Jackie Robinson's greatest acclaim came on the playing fields, but he posted his greatest victory in a military court of law 10 years before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus and 20 years before Martin Luther King, Jr., led a march on Washington, D.C.
This athletically gifted and intelligent young man risked his future to challenge institutionalized bigotry in the U.S. military and the society it served. The story of his legal battle is told in "The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson," a TNT movie premiering Monday at 8.
Andre' Braugher, who made his film debut last year in "Glory," portrays Robinson. Next month he appears in "Othello" at the Folger Theater here. Ruby Dee stars as the dignified but iron-willed matriarch of the Robinson family. Forty years ago she starred as Jackie's wife, Rachel, in the movie "The Jackie Robinson Story." Stan Shaw plays Joe Louis. Five years ago Shaw was set to play Joe Louis in a film biography that went unmade, but working on that movie minimized Shaw's research for this role.
The TNT film shows a lot about Jackie Robinson as a person, traits that were often overshadowed by his steals to home plate and his lofty numbers on the playing field. In 1962, he became the first black player elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.
Encores of "The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson" are scheduled for 10 p.m., midnight and 2 a.m. following Monday's debut. Also: Tuesday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Thursday at 11:30 p.m. and next Sunday at 4 p.m.
Sunday on Disney at 9 p.m. "Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music, Part II," part of a series of memorable Sinatra television specials. This 1966 show opens with Ol' Blue Eyes' "Fly Me to the Moon" and includes several numbers with daughter Nancy. Encore: Oct. 26.
Sunday on The Learning Channel at 9 p.m. "Vaclav Havel: Leadership in Eastern Europe," the second installment in "Eastern Europe: Breaking With The Past," a 13-part series.
Wednesday on USA Network at 9 p.m. "Web of Deceit," a world premiere movie starring Linda Purl, Barbara Rush and James Reed. The defense lawyer is pitted against her ex-fiance', the prosecutor, in a rape and murder trial that erupts into a scandal. Repeats: Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday on The Nashville Network at 8 p.m. "Randy Travis -- Happy Trails." Joining Travis on the trail of a Montana cattle drive are Roy Rogers, Denver Pyle, Michael Martin Murphey, and Holly Dunn.
Friday on Bravo at 11 p.m. Sir Laurence Olivier's masterful adaption of Shakespeare's "Richard III." Olivier's "Hamlet" is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 28, at 8:30 p.m., followed by "The History of Hamlet," a one-hour documentary tracing the background of this famous play.
NOT on TBS: The much-heralded five-part series "Voice of the Planet," with William Shatner and Faye Dunaway, scheduled to begin on Monday, has been postponed until Feb. 18-22.