The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on May 21, 1994 · Page 8
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 8

Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 21, 1994
Page 8
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1 ' Panfagraph PREVIEW, Sat., May 21, 1994 TV invades France to mark 50th D-Day anniversary By LYNN ELBER AP television writer LOS ANGELES - Fifty years after D-Day, television is pulling out its big guns to commemorate the pivotal Allied invasion of German-occupied France. Documentaries, dramas and expanded news coverage will bring the massive military action and intimate personal stories of June 6, 1944 the beginning of the end of World War II - to life. TV networks, which missed the chance to cover history the first time around, are sending shock waves of reporters to swarm the French beaches at Normandy and other battle sites for the anniversary. Newspapers, radio and movie newsreels brought the war home in those pre-television days. Now the medium is poised for its belated shot ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN all plan coverage of the Monday, June 6, official ceremony at Omaha Beach, to be attended by President Clinton, Queen Elizabeth of Britain and French President Francois Mitterand. That's the climax; the buildup starts weeks before. CBS enlists a modern military star, retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, to join Dan Rather as co-anchor of a "CBS Reports" special filmed at the beaches and villages of Normandy. It airs at 8 p.m. Thursday. CBS is also drawing on a rich lode of memories from those in its ranks. Walter Cronkite, who covered the invasion for United Press International, and Andy Rooney, who fought in it as a soldier, will join Harry Smith at the American cemetery in Normandy for a four- mns . 1 ! r- 1 I 1 , - . s i'' 7- w ". -:. .-, - A V " ' , ; . y u 1 mOI) U ? A . . ,.. , . . ?rzS... $&.rZ7' fa fcim- i - mi III riTT"" ftuy a Masterpiece Theatre will present "A Foreign Field," a fictional reunion in France on the 50th anniversary of D-Day. From left, Lauren Bacall plays Lisa, who lost a brother in the invasion; Sir Alec Guinness is Amos, brain-damaged by shrapnel on the Normandy beach; Leo McKern and John Randolph are Cyril and Waldo, respectively, WWII veterans who have come back to their old sweetheart Angelique, played by Jeanne Moreau. hour "CBS This Morning" June 6. Schwarzkopf and David Eisenhower, grandson of Allied Forces commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, also will take part in the 6 to 10 a.m. program. At ABC, anchorman Peter Jennings will host a "Turning Point" special on the invasion, airing 9:30 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, June 1. The historical perspective on D-Day includes interviews' with German and U.S. soldiers. On Sunday, June 5, a special edition of "This Week with David Brinkley" will air from Normandy. The next day, Jennings will be on hand to help anchor an expanded "Good Morning America" broadcast from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Actor Charles Durning, who narrates "Normandy: the Great Crusade" on the Discovery Channel, got choked up with emotion a couple of times during the taping. That's because 50 years ago he was there. Infantryman Durning was among the first soldiers ashore on D-Day on Omaha Beach. Nine days later he was wounded In action, the first of three times. "Crusade" and repeated. NBC's "Today" makes an early assault on Normandy, as Bryant Gumbel anchors a live broadcast from there 6 to 8 a.m. Friday, June 3. That evening, Tom Brokaw will anchor "NBC Nightly News" from Portsmouth, England, where British memorials are to be held. On June 6, Brokaw, Gumbel and Katie Couric will anchor coverage of events from the American cemetery during a five-hour edition of "Today," 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. The momentous day is not being slighted in the non-news department The Discovery Channel offers "Normandy: The Great Crusade," an original two-hour documentary debuting at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. on May 30 on the cable channel. Diaries, letters, home movies and snapshots are combined with music, radio broadcasts and newsreels to tell the stories of those involved in D-Day, the beginning of an intense, 12-week Normandy campaign. It led to the liberation of France and Belgium; nine months later, in May 1945, a unifies i nil 1 1 ai-h-er, ?.ewan' program colflmemdratirtg- m r f Germany depleted of manpower and weapons surrendered. Among those profiled are William Preston, a young American corporal who was among the first to land at Omaha; Martha Gel-horn, a war correspondent who nursed wounded troops, and Karla King, a soldier's widow. Actor Charles Durning, a decorated veteran of the Normandy campaign, narrates the special, which features the voices of Leslie Caron, Mariel Hemingway, Joanna Pacula and Robert Sean Leonard. Another cable TV offering is "Tours of Remembrance: A World War II Journey" on the Travel Channel, premiering at 8 p.m. Thursday. In the company of veterans, the program visits historic locations and landmarks of the war, including Normandy and Hawaii's Pearl Harbor. Viewers also go to the Dachau concentration camp and war-related U.S. sites. On PBS, Masterpiece Theatre salutes the anniversary with the comedy-drama "A Foreign Field," airing at 8 p.m. Sunday, and featuring an all-star, inter 1 -V - f w V if 9r?nd1 NDjrman Schwrzkofcf team 1M for X flC'tV 0 - Day ahnrversary. " '-' " - - 7! wWJftrl.U?? V.lVVJ find' national cast: Leo McKern, Sir Alec Guinness, Jeanne Moreau and Lauren Bacall. McKern stars as a British veteran who travels to Normandy to find an old flame, a saucy French girl who befriended Allied soldiers in 1944. He's got a rival in a brash American veteran (John Randolph) also intent on renewing acquaintances with Angel (Moreau). Also on PBS: "A Fighter Pilot's Story," airing in two 90-minute episodes on consecutive Fridays, June 3 and 10. Quinton Aanenson, a decorated World War II fighter pilot, created the film as a family record of his war experiences. Photos, archival combat footage and letters exchanged by Aanenson and his future wife re-create the harrowing period. For a miniseries, look to CBS and "Fall from Grace," based on the Larry Collins novel of the same name. James Fox, Michael York and Gary Cole star in the fictionalized account of efforts to mislead Germany about the D-Day landing sites. It airs June 2 and 3.

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