This Day in Black History: Nov. 1, 1998

The Temptations mini-series aired.

Posted: 11/01/2013 12:00 AM EDT

It’s hard to hear the word “Motown” and not think of The Temptations. The group, originally comprised of two Detroit singing groups, became famous during the ‘60s and the ‘70s for their innovative choreography and sweet harmonies. The “Classic 5,” Otis and Paul Williams, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin, became household names with hits such as "My Girl" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg."

The Temptations were one of the most influential R&B groups of their time. Their success lead to more than 10 Billboard Top 100 No. 1 singles and eventually provided the foundation for a two-part made-for-TV NBC miniseries, The Temptations, which aired on Nov. 1 and 2, 1998.

The miniseries starred Charles Malik Whitfield as Otis Williams, Leon as David Ruffin, D. B. Woodside as Melvin Franklin, Terron Brooks as Eddie Kendricks and Christian Payton as Paul Williams. Otis Williams and Temptations manager Shelley Berger produced the two-day, two-part series, which was based on Otis Williams’ autobiographical book, Temptations. The film provided an overview on the history behind Motown and The Temptations.

While the series maintained an accurate narrative, there were many scenes that were enhanced for television, including how and where Melvin Franklin died and Ruffin’s overdose. Although it was set in Detroit and Los Angeles, the film was shot in Philadelphia.

The miniseries was a hit, with director Allan Arkush winning an Emmy in 1998 for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries or a Movie. Since it’s 1998 debut, the series has been syndicated on VH1 and other TV networks.

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(Photo: CBS /Landov)

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