LeVar Burton

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Posted by sonny 02/27/2009 @ 06:42

Tags : levar burton, actors and actresses, entertainment

News headlines
First 'master class' stars Reading Rainbow's Levar Burton - Daily 49er
Burton and crew prepare for a scene. This was the first film master class at CSULB. Director and actor LeVar Burton directed Cal State Long Beach's first master class in film directing, featuring a seven-minute film scene created by CSULB film students...
King in film - Atlanta Journal Constitution
“Ali” (2001): LeVar Burton (“Roots,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) was the civil rights leader opposite Oscar nominee Will Smith's version of “The Greatest.” • “Boycott” (2001, HBO): Jeffrey Wright (“Quantum of Solace,” “Angels in America”) was...
Local first-grader wins Reading Rainbow contest - Fremont News Messenger
WGTE Public Media will have a celebration party at its studios June 13, honoring all of the winners and entrants of the 2009 contest. All entrants will receive a certificate of recognition signed by series host LeVar Burton. First-place winners in each...
DreamWorks to Produce New Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic - First Showing
In the past he's been portrayed by actors including James Earl Jones, Paul Winfield, LeVar Burton, Robert Guillaume, Courtney B. Vance, Jeffrey Wright, MLK's son Dexter King and even Jaleel White ( aka "Urkel"). But Academy Awards aside, this is a film...
ShopBar Popup Vintage - NBC6.net
... contrast-stitched number with a pic of Rocky in lumpy sweats atop the stairs in Philly, and one with a pretty rainbow and the phrase “Open Books, Open Minds” -- which is exactly what the lefty communist LeVar Burton would want you to believe....
Inside Politics: Undone by technology, sort of - Greeley Tribune
The Tribune has a Twitter feed, but we post links to our actual stories, so you can read much more than 140 characters about things that matter to northern Colorado. Unless, of course, all you want is to find out is whether LeVar Burton (@levarburton)...
Student to read original book on television show - Issaquah Press
Stella will go to the local KCTS station June 6 to be filmed reading her book for a special episode of “Reading Rainbow,” with LeVar Burton, which will air in fall. “For us, it'sa big deal. We don't get any other kids' channels,” Monica Rockwell said....
Poker & Pop Culture: 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' - PokerNews.com
So responds Lt. Geordi La Forge (Levar Burton) to Data's pregame pronouncement that poker is “exceedingly simple.” The game is five-card stud, and soon Data finds himself involved in a hand with Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes)....
Theater Reviews: Ain't Misbehavin', The Columbine Project, The ... - LA Weekly
The title character is Oliver Mestman (LeVar Burton), who offers his customers “an appropriate death,” ie, a demise that'sa victory, not a surrender. His client is a computer-game creator named Stan Guest (James Hiroyuki Liao), doomed to die of Mad Cow...
5 Best Star Trek Personalities to Follow on Twitter - Paste Magazine
Runner-up: RT @roscopcoletrane: This just in: Levar Burton is not dead!Me: Thank God! I was planning to see the new Star Trek movie tomorrow...! 2nd runner-up: @Lucy_Lawless No... there haven't been any new Reading Rainbow episodes made since then....

Captain Planet and the Planeteers

Captain Planet and the Planeteers title.jpg

Captain Planet and the Planeteers is an American animated environmentalist television program, based on an idea by Ted Turner and produced by Andy Heyward, Robby London, Barbara Pyle and Nicholas Boxer. The series was developed and co-produced by Turner Program Services and DiC Entertainment and ran new episodes from September 10, 1990 until December 5, 1992. A sequel series, The New Adventures of Captain Planet, ran from 1993–1996 and was produced by Turner Broadcasting and then-corporate sibling Hanna-Barbera Productions. Both programs continue today in syndication.

The program is a form of edutainment, which advocates the United Nations as an organization, and the concepts of globalism, multiculturalism and environmentalism generally.

Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, is awakened from a long sleep by human activity threatening ecosystems. Realizing that the damage is extensive, Gaia sends five magic rings, each with the power to control an element of nature and one controlling an extra element, heart, to five chosen youths across the globe: Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi, and Ma-Ti.

These five are dubbed the Planeteers and given the task of defending the Earth in the case of the greatest of disasters and making effort to keep others from happening. Gaia uses her "Planet Vision" to discover where the most devastating destruction is occurring and sends the Planeteers to help solve the problem. The Planeteers use transportation based on solar power in order to avoid causing pollution themselves.

In situations that the Planeteers cannot resolve alone, they can combine their powers to summon Captain Planet, a magical entity who possesses all of their powers magnified, symbolizing the premise that the combined efforts of a team are stronger than its individual parts. Captain Planet only appears in his Captain Planet garb. These are not clothes but elements of the Earth that are integral to his composition. He is able to rearrange his molecular structure to transform himself into the various powers and elements of nature. Captain Planet's outfit does not represent a specific culture. He has grass-green hair, sky-blue skin, earthy brown eyes, a fire-red chest, gloves, and boots, and a sun-yellow globe insignia. In a manner similar to the early Superman, Planet has seemingly godlike superhuman powers, and seems to gain more proportionate to whatever the situation requires. Nevertheless, he is weakened by pollutants which sap his strength, from smog to nuclear radiation. The Planeteers cannot use their individual powers while Captain Planet is "active".

Despite his vulnerability to pollution, Captain Planet is a formidable and valiant hero. Once his work is done, Captain Planet returns to the Earth, restoring the Planeteers' powers. When he does this, Captain Planet reminds viewers of the message of the series with his catchphrase, "The power is yours!".

The series is also notable in that it used elements similar to Japanese Sentai series years before shows such as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Sailor Moon came to the U.S., especially in the manner of a team of five gifted with powers by a mentor, who will call upon something to defeat the villain. Unlike Sentai, however, there are no secret identities for the team, no transformation sequences, and the practice of heavily recycled footage is never used (even the calling sequence would often be re-animated and re-recorded for each episode). The concept of five individual heroes summoning a champion from various devices has its roots in DC Comics' Forever People. It is unknown if Ted Turner investigated them or Infinity Man when creating Captain Planet.

The Planeteers are summoned by Gaia, a modern rendition of the Ancient Greek goddess of the Earth, to defend the world from pollution, criminals, and natural disasters. The five teenagers, each originating from a different region of the world and who together represent several major ethnic groups, are each given a ring which allows them to temporarily control one of the four classical elements — Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water — as well as a fifth element, Heart, which represents love and communication and enables telepathy and empathy, as well as potential mind control.

In order to summon Captain Planet, the Planeteers must activate their powers in a specific order, preceded by the phrase "Let our powers combine;" (followed by all of the Planeteers cheering "GO PLANET!"). It can be noted that during the DiC series, the sequence of special effects preceding Captain Planet's appearance differed each and every time (with the exception of a few select occurrences of stock footage). In the Hanna-Barbera series, there were some creative ideas for Captain Planet's appearance when being summoned; but most of the time, it consisted of flashes of lightning, along with sounds of thunder. Animation in the DiC series was inconsistent, showing some episodes as darker or brighter in color than others, and characters looking different from one episode to the next, and in some cases one segment (or even shot) to the next.

The Planeteers' rings are, like Captain Planet himself, susceptible to weakening when in the presence of toxic waste and pollution to the point that they can no longer use their powers or summon Captain Planet.

Kwame: From Africa, Kwame possesses the power of Earth. He is 18 years old and has a soft spot for plant life. Growing up in a tribe in his homeland, he is at one with the land and its purpose, and does what he can to preserve it. Unofficially considered the leader of the group, he is the voice of reason that keeps the Planeteers in check when the group begins to lose faith in a given situation.

Wheeler: From North America (specifically Brooklyn, NY), Wheeler controls the power of Fire. At 17 years old, Wheeler is the street-smart comic relief for the group who, while having his heart in the right place, tends to get himself into tight spots with his impulse actions. He also tends to annoy Linka, on whom he has an ongoing crush throughout the series. His compassion and fighting spirit adds to the team's backbone.

Linka: From the Soviet Union, Linka has the power of Wind. At 16 years old, Linka closely studies bird life. She is a master of strategy and logic, as well as a computer expert. She is a no-nonsense girl whose common sense has helped the group when in their most critical moments. She sometimes appears to reciprocate or appreciate Wheeler's soft spot, but is often annoyed at him and therefore does not pursue the altered relation. Later in the series her introduction stated that she was from Eastern Europe, rather than the Soviet Union, after the fall of the latter in the early 1990s.

Gi: Hailing from Southeast Asia (probably Thailand), Gi controls the power of water. This power is the only power that requires tapping into a source in order to be useful. Also at 16 years old, Gi is a self-proclaimed marine biologist. Her compassion for sea life contributes to the overall effort of the Planeteers' protection of animals.

Ma-Ti: From the Amazon rainforests of South America, Ma-Ti uses the power of heart to instill love, care, compassion, and empathy into the people of the world to care for the planet. He can also use this power to communicate with animals telepathically. At 12 years old, Ma-Ti is the most impressionable, but his youth and innocence also aids in the level of love and caring that keeps the group together.

It should be noted that this representation of Gaia was depicted not as a Hellenic Greek, but as a mix of the three primary racial ethnicities: dark brown skin, prominent cheekbones, wavy black hair, and blue eyes.

The only ally of the Planeteers (besides Gaia), who appeared more than once in the series, was former Cold War soldier Commander Clash, who helped the Planeteers to defeat Captain Pollution (a malevolent counterpart of Captain Planet) as well as Zarm.

All seven joined forces only once, under Zarm's leadership, in the two-part "Summit to Save Earth" episode.

Various other one-time villains were also used.

In the later two-part episode A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste, Captain Pollution is brought back to life by toxics that seep into the earth. If Captain Planet could be considered to be a nod to Nereus, then Captain Pollution could be considered a nod to Typhon, one of Gaia’s final children, a monster of great evil who spewed toxic smoke. Captain Pollution was voiced by David Coburn in both appearances.

A feature of the show is every episode’s ending with a pair of 30-second clips (known as Planeteer Alerts) in which the characters inform the viewers on ways that they can help the environment, by joining organizations or writing government officials to voice their opinions on specific issues.

The clips contained moral messages directed at the viewer, delivered by characters from the show (often Captain Planet or Gaia). Similar messages and delivery styles were used in other cartoon shows from the same era, though the practice has fallen out of use in recent years.

Much like the morality of the show itself, the clips contained information and advice on how to help protect the environment, prevent pollution, save animals, form good relationships with people, and how to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy. One episode even dealt with prejudice against people infected with AIDS-HIV.

The ending credits theme (maintained by both DIC and Hanna-Barbera’s versions) is also considered one of the most memorable parts of the series due to its catchy main chorus and rock track ("Captain Planet, he’s our hero, gonna take pollution down to zero").

Episodes of the show currently air on WPCH-TV and Boomerang.

The episode titled "A Formula For Hate" (1992) was unique for the series in that it did not deal with environmental pollution or destruction. It was also the first episode in an American children's animated series to directly deal with the AIDS-HIV pandemic. In the episode, Verminous Skumm brainwashes a local community into thinking the virus can be spread through casual contact, and thus causing people to hate and fear a young man, infected with HIV, named Todd (Neil Patrick Harris). Todd's mother was played by actress Elizabeth Taylor, who has raised money for AIDS charities.

The original series was the second longest running cartoon of the 1990s, producing 113 episodes. It lasted for three seasons under the name Captain Planet and the Planeteers (produced by TBS Productions and DiC), before many of the voice actors quit or were replaced and much licensing occurred, changing the title to The New Adventures of Captain Planet (produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, which was acquired by Turner in 1991).

This series had noticeable differences from the original, such as episodes revealing more of the past of each of the characters. This does not directly contradict the first, but expands on it dramatically. Gi tells the story of her pet dolphin, while Linka is revealed to have a mining family who used canaries to detect lethal gases in the mines, and her opening sequence generalizes her birthplace as Eastern Europe to avoid confusion in viewers born after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 (which would place her canonical birthplace among one of the countries that gained their independence when the Soviet Union collapsed). Dr. Blight, with a new voice actor, is revealed to have a sister who is a famous movie actress.

Other changes were also noticeable, most significantly the animation style. While the character models from the DiC episodes were retained (and the original DiC opening sequence used) the new animation relied less on shading and was slightly more colorful. Many of the characters had refurbished outfits. The sound effects utilized when the Planeteers used their rings were changed and the echo in Captain Planet’s voice when he emerged was also gone. Also gone was the DiC season's use of a specific synth rock soundtrack, these tracks were replaced by a large number of orchestral pieces, although the famous end credits theme was retained, now showcasing footage from the Hanna-Barbera episodes. A small number of cast changes occurred, affecting Gaia and most of the eco-villains; similarly, the opening narration was voiced by David Coburn (Captain Planet) rather than LeVar Burton (Kwame), and was eventually replaced by a rap by Fred Schneider of The B-52's.

As with many popular cartoons, Captain Planet had a toy line. Released by Tiger Toys in 1991, the line ran for several years, long enough to tie into the New Adventures series. The toys were repackaged and sold by Grand Toys in Canada and Kenner throughout Europe. The toys were of average poseability, with the common five points — neck, shoulders, and hips.

Finding a comprehensive list of what was released is difficult, since not all toys shown in the initial retailer catalog were even released. The collector’s market is small, the toys being somewhat rare on eBay. The Captain Planet Foundation still sells a small number of them online, however. There may have also been further foreign variations of certain toys which may be even more difficult to catalog. Various toys from the New Adventures waves are also likely to be less well-known.

All five Planeteers, five Eco-Villains, Commander Clash, and several versions of Captain Planet, each with a different gimmick or paint scheme, were released, along with several vehicles. Four small vehicles were also sold through a Burger King promotion.

Marvel Comics published a short-run comic series to tie in to the show; however, the comics were a separate continuity. While not effectively part of the Marvel Universe, issue #4's cover was a parody of the cover to Fantastic Four issue #1.

Five different Captain Planet video games exist.

Writer Michael Reaves reimagined the Captain Planet concept in a script he wrote for a theatrical movie in 1997, entitled "Planet" or "Dark Planet". The script was darker than the series, and set in a post-apocalyptic time period. The script was met with acceptance, but "got lost in the shuffle when Turner and Warner Bros. merged".

In late 2007, Ted Turner was in talks regarding a Captain Planet movie. In early 2008 Warner bros denied that a movie was planned.

In February 2009, Mother Nature Network began airing episodes of Captain Planet and the Planeteers on its website. According to the site, it's showing 20 episodes, as well as unreleased footage, through February 2010.

NOTE: Richard Gere was originally slated to voice one of the villain characters, but backed out for unknown reasons.

The theme song played in the end credits sequence takes from New Kids on the Block's hit song, "Step by Step". Coincidentally, David Coburn & Scott Menville also voiced characters on New Kids on the Block cartoon. Coburn was Nikko & Donnie Wahlberg while Menville was Joe McIntyre.

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Reading Rainbow

The Reading Rainbow logo used between 1983 and 1999.

Reading Rainbow was an American children's television series aired by PBS from June 6, 1983 until November 10, 2006, that encourages reading among children. Each episode centers on a theme from a book or other children's literature which is explored through a number of segments or stories. The show also provides book recommendations for kids to look for when they go to the library. It is the third-longest running children's series in PBS history, after Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Reading Rainbow has won a Peabody Award and twenty-six Emmy Awards, ten of which were in the "Outstanding Children's Series" category.

Reading Rainbow was hosted by actor and executive producer LeVar Burton, who is also known for his roles in Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was originally co-created and produced by Lancit Media Entertainment from 1982 until 2000, and was produced by On-Screen Entertainment from 2000 through 2006 for executive producers WNED-TV (a PBS member station in Buffalo, New York) and Great Plains National.

The series' pilot, which aired as the show's eighth episode in 1983, featured the book Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport. It was created and produced in 1981 by Twila Liggett (GPN), Tony Buttino (WNED), and from Lancit Media Productions, Larry Lancit, Cecily Truett Lancit and Lynne Brenner Ganek. Burton was the host. Lancit Media produced the majority of the series' episodes until the past few years.

Its theme song was written by Steve Horelick, Dennis Neil Kleinman, and Janet Weir; Horelick also served as the series' music director and composer. The theme was sung by Tina Fabrique. The original opening, which depicted a cartoon butterfly transforming the surroundings of young children reading books into cartoon fantasylands, was used until 1999. Later episodes used a new opening with the same theme song performed by R&B legend Chaka Khan.

The daughter of producer Larry Lancit, Shaune Lancit, was often featured in the series, most notably as the child thanking the sponsors at the end of the show.

In later years the series tackled issues that other children's programs have historically avoided, such as poverty in U.S. inner cities, the September 11 attacks, childbirth and its impact on the family, and prison, all from a child's point of view. Original production was to have ended in 2005, with the show continuing to air in reruns, but host LeVar Burton said on February 7, 2006 that five new episodes of the show would be shot in 2006 despite the continuing financial troubles of PBS.

On March 7, 2006, Baltimore, Maryland-based Educate Inc. were announced as a co-producer for Reading Rainbow, replacing GPN as producer after the University of Nebraska Regents (the owners of GPN and NETbnmn) recently sold its long-time production interest to WNED-TV, with WNED and Educate Inc. signing a co-production agreement. WNED's CEO confirmed that the agreement would allow the securing of needed funding to continue production of Reading Rainbow.

However, in a presentation at Pennsylvania State University on January 29, 2007, Burton again announced that he had recently shot his last episode of Reading Rainbow and was retiring, citing differences with the new owners.

Educate Inc. recently announced a new corporate configuration spinning-off Reading Rainbow into a new products division. The future of the series is uncertain. Burton stated on February 18, 2009, that he is considering webisodes of "a new version of a Reading Rainbow like show" for grownups.

To date, the only permanent sponsors for Reading Rainbow have been the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Viewers Like You, which have both funded the show for its entire run. There have been many others, however; From 1986 and until 2002, The National Science Foundation funded the show, and The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations funded the show from 1993 until 2002. Only The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have resumed funding during the 2006-07 season.

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Ron LeFlore

One in a Million movie poster.

Ronald LeFlore (born June 16, 1948 in Detroit, Michigan) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He played six seasons with the Detroit Tigers before being traded to the Montreal Expos, retiring as a Chicago White Sox in 1982. He stole 455 bases in his career, and was an American League All-Star selection in 1976. A movie and book were made about his rise to the major leagues after being an inmate at the Jackson State Penitentiary. One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story was a made-for-television movie starring LeVar Burton that aired on CBS Television in 1978. LeFlore is the cousin of former MLB outfielder Todd Steverson.

Leflore was born in Detroit and was involved in the criminal justice system at an early age. In the book Breakout: From Prison to the Big Leagues Leflore relates growing up in a crime ridden section of Detroit. Although his parents were married, his father was an unemployed alcoholic who rarely took part in family life. His mother was a hard working nurse's aide who held the family together financially and physically, even feeding Ron while a heroin addict and small-time drug dealer. He credits his mother’s compassion for his survival during this period. At twelve, he began to have sex with local prostitutes and soon after he was introduced to shooting heroin in a neighbourhood 'shooting gallery'. He dropped out of school and spent many nights breaking into the Stroh's Brewery on Gratiot Avenue, stealing beer and getting drunk with friends. After dropping out of school he played no organized sports and rarely followed the Tigers, although he had been to Tiger Stadium, sitting in the upper bleachers with his father, on one occasion as a kid. First arrested at fifteen, he was ultimately sentenced to 5-15 years in state prison at the State Prison of Southern Michigan, usually called Jackson State Penitentiary, for armed robbery.

Incarcerated, the first organized baseball league LeFlore played in was for inmates. Billy Martin, the legendary New York Yankee player and manager, then manager of the Detroit Tigers, was lured to Michigan State Prison by another inmate who knew Martin. The unorthodox Martin witnessed LeFlore's speed and strength, something that bloomed after LeFlore had given up drugs and drinking inside prison. Incredibly, Martin helped LeFlore get permission for day-parole and a try out at Tiger Stadium. In the summer of 1973, the convict impressed Tigers' management and the team signed him to contract in July, which enabled him to meet the conditions for parole. Martin, the man who gave LeFlore his break, was fired in August of that same year for telling Tiger pitchers to throw at opposing hitters; he was replaced by Joe Schultz. Ralph Houk was LeFlore's manager subsequently. Originally, LeFlore, a twenty-six year old rookie, was assigned to the Tigers' AA affiliate, but by the end of the 1973 season he was playing for the Triple A Evansville Triplets. The following season he made the Major League club and by 1975 was a starting outfielder.

Primarily known as a base stealer, LeFlore led the American League with 68 in 1978, but in his prime he also hit for average and moderate power, hammering 16 home runs in 1977. He was a big reason, along with Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, that the Tigers attendance rose in 1976 by close to five thousand more per game than the previous year. Yet the team never finished higher than fourth in the American League East standings and in 1979 LeFlore was traded to the Montreal Expos. In 1980 he came closest to encountering play-off action as he stole a career high 97 bases and the Expos ended the season in second place only a game behind the eventual World Series winner Philadelphia Phillies. After playing two seasons for the Chicago White Sox, he retired in 1982.

On September 27, 1999, ceremonies celebrating the final game played at Tiger Stadium brought LeFlore back to Michigan after many years of living in Florida. Before the game, he was notified of an open warrant for his arrest on charges of unpaid child support. The police agreed to let LeFlore participate in the on-field activities and then subsequently arrested him.

The case involved back orders of support for his estranged adult daughter and her mother, who was the person that informed police LeFlore was planning to attend the festivities. He was quickly released from custody after agreeing to comply with the court order.

In 2000, LeFlore was hired as the manager of the now-defunct Cook County Cheetahs of the Frontier League. He also worked as a manager and coach in the Midwest and Northeastern leagues.

In the spring of 2003, LeFlore was hired as manager for the Saskatoon Legends franchise in the fledgling Canadian Baseball League, a league that folded midway through their inaugural season.

On May 5, 2007, during an autograph signing, LeFlore was arrested for failure to pay child support.

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Geordi La Forge

Geordi La Forge aboard the USS Enterprise-D

Geordi La Forge is a regular character in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, played by LeVar Burton. He served as helmsman of the USS Enterprise-D in the first season, then occupied the role of the chief engineer for the rest of the series and in the TNG-era films.

LeVar Burton auditioned for the role in 1986. He had previously appeared in Roots and other major network shows. He stated that "years ago I was doing a TV movie called Emergency Room and it was a fairly miserable experience. But there was a producer on that show, a man named Bob Justman.... six, seven years later, I get this call from Bob Justman and he’s working at Paramount on this new Star Trek series and he said I remember your love of the show, we’ve got this character, would you be interested in coming in and seeing us? And I said is Gene involved? He said he is. And I said I’ll be right there." Roddenberry was very pleased with Burton at his very first audition.

Gene Roddenberry created the character in honor of George La Forge, a fan of the original Star Trek series who died from muscular dystrophy in 1975.

In the series, we learn that Geordi was born blind and wears a VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement), a half-moon-shaped prosthetic attached at the temples that provides him with vision. Interfacing directly with his brain, the device enables him to "see" much of the electromagnetic spectrum – radio waves, infrared, ultraviolet, but not normal light perception, though it does allow Geordi to see the visible light section of the EM spectrum.

La Forge was born 16 February 2335 in the African Confederation on Earth to Silva La Forge (a Starfleet command track officer) and Edward M. La Forge (a Starfleet exozoologist) (TNG: "Interface"). He has also mentioned having a sister. He attended Zefram Cochrane High School (Star Trek: First Contact) and then Starfleet Academy from 2353 to 2357 (TNG: "Conundrum"). In 2357, he was assigned as an ensign aboard the USS Victory under Captain Zimbata (TNG: "Elementary, Dear Data"). After his first cruise, he was transferred to the USS Hood for her 2361-64 cruise, during which he was promoted to lieutenant junior grade (TNG: "Conundrum").

LaForge once impressed Captain Jean-Luc Picard by staying up all night to fix a shuttle craft that Picard had mentioned a superficial problem in. Upon learning this, Picard decided he wanted Geordi on his next command ("TNG": The Next Phase) which ended up being the Enterprise-D where Geordi was assigned to him as a helmsman, Geordi was later promoted to Chief Engineer.

In 2372, Geordi is transferred to the new Sovereign class starship Enterprise-E. When the ship travels back in time to the 21st century, he works alongside Dr. Zefram Cochrane and helps him successfully launch Earth's first warp-capable vessel and achieve first contact with the Vulcans (Star Trek: First Contact). During the Ba'ku incident, La Forge began to experience annoying pain in his eyes after sojourning on the planet. Doctor Crusher removes his ocular implants to discover that his optic nerves have regenerated and he has gained normal sight. This effect is caused by the healing properties of the Ba'ku ring system and, at the time, it is speculated that the effect will fade after La Forge leaves Ba'ku (Star Trek: Insurrection). This diagnosis proved correct; La Forge again wears the implants in Star Trek Nemesis.

In the alternate timeline of TNG series finale All Good Things..., La Forge has by 2395 married Leah Brahms and had three children (Alandra, Brett, and Sydney) with her. He had left Starfleet and became a novelist. However, these events may never happen because of the divergence of the time line at the episode's end.

In the alternate 2390 future in Star Trek: Voyager's "Timeless", La Forge is a captain and the commanding officer of the USS Challenger, doing his best to stop Harry Kim and Chakotay from altering the time line. He had micro-implants in his eyes, allowing him to see without wearing his visor. However, Kim and Chakotay succeed in their mission, erasing the alternate time line.

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Roots: The Gift

Roots The Gift.jpg

Roots: The Gift is a 1988 television film. It is the third installment of the Roots series, which traces the maternal family history of African American author Alex Haley, starting with his great-great-great-great-grandfather Kunta Kinte. The film premiered on ABC on December 11, 1988, with AT&T as the sole national sponsor for the broadcast. LeVar Burton and Louis Gossett, Jr. reprise their respective roles of Kunta Kinte and Fiddler. The film is not considered a strict sequel because it takes place in between the second and third episodes of Roots, making it an interquel.

The film was crafted as a Christmas movie. As one of the characters explains, the "gift" referred to in the title is freedom.

Roots: The Gift is also notable in that it features four actors who each portrayed a major character in a Star Trek television series: Burton (Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager), and Tim Russ (Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager).

In December 1775, Cletus Moyer (Brooks) is a free black Northerner in colonial America, working with a pre-Underground Railroad network to help slaves escape captivity. In the days just prior to Christmas, a group of bounty hunters led by Hattie Carraway (Mulgrew) captures Moyer near the Parker plantation in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. Because of his capture, dozens of slaves who have already left their plantations in escape attempts are in danger of being captured as well. Moyer implores two slaves from the nearby Reynolds plantation to take his place: Kunta Kinte (Burton), a Mandinka in his mid-twenties who was captured in what is now Gambia, and Fiddler (Gossett), an elderly man who was born into slavery. Kunta is eager to help (and to escape himself), but Fiddler is unwilling, fearful of the consequences if they are caught.

After an unsuccessful slave revolt elsewhere in the colony, Moyer and two of the Parker slaves are hanged by Carraway's men on Christmas Eve, prompting Fiddler to set aside his fear and help Kunta lead the runaway slaves to freedom. Although the pair successfully leads the runaways that night to their next stop on the Railroad -- a boat waiting at the river -- there is no room for the two of them, forcing them to return to the Parker plantation and manufacture an excuse for their temporary absence. Nevertheless, Kunta and Fiddler are left with the satisfaction of knowing that they helped to give a group of fellow slaves the best Christmas gift of all: freedom.

Following a brief introduction by Alex Haley, the film opens with a replay of a memorable scene from the second episode of the original Roots miniseries: Following the first of many unsuccessful escape attempts, a prideful Kunta is publicly and mercilessly whipped until he agrees to assume the English name "Toby", which was selected for him by his new owner. Afterwards, Fiddler tends to the semi-conscious Kunta, telling him "You know who you be" and that it does not matter what anyone else calls him.

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The Hunter (film)

The Hunter is a 1980 American thriller film directed by Buzz Kulik based on the exploits of real-life bounty hunter Ralph "Papa" Thorson. The film stars Steve McQueen in the lead role (his last film before his death), and features Eli Wallach, Kathryn Harrold, LeVar Burton, Ben Johnson and Richard Venture in supporting roles.

The opening scenes were filmed in Kankakee County, IL. The capture of Tommy Price (LeVar Burton) in Herscher and payphone scenes with Papa Thorson (Steve McQueen) talking to Sheriff Strong (Ben Johnson) in Bonfield. The classic riverhouse explosion early in the picture was filmed on the Kankakee River near Aroma Park. The structure was built for the film and then destroyed.

The airport scene where Papa picks up the Trans Am was filmed at the Greater Kankakee airport. Historic downtown Lemont was used for the scene where Steve McQueen performs a burnout in front of the police officer. Also, the current public works building across from the post office was used as the police station and jail. The cornfield chase scenes were filmed on a feed corn farm that shared property with the Lithuanian World Center and is now the site of a current residential development.

A portion of the film was shot in Old Town, Chicago, on the El. Scenes involving Papa chasing his quarry in a parking garage were shot at Marina Towers. The stunt with the fleeing suspect driving off the Marina City garage and plunging into the Chicago River was recreated in 2006 for a commercial for Allstate Insurance.

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LeVar Burton

Levar burton.jpg

Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr. (born February 16, 1957, in Landstuhl, West Germany), professionally known as LeVar Burton, is an American actor, director and author who first came to prominence portraying Kunta Kinte in the 1977 award-winning ABC television miniseries Roots, based on the novel by Alex Haley. He is also well-known for his portrayal of Geordi La Forge on the syndicated science fiction series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and as the host of the PBS children's program Reading Rainbow.

Burton was the child of a U.S. military family and was born in West Germany at the U.S. Army Landstuhl Regional Medical Center while his father was stationed at a nearby military base. He and his two sisters were raised by his mother, an English teacher, in Sacramento, California. At the age of 13, he entered a seminary to become a priest. He is a graduate of University of Southern California's School of Theatre.

Following on his Emmy-nominated work in Roots he was so well-recognized that he appeared virtually as himself in the late 1970s and early 1980s on a number of television shows that employed "name" actors in guest roles. Thus, largely on the back of a single performance in Roots part 1, he was a visitor to Fantasy Island, participant in Battle of the Network Stars, a guest of the Muppet Show's televised premiere party for the release of The Muppet Movie, and a frequent guest on several popular game shows of the day. During these earliest days of MTV, he appeared on a music video called "Word Up!" by R&B band Cameo.

As the 1980s progressed, he created and began to host and executively produce Reading Rainbow in 1983 for PBS.

In 1986, Gene Roddenberry approached him with an offer of regular series work. Thus, a decade after he had become a celebrity, he joined the regular cast of a major television program for the first time. Burton began playing the role of the then Lieutenant Junior Grade Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series. Geordi La Forge was the USS Enterprise's helmsman, and as of the second season, its Chief Engineer.

Burton has also portrayed La Forge in every feature film based on Star Trek: The Next Generation, beginning with Star Trek Generations in 1994 through to the most recent picture, 2002's Star Trek Nemesis. Burton also directed and appeared in the Star Trek Voyager Season 5 episode, Timeless (Star Trek: Voyager) , in 2000. He directed other episodes, such as Q2.

Beyond his two most famous series, Burton has enjoyed a wide range of acting work, alternating between serious historical roles and fantastic fiction. It is the historical work that has garnered the most critical attention. On television, he has helped dramatize the last days of Jim Jones's suicide cult in Guyana, the life and times of Jesse Owens, and the life of the nine-year-old Booker T. Washington. He portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 2001 film Ali.

He has also lent his voice to several animated projects. His longest-lived animated role is probably that of Kwame in the cartoon series Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990–1993) and The New Adventures of Captain Planet (1993–1996). However, he has also contributed to Family Guy, Batman: The Animated Series, and Gargoyles. LeVar is also on the audio version of The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis.

Burton appeared several times as a celebrity guest on the Dick Clark hosted Pyramid, from 1982 until 1988. Burton also was the strongest link in the special Star Trek episode of The Weakest Link. He defeated his final opponent Robert Picardo and won $167,500 for his charity, a record for the show.

He has also made appearances in such sitcoms as Becker and Spin City.

Burton is the host and executive producer of a documentary entitled The Science of Peace, which is in production as of 2007. It investigates the science and technology aimed at enabling world peace, sometimes called peace science. Despite the title some of the non-scientific concepts of shared noetic consciousness are explored in the film, which is sponsored in part by the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Like several other actors, Burton leveraged his regular role in Star Trek to launch his directing career. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, he would come to direct episodes for each of the various Star Trek series then in production. He has directed more Star Trek episodes than any other former regular cast member.

LeVar is on the board of directors for the Directors Guild of America.

Burton has also directed episodes of Charmed, JAG, Las Vegas, and Soul Food: The Series, as well as the miniseries Miracle's Boys and the documentary The Tiger Woods Story.

He also directed the 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie Smart House starring Katey Sagal, Kevin Kilner and Jessica Steen.

His most recent directorial project "Reach For Me", in which he also played a supporting role, was released in theaters in March 2008.

His production company is Integrity Entertainment.

Burton has a daughter, born in 1994, with his wife, make-up artist Stephanie Cozart Burton, and a son, born in 1980 to another woman. Burton was awarded joint custody of his son after a paternity suit. Burton and his wife and daughter currently live in Sherman Oaks, California.

He is an avid poker player, and participant in the World Poker Tour.

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Source : Wikipedia