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Roll Out

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Title: Roll Out  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Transportation Corps, Sheldon Keller, 1973–74 United States network television schedule, Index of World War II articles (R), List of situation comedies
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Roll Out

Roll Out
Stu Gilliam (top) and Hilly Hicks.
Genre Sitcom
Created by Larry Gelbart
Gene Reynolds
Written by Gene Reynolds
Don Weis
Richard Kinon
William Wiard
Directed by William Wiard
Starring Ed Begley, Jr.
Garrett Morris
Rod Gist
Mel Stewart
Jimmy Lydon
Stu Gilliam
Hilly Hicks
Darrow Igus
Theme music composer Dave Grusin
Composer(s) Benny Golson
Dave Grusin
JJ Johnson ("Dark Victory")
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 12
Producer(s) Gene Reynolds
Larry Gelbart
Editor(s) Joseph Gluck
Neil Travis
Cinematography Robert C. Moreno
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) 20th Century Fox Television
Original channel CBS
Original release October 5, 1973 (1973-10-05) – January 4, 1974 (1974-01-04)

Roll Out is an American sitcom that aired Friday evenings on CBS during the 1973-1974 television season. Starring nightclub comedian Stu Gilliam and Hilly Hicks, and featuring Ed Begley, Jr. and Garrett Morris, the series was set in France during World War II and was loosely based on the 1952 film Red Ball Express.

Actor Jimmy Lydon, familiar as a juvenile lead in the 1940s, was cast as an Army captain. His character's name was Henry Aldrich: the same name he used in Paramount's comedy features of the forties.


In an effort to cash in on the success of M*A*S*H, CBS decided to air another Army comedy. Instead of Army medics, Roll Out highlighted the pratfalls of the supply drivers of the 5050th Quartermaster Trucking Company of the U.S. Third Army's Red Ball Express, whose staff was mainly African American. The series attempted to use the World War II setting as a commentary on race relations, just as M*A*S*H's Korean War setting was also a commentary on the Vietnam War.

The show aired opposite ABC's sitcom, The Odd Couple. Subsequently, Roll Out failed to win its timeslot and was canceled after one season. It was replaced on January 11, 1974, by the 13-week Dirty Sally, a half-hour western starring Jeanette Nolan and Dack Rambo.


Actor Role
Stu Gilliam Corporal Carter "Sweet" Williams
Hilly Hicks Private First Class Jed Brooks
Ed Begley, Jr. Lieutenant Robert Chapman
Garrett Morris Wheels Dawson
Mel Stewart Sergeant B.J. Bryant
Jimmy Lydon Captain Henry Aldrich
Teddy Wilson High Strung
Rob Gist Phone Booth
Darrow Igus Jersey Hampton
Val Bisoglio Captain Rocco Calvelli
Sam Laws Sergeant Grease
Penny Santon Madame Delacourt
Dana Brady Dominique Delacourt


Series # Season # Title Notes Original air date
1 1 Pilot We meet the men of the "Red Ball Express" a mostly black Army transportation unit based in WWII France. In the debut episode we see how Sweet honors a fellow driver's his last wish by organizing a New Orleans-style funeral. October 5, 1973
2 2 "Sunday, Sweet Sunday" Sweet accepts Jed's invitation for a Sunday drive to church, but Sweet does not plan to go to church. October 12, 1973
3 3 "Dark Victory" Sweet and Jed accept a volunteer mission and stand a good chance to return as heroes, if they survive. October 19, 1973
4 4 "Strange Bedfellows" As part of a contest, Sweet gets a chance to travel to Paris. October 26, 1973
5 5 "Dear Rocco" When the mail truck explodes, Captain Calvelli receives only half of a "Dear John" letter, but that is enough to make him crazy. November 2, 1973
6 6 "Sweet Millions" Sweet finds a bag of $100 bills inside a hollow tree and everyone else is miffed by his new affluent attitude. November 16, 1973
7 7 "Members of the Wedding" The drivers are tasked with delivering a gift to a General's wedding, but the job is tougher than they originally thought. November 23, 1973
8 8 "The Paper Caper" Sweet and the boys are turned into unlikely safe crackers. November 30, 1973
9 9 "No Wages-All Fear" Sweet's "high-living, always-jiving" attitude drives Jed crazy. December 14, 1973
10 10 "Christmas the '44" The Company's Christmas looks pretty gloomy until a bunch of orphans come into their lives. December 21, 1973
11 11 "Honor Truck" When Sweet realizes that the winner of "honor truck" will win a pass to Paris, nothing, including fair play, will stop him from winning. December 28, 1973
12 12 "Didn't He Ramble?" Sweet gets an honorable discharge after he sprains his ankle. January 4, 1974

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