Question: I went through elementary school in the '70s, and every year we saw a movie about a poor, African-American boy taking care of a stray cat. This movie moved me very much. Do you know the title and where can I get it? Par
Flickchick: You were seeing a one-hour original television drama called J.T. (1969), originally broadcast on CBS. It was the writing debut of Jane Wagner, and was directed by Robert M. Young. Wagner won a Peabody Award for her teleplay, and went on to a long and successful collaboration with comedienne Lily Tomlin, notably as writer and director of stage piece The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. J.T. starred Kevin Hooks (who, after a few more juvenile roles, segued into an adult career as a director) as a ten-year-old who's starting on the road to trouble with the law, but is redeemed by his love for a sick stray cat. I remember weeping the first time I saw it... Come to think of it, it made me cry so hard I don't think I ever watched it again. The bad news is that it's not available on tape. But there is some good news. If you happen to be in New York City, you can make an appointment to watch it at the Museum of Television and Radio (25 West 52 Street). And it's available in book form as J.T. and the Alley Cat from Yearling Books, illustrated with photographs from the original production by acclaimed photojournalist Gordon Parks Jr.
Update: A helpful reader, Sandy, who's been looking for J.T. "for years," has found it! J.T. is available on tape from New York-based Carousel Films, Inc. Call 800-683-1660 or fax them at 212-683-1662.