Julia (TV series)

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Julia
Julia reply postcard.JPG
Diahann Carroll, Lloyd Nolan, and Marc Copage.
Genre Sitcom
Created by Hal Kanter
Directed by Don Ameche
Luther James
Fletcher Markle
Coby Ruskin
Barry Shear
Ezra Stone
Bernard Wiesen
Starring Diahann Carroll
Lloyd Nolan
Marc Copage
Michael Link
Betty Beaird
Lurene Tuttle
Theme music composer Elmer Bernstein
Composer(s) Jeff Alexander
Elmer Bernstein
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 86 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Hal Kanter
Producer(s) Hal Kanter
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 24 mins.
Production company(s) Hanncarr Productions
Savannah Productions
Distributor 20th Century Fox Television
Fox Television Studios (current)
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 17, 1968 (1968-09-17) – March 23, 1971 (1971-03-23)

Julia is an American sitcom notable for being one of the first weekly series to depict an African American woman in a non-stereotypical role. Previous television series featured African American lead characters, but the characters were usually servants. The show stars actress and singer Diahann Carroll, and ran for 86 episodes on NBC from September 17, 1968 to March 23, 1971. The series was produced by Savannah Productions, Inc., Hanncarr Productions, Inc., and 20th Century-Fox Television.

During pre-production, the proposed series title was Mama's Man.[1] The series was also unique in that it was among the few situation comedies in the late 1960s that did not use a laugh track; however, 20th Century-Fox Television added them when the series was reissued for syndication and cable rebroadcasts in the late 1980s.

Synopsis[edit]

Julia and Corey at home.

In Julia, Carroll played widowed single mother Julia Baker (her husband, Army Capt. Baker, an O-1 Bird Dog artillery spotter pilot had been shot down in Vietnam) who was a nurse in a doctor's office. The doctor, Morton Chegley, was played by Lloyd Nolan, and Julia's romantic interests by Paul Winfield and Fred Williamson. Julia's son, Corey (Marc Copage) was approximately six to nine years old during the series run. He had barely known his father before he died. Corey's best friend is Earl J. Waggedorn (called by that precise full name each and every time). The Waggedorns lived downstairs in the same apartment building, with Len (Hank Brandt), Marie (Betty Beaird), son Earl J. Waggedorn (Michael Link) and infant son.

The first two seasons included Nurse Hannah Yarby (Lurene Tuttle), who left to be married at the beginning of the third season, just as the clinic's manager, Brockmeyer, ordered downsizing — and removal of minorities from employment. (Chegley let Yarby go but kept Julia in defiance of the manager's edict.) The second and third season included Richard (Richard Steele) as a character some one or two years older than Corey. Chegley's father, Dr. Norton Chegley (also played by Lloyd Nolan) made two appearances.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Though Julia is now remembered as being groundbreaking, during its run it was derided by critics for being apolitical and unrealistic. Diahann Carroll herself remarked in 1968, "At the moment we're presenting the white Negro. And he has very little Negroness." [2] The Saturday Review's Robert Lewis Shayon wrote that Julia's "plush, suburban setting" was "a far, far cry from the bitter realities of Negro life in the urban ghetto, the pit of America's explosion potential." [3] Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" refers to Julia in the same breath as Bullwinkle, implying that the character was something of a cartoon. Ebony published a somewhat more supportive assessment of the program. "As a slice of Black America, Julia does not explode on the TV screen with the impact of a ghetto riot. It is not that kind of show. Since the networks have had a rash of shows dealing with the nation's racial problems, the light-hearted Julia provides welcome relief, if, indeed, relief is even acceptable in these troubled times." [4] The series also came under criticism from African-American viewers for its depiction of a fatherless Black family. Excluding a Black male lead, it was argued, "rendered the series safer" and "less likely to grapple with issues that might upset white viewers."[5] Julia was among the first acquisitions made by the Aspire Network for its first season in 2012[6]

Nielsen Ratings[edit]

NOTE: The highest average rating for the series is in bold text.

Season Rank Rating
1968–1969 #7 24.6
1969–1970 #28 20.1
1970–1971 Not in the Top 30

Cancellation[edit]

The series was canceled in 1971 reportedly because of Carroll's and series creator and executive producer Hal Kanter's desire to work on other projects[7] (Kanter created and produced The Jimmy Stewart Show for NBC the following season).

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1969 American Cinema Editors Nominated Best Edited Television Program John Ehrin (For episode "Mama's Man")
Emmy Award Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Ned Glass (For episode "A Little Chicken Soup Never Hurt Anybody")
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Diahann Carroll; this nomination made Carroll the first African-American woman to earn an Emmy nomination in this category[8]
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Lloyd Nolan
Outstanding Comedy Series Hal Kanter
1970 Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Comedy Lurene Tuttle
1969 Golden Globe Award Best TV Show
-
Won Best TV Star - Female Diahann Carroll
1970 Nominated Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy Diahann Carroll
2003 TV Land Awards Won Groundbreaking Show Diahann Carroll

References[edit]

  1. ^ Weiner, Ed; Editors of TV Guide (1992). The TV Guide TV Book: 40 Years of the All-Time Greatest Television Facts, Fads, Hits, and History. New York: Harper Collins. p. 174. ISBN 0-06-096914-8. 
  2. ^ Morreale, Joanne; Aniko Bodroghkozy (2003). Critiquing The Sitcom. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. p. 138. ISBN 0-8156-2983-4. 
  3. ^ Farber, David R.; Beth L. Bailey (2001). The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 400. ISBN 0-231-11372-2. 
  4. ^ Ebony (Johnson) (November 1968): 57. 1968 http://books.google.com/books?id=1OEDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA1&lr&rview=1&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false |url= missing title (help). 
  5. ^ Spigel, Lynn; Denise Mann (1992). Private Screenings: Television and the Female Consumer. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. p. 161. ISBN 0-8166-2052-0. 
  6. ^ http://madamenoire.com/192564/magic-johnsons-multi-million-dollar-aspire-network-projected-to-see-great-success/
  7. ^ Acham, Christine (2004). Revolution Televised: Prime Time and the Struggle for Black Power. U of Minnesota Press. p. 126. ISBN 0-8166-4431-4. 
  8. ^ http://www.tvguide.com/news/diahann-carroll-emmys-behind-1071165.aspx

External links[edit]