Pearl (miniseries)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Written byStirling Silliphant
Directed byHy Averback
Alexander Singer
StarringAngie Dickinson
Dennis Weaver
Robert Wagner
Lesley Ann Warren
Tiana Alexandra
Gregg Henry
Katherine Helmond
Adam Arkin
Brian Dennehy
Max Gail
Char Fontane
Audra Lindley
Richard Anderson
Marion Ross
Music byJohn Addison
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes3
Executive producersFrank Konigsberg
Stirling Silliphant
ProducerSam Manners
CinematographyGayne Rescher
EditorDonald R. Rode
Running timeminutes
Production companyWarner Bros. Television
Original release
ReleaseNovember 16 (1978-11-16) –
November 19, 1978 (1978-11-19)

Pearl is a 1978 American television miniseries about events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, written by Stirling Silliphant. It starred a large cast, notably Dennis Weaver, Tiana Alexandra, Robert Wagner, Angie Dickinson, Brian Dennehy, Lesley Ann Warren, Gregg Henry, Max Gail, Richard Anderson, Marion Ross, Audra Lindley, Char Fontane, Katherine Helmond and Adam Arkin.

The miniseries aired in three installments on ABC on November 16, 17 and 19, 1978. All three parts were among the top ten most watched prime time shows of the week, with the series watched all or in part by about 80 million people.[1]


Plot summary[edit]

While the Japanese First Air Fleet sails toward Hawaii, personnel at the varied bases as well as civilians go about their lives. Primary protagonists are hard scrabble and bigoted Army MP Colonel Jason Forrest and his clashes with his bitter wife Midge, his well-to-do XO Captain Calvin Lankford, and briefly with local news writer Holly Nagata and punkish MP Sergeant Otto Chain.

On the Navy side are Lieutenant Douglas North and his father (Commander Michael North) and mother and also his reacquaintance with former classmate Holly Nagata, a friendship she successfully makes a romantic relationship (right to seducing Doug in her car; though unstated in the miniseries their lovemaking results in pregnancy).

Everyone’s lives are torn asunder when the Japanese attack strikes the island.


To keep production costs manageable, the scenes of the attack were footage originally shot for the film Tora! Tora! Tora!. The miniseries also used newly dubbed footage of So Yamamura to portray Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese commander of the attack.


Some sources erroneously cite the miniseries as based on a novel by dramatist Sterling Silliphant, but in fact the reverse is true. As the copyright and publication dates indicate, Silliphant novelized his scripts for a paperback original, intended in part to promote the mimniseries. (Silliphant had similarly novelized his screenplay for The Slender Thread.) With a timing typical of the era, it was released by Dell Books as a tie-in edition six months in advance of the mini-series airing.

The novelization is more graphic than the miniseries (such as when Doug North and Holly Nagata make love in her car) and includes a subplot involving a Japanese fighter pilot who eventually strafes Doug North’s ship.


  1. ^ Brown, Les (22 November 1978). 80 Million Saw TV 'Pearl', The New York Times

External links[edit]