Fine Tuning - Weekly column highlighting music on TV (Oct. 25-31, 2004).
BOO! Halloween is upon is! It's always been a high holiday on my list, and an old roommate of mine felt it was the pinnacle of the calendar year. I have a hard time disagreeing with him, I mean, c'mon! Candy, costumes, mischief of all sorts... It's a recipe for fun for all ages!
This week's top television highlight has got to be Tuesday's ABC broadcast of an all-time classic, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" This 1966 Peanuts special has is such an ingrained part of my Halloween that the holiday itself cannot occur until it has been viewed at least once. Now, you may own a video copy of it, but watching the broadcast will invoke memories (for those old enough to remember) of the Dolly Madison commercials that traditionally accompanied it and all Peanuts specials when they were aired by CBS back in the day.
What? You want a musical thread to connect it to this column and Web site? OK, it features the always delightful compositions and talents of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, a staple of Charles Shultz's television creations. So there...
There's also a host of Halloween treats on Sunday, and there are musical attachments to more than a few. On the movie side, Brandy is featured in "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer," which will be showing on the Sci-Fi Channel, while Aaliyah stars in "Queen of the Damned" on the USA Network.
The Travel Channel will visit Loretta Lynn's Haunted Plantation" and Fuse's "Uranium" will check in with rock's resident spookmeister, Rob Zombie. Kiss' Paul Stanley will show up on The WB's "A Scooby-Doo Halloween," while the whole band makes a scary showing on a "Mad TV" rerun on Comedy Central. And scary only in name, the Zombies are the featured recreation on NBC's "American Dreams," where Phantom Planet will portray the act.
Of course, it's all just fodder to fill the void between "The Great Pumpkin" and the newest installment of the "Treehouse of Horror" that will serve as the season premiere of "The Simpsons" next week on Fox. It tends to be infuriating that the show's Halloween episode is annually delayed, but it will only really cause me anger if the World Series doesn't go seven games!
KEEP WATCHING: You must keep watching... keep watching... must keep watching...:
Monday: "Ray!" is the highlight as the last video the late Ray Charles shot before his death is unveiled on NBC's "Today" and the Jamie Foxx-starring biopic is previewed on VH1.
Tuesday: More Ray as Foxx is a guest on "Live With Regis & Kelly" (syndicated). Also, don't miss the star power of Jay-Z as he drops in on MTV's "Total Request Live."
Wednesday: If looking behind the scenes at Sum 41's "We're All To Blame" video shoot on MTV isn't enough, catch the band performing live for the music channel's "Nokia Presents: Hard Rock Live."
Thursday: Keeping with a Halloween theme, CNBC's Dennis Miller will welcome former Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan. (Get it? Smashing Pumpkins? It's a joke!)
Better yet, don't miss Lifetime's fifth annual "Women Rock!" concert with Blondie, En Vogue, Garbage, Wilson Phillips, Angie Stone and Kelly Clarkson.
Friday: Large and in charge, Ruben Studdard is looking to take control of his weight and inexplicably, he's chosen the syndicated "Larry Elder Show" as a forum to discuss it.
The real musical highlight comes with a pair of country specials: "CMT Greatest Outlaws: The Dirty Dozen" and "CMT Outlaws." The former will profile the likes of Hank Williams and Kris Kristofferson, while the latter is a concert boasting Jessi Colter, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Metallica, Tanya Tucker, Hank Williams Jr., Montgomery Gentry, Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich and Shooter Jennings.
Saturday: Genre-busting Lyle Lovett and breakout contemporary jazz star Jamie Cullum are featured in performance on PBS' "Austin City Limits," while Eminem makes his fourth career performance appearance on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" (hosted by Kate Winslett).
AND... In case you missed it, Sundance will rebroadcast "National Anthem: Inside the Vote for Change Concert Tour," with performances by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Pearl Jam, the Dixie Chicks, R.E.M., John Mellencamp, James Taylor, Dave Matthews Band and more.
Sunday: So much spookiness... I can't choose for you! After you've eaten way too much candy, sit down and channel surf for all the glorious landscape of post-millennial television has to offer.