Smiles all through the night


A wonderful film, with Dick Van Dyke as an old-time movie comic fallen on hard times, is today's highlight, while an enjoyable trifle with Robert Downey Jr. protected by four ghosts should keep spirits high in the evening.

"The Nanny" (8 p.m.-8: 30 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- The Woman With the Most Annoying Voice in the World was apparently once a foot model. Tonight, she attends a foot models' reunion. John Astin, the immortal Gomez Addams, guest stars. CBS.

"Whispers in the Dark" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Annabella Sciorra is a psychiatrist afraid she's about to be murdered, so she runs to Alan Alda and Jill Clayburgh for protection. Hey, they're whom I'd go to. ABC.

"Hearts and Souls" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Downey is the unknowing charge of four spirits who were killed in the same bus crash that sent his mother into labor. Since then, they've been protecting him, and now they decide it's time he knows they're there. A light comedy that never strives to be more, this 1993 film is beguiling and never less than enjoyable. With Charles Grodin, Alfre Woodard, Kyra Sedgwick and Tom Sizemore as the four spirits, plus Elisabeth Shue in a supporting role. NBC.

"Murphy Brown" (9 p.m.-9: 30 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Miles and Corky finally decide to have a wedding ceremony -- giving their families a chance to meet for the first time. The results are not pleasant. Jean Stapleton (a k a Edith Bunker) plays Miles' grandmother. CBS.

"Battlefield" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- This six-part series analyzes some of the most decisive battles of World War II. The subject in tonight's part one is the Battle for North Africa, during which the Allies struggled from October 1942 to June 1943 to force German Gen. Erin Rommel off the continent. PBS.


"The Comic" (1: 15 p.m.-3 p.m., Cinemax) -- As a movie clown who's part Stan Laurel and part Buster Keaton, Dick Van Dyke is a marvel in this 1969 film written by Carl Reiner. The poignant ending is made even more so by its basis in reality -- it's pathetically close to the way Stan Laurel ended his own days.

"Soap" (2 p.m.-3 p.m., Comedy Central) -- A lot of folks thought this '80s soap-opera spoof was a riot. If you were among them (I wasn't), here's your chance to revisit past glories with the series pilot, as a cast that includes Kathryn Helmond, Richard Mulligan, Billy Crystal and Robert Guillaume sets the stage for four seasons of comedy to come.

Pub Date: 7/01/96

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