1 9 7 3 – 1 9 7 4 (USA)
12 x 30 minute episodes
Roll Out! was based on the fantasy that World War II was a barrel of fun – something the makers of Hogan’s Heroes worked on very successfully for many years.
Set in France, the series was about the (mostly black) truck drivers of the 5050th Trucking Company, known as the “Red Ball Express” – a unit that specialised in getting supplies to the soldiers at the front line.
Each truck had a name emblazoned on the side: Ella, Lady Day, Brown Bomber, ATrain and Hard Way.
Stu Gilliam was Corporal ‘Sweet’ Williams, a smooth-talking draftee from Harlem. Hilly Hicks was his timid but sensible offsider, Pfc Jed Brooks, and Mel Stewart was tough First Sergeant B.J. Bryant.
Val Bisoglio was the C.O, the opera-loving Captain Calvelli, and Ed Begley Jr. was the rather hopeless Second Lieutenant Chapman who wanted to be a novelist.
Other members of the unit had nicknames such as “Phone Booth,” “Sgt. Grease,” “High Strung,” “Jersey,” and “Wheels.”
When the men weren’t delivering supplies, they found their fun at a seedy nightclub near their base which was run by Madame Dalacort (Penny Santon).
The show was created by Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart. Reynolds was also the producer, and directors included Reynolds, Robert Butler, and Bruce Bilson.
Corporal ‘Sweet’ Williams
PFC Jed Brooks
Sgt B.J. Bryant
Captain Rocco Calvelli
Lt Robert W Chapman
Ed Begley Jr
Pilot | Sunday, Sweet Sunday | Dark Victory | Strange Bedfellows | Dear Rocco | Sweet Millions | Members of the Wedding | The Paper Caper | No Wages – All Fear | Christmas the ’44 | Honor Truck | Didn’t He Ramble?