George Burns, 100 today, shows he is a treasure


Happy 100th, Mr. Burns.

* "NHL All-Star Game" (8 p.m.-11 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- The best players of the National Hockey League square off against one another in the 44th annual contest, live from Boston's new FleetCenter. Should be an offensive feast the last seven all-star games have averaged 15 goals each. There should be enough flying hockey pucks here to keep even Don Rickles happy. Fox.

* Figure Skating (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Michelle Kwan takes on reigning champion Nicole Bobek in the women's finals of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Highlights of the pairs finals also will be shown. ABC.

* "Touched By an Angel" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) A Martinez, late of "L.A. Law," joins fellow guest stars Richard Roundtree ("Shaft!" can you dig it?) and Kathleen Sullivan (ABC News, weight-loss commercials) in this story of a rock star forced piece his life back together after his wife dies in a car crash. CBS.


* "George Burns-Gracie Allen shorts" (10 a.m.-11 a.m., AMC) -- George Burns isn't simply some guy who lived to be 100. Teamed with Gracie Allen, he was the greatest straight man who ever lived. These six 10-minute shorts document the early days of the Burns and Allen team. Included is 1930's "Fit To Be Tied," the duo's first sound short.

* "Hercules in New York" (1 p.m.-3 p.m., USA) -- Hilariously bad, this movie would be deservedly forgotten were it not for a happy accident: It's Arnold Schwarzenegger's first film. Only he's billed as "Arnold Strong" here, and his heavy Austrian accent proved so obtrusive that the filmmakers had to dub in another actor's voice. The film's only worth watching for maybe a half hour, by which time the novelty will have worn off. Until then you'll have a blast.

* "Chi-Chi the Panda" (1 p.m.-2 p.m., Discovery) -- For decades, the London Zoo's Chi-Chi was the only giant panda alive outside the communist world. As such, she became a worldwide phenomenon, possibly the most famous animal in the world. And she basked in her celebrity, including a comically unsuccessful, if sad, attempt to breed her with the Moscow Zoo's An-An. This special tells all you need to know to fall in love with this huge Chinese refugee.

* "A Conversation With George Burns" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Disney) -- Mr. Burns, who turns 100 today, taped this special back when he was a mere 94. Watch him dominate the stage even sitting down, still employing a razor-sharp wit that the years have only marginally dulled. The man is one of American entertainment's greatest resources, a marvel to watch and a treasure to have around.

* "Father Goose" (10:40 p.m.-1:10 a.m., TBS) -- One of Cary Grant's last films, this may also be his funniest. He plays a BTC hard-drinking former teacher during World War II, forced by enemy ships to share his island with a group of schoolgirls and their strung-way-too-tight chaperon, played by Leslie Caron. It's goodie-two-shoes trying to get along with the filthy beast, and it's hilarious. It also won an Oscar for its screenplay.

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