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Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Turning back the clock on rock ’n’ roll

July 17, 2012

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“History Detectives” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) enters its 10th season with its 100th episode. That milestone makes a few of its starring sleuths feel a little like relics themselves.

The season kicks off with three artifacts linked to rock ‘n’ roll history. As on “Antiques Roadshow,” the experts seem torn between the desire to say, “That’s cool!” a few too many times and the sobering realization that the keepsakes of their groovy youth have been transformed into museum pieces.

In tonight’s first segment, historians Elyse Luray and Wes Cowan meet a woman who claims that her father was a private pilot for Bob Dylan; Peter, Paul and Mary; and the Band, back when Dylan changed from acoustic folk to electric blues. Moreover, she claims that Dylan left a guitar in her father’s plane. And that instrument may be the very electric guitar he plugged in at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, much to the consternation of singer Pete Seeger and other folk purists.

In another segment, Tukufu Zuberi investigates a family heirloom that purports to include signed autographs by Beatles John Lennon and Ringo Starr. And Gwendolyn Wright sets out to prove or disprove that a painting/collage purchased for $5 at a thrift store is the work of musical iconoclast Frank Zappa.

For the record (and not the kind that spins at 33 1/3), this last segment is the most rewarding. Frank Zappa’s widow, Gail, graciously appears to appraise the artwork and adds some biographical details that provide personal context to the treasure hunt.

Tonight’s other highlights

• New clues on “Pretty Little Liars” (7 p.m., ABC Family).

• Mark Cuban and Ricky Gervais appear in back-to-back episodes of “Trust Us With Your Life” (8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., ABC).

• Kaldrick wants to make things right with Tariq on the second-season premiere of “The L.A. Complex” (8 p.m., CW).

• “Frontline” (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings) visits a Philadelphia public high school where students defy expectations.

• Two brothers share a familiar sinking feeling on “Deadliest Catch” (8 p.m., Discovery).

• Teri Hatcher guest-stars on “Jane by Design” (8 p.m., ABC Family).

• The murders of two therapists defy analysis on “Rizzoli & Isles” (8 p.m., TNT).

• Hospital drama on “NY Med” (9 p.m., ABC).

• “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” (9 p.m., HBO) profiles the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp.

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