Roots (TV miniseries)

From Academic Kids

Roots was a 1977 American television miniseries based on Alex Haley's work Roots: The Saga of an American Family, his critically-acclaimed genealogical novel. Although the novel was denigrated to some extent for being partially fictionalized and containing plagiarized passages, these taints did not affect the success of the TV series.

Roots was a ground-breaking event in U.S. television history. It received unprecedented Nielsen Ratings (with the finale standing at the 3rd highest rated U.S. program ever [1] (http://www.nielsenmedia.com/ratings/topnetworktelecasts.htm)) and captivated American television audiences, successfully crossing 'racial' lines and piquing the interest of families in all ethnic groups, with viewers reportedly taking the telephone off of the hook for the eight consective nights of the broadcast.

The series and its 1979 sequel Roots: The Next Generations featured an impressive cast that included a Who's Who of popular actors of the day as well as an exhaustive list of African American actors at all levels of experience. The program introduced LeVar Burton in the role of Haley ancestor Kunta Kinte.

Roots and the book it was adapted from revived interest in oral and geneological history among all segments of the population. It also spurred an interest in African or African sounding names; 'Kizzy' (played by Leslie Uggams), for example, became popular for African-American baby girls, notwithstanding that the name was often ascribed to the children of slaves, even those with no direct connection to Africa.

The series was directed by Marvin J. Chomsky, John Erman, David Greene and Gilbert Moses. It was produced by Stan Margulies; David L. Wolper was executive producer. The now-familiar score was composed by Gerald Fried and Quincy Jones.

External links

  • The Roots Mini-Series (http://www.crazyabouttv.com/roots.html) page at Crazy About TV offers a description, cast information, and a photo plus a chronological history of slavery.
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