My Top Five: Birds

It’s Thanksgiving week so I thought I’d ponder the birds of public broadcasting. There may be some pretty obvious ones from which to choose but I tend to gravitate towards the deeper cuts, so to speak. So here you go – MY TOP FIVE PUBLIC BROADCASTING BIRDS. Not the best or whatever superlative you fancy – simply MY personal Top Five.

5) X THE OWL – Voiced by Mister Rogers himself, X the Owl was one of the denizens of the Neighborhood of Make Believe. X lived in the old oak tree next to Henrietta Pussycat and was always eager and cheerful. 

4) THE “IT’S THE PLUMBER” PARROT – One of my favorite animated bits from the original The Electric Company featured an earnest plumber and a precocious parrot. “Who is it?” “It’s the plumber. I’ve come to fix the sink.” Continue reading

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Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

Michael Portillo (Great Continental Railway Journeys) crosses the Atlantic for an epic trip down the East Coast. Don’t miss a new eight-part series – Great American Railroad Journeys – premiering Tuesday night at 9 on the Explorer Channel.

Monty Python’s John Cleese will be in the Tar Heel State this week for lively discussion and a screening of the classic comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The good news? Tickets are still available for Wednesday’s DPAC event. The bad news? I can’t make it – so tell him Sparky says “hi.” Continue reading

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

Now that Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War has debuted, UNC-TV is presenting a variety of programs designed to highlight facets of the country, the war and veterans’ concerns. Tune in tonight at 11 for an impromptu non-scripted motorcycle adventure from Saigon to Hanoi on Motorbiking Vietnam. Friday night, we’re presenting three shows about veterans beginning at 9pm – North Carolina Stories of Service: Porter Halyburton, Discussions of War: Jacksonville and On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam.

Monty Python’s John Cleese talks about comedy, death, political correctness and more in an interview with language that is most definitely NSFW.

Join former employees, family members and historians as they chronicle our state’s once great airline. Don’t miss Speedbird: The History of Piedmont Airlines – Thursday at 9 on the North Carolina Channel. Continue reading

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

From films and television to toys and theme parks, the Disney brand is universal. But where did it start? Find out as American Experience explores the complex life and enduring legacy of one of America’s most iconic filmmakers. Tune in for part one of Walt Disney – Tuesday night at 8 on UNC-TV.

Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam has been trying to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote for almost 20 years. Production has now wrapped on what could be his magnum opus, so read up on the disaster-filled history of this fascinating Gilliam project.

Enjoy pancakes in New York and sample loco moco in Hawaii – and that’s just for starters. See why breakfast is the most important meal of the day as we take in interesting and unusual breakfast spots. Don’t miss Breakfast Special and Breakfast Special 2 – beginning Wednesday at 9pm on the Explorer Channel.

Neil deGrasse Tyson was a guest on a recent episode of Talking With Chris Hardwick. Of course, the former NOVA ScienceNow host was his usual ebullient and erudite self. Continue reading

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

Join wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson as he journeys along one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. Experience the wildlife and wild places of Ireland’s Wild Coast – Wednesday at 8pm on UNC-TV.

Neil deGrasse Tyson gives tips on viewing the upcoming solar eclipse.

Explore a human history set against the most stunning backdrop imaginable as Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan present The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Don’t miss a special presentation of this six-part 2009 mini-series beginning Thursday night at 9 on the North Carolina Channel.

Monty Python’s John Cleese is coming to Durham! The comedy legend will be answering absurd and ridiculous questions at the DPAC on November 8. Continue reading

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

After five years of war in Syria, the remaining citizens of Aleppo are readying themselves for a siege. Through the volunteers known as the White Helmets, experience firsthand the daily struggle for sanity in a country at war. Join POV for Last Men In Aleppo – tonight at 10 on UNC-TV.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the number one movie in the country. Why is that important? Well, I could say it’s nice to see an Electric Company regular make it big besides Morgan Freeman. But the real reason is to celebrate Tom Holland’s success. The actor (who stars as Peter Parker and Spider-Man) may be recognizable to UNC-TV viewers as Gregory Cromwell in Wolf Hall.

Traverse the Arctic wilderness and African bush as scientific teams utilize new technology to track caribou, zebras and elephants as they overcome obstacles and face fearless predators on their epic journeys. catch the premiere of Nature’s Great Race – Wednesday at 9pm on UNC-TV.

Speaking of Marvel movies, Benedict Cumberbatch took a day off from filming the next two Avengers movies to spend some time in Atlanta with a fine feathered friend.

Monty Python fans, take heed! Michael Palin returns to television in a dramatic turn as an elderly man who becomes the sole witness to a violent death. Tune in for the gripping new mini-series Remember Me – beginning Sunday night at 10 on UNC-TV. [Check out this New York Times article about Palin’s role.] Continue reading

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

Singer Andrea Bocelli performs at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy as the Landmarks series continues. Tune in Friday night at 10 on UNC-TV for Andrea Bocelli – Landmarks In Concert: A Great Performances Special.

As anyone with a love for TV knows, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss breathed new life into a character from the 19th century with Sherlock. Now the BBC wants the duo to tackle literature’s most famous vampire.

Now that summer’s here, take a dip in one of the Tar Heel State’s unusual resort communities. Catch the waves at White Lake: Remembering The Nation’s Safest Beach – Thursday night at 10 on the North Carolina Channel.

On the off chance you’re in London next month, you might want to take in a special performance by Monty Python’s John Cleese. All proceeds go to benefit Denville Hall, a retirement home for those in the theatrical profession. Continue reading