Roll Out

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Roll Out
Stu Gilliam Hilly Hicks Roll Out 1973.JPG
Stu Gilliam (top) and Hilly Hicks.
Created byLarry Gelbart
Gene Reynolds
Written byGene Reynolds
Don Weis
Richard Kinon
William Wiard
Directed byWilliam Wiard
StarringEd Begley Jr.
Garrett Morris
Rod Gist
Mel Stewart
Jimmy Lydon
Stu Gilliam
Hilly Hicks
Darrow Igus
Theme music composerDave Grusin
Composer(s)Benny Golson
Dave Grusin
J. J. Johnson ("Dark Victory")
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes12
Producer(s)Gene Reynolds
Larry Gelbart
CinematographyRobert C. Moreno
Editor(s)Joseph Gluck
Neil Travis
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22–24 minutes
Production company(s)20th Century Fox Television
Original networkCBS
Original releaseOctober 5, 1973 (1973-10-05) –
January 4, 1974 (1974-01-04)

Roll Out is an American sitcom that aired Friday evenings on CBS during the 1973-1974 television season. Starring nightclub comedian Stu Gilliam and Hilly Hicks, and featuring Ed Begley Jr. and Garrett Morris, the series was set in France during World War II and was loosely based on the 1952 film Red Ball Express.

Actor Jimmy Lydon, familiar as a juvenile lead in the 1940s, was cast as an Army captain. His character's name was Henry Aldrich; the same name he used in Paramount's comedy features of the forties.


In an effort to cash in on the success of M*A*S*H, CBS decided to air another Army comedy. Instead of Army medics, Roll Out highlighted the pratfalls of the supply drivers of the 5050th Quartermaster Truck Company of the U.S. Third Army's Red Ball Express, whose staff was mainly African American. The series attempted to use the World War II setting as a commentary on race relations, just as M*A*S*H's Korean War setting was also a commentary on the Vietnam War.

Roll Out aired opposite ABC's The Odd Couple. Subsequently, Roll Out failed to win its timeslot and was canceled after one season. It was replaced on February 8, 1974, by Good Times, a spin-off of Maude starring Esther Rolle and John Amos, which would run for six seasons.


Actor Role
Stu Gilliam Corporal Carter "Sweet" Williams
Hilly Hicks Private First Class Jed Brooks
Ed Begley Jr. Lieutenant Robert Chapman
Garrett Morris Wheels Dawson
Mel Stewart Sergeant B.J. Bryant
Jimmy Lydon Captain Henry Aldrich
Teddy Wilson High Strung
Rob Gist Phone Booth
Darrow Igus Jersey Hampton
Val Bisoglio Captain Rocco Calvelli
Sam Laws Sergeant Grease
Penny Santon Madame Delacourt
Dana Brady Dominique Delacourt


Title Air date
1"Pilot"October 5, 1973 (1973-10-05)
We meet the men of the "Red Ball Express" a mostly black Army transportation unit based in World War II France. In the debut episode we see how Sweet honors a fellow driver's his last wish by organizing a New Orleans-style funeral.
2"Sunday, Sweet Sunday"October 12, 1973 (1973-10-12)
Sweet accepts Jed's invitation for a Sunday drive to church, but Sweet does not plan to go to church.
3"Dark Victory"October 19, 1973 (1973-10-19)
Sweet and Jed accept a volunteer mission and stand a good chance to return as heroes, if they survive.
4"Strange Bedfellows"October 26, 1973 (1973-10-26)
As part of a contest, Sweet gets a chance to travel to Paris.
5"Dear Rocco"November 2, 1973 (1973-11-02)
When the mail truck explodes, Captain Calvelli receives only half of a "Dear John" letter, but that is enough to make him crazy.
6"Sweet Millions"November 16, 1973 (1973-11-16)
Sweet finds a bag of $100 bills inside a hollow tree and everyone else is miffed by his new affluent attitude.
7"Members of the Wedding"November 23, 1973 (1973-11-23)
The drivers are tasked with delivering a gift to a General's wedding, but the job is tougher than they originally thought.
8"The Paper Caper"November 30, 1973 (1973-11-30)
Sweet and the boys are turned into unlikely safe crackers.
9"No Wages – All Fear"December 14, 1973 (1973-12-14)
Sweet's "high-living, always-jiving" attitude drives Jed crazy.
10"Christmas the '44"December 21, 1973 (1973-12-21)
The Company's Christmas looks pretty gloomy until a bunch of orphans come into their lives.
11"Honor Truck"December 28, 1973 (1973-12-28)
When Sweet realizes that the winner of "honor truck" will win a pass to Paris, nothing, including fair play, will stop him from winning.
12"Didn't He Ramble?"January 4, 1974 (1974-01-04)
Sweet gets an honorable discharge after he sprains his ankle.

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