Palmerstown, U.S.A.

Palmerstown, U.S.A.

About Palmerstown, U.S.A.

(1980-1981, CBS)

After making television history in the 1970s, writer Alex Haley (Roots) and writer/producer Norman Lear (All In The Family) joined forces for this groundbreaking drama set during the Great Depression.

Based on Haley’s childhood in Tennessee, Palmerstown tells the story of an African American family and a white family in a Southern town in the 1930s. W.D. Hall (Beeson Carroll) owns the general store and Luther Freeman (Bill Duke) is the blacksmith and farrier, at a time when even rural Americans were replacing horses with horsepower. 

Luther and W.D. have an uneasy relationship – owing to the inequities of the time – but their children and wives are friends. Bessie Freeman (Jonelle Allen) is a midwife and mother of three: teenaged Diana (Star-Shemah Bobatoon), nine-year-old Booker T. (Jermain H. Johnson) and a newborn. Coralee Hall (Janice St. John) has two children of her own – Willy-Joe (Michael J. Fox) and David (Brian G. Wilson) – with a third on the way. Bessie even delivers Coralee’s baby in the pilot episode, despite Luther’s fears of ramifications if she doesn’t survive.

Palmerstown was critically acclaimed, earning an Emmy for Art Decoration and a nomination for Louis Gossett Jr.’s powerful performance as Bessie’s father. While the years have burnished its legacy, it’s been impossible to find. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Notable guest stars:

Morgan Freeman, Louis Gossett Jr., Danny Glover, Scatman Crothers, Alfre Woodard, David Caruso, Gerald McRaney, Grace Zabriskie, Otis Young, Keenan Wynn, Michael Constantine, Mabel King, Hal Williams, William Sanderson, Helen Martin, Sab Shimono, James Hong, Fionnula Flanagan, G.W. Bailey, Stefan Gierasch, Royce D. Applegate, Beah Richards, Lori Lethin.

Created by Alex Haley. Developed by Norman Lear. Art direction by James D. Bissell and set decoration by Bill Webb (Emmy winners).



Jonelle Allen, Beeson Carroll, Bill Duke, Janice St. John, Michael J. Fox, Star-Shemah Bobatoon, Jermain H. Johnson, Brian G. Wilson, Iris Korn.