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 The Red Ball Express.
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 US 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.
- 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.
- 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 1940s.
- Roll Out aired opposite ABC’s The Odd Couple.
- Subsequently, Roll Out failed to win its timeslot and was cancelled halfway through its sole season. It was replaced on 08 February 1974, by Good Times, a spin-off of Maude starring Esther Rolle and John Amos, which would run for six seasons.
Roll Out Series
- Episode 01: Pilot.
- Episode 02: Sunday, Sweet Sunday.
- Episode 03: Dark Victory.
- Episode 04: Strange Bedfellows.
- Episode 05: Dear Rocco.
- Episode 06: Sweet Millions.
- Episode 07: Members of the Wedding.
- Episode 08: The Paper Caper.
- Episode 09: No Wages – All Fear.
- Episode 10: Christmas the ’44.
- Episode 11: Honour Truck.
- Episode 12: Didn’t He Ramble?
Production & Filming Details
- Creator(s): Larry Gilbert and Gene Reynolds.
- Director(s): William Wiard.
- Producer(s): Gene Reynolds and Larry Gilbert.
- Writer(s): Gen Reynolds, Don Weis, Richard Kinon, and William Wiard.
- Music: Dave Grusin (theme music and composer), Benny Golson composer), and J.J. Johnson (Dark Victory).
- Cinematography: Robert C. Moreno.
- Editor(s): Joseph Gluck and Neil Travis.
- Production: 20th Century Fox Television.
- Distributor(s): 20th Television.
- Original Network: CBS.
- Release Date: 05 October 1973 to 04 January 1974.
- Running Time: 22-24 minutes (without adverts) and 30 minutes (with adverts).
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.