Disney hails Mickey's 75th anniversary

Mickey Mouse is one old rodent. "Mickey Mouse's 75th Anniversary" (7 p.m. today, ABC) special comes more than a month after the real event. Apparently, the suits at Disney didn't mind keeping Mickey waiting -- the cartoon "Steamboat Willie," the first to feature the wily varmint, appeared Nov. 18, 1928, in theaters. Tonight's special will glance back at the mouse's illustrious career and feature numerous plugs for Mickey-related events at Disney-owned theme parks.

As a cartoon character, Mickey has been first among equals in Walt Disney's pantheon of critters, which also includes Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald and Daisy Duck, Louis, Dewey and Huey, and that unsettling mute, Pluto. Mickey probably reached his pop-culture apogee in the 1950s, when joining "The Mickey Mouse Club" was the rage among youngsters (who are now being asked to join AARP).

  • Randy Quaid probably can't wait for 2003 to end. First he starred in "The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire," producer David E. Kelley's "quirky" and quickly canceled take on small-town angst and male menopause. Now he has the indignity of carrying "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure" (7 p.m. today, NBC). Chevy Chase obviously bailed out of the franchise. Viewers should do the same.
  • Families with a taste for decorative extravagance and a tolerance for megawatt electric bills are featured on "Extreme Christmas: Bigger and Brighter" (8 p.m. Sunday, HGTV).

Today's highlights

  • TV Land reels off 48 consecutive hours of Christmas episodes from vintage shows, from "The Waltons" to "Family Ties," beginning at 5 a.m.
  • The voices of Ben Stiller, Hugh Grant and Britney Spears are featured in the 2002 special "Robbie the Reindeer: 'Hooves of Fire' and 'Legend of the Lost Tribe'" (7 p.m., CBS).
  • Tim Allen stars in the 1994 holiday comedy "The Santa Clause" (8 p.m., ABC).

Sunday's highlights

  • Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): training Iraq's police; Sen. John Edwards; the controversial fence on the West Bank.
  • A shipwreck survivor's love goes on and on in the 1997 epic "Titanic" (6 p.m., NBC), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
  • Bernie mulls a big acting break on "Bernie Mac" (7:30 p.m., Fox), guest-starring Angela Bassett.
  • Viewers get a second chance to watch "The Forsyte Saga" on "Masterpiece Theatre" (8 p.m., PBS).
  • Road rage on "Arrested Development" (8:30 p.m., Fox).

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