J. T. Gamble, a shy, withdrawn Harlem youngster, shows compassion and responsibility when he takes on the care of an old, one-eyed, badly injured alley cat days before Christmas and secretly nurses it back to health.



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Cast overview:
Rodeen Gamble (as Jeannette Du Bois)
Mama Meley
J.T. Gamble
Mr. Rosen
Olga Fabian ...
Mrs. Rosen
Mrs. Arnold
David Ayala ...
Mrs. Hill
Andrew Monzon ...
Boy with Glasses
Alma Hubbard ...
Lady in Grocery Store


J. T. Gamble, a shy, withdrawn Harlem youngster, shows compassion and responsibility when he takes on the care of an old, one-eyed, badly injured alley cat days before Christmas and secretly nurses it back to health.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Drama





Release Date:

13 December 1969 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Produced for a Saturday morning children's anthology on CBS, the film garnered such rave reviews that CBS decided to give it a prime time airing the following week. See more »


Mama Meley: What you want for Christmas, child?
J.T. Gamble: A cat. I want me this cat I found.
See more »

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User Reviews

Glad I have the VHS tape now!
28 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I remember seeing "J.T." when it was originally shown on CBS Saturday, December 13, 1969 (I was then 7 years old); I kept hearing about the show when promos were run during my favorite CBS Saturday morning shows, so I decided to see what all the hype was about. What a nice story it was! (Back in those days it seemed CBS made the best high-quality holiday specials, and "J.T." was no exception.)

I also remember later that same day my father (may he rest in peace) took us to a Christmas tree lot in Port Huron, Michigan, where we cut a live tree and took it home to where we lived in Warren. Thus, another nice childhood memory was encoded in this.

In the spring (!) of 1977, I attended Lansing Catholic Central High School in Lansing, Michigan, and had a treat in seeing "J.T." during Religion class (they obtained a 16mm film of the show from Carousel Films, Inc. in New York City; back then, VCRs were still in their infancy).

CBS reran "J.T." in December 1980 and after that hadn't rerun it again until Thanksgiving Day, 1987; at that time, my family had their first VCR, and I was very lucky to have videotaped the show. Unfortunately, some parts of the tape had "dropouts" on it. Then, four years later, CBS reran "J.T." for the very last time, on Christmas Day, 1991. I figured that would have been the final rerun, so I was smart to have re-taped the show, and on a better quality videocassette. So I had that tape of "J.T." for the next decade until I discovered in late 2001 that Carousel Film and Video (as they now call themselves) still owned the video rights to "J.T." They told me the tape sold for $59.99; as with another writer, Carousel told me "J.T." was mostly available for educational use, but sold it to me after I explained to them I couldn't locate a commercially produced copy of the tape and that it would be for my own personal use. It was a very wise investment - the copy of "J.T." Carousel sent me was unedited (there were two scenes CBS chopped out in order to fit the time slot when they last ran it involving Helen Martin, Pearl on "227," as a neighbor in the building where J.T. lived who complained about him playing the radio loudly), was hi-fi encoded, and best of all, had NO commercial interruptions!

And who would have thought back in 1969 that Kevin Hooks would not only go on to become a major actor but a director as well (Hooks recently directed "Fled" and "Black Dog"), and that Ja'net Du Bois, Theresa Merritt, and Holland Taylor would go on to major stardom? (Ja'net DuBois went on to play Willona Woods on "Good Times," Theresa Merritt starred with Clifton Davis in "That's My Mama" and starred on Broadway in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" shortly before she passed away in late 2001, and Holland Taylor recently appeared in several TV movies.) And thanks to the other writer who clarified this - I wondered if that was the same Jane Wagner (who wrote the script for "J.T.") who became Lily Tomlin's writing partner. Turns out she was.

So I would encourage anyone who wishes to get "J.T." contact Carousel Film and Video in New York; it's certainly worth the steep price if you want to see this special again in its original, uncut form. Besides, who knows if and when CBS will ever rerun "J.T." again?

And Carousel Film and Video, if anyone on your staff is reading this I hope you'll PLEASE see about putting "J.T." on DVD very soon. A great special like this deserves to be digitally remastered for a new generation!

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