Before he danced into fans hearts as Johnny in Dirty Dancing, the late Patrick Swayze set hearts swooning as southern Orry Main. Written by John Jakes, North and South tells the story of two families, who’s lives become intertwined when a northern son and a southern son meet at West Point in the twenty years leading up to the Civil War and become life long friends.
Featuring an all-star cast including Patrick Swayze, James Read, Lesley-Anne Down, Genie Francis, Kirstie Alley, Terri Garber, David Carradine, Lewis Smith, John Stockwell and Philip Casnoff, the 12 hour miniseries North and South aired over six consecutive nights and was a successful adaptation of John Jakes’ novel.
Patrick Swayze and James Read, although two young unknown actors at the time, met the challenges of their characters. George Hazard and Orry Main’s friendship was pivotal in the story and due to Swayze and Read’s powerful acting, Jakes’ characterizations stayed true to the novel.
Filming on location through several southern states gave North and South an authentic feel. The script, costumes and score by Bill Conti completed the package. An ABC Novel for Television, North and South was a miniseries event that is unmatched. On this, the 30th anniversary, I salute this unforgettable series.