The real Independence Day arrives today, invading TV's airwaves with a variety of holiday specials and traditional Fourth of July programming that includes baseball games, concerts, picnics, movies, parades and, of course, fireworks.
Specials: Two traditional programs are back for an encore. With baton in hand, Keith Lockhart maintains an upbeat tempo during the three-hour Arts & Entertainment telecast of "Pops Goes the Fourth" at 4:30 p.m. The Boston Pops performs Beethoven's rousing Fifth Symphony, which culminates with a colorful display of fireworks over the Charles River in Boston. . . .
Later, "A Capitol Fourth 1996" goes to Washington to salute the Gershwin brothers with performances by Robert Goulet, K.T. Oslin, Peabo Bryson and soprano Harolyn Blackwell. A highlight is the playing of George Gershwin's little-known national anthem, "O Land of Mine, America," written in 1919, at 8 p.m. on KCET Channel 28. . . .
Lifetime's cooking show "The Main Ingredient" (11 a.m.) dishes out holiday treats, offering alternative suggestions for backyard barbecues and picnics in the park. . . .
A special holiday edition of "Nightly Business Report" examines kids and money with "Your Financial Future With Jonathan Pond," 6 p.m. on Channel 28 and 6:30 p.m. on KOCE Channel 50. . . .
CBS repeats "Terrors of the Deep," at 8 p.m. on Channel 2. Montel Williams explores the world's oceans in search of great white sharks, killer whales, giant squid and other predators of the deep. . . .
KTLA Channel 5 heads for New York City for the "Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular," featuring Joey, Matthew and Andrew Lawrence, Walter Cronkite, Chubby Checker and John Tesh, at 9 p.m. . . .
"Shenanigans" is the operative word when ABC presents "Pranks," hosted by Matt Gallant. The hourlong program showcases pranksters by bringing the viewer in on the joke, from the inception to payoff, at 8 p.m. on Channel 7.
Sports: For local baseball fans, the Angels play their AL Western Division rivals the Oakland A's at 1 p.m. Steve Physioc and Jerry Reuss call the action. Later, the Colorado Rockies visit the Dodgers at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. . . .
The Wimbledon tennis tournament continues on NBC with the women's singles semifinals at noon on Channels 4 and 36, and at 5 p.m. on HBO. . . .
In pro soccer, the New England Revolution play the Galaxy at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
Marathons: Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton hosts TNT's salute to John Wayne, beginning at 6 a.m. with "Fort Apache," followed by "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (8:45 a.m.), "Rio Grande" (11 a.m.), "True Grit" (1:15 p.m.), "Cahill--U.S. Marshall" (4:05 and 9:05 p.m.), "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (6:30 p.m.) and "Red River" at 11:25 p.m. . . .
The Sci-Fi Channel presents two days of "Twilight Zone Marathon," beginning at 6 a.m. and continuing Friday at the same time. . . .
KTLA offers six hours of groovy '70s silliness with "The Brady Bunch Marathon," at 9 a.m. on Channel 5. . . .
Bob Vila, America's favorite old-house expert, goes on a coast-to-coast tour of remarkable old houses in A&E;'s "Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of America," beginning at 4:30 a.m. . . .
Comedy Central presents "Summer Camp," hosted by the sketch comedy troupe the Bert Fershners, featuring can't-miss campy beach movies like "Cannibal Women and the Avocado Jungle of Death," "Ghost in the Invisible Bikini," "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" and "Martians Go Home," which airs at noon. . . .
Parades: KOCE presents the Huntington Beach Fourth of July parade at 1:30 p.m. on Channel 50. This year's theme is "Salute to the Olympic Games." Later the Orange County PBS station offers "Washington, D.C.: Our Nation's Capital," at 8 p.m. Viewers go on a tour of Washington's landmarks, neighborhoods and its outlying communities and countryside. . . .
Movies: At 9 p.m. ABC presents "The Colony," a TV movie about a noted Malibu psychotherapist who is murdered and has his confidential files stolen. This sends his patients, most of whom are residents of the famed beach area, into a panic, especially millionaire Alec Harken (Michael Pare). . . .
American Movie Classics presents an 8 p.m. broadcast of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical classic "The King and I," starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr.