From Sarah Ophelia Cannon comes a pearl of wisdom: "Love them and they'll love you back." That's the advice she got when she first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, and she has not only lived by those words, she has been passing them along to others along the years.
Sarah, of course, is better known by her stage name -- Minnie Pearl. On Saturday at 8, The Nashville Network pays tribute to her with a one-hour special, "Grand Ole Opry / Salute to Minnie Pearl," honoring her 50th anniversay with the radio/television show. Encore: 11 p.m.
Minnie Pearl recalls her first appearance, on Nov. 7, 1940, when the show's announcer and founder, George D. Hay, told her to "love them and they'll love you back."
"I've always lived by Hay's words," she said. "Not long ago, a good-looking young singer came up to me and told me he, too, follows that same advice. And today, Clint Black is one of country music's hottest stars. That makes me feel real proud."
Miss Cannon got $10 for that first performance. Since then she has entertained millions, including presidents, kings and queens, but she still sports her trademark dime-store hat with the $1.98 tag dangling from the brim when she delivers her standing opening line: "Howdee, I'm just so proud to be here."
Sunday on TBS at 9 p.m. "National Geographic Explorer" serves up its own style of Halloween spookies with segments on vampire bats feeding off the blood of livestock, Thailand's snake-blood business, and some bug talk with Steve Kutcher ("Arachnophobia"). This guy wrangles bugs for a living. He's the one who covered Richard Burton's face with locusts in "Exorcist II: The Heretic," induced a wasp to attack Farrah Fawcett in "Extremities," and engineered a mass exodus of 20,000 bugs from a stomach wound in "Fright Night, Part II."
Sunday on Bravo at 8 p.m. "Hamlet," the award-winning masterpiece of the late Laurence Olivier's cinema career, makes its debut on this cable network. Repeats at 3 a.m. The 1948 film adaptation of Shakespeare's most renowned play won the Oscar for best picture, and Olivier, who was also director and producer, was named best actor. He was supported by Jean Simmons as Ophelia, Anthony Quayle as Marcellus and Eileen Herlie as Queen Gertrude.
Wednesday on USA at 9 p.m. Premiere of an original movie, "Nightmare on the 13th Floor," starring Michele Greene, James Brolin and Louise Fletcher. Greene, playing a magazine writer, attempts to expose a satanic cult performing ritualistic sacrifice on hotel guests and finds herself a target of the killers. Encores: Sunday at 7 p.m., Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.
Saturday on HBO at 10 p.m. "HBO Comedy Hour: Joe Piscopo In Concert," the versatile comedian's third one-hour HBO special. His skits include a super-cool rapper with a three-foot tower of hair, impersonations of Sam Donaldson, Larry King and Andy Rooney, and a take-off on "Jeopardy!" in which Alex Trebek (Piscopo) proves that beauty is more important than brains. The show was taped in front of a raucous packed house at U.C.L.A.'s Royce Hall.