Mickey Rooney, having spent just about every one of his 70 years in show business, debuts this week in a new television series, "The Adventures of the Black Stallion," on The Family Channel (Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.).
The story and role are not new to Rooney, whose 60-movie career includes "The Black Stallion" (1979) and an Oscar nomination for his performance as trainer Henry Dailey.
He returns as Dailey and Richard Cox, a 14-year-old Canadian, makes his U.S. television debut in Walter Farley's stories about the relationships of a boy named Alec with his horse and the ornery trainer (Rooney called him "tough, but soft-hearted").
The first 12 episodes were shot in Vancouver, B.C. Then it was off to France for more racing scenes on some of that country's tracks. As the story unfolds, news of the horse's phenomenal speed leads to races at major tracks and attempts to kill the stallion.
Sunday on The Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. "Treasures of a Lost Voyage" explores the remains of the richest sunken treasure-trove in American history. (See Page 9.) The two-hour original documentary incorporates footage about the S.S. Central America's history, footage from the 1986 discovery off the coast of the Carolinas and current salvage efforts. The show is anchored by Morris Jones, news anchor at WTTG here.
Sunday on HBO at 9 p.m. the premiere of HBO Pictures' "Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture." Roy Scheider plays a photographer who is sent to record an execution and winds up with evidence of a possible set-up that stretches back seven years. Bonnie Bedelia and Arliss Howard co-star. Encores: Wednesday at 12:30 and 11:30 p.m., and Sept. 18, 22, 24, 27 and 30.
Sunday on TBS at 9 p.m. "National Geographic Explorer" moves into its sixth season of its exclusive TBS presentations with journalist Jon Anderson's "Across the Jungle Divide," featuring the snakes, scorpions and poisonous plants of the Darien jungle.
Sunday on A&E at 9 p.m. a world-premiere documentary, "The Rain Forest Imperative," an exploration of the cultural and economic conditions in Central and South America that encourage the destruction of the rain forest. Jack Perkins hosts.
Monday on TNT at 8 p.m. "The Lost Capone," a world premiere of an interesting movie about the Capone brother who wasn't a member of Al's gang. He was a marshal in a small town in Nebraska, where he made a reputation for snagging Capone's liquor shipments and taking out the drivers.
Writer/director John Gray noted that among the volumes of material on the Capones, there was very little about brother Jimmy, alias Richard Hart. Conflicting reports led him to "romanticize a good bit." Executive producer Kenneth Kaufman contends the film stands on firm ground emotionally about Al and Jimmy, "and that's what was most important." Adrian Pasdar, Eric Roberts and Ally Sheedy star. Encores: Monday at 10 p.m., midnight and 2 a.m., Tuesday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Saturday at 10 p.m. and next Sunday at 5 p.m.
Tuesday on Lifetime at 9 p.m. the premiere of "Sudie and Simpson," starring Louis Gossett Jr. and Sara Gilbert ("Roseanne"). The story of a lonely black man befriended by a spirited young white girl in the early 1940s was made at the right time, Gossett noted. "Filmed years ago, I could not have played Simpson as a man. He would have been presented as an 'Uncle Remus' character in a condescending way ... " Encores: Friday at 9 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 17, at 9 p.m.
Wednesday on USA at 9 p.m. "After the Shock," a world-premiere movie starring "Golden Girl" Rue McClanahan, Yaphet Kotto, Jack Scalia and Scott Valentine in a story about the heroes and survivors of the 1989 San Francisco-area earthquake. Encores: Sunday at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 22, at 2 p.m.