'All-Star Game' in Milwaukee

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Baseball celebrates its mid-season break with the 73rd annual "All-Star Game," (7 p.m., Fox) live from Miller Park in Milwaukee. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will provide play-by-play coverage and colorful commentary and Jeanne Zelasko and Kevin Kennedy will anchor pre-and post-game coverage. The American League has won the five previous contests.

� Next to baseball, few things seem as all-American as a field of corn in early July. The quirky, very personal film "Hybrid" on "P.O.V.," (8 p.m., PBS) celebrates the Midwest's corn belt and Milford Beeghly's evangelical efforts to sell America's farmers his hybrid seed corns. Starting in the 1930s, Beeghly began a romantic and deeply philosophical mission on behalf of hybridization. But he wasn't merely selling seeds � he envisioned a new millennium of peace and prosperity brought about by a new seed that propagated with peculiarly "promiscuous" characteristics.

A decidedly off-beat black-and-white film, the visual texture of "Hybrid" resembles a cross between a classroom filmstrip and David Lynch's "Eraserhead." The film contains many of the primitive television commercials that Beeghly made in the 1950s and 60s. These TV spots capture the language and attitudes of Midwest farmers of that era. "Hybrid" also catches up with the corn visionary Beeghly as his family celebrates his 94th birthday. Beeghly still continues his near-religious pursuit of better seed corn. Beeghly's grandson, Monteith McCollum, explains that he produced and directed "Hybrid," because "I was searching for ways to express my grandfather's feeling for the land and his passion for the corn plant."

� More than a decade ago, American television viewers warmly responded to the plight of Romania's abandoned orphans. Many were adopted. But what happened to the rest? "Children Underground," (5 p.m., Cinemax) takes an unflinching look at the lives of five children, ages 10 to 16, living on the streets and sleeping in Bucharest subway stations. Christina, 16, is both gang leader and mother hen. She metes out discipline and forces the younger urchins to tidy up their "bedding" (a slab of cardboard) every morning. She opted for the streets after being tortured in an orphanage and sentenced to a mental asylum. She is one of 20,000 homeless children in Bucharest. Directed by Edet Belzberg, "Children Underground" was nominated for an Academy Award and received a Special Jury prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.

Tonight's other highlights

� Alicia Silverstone stars in "Clueless," (8 p.m., USA), a clever 1995 update of Jane Austen's "Emma" set in fashion-obsessed Beverly Hills.

� A teen car-crash victim hovers on the brink of death on "Houston Medical," (9 p.m., ABC).

� The cast members of "Real World: Chicago," (9 p.m., MTV) pack their bags and say good-bye to the Windy City where, truth be told, they were not entirely welcomed.

� Police recruits undergo a year of training on the hour-long documentary "Rookies," (9 p.m., Court TV), the first of a five-part series looking at elite law enforcement organizations.

Cult choice

Humphrey Bogart stars as private eye Phillip Marlowe in the 1946 adaptation of Raymond Chandler's mystery "The Big Sleep," (8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies). Lauren Bacall costars.

Series notes

"Spy" and "Mole" are new ... Bud sits on jury duty on a case tried by Harm and Mac on "JAG," (7 p.m., CBS) ... Ali Landry hosts back-to-back episodes of "Spy TV," (7 p.m., NBC) ... On back-to-back episodes of "Spin City," (ABC), Charlie pretends to be Caitlin's boyfriend (7 p.m.), the mayor's opponent drops out of the race (7:30 p.m.) ... Riley returns on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," (7 p.m., UPN) ... Lorelai and Sookie bicker on "Gilmore Girls," (7 p.m., WB).