Chrome, Steel, mettle and the gridiron


Maryland Public Television uncovers a pair of marathons in hopes of reaping a big pot of pledges in the final weekend of its August membership push. The Canadian Football League Stallions are also in action in -- Tennessee?

* "Chrome Dreams: A Motorweek Special Presented by John Davis" (2:30 p.m.-7 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- Once considered merely a noisy nuisance that scared horses -- the real working machines -- the automobile went on to transform our culture. The host of the weekly automotive show produced at MPT offers a history of the horseless carriage.

* "Fawlty Towers Marathon" (7 p.m.-11 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- The most farcical of the imports called "Britcoms" gets a four-hour pledge-drive marathon before joining the Sunday night lineup on a regular basis. John Cleese stars as the frantic host of a small resort hotel, and Prunella Scales is his sensible wife.

* "U.S. Gymnastics Championships" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Former competitor Tim Daggett joins host Tom Hammond and commentators Elfi Schlegel and Mary Ann Grabavoy for the first of two prime-time specials (the other is tomorrow night) from the Superdome in New Orleans. NBC.

* "CFL Football" (8:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m., WNUV, Channel 54) -- Strange as it may seem, the Baltimore Stallions head south for some Canadian league action, meeting the Memphis Mad Dogs.

* "Secrets" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Author Danielle Steel's secret to best-selling success is to set up glamorous people in glamorous romances beset by troubles. In this 1992 TV movie of one of her books, the setting is the world of TV soap operas, in which whirl Stephanie Beacham, Christopher Plummer, Gary Collins and Josie Bissett. NBC.


* "Working Girl" (8 p.m.-10:30 p.m., USA) -- The 1988 film was a big hit, especially for star Melanie Griffith, whose wistful secretary triumphs over corporate sharks both male and female. Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver are rather wan presences by comparison -- and nobody cared that the business deal behind the plot makes little sense.

Sunday alert: "Face 2 Face: The Mayoral Debate" (12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. tomorrow, WMAR, Channel 2) -- Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and City Council President Mary Pat Clarke meet in their first live televised debate. WMAR anchor Mary Beth Marsden serves as moderator, and a studio audience and viewers will be asking questions.

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