Room 222 is an American comedy-drama television series produced by 20th Century Fox Television that aired on ABC for 112 episodes from September 17, 1969, until January 11, 1974. The show was broadcast on Wednesday evenings at 8:30 (EST) for its first two seasons before settling into its best-remembered time slot of Friday evenings at 9, following The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family, and preceding The Odd Couple and Love, American Style.
|Created by||James L. Brooks|
|Theme music composer||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||112|
|Executive producer(s)||Gene Reynolds|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||20th Century Fox Television|
|Distributor||20th Television (syndication)|
|Original release||September 11, 1969– January 11, 1974|
In 1970, Room 222 earned the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding New Series, while Michael Constantine and Karen Valentine won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, respectively.
The series mainly focused on an American history class in Room 222 of the fictional Walt Whitman High School, an extremely racially diverse school in Los Angeles, California, although it also depicted other events at and outside the school, such as the home lives of students and faculty. The class is taught by Pete Dixon (Lloyd Haynes), an idealistic African-American school teacher. Other characters featured in the show were the school's compassionate guidance counselor, Liz McIntyre (Denise Nicholas), who is also Pete's girlfriend; the dryly humorous school principal, Seymour Kaufman (Michael Constantine); and the petite and enthusiastic Alice Johnson (Karen Valentine), a student teacher (and later full-time teacher) learning from Pete. Patsy Garrett played Mr. Kaufman's secretary, Miss Hogarth. In addition, many recurring students were featured from episode to episode.
Pete Dixon delivers gentle lessons in tolerance and understanding to his students. They admire his wisdom, insight, and easygoing manner. The themes of the episodes were sometimes topical, reflecting the contemporary political climate of the late 1960s and early to mid-1970s, such as the Vietnam War, women's rights, race relations, and Watergate. However, most plots were timeless and featured themes still common to modern-day teenagers. For example, the 1969 episode "Funny Boy" deals with a class clown who is self-conscious about being overweight, the 1971 episode "What Is a Man?" deals with a student who is the victim of anti-gay harassment and the 1974 episode "I Didn't Raise My Girl to Be a Soldier" with parent–teenager issues.
- Lloyd Haynes as Mr. Pete Dixon, the protagonist, an African-American who teaches 11th grade American History in room 222 of Walt Whitman High School
- Denise Nicholas as Miss Liz McIntyre, the African-American guidance counselor at Whitman, dating Pete
- Michael Constantine as Mr. Seymour Kaufman, the White principal of Whitman, preoccupied with his duties but dryly humorous
- Karen Valentine as Miss Alice Johnson, a White student teacher learning from Pete
- Ramon Bieri as Mr. Gil Casey, vice principal
- Howard Rice as Richie Lane, an African-American student, the "brainy" kid in the class
- Heshimu Cumbuka as Jason Allen, an African-American student, the "tough guy" of the class
- Eve McVeagh as Madge Morano, Mrs Cates, PTA Member
- Alain Edouard Charbonneau as Henri Taynor, Legal Counsel
- Eric Laneuville as Larry
- Ta-Tanisha as Pamela, an African-American student, the "popular girl" of the class
- Judy Strangis as Helen Loomis, a White student, the "quiet kid" of the class
- David Jolliffe as Bernie, a White student, the school's sports star
- Pendrant Netherly as Al Crowley, an African-American student hangs out with Jason, Richie, and Bernie
- Pamela Peters as Laura
- Carol Green as Kim
- Bruno Kirby as Herbie Constadine
- Ty Henderson as Cleon
- Hollis Irving as Miss Evans
- Patsy Garrett as Miss Hogarth
- Carol Worthington as Miss Portnoy
- Ivor Francis as Mr. Kenneth Dragen
- Helen Kleeb as Miss Tandy
The show featured many actors who went on to become major stars, such as Bruno Kirby, Bernie Kopell, Cindy Williams, Teri Garr, Jamie Farr, Rob Reiner, Anthony Geary, Richard Dreyfuss, Chuck Norris, Kurt Russell, and Mark Hamill. In addition, former child stars David Bailey, Angela Cartwright, Ricky Kelman, Flip Mark, and Michael Shea each made appearances on the series late in their respective careers.
The program was filmed at 20th Century Fox studios. Exterior shots of Los Angeles High School were shown behind the opening credits and for some outdoor scenes in the early seasons. Room 222's initial episodes garnered weak ratings, and ABC was poised to cancel the program after one season. However, the show earned several nominations at the 1970 Emmy Awards, and ABC relented. In the spring of 1970, Room 222 won Emmy Awards for Best New Series; Best Supporting Actor (Michael Constantine); and Best Supporting Actress (Karen Valentine). The following year, Constantine and Valentine were again nominated in the supporting acting awards category. After the shaky first season, Room 222 nevertheless managed to receive respectable ratings during its next three years. Ratings peaked during the 1971–72 season, during which it held a #28 viewership ranking. By the start of the 1973–74 season, ratings had fallen drastically, and ABC canceled the show at midseason. After the series ended, the program entered syndication and was rerun on several television stations throughout the United States.
Room 222 was originally based on Chicago's Kenwood High School in Chicago's University of Chicago community. Many of the stories used in the show were lifted right out of actual classroom situations at the school.[dubious ] The reason producers chose Kenwood for the show was because of the school's racially diverse student body, owed in part to the number of faculty at the University of Chicago having sent their children to Kenwood from its inception in 1969.
The theme song was written by film composer Jerry Goldsmith, written in a 7/4 time signature. His theme and two episode scores for the series ("Richie's Story" (the pilot) and "The Flu") were later issued by Film Score Monthly on an album with his score for the film Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies.
Books and comicsEdit
A series of novels based on characters and dialog of the series was written by William Johnston and published by Tempo Books in the early 1970s. Dell Comics published a comic book for four issues during 1970 and 1971.
Shout! Factory has released the first two seasons of Room 222 on DVD in Region 1.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date|
|Season One||26||March 24, 2009|
|Season Two||26||January 19, 2010♦|
♦- Shout! Factory Exclusives title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store