Today's gifts include 'E.T.,' 'Gumby' and Regis

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Had enough of Christmas with the family? Then TV's the place to be. You can spend the holiday with a guy who's got a thing for animals, an outer space creature whose finger lights up, Buzz Lightyear, a "boy" and his horse, Good old Charlie Brown or even Mama Partridge. Choose away.

* "Very Merry Christmas Parade" (10 a.m.-noon, WMAR, Channel 2) -- Spend Christmas morning with Mickey and the gang, as Joan Lunden and Regis Philbin introduce the country to Christmas at Disney World. I have a feeling a few of the guys from "Toy Story" will show up as well. ABC.

* "Danny!" (11 a.m.-noon, WNUV, Channel 54) -- A reunion of cast members from "The Partridge Family!" I knew there was a reason Danny Bonaduce got into the talk-show business.

* "Beastmaster" and "Beastmaster II" (3:20 p.m.-4:45 p.m., TBS) -- Wanna spend Christmas with a guy wearing a loincloth who lords it over the animals? If so, this is the place, as Marc Singer swaggers his way through a pair of pretty mindless odes to sword and sorcery. "Beastmaster" includes former Charlie's Angel Tanya Roberts, although one suspects her best stuff will be left on the editing-room floor.

* "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (8 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- "Schindler's List" notwithstanding, Steven Spielberg made his best movie 13 years ago. In fact, it's one of the best ever. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, it may even make you roll your eyes and wonder which heartstring Spielberg will tug next. But don't worry; he'll tug them all before it's over, and if the ending doesn't leave you in tears, your ducts must have dried up long ago. CBS.

* "Benny and Joon" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- This movie, about two social misfits whose only real joys are found in each other, isn't really much, but Johnny Depp's performance is a masterpiece. An extended sequence in a park shows him off as the best silent comic since Charlie Chaplin.

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* "Gumby" (2 p.m.-3 p.m., Nickelodeon) -- Christmas with Gumby and Pokey? Why not? Sure beats Regis and Kathie Lee.

* "Biography" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., A&E;) -- He's not Santa Claus, not even Charles Dickens, but there's a reason Charles Schulz is being profiled on Christmas Day; his "Charlie Brown Christmas" is not only one of the best seasonal specials ever produced, it's also the one that reminds people more than any other of what exactly is being celebrated today. I wish the makers of this documentary had spent more time talking to Schulz's contemporaries; men like Mort Walker and Bill Keane. But the show tells us plenty, and it's great seeing the inspiration for the Little Red-Haired Girl Charlie Brown has been lusting after all these decades.

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