views updated May 14 2018


Debuting on NBC in September, 1968 Julia was the first network television series to star an African American in the leading role since Amos 'n' Andy and Beulah left the air in 1953. The gentle situation comedy featured Diahann Carroll as Julia Baker, a widowed black nurse with a six year-old son, Corey, living a thoroughly integrated lifestyle in a Los Angeles apartment building. Surrounded by whites, the Bakers encountered only the most innocuous instances of prejudice. The series reached the airwaves during a particularly incendiary moment in American race relations—the aftermath of Martin Luther King's assassination; a "long hot summer" of riots and burning in inner city ghettos, and rising Black Power militancy. Inevitably, the series, which ignored all these issues, stirred controversy. Julia was dismissed by some as a "white Negro" and the series was considered irrelevant, if not dangerous, especially because it featured no African American male characters of authority or narrative importance. On the other hand, the series was praised for opening doors to subsequent African American sitcoms and for demonstrating that American audiences, black and white, could enjoy non-stereo-typed black characters on prime-time. After a successful three year run, Julia left the air in 1971.

—Aniko Bodroghkozy

Further Reading:

Bodroghkozy, Aniko. "'Is This What You Mean By Color TV?': Race, Gender, and Contested Meanings in Julia." In Private Screenings: Television and the Female Consumer, edited by Lynn Spigel and Denise Mann. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1992, 143-67.


views updated May 29 2018

Julia ★★★½ 1977 (PG)

The story recounted in Lillian Hellman's fictional memoir “Pentimento.” Fonda plays Hellman as she risks her life smuggling money into Germany during WWII for the sake of Julia, her beloved childhood friend (Red-grave), who is working in the Resistance. All cast members shine in their performances; watch for Streep in her screen debut. 118m/C VHS, DVD . Jane Fonda, Jason Robards Jr., Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, Hal Holbrook, Rosemary Murphy, Meryl Streep, Lisa Pelikan, John Glover, Mark Metcalf, Lambert Wilson; D: Fred Zinnemann; W: Alvin Sargent; C: Douglas Slocombe; M: Georges Delerue. Oscars ‘77: Adapt. Screenplay, Support. Actor (Robards), Support. Actress (Redgrave); British Acad. ‘78: Actress (Fonda), Film, Screenplay, Support. Actress (Redgrave); Golden Globes ‘78: Actress—Drama (Fonda), Support. Actress (Red-grave); L.A. Film Critics ‘77: Cinematog., Support. Actor (Robards), Support. Actress (Redgrave); N.Y. Film Critics ‘77: Support. Actor (Schell); Writers Guild ‘77: Adapt. Screenplay.