In his TV dramatic debut, Ben Vereen stars as legendary jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong. The teleplay dramatizes a single incident in 1931, when Armstrong, still struggling for recognition, was playing a small Chicago bistro. Local gangsters catch Louis' act and offer him a huge salary increase to move to their nightspot, but our hero doesn't want to get anywhere near organized crime. Alas, Louis' white manager Red Cleveland (Red Buttons) is not above taking a bribe to frame Armstrong on a phony marijuana charge, thereby forcing the trumpeter into the hands of the Mob. But Louis emerges triumphant through the simple expedient of retreating to Europe, where superstardom is at last bestowed upon him. Louis Armstrong-Chicago Style originally aired January 25, 1976, on ABC.
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