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True Colors (TV series)

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True Colors
Created byMichael J. Weithorn
Written byPeter Freedman
Gregory Allen Howard
Jeffrey Joseph
Michael J. Weithorn
Directed byPeter Bonerz
Stan Lathan
Arlene Sanford
Rob Schiller
Carol Scott
John Sgueglia
StarringFrankie Faison
(Season 1)
Cleavon Little
(Season 2)
Stephanie Faracy
Claude Brooks
Brigid Conley Walsh
Adam Jeffries
Nancy Walker
Theme music composerLennie Niehaus
ComposerGordon Lustig
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes45
Executive producerMichael J. Weithorn
ProducerFaye Oshima Belyeu
Running time22–24 minutes
Production companiesHanley Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 2, 1990 (1990-09-02) –
April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12)

True Colors is an American sitcom television series that aired on Fox from September 2, 1990, to April 12, 1992, for a total of 45 episodes.[1] The series was created by Michael J. Weithorn, and featured an interracial marriage and a subsequent blended family.


Premise and first season[edit]

Ronald Freeman (Frankie Faison) is a widowed African-American dentist in Baltimore who marries Ellen Davis (Stephanie Faracy), a divorced white kindergarten teacher who was one of his patients. Ron has two sons from his first marriage, 17-year-old earnest conservative Terry (Claude Brooks) and daydreaming 14-year-old troublemaker Lester (Adam Jeffries); Ellen has a teenage daughter: studious, cause-driven Katie (Brigid Conley Walsh). Ellen's ex-husband Leonard (played in guest appearances by Paul Sand), who is accepting of her second marriage, would occasionally visit her while attempting to get his life back on track. Although the series did focus on race issues, most episodes focused on the family adjusting to their new living situation and the three children going through adolescence.

Second season[edit]

In the series' second season, Faison was replaced by Cleavon Little as Ron Freeman. Nancy Walker, who played Ellen’s mother (who lived with the couple despite disapproving of their interracial relationship) was suffering from lung cancer, ultimately only appeared in half the season's episodes due to her treatments and compromised health; she used a motorized wheelchair after she suddenly lost her physical mobility. Terry went off to Marshall State University that fall, not far from home. Ellen accepted a new teaching job at Cortez Junior High, and during the season, she finally realized her long-time talent as a painter. She began to showcase some of her work at local art exhibits, in hopes of launching a new side career. Early in 1992, Robert (Norman D. Golden II) was introduced. Robert, who went by the nickname "Twist", was a young neighbor boy who attached himself to the Freemans, stealing scenes and causing an uproar, usually involving Lester and Terry along the way. Meanwhile, Little looked more and more gaunt during the season; the actor disclosed that he was battling colorectal cancer.

Cancellation and cast deaths[edit]

Fox shortened the season order for True Colors by February sweeps and kept the episode total at 21. The new episode that aired on April 12, 1992, wound up being the series' last, as Fox cancelled True Colors one month later. Walker, who had continued working into the winter months until she could no longer do so, died on March 25, 1992, after the series had produced what would be its last episode, but less than a month before the last original episode aired. On October 22, 1992, Little died of cancer.[2]



Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
124September 2, 1990 (1990-09-02)May 12, 1991 (1991-05-12)
221August 22, 1991 (1991-08-22)April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12)

Season 1 (1990–91)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
11"A Visit from Ray"Stan LathanMichael J. WeithornSeptember 2, 1990 (1990-09-02)TBA13.3[3]
Thanksgiving is around the corner, which is also two months since Ron's wedding. He wishes to use this time for everyone to be together and start acting as a family. One of Ron's patients is a redneck who breeds turkeys, and Ron says he will treat him in exchange for a turkey for the dinner. However, he misunderstands this as Ron wanting a live turkey, who Lester names "Ray" due to the turkey's resemblance to Ray Charles and whom everyone starts to treat like a pet.
22"A Pair of Cranks"Stan LathanMichael J. WeithornSeptember 9, 1990 (1990-09-09)7T0110.1[4]
Ron's disdain for Lester's friend JR Taylor is justified when he shoplifts a pair of expensive athletic shoes. When Lester is accused of same, Sara bails him out by purchasing the shoes to avoid police involvement. But Ron finds Sara's "gift" and Lester realizes he would have been better off in the County jail than in his father's jail.
33"One of the Girls"John SguegliaLloyd GarverSeptember 16, 1990 (1990-09-16)7T047.2[5]
44"A Dog's Life"John SguegliaMichael J. WeithornSeptember 23, 1990 (1990-09-23)7T037.0[6]
Terry is offered a scholarship, but when Katie joins him at his scholarship interview, she accidentally kills the interviewer's dog.
55"Step Lightly"John SguegliaMichael J. WeithornSeptember 30, 1990 (1990-09-30)7T058.1[7]
66"Life with Fathers"John SguegliaAnne ConvyOctober 7, 1990 (1990-10-07)TBA7.5[8]
77"What's Wrong with that Boy?"John SguegliaMichael J. WeithornOctober 21, 1990 (1990-10-21)7T078.4[9]
88"Tooth or Consequences"Rob SchillerGregory Allen HowardOctober 28, 1990 (1990-10-28)7T089.2[10]
99"Soft Shell"Arlene SanfordStan SeidelNovember 4, 1990 (1990-11-04)7T099.6[11]
1010"Young at Heart"Peter BonerzPeter FreedmanNovember 11, 1990 (1990-11-11)7T106.6[12]
1111"Occasional Wife"Peter BonerzAnne ConvyNovember 18, 1990 (1990-11-18)7T119.2[13]
1212"High Anxiety"Carol ScottStory by : Regina Y. Hicks
Teleplay by : Peter Freedman
November 25, 1990 (1990-11-25)TBA9.5[14]
Terry harbors a fear of flying due to his acrophobia. Katie tries to use a psychological method to get Terry to overcome his fear of heights on the roof, but a gust of wind causes everyone to get locked out of the building.
1313"Puppet Regime"Rob SchillerPeter FreedmanDecember 16, 1990 (1990-12-16)7T139.0[15]
1414"Christmas Show '90"Rob SchillerMichael J. WeithornDecember 23, 1990 (1990-12-23)7T147.2[16]
1515"Moment of Ruth"Rob SchillerLloyd Garver & Regina Y. HicksJanuary 13, 1991 (1991-01-13)7T159.9[17]
1616"A Real Pain"Rob SchillerStan SeidelFebruary 3, 1991 (1991-02-03)7T168.9[18]
1717"The Tender Trap"Carol ScottPeter Freedman & Anne ConvyFebruary 10, 1991 (1991-02-10)7T1710.3[19]
1818"Opposites Attract"Rob SchillerStan SeidelFebruary 17, 1991 (1991-02-17)7T1810.4[20]
1919"Homies Alone"Arlene SanfordStory by : Peter Freedman
Teleplay by : Regina Hicks & Stan Seidel
March 3, 1991 (1991-03-03)7T1910.6[21]
During a horror movie-marathon, Katie and Lester do Macaulay Culkin proud while holding down the Freeman residence against a masked serial-killer. Actually, the "Slasher" turns out to be Ron, who forgot his housekeys.
2020"Daughter Dearest"Peter BonerzRegina Y. HicksMarch 24, 1991 (1991-03-24)7T208.3[22]
Katie dates a fellow activist, but Terry has an intuition that the man is trying to bed her, causing Ron to show protective concern for his stepdaughter.
2121"A Matter of Principal"Peter BonerzWilliam SchifrinApril 14, 1991 (1991-04-14)TBA7.2[23]
2222"Superman, Superego"Michael J. WeithornMichael J. WeithornApril 21, 1991 (1991-04-21)TBA7.6[24]
2323"Prisoners of Love"Rob SchillerStory by : Regina Y. Hicks
Teleplay by : Peter Freedman & Stan Seidel
April 28, 1991 (1991-04-28)TBA7.5[25]
2424"Favorite Son"Rob SchillerKermit FrazierMay 12, 1991 (1991-05-12)TBA6.6[26]

Season 2 (1991–92)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date Viewers
251"Lester X"Rob SchillerLinda M. YearwoodAugust 22, 1991 (1991-08-22)12.0[27]
Lester is struggling with adolescence and a friend gives him The Autobiography of Malcolm X...and then adopts the views therein, renaming himself "Abdul X". Ultimately, Malcolm's philosophies fail to apply in Lester's everyday life, as the family does not know what to do, as does Lester's friend who gave him the book wonders what happened when Lester fails to appear for a party.
262"Strange Bedfellows"M.J. McDonnellStan SeidelSeptember 12, 1991 (1991-09-12)13.1[28]
273"Splendor in the Basement"Rob SchillerStory by : Robert Rabinowitz
Teleplay by : Michael J. Weithorn
September 15, 1991 (1991-09-15)7.8[28]
284"Yo' House, Mama: Part 1"Rob SchillerKim Bass & Peter FreedmanSeptember 22, 1991 (1991-09-22)9.0[29]
295"Yo' House, Mama: Part 2"Rob SchillerKim Bass & Peter FreedmanSeptember 29, 1991 (1991-09-29)8.6[30]
306"Presumed Guilty"Dennis ErdmanAnne ConvyOctober 6, 1991 (1991-10-06)7.6[31]
317"Not My Sister, Brother"Rob SchillerRegina Y. HicksOctober 20, 1991 (1991-10-20)9.3[32]
328"Brotherly Love"Rob SchillerMichael J. Weithorn & Alan UgerNovember 3, 1991 (1991-11-03)9.1[33]
339"Three for All"M. J. McConnellStory by : Stan Seidel
Teleplay by : Regina Y. Hicks & Peter Freedman
November 10, 1991 (1991-11-10)10.8[34]
3410"Seems Like Old Times"Rob SchillerAlan UgerDecember 8, 1991 (1991-12-08)9.9[35]
3511"Broken Home: Part 1"Rob SchillerStan Seidel & Peter FreedmanDecember 15, 1991 (1991-12-15)9.5[36]
3612"Broken Home: Part 2"Rob SchillerStan Seidel & Peter FreedmanDecember 22, 1991 (1991-12-22)8.6[37]
3713"Readin', Ritin' and Runnin"Rob SchillerKim BassDecember 29, 1991 (1991-12-29)9.0[38]
3814"Photo Opportunity"Michael J. WeithornMichael J. WeithornJanuary 5, 1992 (1992-01-05)11.5[39]
3915"Art Attack"Rob SchillerRegina Y. HicksJanuary 12, 1992 (1992-01-12)10.9[40]
4016"The Beat Goes On"Rob SchillerLinda M. YearwoodFebruary 2, 1992 (1992-02-02)11.3[41]
4117"Half a Man"Rob SchillerMichael J. WeithornFebruary 9, 1992 (1992-02-09)9.6[42]
4218"In a Flash"Carol ScottKim BassFebruary 16, 1992 (1992-02-16)10.2[43]
4319"Affirmative Reaction"Kenneth R. ShapiroJeffrey JosephMarch 1, 1992 (1992-03-01)9.0[44]
4420"Feelings Up"Rob SchillerUnknownMarch 22, 1992 (1992-03-22)9.8[45]
4521"Word to the Mother"Rob SchillerStory by : Peter Freedman
Teleplay by : Regina Y. Hicks & Stan Seidel
April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12)7.8[46]


According to the show's creator, he claimed that the theme of interracial romance is one of the last remaining blatant taboos.[47]


  1. ^ "True Colors". TV Guide.
  2. ^ "Cleavon Little, Award-Winning Actor, Dies at 53". The New York Times. October 23, 1992. Retrieved 2010-10-28. Cleavon Little, the actor best remembered for his role as a black sheriff hired to save a redneck town in Mel Brooks's 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles, died yesterday at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 53 years old. He died of colon cancer, said David C. Pollick, his publicity agent in Los Angeles.
  3. ^ Donlon, Brian (September 6, 1990). "Girls take to NBC's 'Guys'". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  4. ^ Donlon, Brian (September 12, 1990). "Pumped up NBC Wins". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  5. ^ Donlon, Brian (September 19, 1990). "NBC wins yearly crown". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  6. ^ Donlon, Brian (September 26, 1990). "CBS has its eye on first". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  7. ^ Donlon, Brian (October 3, 1990). "NBC wins; CBS still surprises". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  8. ^ Sloan, Eugene (October 10, 1990). "NBC tops in ratings, barely". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  9. ^ Donlon, Brian (October 24, 1990). "CBS slides easily into first place". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  10. ^ Donlon, Brian (October 31, 1990). "CBS, no longer the long shot". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  11. ^ Donlon, Brian (November 7, 1990). "NBC wins with fewer viewers". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  12. ^ Donlon, Brian (November 14, 1990). "'Cheers' sweeps up for NBC". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  13. ^ Donlon, Brian (November 21, 1990). "ABC pulls past CBS in sweeps". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  14. ^ Donlon, Brian (November 28, 1990). "ABC's 'It' confirms competitors' fears". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  15. ^ Donlon, Brian (December 19, 1990). "St. Nick can't lick TV lull". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  16. ^ Donlon, Brian (December 26, 1990). "Special help in ABC win". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  17. ^ Donlon, Brian (January 16, 1991). "NBC wins with season best". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  18. ^ Donlon, Brian (February 6, 1991). "Where are the dominant series?". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  19. ^ Donlon, Brian (February 13, 1991). "A good Friday fuels ABC win". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  20. ^ Donlon, Brian (February 20, 1991). "CBS mines past and hits gold". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  21. ^ Donlon, Brian (March 6, 1991). "CBS gains ratings speed". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  22. ^ Sloan, Eugene (March 27, 1991). "'60 Minutes' is top hour again". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  23. ^ Donlon, Brian (April 17, 1991). "CBS ends the year with a win". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  24. ^ Sloan, Eugene (April 24, 1991). "'Stat' good ratings medicine". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  25. ^ Donlon, Brian (May 1, 1991). "'Switched' sweeps the week". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
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  27. ^ Sloan, Eugene (August 28, 1991). "Catching coup's shock waves". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  28. ^ a b Donlon, Brian (September 19, 1991). "'Lewis' wants to win adults". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  29. ^ Donlon, Brian (September 25, 1991). "New faces try to save 'One Life to Live'". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  30. ^ Donlon, Brian (October 2, 1991). "'Roseanne' comes out on top". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
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  32. ^ Donlon, Brian (October 23, 1991). "CBS bats one out of the park". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  33. ^ Donlon, Brian (November 6, 1991). "Ratings contest narrows". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  34. ^ Donlon, Brian (November 13, 1991). "NBC's hurricane windfall". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  35. ^ Donlon, Brian (December 11, 1991). "Football a winner for NBC". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  36. ^ Donlon, Brian (December 18, 1991). "St. Nick arrives early for CBS". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  37. ^ Donlon, Brian (December 26, 1991). "Ratings for CBS to celebrate". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  38. ^ Donlon, Brian; Graham, Jefferson; Roush, Matt (December 31, 1991). "'Cheers' stays open; cartoons all day". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  39. ^ Donlon, Brian (January 8, 1992). "CBS tops a week of firsts". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  40. ^ "Pigskin plays in to CBS win". Life. USA Today. January 15, 1992. p. 3D.
  41. ^ Donlon, Brian (February 5, 1992). "A show of CBS strength". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  42. ^ Donlon, Brian (February 12, 1992). "CBS mines Olympic gold". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  43. ^ Donlon, Brian (February 19, 1992). "CBS wins, but ABC gets silver". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  44. ^ Donlon, Brian (March 4, 1992). "Last-place Fox is rising fast". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  45. ^ "CBS ticks off another win". Life. USA Today. March 25, 1992. p. 3D.
  46. ^ Gable, Donna (April 15, 1992). "CBS' historic jump". Life. USA Today. p. 3D.
  47. ^ "Ready for Prime Time Players, Part II" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1990-06-25. Retrieved 2021-09-22.

External links[edit]