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Palmerstown
Palmerstown
Booker T. Freeman and David Hall were 9-year-old boys growing up in the rural Southern community of Palmerstown during the Depression of the 1930's. They were best friends despite the fact that Booker T. was black and David was white. Booker T.'s father, Luther, was the town blacksmith and David's father, W.D., was the local grocer. Diana was Booker T.'s older sister and Willy-Joe was David's older brother. Because of the friendship between the two boys, their families had become very close, despite the racial prejudice's prevalent at the time. Most of what happened in Palmerstown was seen through the eyes of the two young boys.
Palmerstown, U.S.A. was co-produced by veteran TV producer Norman Lear and award-winning author, Alex Haley. For Haley, this series was somewhat autobiographical, since he had grown up with a close white friend in an integrated Southern town during the Depression. In March 1981, the title of the show was shortened to just Palmerstown.

Alex's Haleys PalmerstownPalmerstown (March 20, 1980)
Though "Palmerstown, U.S.A." is not biographical, it is set in a small southern town that is similar to Henning, Tenn., (Haley's hometown). "It's Alex's essence and his background. The roster of characters all come out of Alex's soul and spirit and memory," said Lear. "If I were to write a story about the South in the '30s, I would do a lot of research. Alex is my living, walking, delightful, anecdotal research, and I learned as much as I could of that area and all of that behavior. The stories are fiction but they come out of my life, Alex's life, and Ron's life (series writer-producer Ron Rubin). We sit around and we talk out stories so they come out of all of us.
The series introduces Jermain Hodge Johnson as Booker T. Freeman and Brian Godfrey Wilson as David Hall, who were chosen after interviews with 4,000 boys during auditions in 14 states.
"We wanted nonactors and we wanted Southern kids because it's tough enough for a little boy to perform without having to remember a Southern accent," said Lear.
Also starring, in the roles of the boys' parents, are Jonelle Allen, Beeson Carroll, Bill Duke, and Chicago actress Janice St. John.
In a television season filled with titillation, incredible things happening to real people, and space-age science fiction, the question of the appeal of this series must be asked of the man who has successfully demonstrated a knack for giving the public what they wanted.


Palmerstown • Season 1 • Episodes
Season 1 Episode 1 • Title: Palmerstown U.S.A.
Description: Pilot for the series
Original Air Date: March 20, 1980
Season 1 Episode 2 • Title: A Place for Bo
Description: Booker feels neglected by his father.
Original Air Date: April 3, 1980
Season 1 Episode 3 • Title: Kidnapped
Description: A mentally handicapped man is accused of attacking an unconscious friend.
Original Air Date: April 24, 1980
Season 1 Episode 4 • Title: The Lesson
Original Air Date: March 27, 1980
Season 1 Episode 5 • Title: Black Travelers (1)
Description: The town intergrates its baseball team.
Original Air Date: April 10, 1980
Season 1 Episode 6 • Title: Black Travelers (2)
Description: The town intergrates its baseball team.
Original Air Date: April 17, 1980
Season 1 Episode 7 • Title: The Old Sister
Description: Police are looking for Luther's brother.
Original Air Date: May 1, 1980

 


Palmerstown • Season 2 • Episodes
Season 2 Episode 1 • Title: Vendetta
Description: Willie-Joe falls in love with the daughter of his father's enemy.
Original Air Date: March 17, 1981
Season 2 Episode 2 • Title: Scandal
Description: Bessie visits the home of an ailing patriarch, and Luther is upset by the resulting rumors.
Original Air Date: March 21, 1981
Season 2 Episode 3 • Title: The Hobo
Description: Diana, Booker T., and David harbor a young hobo wanted for burglary.
Original Air Date: March 31, 1981
Season 2 Episode 4 • Title: Future City
Description: Bessie's father returns to Palmerstown with stories of his war heroics - and a claim on a plot of land owned by W.D.
Original Air Date: April 7, 1981
Season 2 Episode 5 • Title: Epidemic
Description: Bigots blames a flu epidemic on a Chinese family whose arrival coincided with the outbreak of the virus.
Original Air Date: April 14, 1981
Season 2 Episode 6 • Title: The Threat
Description: A hot-tempered ex-con blames mid-wife Bessie for the death of his wife during childbirth.
Original Air Date: April 21, 1981
Season 2 Episode 7 • Title: Roadhouse
Description: Controversy attends the opening of a roadhouse by two partners.
Original Air Date: May 5, 1981
Season 2 Episode 8 • Title: Dry Hole
Description: Convinced he'll strike it rich, W.D. risks his life savings backing oil exploration on what had been deemed a worthless plot of land.
Original Air Date: May 19, 1981
Season 2 Episode 9 • Title: The Suitor
Description: Widder Brown falls for a smooth talker working undercover for revenue agents in search of her still.
Original Air Date: June 2, 1981
Season 2 Episode 10 • Title: Crossroads
Description: A doting school principal and a difficult student spell trouble for substitute teacher Coralee.
Original Air Date: June 9, 1981

 

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