National Geographic : 1994 May
On Television JOHN CANCALOSI , TOM STACK Be A SSOCIATES Videos for Kids: Fun Yes. Facts Yes. Violence No. "weare determined to pro- vide parents with the opportunity to choose quality family viewing instead of the crime and gore that dominates so much of TV aimed at children, " says Society President Gil Grosvenor. " Our new Children's Television department dynamically fulfills that commitment. " National Geograph- ic's first home-video series for chil- dren - Really Wild Animals- is geared to youngsters between the ages of five and ten. The series is hosted by Spin (below), a cartoon globe-on-the-go who introduces young viewers to the ways Earth's inhabitants live , use their environment , and care for one another . For instance , children see renowned scientist Jane Goodall studying the social structure of chimps and discover that these pri- mates , just like humans , comfort their young. Image Not Available Really Wild Animals begins with three video cassettes: "Swinging Safari ," "Wonders Down Under, " and "Deep Sea Dive." Six more are scheduled . The videos ar e entertain- ing, educational , and packed with animals - from African lions to Aus- tralia's spiny anteater. Spin roams the world , speaking in the many voices of actor Dudley Moore . Using techniques familiar from other National Geographic TV programming, Spin presents a soap opera about colobus monkeys , a Western about sea horses, and a segment on lifestyles of the weird and little , about a fish called a mudskipper, a marsupial called a quoll, and a mammal that flies-the fruit bat. Each video includes mini- documentaries about animals. Orig- inal music accompanies the stories . Andrew Wilk , executive producer and vice president for Children's Television, says: "We chose to start with a home-video series because we wanted involved viewers . When kids run VCRs themselves, they watch with concentration instead of zap- ping from channel to channel." Children four and under will soon have their own home-video series in Image Not Available STEPHEN J . KRASEMANN, DRK PHOTO ( B OTH ) a format designed to appeal to that age . Called GeoKids, it will premier in the fall of 1994. Says Gil Grosvenor: "With this major new commitment, we hope to give children a running start toward a future where they can connect with the exciting, living world in all its variety and fullness." Really Wild Animals is available through the National Geographic Home Video Club and in video stores nationwide. Contestants Face Off in National Geography Bee X nswering wide-ranging questions about the world is the skill that will lead ten smart kids to the finals in the sixth annual National Geography Bee, a PBS prime-time special. These final- ists will emerge from six million fourth- through eighth-grade partici- pants in school and state bees. They compete for three top prizes: college scholarships for $25 ,000 , $15,000 , and $10 ,000 . Host Alex Trebek, of Jeopardy!, says , "The more young people know about the Earth, the more likely they are to protect it . " The National Geography Bee is sponsored by the National Geo- graphic Society and Amtrak. The National Geography Bee airs on PBS, May 25, 8 p.m. ET. NATI ONAL GE OGRAPHIC EXPLOR ER AIRS ON TBS SU PERSTATION, SUNDAYS AT 9 P. M . ET. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SPECIALS AIR ON PBS; CHECK LOCAL LIST INGS . FOR INFORMATI ON ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPH IC VIDEOS, CALL 1-800-343-6610, MONDAY THR OUGH FRIDAY, 8 A. M . TO 5 P.M . ET , IN THE U. S. AND CANADA ON LY.