Julia aired from September 1968 until May 1971 on NBC.
This comedy was more notable for its casting than its content. Singer Diahann Carroll became the first black female to star in her own comedy series since Louise Beaver retired as Beulah back in 1953. Carroll was the first however to star in a " prestige" role ( not as a domestic as Beulah or a second banana). Julia ( Carroll), was an independent woman, a young widowed nurse whose husband had been killed in Vietnam. After his death she moved to Los Angeles and found a job in the medical office of Astrospace Industries. There she met fellow nurse Hannah Yarby ( Lurene Tuttle), and feisty Dr. Chegley ( Lloyd Nolan), whose bark was much worst than his bite. Life at the office coupled with her home and social lives provided the material for the stories.
The show was thoroughly integrated and after this attracted some initial attention as a novelty, it met with immediate acceptance-to the relief of nervous network executives. Julia lived in a modern, integrated apartment building with her little boy Corey ( Marc Copage), whose best friend was white Earl J. Waggedorn ( Michael Link), one of their neighbors. Others in the cast included Betty Beaird as Marie Waggedorn, Earl's mom; Hank Brandt as Leonard Waggedorn, Earl's Dad; Eddie Quillan as Eddie Edwards, a plant employee; Mary Wickes as Melba Chegley, Dr. Chegley's wife; Ned Glass as Julia's landlord, Sol Cooper; Alison Mills( 1968-1969) as Carol Deering, a mother's helper who assisted Julia; Virginia Capers ( 1968-1969) as Mrs. Deering, Carol's mother; Janear Hines ( 1970-1971) as babysitter Roberta and Richard Steele ( 1970-1971) as Richard, a friend of Corey's. Paul Cameron ( Paul Winfield) was Julia's romantic interest for the first 2 seasons. He was a widower with a 4 year old daughter Kim ( Stephanie James). He was replaced by Steve Bruce ( Fred Williamson) during the series final year.
An Article From Time Magazine
Wonderful World of Color
Friday, Dec. 13, 1968 Article
"Literate, funny, warm and tender" was Producer Hal Kanter's unblushing preseason review of his new NBC show Julia, the first TV series to focus on a Negro family. "Julia will be an opportunity to show the world how black people live," chimed in Diahann Carroll, late of Broadway (No Strings) and Hollywood (Hurry Sundown), who plays the title role.
Now eleven episodes old, Julia unfortunately shows no such thing. It is trite, sugary and preposterous. Take one recent show. When a kid says "Hello, there" to Julia's bright six-year-old son Corey (Marc Copage), he pipes: "Hello, where?" Squeals Corey's teen-age baby sitter: "You've got the wildest mind since they wrapped Ezra Pound in a wet sheet!" Later, a white neighbor lady in Julia's high-priced integrated apartment building pops in to exclaim: "This is the most exciting thing that's happened around here since the cat had kit tens in the washing machine!"
Up the Scale to No. 6. As for that intimate, inside look at the life and times of black people, Julia seems more like The Wonderful World of Color. In one episode, when a character conveniently named Potts makes a slighting reference about Negroes, Julia delivers her big punch line: "Is Potts calling the black a kettle?" Producer Kanter promises more of this hard-hitting social commentary in forthcoming shows. "In one program," says Kanter, "there's a Negro male who's a failure and blames it all on his being colored. We straighten him out. In another, Corey is called 'nigger,' and the conflict is whether he should beat up the other kid or not."
Larger interracial issues are ignored. Asked if Julia will ever be involved with a white man, Diahann says: "I don't think that's of primary importance. There's a great deal of sensationalism in that now, while the interaction of the black man and the black woman has not been explored at all and needs to be." In the meantime, the series will, as in the Dec. 24 episode, wallow in lesser issues like Corey's argument with a neighbor boy about whether or not Santa Claus is white. Title of the segment: "I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas."
Clearly, the producers of Julia are following the old nostrum: "If you can't lick the problem, sweeten it to death." By the standards of TV, this sort of treatment works; Julia is currently ranked No. 6 in the Nielsen ratings. Analyzing those numbers, NBC statisticians report that Julia attracts an "upscale" audience —more urban, wealthier and better educated than the average. There are no indications of either a boycott by Southern whites or heavier tune-in among blacks. Predictably, though, Negro militants are outraged. And, to be sure, Julia is rarely confronted with the tough problems of being born black. She would not recognize a ghetto if she stumbled into it, and she is, in every respect save color, a figure in a white milieu.
Long Overdue Pjus. Diahann's reaction to such criticism comes with claws. In her office-suite and dressing-room trailer on the 20th Century-Fox lot, she told a TIME reporter: "I felt even before the show went on the air that there would be some impact, just from the fact that black people are on TV, in a setting of banality or not." Her anger rose: "Why are we singled out as a TV show? The fact that the show went on the air at all is a plus, and a plus long overdue. Somebody decided, 'Let's have a black lady starring on TV in 1968'—in 1968. Why not attack that"? That it took so long? Isn't that an outrage?" Her eyes flashed behind huge yellow-tinted glasses as she continued the attack. "The plusses for Julia are so obvious that they almost don't bear discussion. Those who are liberal—who already have Negro friends—are in the minority. TV reaches the whole country, offering everybody con stant contact with this woman and her child."
The show is undeniably lightweight entertainment; yet Diahann suggests that too many critics mistakenly judge the program as a documentary or social tract rather than for what it is—a situation comedy that is about as true to life as other TV series. The racial aspect of Julia is only incidental, Producer Kanter explains. "To me, the news is that a Negro family is featured, and they're not choppin' cotton and they're not on relief, but they're part of what some people consider the mainstream of American life."
The daughter of a subway conductor, Diahann has made a .life for herself that is considerably better than the mainstream. She rents a handsome three-bedroom furnished house in Beverly Hills; it came complete with gardens, swimming pool and a grey Bentley. That is in keeping with Diahann's tastes. She was furious at the furnishings that she found in her dressing room and ordered her secretary to get rid of all of them immediately. "Their idea of decorating!" she exclaimed when she first saw an armchair covered in a floral pattern of ochre, pink and purple. "Somebody puked here, and somebody puked here," she continued, pointing disgustedly at other offensive points of decor. "And here, and here!"
The Good, Selfish Life. Diahann's clothes are by Donald Brooks and Scaasi. In restaurants she asks the wine stew ard for Lafite-Rothschild '55, or if that is too expensive, the '62. Her friends include Actor James Garner and his wife Lois; Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, who is now also in the TV series game with Peyton Place; and Singer Nancy Wilson. She is hooked on discotheques. When back home in Manhattan (she still maintains a West Side apartment), she prefers the "in" spot, the Salvation; on the Coast, she cased Club John and the Daisy and joined the Factory. But since ponying up the $1,000 membership fee, she has been there only once—what with all those 18-hour grinds on the set.
Some weeks, her social life consists of little more than Sunday brunch at the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel or a quick Chinese meal with eight-year-old daughter Suzanne. Diahann was divorced in 1962 from Monte Kaye, a white show-biz talent manager in New York. Her subsequent romance with Sidney Poitier is now over, and she has lately been seen with Don Marshall, the Negro copilot of ABC's The Land of the Giants. Diahann discounts any marital speculation. "I have never lived this selfish a life before," she says, "meaning that I've never lived so much for me, my work and my family. People could say to me, 'Diahann, why aren't you working all day for the N.A.A.C.P. or for S.N.C.C.?' The answer is that this show is what I am capable of. I am capable in this field."
Here is Lloyd Nolan's Obituary from The LA Times
Lloyd Nolan, the Actor's Actor, Dies
September 28, 1985|BURT A. FOLKART, Times Staff Writer
Lloyd Nolan, whose dramatic skills enabled him to overcome the secondary gangster and tough cop roles he was given in minor Hollywood sagas of the 1930s and '40s and go on to become Broadway's and television's sympathetically despicable Capt. Queeg, died Friday at his home in Brentwood.
He was 83 and had been battling lung cancer.
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Nolan was to both critics and audiences the veteran actor who works often and well regardless of his material. From his film debut in the long-forgotten "Stolen Harmony" in 1934 to his warm portrayal of the neighborhood cop in 1945's "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," Nolan came to symbolize the journeyman artist plying his trade.
Co-Star of 'Julia'
The actor who was generally credited with "A" performances in a decade-long series of "B" films became so good, in fact, that he permitted himself the luxury of turning down work, a privilege that ordinarily falls to far better known stars.
He was lured out of "retirement" many times, perhaps most notably when he agreed to become the white co-star of television's first black-oriented vehicle "Julia." From 1968 to 1971 he was Dr. Morton Chegley, playing almost a secondary role to his nurse, black actress Diahann Carroll.
But he said in a 1968 Times interview that the script was as equally appealing as the racial motif, adding that the black-white angle "has been overstated."
"After we were 10 minutes into the filming of the pilot I forgot she was colored."
Ironically, it was to TV that he owed his most singular honor. For despite the dozens of film credits he had acquired at his death, he won but one national accolade--a 1955 Emmy for his now firmly established portrayal of the crazed Philip Queeg in a television adaptation of "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial."
But all this was years later--years after his dramatic studies in the late 1920s at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he kept one eye peeled toward Gower Gulch in Hollywood, where pictures were being made for little more reason than they could now make noise while the other was on Broadway, where he soon was to find work, not as an actor but as a chorus boy.
Here is Hal Kanter's Obituary
Hal Kanter, Creator of Diahann Carroll’s ‘Julia’, Dies at 92
November 8, 2011
*Veteran screenwriter, producer and director Hal Kanter died Sunday of complications of pneumonia in Encino, his daughter Donna Kanter told the Los Angeles Times. He was 92.
His numerous TV credits included creation of the landmark sitcom “Julia,” for which Diahann Carroll became the first black actress to star in her own sitcom whose character was a professional woman rather than a maid.
“He was considered one of the wits of the industry,” said Carl Reiner, upon learning of Kanter’s death. ”He was a funny elder statesman, and there’s nothing better.”
He also worked briefly on “All in the Family” and was a writer and producer on “Chico and the Man.” His association with the Oscars as a writer on the ceremony began in 1952 when it still on radio and continued for more than 30 years. In 1991 and ’92 he shared Emmys for writing duties on the Oscar show telecast.
In a career that spanned several decades, Kanter worked in radio, TV and movies. He wrote for Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Kanter directed Elvis Presley in “Loving You” which he co-wrote and he wrote the screenplaly for “Blue Hawaii.” He even collaborated with Tennessee Williams on the 1955 movie version of “The Rose Tatoo.”
Among other movie credits were George Cukor’s “Let’s Make Love,” with Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand and Frank Capra’s Pocketful of Miracles.
He is survived by his longtime wife Doris, daughters Donna Kanter, Lisa Kanter Shafer and Abigail Kanter Jaye, a sister and a granddaughter.
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