Room 222: Richie’s Story was the pilot episode for this groundbreaking series that debuted on September 17, 1969. It was a truly integrated series that focused on a black high school teacher and the people around him.
The opening theme that shows the stars and their names is interesting because essentially, it’s the first scene of the show, and the dialog follows all of the arrivals that we see in that opening. It’s unique in that sense. You just don’t see that a lot in television.
Lloyd Haynes starred as Pete Dixon, a history teacher at Walt Whitman High School in Los Angeles. He’s dating the lovely counselor, Liz McIntire (Denise Nicholas), and is friends with the principal, Seymour Kaufman (Michael Constantine).
As the new semester begins, Pete is assigned a student teacher, Alice Johnson, played by the very perky Karen Valentine. She rambles on a lot and says a lot of the wrong things, but her smile is genuine.
This first show examines the case of one of the black students, Richie, who is really the brain of the students as the series progresses. As it turns out, Richie doesn’t live in Whitman’s boundaries, and Pete has to fight to find a way to let him stay at the school.
It’s a great half hour.