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How’D They Do That?

Hosts: Pat O'Brien, Dorothy Lucey.

Hosts: Pat O’Brien, Dorothy Lucey.

Back for a second season, explain-how-it’s-done programmer opens with a demo of a car chase and crash on the hallowed streets of Warner Bros.’ backlot and closes showing how that car was blown up. In between, segs cover a couple of stories of varying interest; program grabs attention like a well-leafed waiting-room magazine.

Host Pat O’Brien’s supposedly ripping up those streets where James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and the earlier Pat O’Brien emoted, but the stunt artificers show how it’s done.

A human interest tale in Houston works, though the story cries for dramatization. A boy with no forearms wants to play in regular Little League, not in the Challenger division. The son of the Little League coach devises a glove the boy can use if officials will OK it.

And a look at a teacher’s cunning methods in L.A.’s Jefferson High School in the inner city could inspire other teachers to combine talents and experiences in their instructing.

The “Oh, I see!” explanation of how Robin Williams was made up as Mrs. Doubtfire is diverting, and a too-brief look at underground storage vaults in some Kansas salt mines. Where studios store negatives could have been a zinger, but it peters out.

Hosts O’Brien and Dorothy Lucey have to work with some pretty soggy writing (“In Hollywood things are not always what they seem,” Lucey confides). But a true story such as that of the would-be Little Leaguer has potential; reality show should be about reality.

As for telling how TV and film special effects work, would David Copperfield tell Magic Castle habitues how he performs his magic? The secrets of artistry are the secrets.

How'D They Do That?

(Thurs. (9), 8-9 p.m., CBS-TV)

Production: Taped on location in Kansas, Houston, NYC, L.A. and at Warner Bros. Studios by LMNO Prods., Telepicture Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. Exec producers, Eric Schotz, Earl Durham, Bill Paolantonio; supervising producer, Tom Seligson; senior seg producers, Paul Amirault, Keith Cornell, Bob Melisso, Ruth Rivin, Robin Sestero, Kathy Williamson; seg producers, Lou DeCosta, Eric Gardner, Wayne Gray, Vicki Miceli, Judith Williams; director, Morris Abraham; writers, Paolantonio, Durham, Schotz, Seligson, Keith Ulrich; theme, John D'Andrea, Cory Lerios.

Crew: Music, Alan Ett Music.

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