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Roots (ABC 1977 Levar Burton, John Amos)



Period drama serial. In Africa in the 1700’s Kunte Kinte is captured by slavers and shipped to America, the serial then followed the lives of Kunte Kinte’s offspring, his daughter Kizzy and his grandson Chicken George.

production details
USA / ABC-David L. Wolper / 8x120m-e / 1977 23 – 30 January Sunday to Monday

Devisor: William Blinn / Book/Consultant: Alex Haley / Executive Producer: David L. Wolper / Producer: Stan Margolies / Music: Quincy Jones, Gerald Fried / Camera: Stevan Larner, Joseph M. Wilcots / Design: Jan Scott

regular cast
LEVAR BURTON as Kunte Kinte / JOHN AMOS as Kunte Kinte (older) / EDWARD ASNER as Captain Davies / BEN VEREEN as Chicken George / LOUIS GOSSETT JR as The Fiddler / LYNDA DAY GEORGE as Mrs Reynolds / SCATMAN CROTHERS as Mingo / MacDONALD CAREY as Squire James / LLOYD BRIDGES as Evan Brent / SANDY DUNCAN as Missy Anne / LORNE GREENE as John Reynolds / VIC MORROW as Ames / CICELY TYSON as Binta Kinte / RALPH WAITE as Slater / LESLIE UGGAMS as Kizzy / CHUCK CONNORS as Tom Moore

ONE SEASON 8 Episodes / 23 – 30 January 1977

1. EPISODE ONE (Sun 23 Jan 1977)
1767: In the Gambia, West Africa, young 17 year old Kunte Kinte is taken by slave traders and transported, via a ship, in horrible conditions, to America.

guest cast
O.J. SIMPSON as Kadi Touray / MAYA ANGELOU as Nyo Boto / JI-TU CUMBUKA as Wrestler / MOSES GUNN as Kintango / THALMUS RASULALA as Omoro / HARRY RHODES as Brima Cesay / WILLIAM WATSON as Gardner / REN WOODS as Fanta

WRITERS: William Blinn, Ernest Kinoy
DIRECTOR: David Greene


2. EPISODE TWO (Mon 24 Jan 1977)
On board ship Kunte Kinte attempts a (failed) rebellion and later landing in America (Annapolis) he is sold into slavery, he is befriended by fellow slave Fiddler but still mounts an escape attempt.

guest cast
ROBERT REED as Dr William Reynolds / JI -TU CUMBUKA as Wrestler / PAUL SHENAR as Carrington / REN WOODS as Fanta

WRITERS: William Blinn, Ernest Kinoy
DIRECTORS: David Greene, John Erman


3. EPISODE THREE (Tues 25 Jan 1977)
1776: The now older Kunte Kinte is still attempting to break free from slavery- his final attempt causes his ‘owners’ to have his right foot amputated.

guest cast

WRITER: James Lee
DIRECTOR: Marvin J. Chomsky


4. EPISODE FOUR (Wed 26 Jan 1977)
1778: Kunte Kinte is now working with the plantation master as his wagon driver, Kunte marries Bell (the woman who nursed him after he lost his foot). The pair later have a daughter they call Kizzy.

guest cast
ROBERT REYNOLDS as Dr William Reynolds / RAYMOND ST. JACQUES as Drummer / TANYA L. BOYD as Genelva / THAYER DAVID as Harlan / HELEN MARTIN as Aunt Sukey / STAN HAZE as Singer

WRITERS: James Lee, William Blinn
DIRECTOR: Marvin J. Chomsky


5. EPISODE FIVE ( Thurs 27 Jan 1977)
1806: Kunte’s daughter Kizzy is now grown up, after helping a slave girl escape she is then sold – her new owner Tom Moore immediately rapes her.

guest cast
LAWRENCE-HILTON JACOBS as Noah / ROBERT REED as Dr William Reynolds / JOHN SCHUCK as Ordell / MADGE SINCLAIR as Bell / ROXIE ROKER as Malizy / ELMA JACKSON as Mama Ada / BRION JAMES as Slaver

WRITER: James Lee
DIRECTOR: Marvin J. Chomsky


6. EPISODE SIX ( Fri 28 Jan 1977)
1824: Kizzy has a son called Chicken George, his father is the plantation owner Tom Moore. Years later married Chicken George becomes a top fighting rooster trainer and is sent to England.

guest cast
GEORGE HAMILTON as Stephen Bennett / CAROLYN JONES as Mrs Moore / IAN McSHANE as Sir Eric Russell / RICHARD ROUNDTREE as Sam Bennett / OLIVIA COLE as Matilda / WALLY TAYLOR as Marcellus / LILLIAN RANDOLPH as Sister Sara / DAVIS ROBERTS as Leonard / PAT CORLEY as Referee / JOHN DENNIS JOHNSTON as Man at Cockfight

WRITERS: M. Charles Cohen (1st Hour), James Lee & William Blinn (2nd Hour)
DIRECTORS: Marvin J. Chomsky (1st Hour) , Gilbert Moses (2nd Hour)


7. EPISODE SEVEN (Sat 29 Jan 1977)
1859: Chicken George returns home a free man learning that his son Tom is married; News of the possible abolition of slavery is mounting but then the Civil War starts and Tom goes off to fight.

guest cast
GEORG STANFORD BROWN as Tom Murray / OLIVIA COLE as Matilda / BRAD DAVIS as Ol’ George / HILLY HICKS as Lewis / DOUG McCLURE as Jemmy Brent / LYNNE MOODY as Irene / RICHARD McKENZIE as Massa Harvey / SALLY KEMP as Mrs Harvey / AUSTIN STOKER as Virgil / LANE BINKLEY as Martha

WRITER: M. Charles Cohen
DIRECTOR: Gilbert Moses


8. EPISODE EIGHT (Sun 30 Jan 1977)
The 1860’s: The Civil War and freedom has come for the slaves, Chicken George and his family start a new life in Henning, Tennessee.

guest cast
GEORG STANFORD BROWN as Tom Murray / BRAD DAVIS as Ol’ George / HILLY HICKS as Lewis / BURL IVES as Justin / LYNNE MOODY as Irene / RICHARD McKENZIE as Massa Harvey / SALLY KEMP as Mrs Harvey / AUSTIN STOKER as Virgil / LANE BINKLEY as Matha / CHARLES CYPHERS as Drake

WRITER: Charles M. Cohen
DIRECTOR: Marvin J. Chomsky

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