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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- August 02, 1993
- Vol. 40
- No. 5
Picks and Pans Main: Tube
A Tribute to the Singing Cowboy
MTV (Wed., July 28, 10 p.m. ET)
Welcome to the funky coffeehouse. MTV warps its Unplugged series, making it a rowdy reading for unfettered young poets, including barefoot Maggie Estep, goateed Edwin Torres and tattooed Henry Rollins.
They declaim works with such titles as "The Stupid Jerk I'm Obsessed With" and "Ode to MTV Unplugged." You may not admire their wordplay, but you will be impressed with their energy, showmanship and sheer gall—if anyone can make poetry cool, MTV can.
Fox (Mon., Aug. 2, 8 p.m. ET)
Part of the Foxonian mandate has always been to establish glossy-poster boys. At one time (remember 21 Jump Street?) Richard Grieco was going to be the next Johnny Depp. That Grieco never attained mallbait status is largely due to his choice of projects, a string of misfires that continues with this sorry TV movie in which he plays a "king of street drag racing." Saturdays, in his burned-out section of Brooklyn, Grieco's souped-up Mustang beats all comers.
No sooner is that premise established than it is dropped and Grieco spins his wheels in two vacuous subplots: rescuing his ne'er-do-well brother (Jay Acovone) and romancing a model (Shelli Lether, in a performance so wooden it should be checked for termites).
The film was directed by Albert Magnoli, who gave us Purple Rain and American Anthem, two other muddled tales of youth on a quest for salvation. For Grieco, it's merely a greasy way station on a career path to nowhere.
TNN (Mon., Aug. 2, 10 p.m. ET)
Long before Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, TV had Frontier Doctor, starring that crooning caballero Rex Allen. In fact, the singing cowboy was a staple from the 1930s to the early days of TV. This special, taped at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles, honors wranglers of yesteryear, including Allen, Autry, Eddie Dean, Monte Hale and Roy Rogers (who could not be present because wife Dale Evans was ailing, but appears in a segment taped later).
It's superficial, but the program has nice touches, such as performances by Clint Black, Emmylou Harris and Dwight Yoakam. Fittingly for a special hosted by Dennis Weaver (who was Chester on Gunsmoke), there is a segment saluting comic sidekicks—e.g. Gabby Hayes, Smiley Burnette, Pat Buttram and Buddy Ebsen.
Happily, these Western troupers know howtoaccept awards: They humbly, succinctly thank everyone in two or three sentences and briskly hie themselves offstage.
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