1 9 8 0 – 1 9 8 1 (USA)
20 x 30 minute episodes
Public television’s first domestically-produced situation comedy series revolved around a multi-ethnic group of five Boston students from Sherwin High – three black and two white – who have formed a rock group: Samuel ‘DC’ Rosencrantz (Joey Camen); Sandy Burns (Elizabeth Daily); Charles ‘Big Neck’ McMorris (Mykel T Williamson); Glorette Benson (Kutee) and JT (Bob Harcum).
Stories revolved around their involvement each week with an array of social problems.
The debut episode on 15 May 1980 found the Apples performing at the Sunnyview Nursing Home where a resident who turns out to be a once-famous blues guitarist (Vernon Washington) tips them off that the nursing home is shady and preys on the elderly.
One of the purposes of The Righteous Apples was to give the black community an opportunity to develop and produce their own TV series.
The storylines included some tough topics for a comedy show: Sandy contemplates prostitution, the Apples are confronted with a drug-related murder, and JT’s teenage girlfriend seeks an illegal abortion and is sterilised against her will.
While the show was well cast and the messages came through loud and clear, some of the young writers didn’t seem quite up to the task, resulting in some high-school-level writing that painted a simplistic picture.
Although set in Boston, The Righteous Apples was shot in Los Angeles. The series was an instant success and was renewed by PBS for a second season.
The series was created and produced by Topper Carew.
Samuel ‘DC’ Rosencrantz
Charles ‘Big Neck’ McMorris
Mykel T Williamson