Wednesday, May 26, 2010

J.T. (1969)

Do You Remember...the one hour program entitled J.T. first broadcast in 1969 about a young boy and his unhealthy cat?

Few who have seen it will ever forget this emotional story of the young Harlem kid, J.T. Gamble, based on a book written by Jane Wagner. It was originally produced for the CBS Saturday morning Children’s Hour program but was also re-broadcast in primetime and has won the prestigious Peabody Award.

A troubled little boy living in the ghetto finds his connection to the world through a sickly cat he cares for in an abandoned building. As Christmas approaches, J.T.’s transistor radio is stolen and he’s chased by two bullies from the condemned building, only to witness his cat run over in the street by a car. A despondent J.T. is consoled by his visiting grandmother. Later at Christmas, the boy’s life is transformed when the neighborhood grocer gives J.T. a kitten and a chance at a new start. This story will warm the coldest of hearts. Lingering images include J.T. fixing a bed for the cat inside a broken down oven inside the abandoned building. I can't forget the compassion of the grocer's gift, offering the young boy a second chance for a special, nurturing relationship to endure a world that often seems cruel and unforgiving.

It stars actor Kevin Hooks as the young lead. Hooks is recognizable from his later role as Morris Thorpe, on the TV series The White Shadow and he currently works as a director for dramatic TV series including Lost, 24, Monk and Prison Break. The role of J.T.’s mother is played by actress Ja’net DuBois who also appeared as the upstairs neighbor, Willona on the ground breaking, 1970s sitcom, Good Times and more recently working as a voice actor on The PJs.

If you haven't seen this classic: Part One


  1. Oh, this looks so good. I want to se eit. Ja'net Dubois was one sexy mofo!


    DuBois is more ghetto than glamorous in this early role but she's awesome none the less.

  3. This brings me back. I remember my mom told me about this, it was near christmas and on Saturday they give some TV special for children, so mami told us about this TV show and it was awesome and still is, it's too bad the kids today are not so into this, I'm sure to them it's not so cool, if they only knew. I'm 46,but hey this is cool it brings me back so many memories of this and so many others I hope today generation can see this and have a good time and know the real meaning of christmas spirit and human kindness. Happy New Year everyone, Much Peace & love.

  4. I saw J.T. when it was first broadcast. What a lovely story.

  5. Wow, this takes me back. I do remember J.T. in bits and pieces, mostly the childhood trauma of when J.T.'s cat dies, but had forgotten that it was a Christmas movie. It's very like an American inner-city version of "Kes." Strong stuff for young kids like me at the time.

  6. I remember seeing this movie on the CBS Children's Hour hosted by Kukla, Fran and Ollie... Such a touching story. I was only 8 years old and I tear even now to this day when I remember how touched I was at this movie. They don't make them like this anymore. Highly recommend it to anyone with small children.