J.T. (1969) | Television
J.T. Is Unforgettable
J.T. is the story of a young boy in gritty 1960s Harlem, who is bitter and sad ever since his father died. He has started doing petty thefts and is not responsive to his mother’s frustrations with his behavior. J.T. steals a transistor radio, is inattentive in school, and generally has a rotten attitude. He has few friends.
One day during the Christmas season, as he is running around the abandoned buildings of his neighborhood, he discovers a sickly cat. He immediately starts bonding with the cat and helps to nurture it back to health. J.T. has discovered someone he loves without reservations.
He learns about having responsibility for others, compassion, and honesty. *Without going into it, there is one scene that will bother animal lovers, even though we only hear it, not see it. It is not graphic, and it is important for J.T. to really change*
The story does not glamorize the neighborhood or the lives of the people living there. The area is surrounded by ruined buildings, and when he asks his mother if he can have a cat, she replies that the only animals allowed in the buildings are rats.
The last few minutes are beautiful. This is a truly touching story set in a tough neighborhood at Christmastime.
This Show Won Many Awards
J.T. was originally broadcast on CBS on Saturday, December 13, 1969. his one has haunted me for years. Most people who have watched this film as a child certainly remember it.
It was very successful, winning the prestigious Peabody Award. It was rerun many times during the 1970s and 1980s.
I watched it every single time! Kevin Hooks, who plays J.T., has gone on to a successful career as an actor, director, and producer.
Please read my post on When You Grow Up for a fascinating 1970s time capsule.