl, Emily, befriends a rather old and medieval dragon. Their friendship is solidified in the sequel The Birthday Dragon (Tuesday 2:30-3 p.m. Disney Channel). For ages 2-9.

Beakman’s World (the half-hour show airs Wednesdays 5, 6:30, 8, 9:30 p.m.; Fridays 5 p.m.; Sundays 3:30 p.m. the Learning Channel; Saturdays 7:30 a.m. KTLA) attempts to demystify science by using humor, a myriad of mediums and state-of-the-art video techniques in a variety format. For ages 10 and up.

The 24-hour all-cartoon channel, the Cartoon Network, premieres Thursday (9:01 a.m.) and will feature more than 8,500 cartoons from Hanna-Barbera, MGM, Warner Bros. and Paramount. For ages 2 and up.

With most kids back to school, summer camping and its memories can be fondly recalled as Barney the dinosaur and the kids he lives with have a sing-along on their camp-out in Barney’s Campfire Sing-Along (Thursday 1-1:45 p.m. Disney Channel). For ages 2-9.

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The “Justice Files” episode, Kids Who Kill (Saturday 7 p.m. Discovery Channel), focuses on a frightening phenomena of our time . . . children who live in a violent, tormented time and commit acts of violence themselves. For parents only.


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