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 9:00, 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||113 (1 unaired) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Gene Reynolds|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||20th Century Fox Television|
|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) whom Pete mentors. 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 mistakenly 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 Caucasian principal of Whitman, preoccupied with his duties but dryly humorous
- Karen Valentine as Miss Alice Johnson, a Caucasian student teacher learning from Pete
- Ramon Bieri as Mr. Gil Casey, vice principal
- Howard Rice as Richie Lane, the "brainy" kid in the class
- Heshimu Cumbuka as Jason Allen, the "tough guy" of the class
- Eve McVeagh as Madge Morano, Mrs Cates, PTA Member
- Eric Laneuville as Larry
- Ta-Tanisha as Pamela, the "popular girl" of the class
- Judy Strangis as Helen Loomis, the "quiet kid" of the class
- David Jolliffe as Bernie, the school's sports star
- Bruno Kirby as Herbie Constadine
- Patsy Garrett as Miss Hogarth
- Ivor Francis as Mr. Kenneth Dragen
- Helen Kleeb as Miss Tandy
Bernie Kopell, Cindy Williams, Teri Garr, Ed Begley Jr., Jamie Farr, Rob Reiner, Anthony Geary, Richard Dreyfuss, Chuck Norris, Kurt Russell, Bob Balaban, Donny Most, and Mark Hamill all made guest appearances on the show.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Rank||Rating||Tied with|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||26||September 17, 1969||March 18, 1970||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|2||26||September 23, 1970||April 7, 1971||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|3||23||September 17, 1971||March 3, 1972||28||19.8||Cannon|
|4||23||September 15, 1972||March 9, 1973||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|5||15||September 14, 1973||January 11, 1974||N/A||N/A||N/A|
- The fifteenth produced episode of the fifth season never aired.
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 mid-season. After the series ended, the program entered syndication and was rerun on several television stations throughout the United States.
The theme song was written by film composer Jerry Goldsmith, written in a 7/4 time signature. 7/4 is, itself, uncommon, but Goldsmith's theme subdivides the meter as 4+3/3+4, 3+4/4+3. 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.
The show draws some comparisons to a theatrical movie which premiered during the show's first season, Halls of Anger. In that movie, a new, black teacher joins a southern California high school; an attractive, sympathetic black female member of staff shows romantic interest; a militant black student is frequently involved in situations; issues of racism and integration are featured. The film and television show also share actors (Ta-Tanisha, Helen Kleeb, Rob Reiner). However, while Room 222 is a comedy-drama, milder in tone, Halls of Anger is purposefully aggressive, using deliberately controversial language and some forceful violence to highlight the real and dangerous potential of unresolved racial conflict.
Books and comics
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|
- Room 222 on IMDb
- Closing credits of Room 222 (DVD)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Room 222.|