In an attempt to cash-in on the success of M*A*S*H, this rarely funny sitcom was stuck into the line-up. Loosely based upon the film "Red Ball Express"(1952) and set during WWII, "Roll Out"...
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In an attempt to cash-in on the success of M*A*S*H, this rarely funny sitcom was stuck into the line-up. Loosely based upon the film "Red Ball Express"(1952) and set during WWII, "Roll Out" attempted to comment on race relations the way M*A*S*H was commenting on Korea.Written by
C. Barnes <email@example.com>
Commentary on the series Roll Out from the producers of MASH
ROLL OUT was an half-hour sitcom that aired on CBS during the 1973-1974 season,producing no more than 12 episodes. For one,ROLL OUT was not one of those black sitcom shows that were all over the place during the 1970's,but this was was totally different.
In an effort to cash in on the success of M*A*S*H,CBS made the choice in 1973 to air another Army comedy. Instead of Army medics,ROLL OUT highlighted the pratfalls of the supply drivers of the 5050th Quartermaster Trucking Company of the U.S. Third Army's Red Ball Express,whose staff was mainly African-American. And since they used the same producers that were behind the success of M*A*S*H(which consisted of producers Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbert),this one was not set during the Korean War. ROLL OUT was set in World War II as a commentary on race relations,just as M*A*S*H's Korean War setting was also a commentary on the Vietnam War(which was still in chaos during the early 1970's)
This series had the same similarities as M*A*S*H and dealt with race relations during World War II. Ed Begley,Jr. was Lt. Chapman while the rest of the cast were predominantly African-American,this was a short-lived series with a very diverse cast. Several well known actors would go on to bigger and better careers because of this show,most notably Garrett Morris(Wheels Dawson),who would go on to be one of the prime time players during the first season of Saturday Night Live;comedian Stu Gilliam(Corporal Carter "Sweet" Williams);Hilly Hicks(Pvt. Brooks), and Teddy Wilson(High Strung)who would go on to do other roles,including his most infamous role as Sweet Daddy Williams on "Good Times",and Earl on "That's My Mama",and other black-oriented sitcoms of the 1970's and 1980's.
The series aired originally on CBS from October 5,1973 until January 4,1974,producing 12 episodes. The show aired on Friday nights opposite ABC's "The Odd Couple",and NBC's "Sanford and Son". Unfortunably,the series failed to win its timeslot and was replaced on January 11,1974 by the 13-week Dirty Sally,with was a spin off to Gunsmoke and a half-hour western starring Jeannette Nolan. Speaking of this short-lived from the early 1970's,the last time ROLL OUT was ever shown was back in the mid-1980's when BET(Black Entertainment Television)reaired all 12 episodes,and it hasn't been seen since.
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