East Side/West Side
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|East Side/West Side|
Kathleen Maguire in "The $5.98 Dress", 1963.
|Created by||Robert Alan Aurthur|
|Written by||Edward Adler|
Robert Alan Aurthur
Robert J. Crean
Robert van Scoyk
Allen E. Sloane
|Directed by||John Berry|
|Starring||George C. Scott|
|Theme music composer||Kenyon Hopkins|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producer(s)||David Susskind|
|Cinematography||John S. Priestley|
|Running time||45–48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Talent Associates, in association with United Artists Television and the CBS Television Network|
|Distributor||United Artists Television|
|Original release||September 23, 1963 –|
April 27, 1964
East Side/West Side is an American drama series starring George C. Scott, Elizabeth Wilson, Cicely Tyson, and later on, Linden Chiles. The series aired for one season (1963–64) and was shown Monday nights on CBS.
Set in New York City, the show explored issues of urban life, some of them grim. Though it won critical praise, it also generated some controversy. TV Guide ranked it #6 on their 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon".
The series centers on Scott in the role of Neil Brock, a New York City social worker who worked for the private agency Community Welfare Service, with his secretary, Jane Foster, played by actress Cicely Tyson (this was the first time an African American starred in a television drama). Episodes of East Side/West Side covered topics relevant to the inner city, with many controversial issues explored. A typical example came in the first two episodes, when Brock investigated a prostitute and her child ("The Sinner"), followed by a story involving statutory rape (“Age of Consent”).
In an effort to open up the number of possible stories, Brock resigned from his job in the latter portion of the 1963–64 season to work for a New York congressman, Charles W. Hanson (Chiles). The characters played by Elizabeth Wilson and Cicely Tyson soon disappeared and Barbara Feldon is introduced as Brock's girlfriend for one episode.
Despite the high quality of both the writing and acting, the show's penchant for taking on touchy topics forced many potential advertisers to avoid sponsorship of the show, while a number of local stations across the country also chose not to present the program to their viewers. It is said that CBS programming head James Aubrey clashed with Scott regarding the direction of the show, which also was a factor in the cancellation.
The December 23, 1963 episode, "Creeps Live Here," was originally scheduled to be broadcast on November 25, but was postponed as CBS wrapped up their four-day coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination.
East Side/West Side ran in the 10 p.m. Monday time slot opposite ABC's medical drama about psychiatry, Breaking Point and NBC's Sing Along with Mitch starring Mitch Miller. The show's executive producer, David Susskind, began a letter-writing campaign to government officials, newspaper editors and other prominent individuals. Susskind's request was an attempt to elicit positive feedback to encourage renewal of the series. However, the effort failed when the show was cancelled on January 28.
- George C. Scott as Neil Brock
- Linden Chiles as Congressman Charles Hanson (Episodes 19–26)
- John McMartin as Mike Miller (Episodes 19–26)
- Cicely Tyson as Jane Foster (Episodes 1-22)
- Elizabeth Wilson as Frieda Hechlinger (Episodes 1-22)
|Episode #||Episode title||Original airdate||Plot|
|1-1||"The Sinner"||September 23, 1963||A mother, who is also a prostitute, must battle the parents of her baby's father for custody.|
|1–2||"Age of Consent"||September 30, 1963||A teenage romance goes awry when the girl's father (Carroll O'Connor) charges her boyfriend with statutory rape.|
|1–3||"You Can't Beat the System"||October 7, 1963||Brock offers a Korean War veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder the opportunity to volunteer to work with the sick.|
|1–4||"Something for the Girls"||October 14, 1963||A wealthy socialite, guilty of numerous unpaid parking tickets, is "sentenced" to serve as a social worker for 30 days.|
|1–5||"I Before E Except After C"||October 21, 1963||A dedicated schoolteacher (Howard DaSilva) is faced with the problem of delinquent students.|
|1–6||"No Wings at All"||October 28, 1963||A father (Theodore Bikel) must deal with the challenges and struggles of raising an adult son who is intellectually disabled.|
|1–7||"Who Do You Kill?"||November 4, 1963||A black couple (James Earl Jones and Diana Sands) struggles to deal with life in the slums, but their world falls apart when tragedy strikes their baby. Emmy awarded to director Tom Gries.|
|1–8||"Go Fight City Hall"||November 11, 1963||After being evicted from his apartment due to urban renewal, a man begins to lose his faith in the importance of the individual.|
|1–9||"Not Bad for Openers"||November 18, 1963||A cab driver (Norman Fell) with a gambling problem finds a wallet containing a large sum of money.|
|1–10||"No Hiding Place"||December 2, 1963||The issue of Blockbusting is explored as a black couple finds suburban life difficult until they are befriended by their neighbors.|
|1–11||"Where's Harry?"||December 9, 1963||An emotionally disturbed suburbanite (Simon Oakland) abandons his family after 20 years of married life.|
|1–12||"My Child on Monday Morning"||December 16, 1963||Parents of a mentally disturbed child seek out Brock's assistance.|
|1–13||"Creeps Live Here"||December 23, 1963||Semi-recluse tenants are faced with the prospect of losing their home.|
|1–14||"The $5.98 Dress"||January 13, 1964||Brock rushes to the aid of a mother with four children who is abandoned by her irresponsible and erratic husband.|
|1–15||"The Beatnik and the Politician"||January 20, 1964||A folk-singing beatnik (Alan Arkin) stirs up a storm with his odd friends in a sedate neighborhood.|
|1–16||"One Drink at a Time"||January 27, 1964||A Bowery resident (Maureen Stapleton) desperately tries to reform her derelict boyfriend.|
|1–17||"It's War, Man"||February 10, 1964||Despite heated public opinion against him, Brock helps a teenage gang member accused of murder.|
|1–18||"Don't Grow Old"||February 17, 1964||An elderly construction worker who is forced out of his job by age discrimination, becomes frustrated by his inability to find a new job.|
|1–19||"The Street"||February 24, 1964||After a teenage girl is abused by her mother's boyfriend, she runs away and tries to survive on the streets. Brock shares a career crisis with his girlfriend, portrayed by Barbara Feldon.|
|1–20||"If Your Grandmother Had Wheels"||March 2, 1964||Brock attempts to help a wheelchair-bound man concentrates all his energies on walking again. Alex Cord plays Sam.|
|1–21||"The Passion of the Nickel Player"||March 9, 1964||Brock comes into contact with a 12-year-old boy actively engaged in the numbers racket.|
|1–22||"Take Sides with the Sun"||March 16, 1964||Brock receives an offer to work as a legislative aide to Congressman Charles Hanson and debates whether to leave his current position.|
|1–23||"The Name of the Game"||March 23, 1964||A union leader (Daniel J. Travanti) and an industrialist battle each other in the negotiating of a new labor contract.|
|1–24||"Nothing But the Half Truth"||March 30, 1964||Brock considers quitting his new position with Congressman Hanson, when Hanson doesn't follow through on promises made by Brock on a television discussion show. David Susskind appears as the television host, along with Scott's real-life wife Colleen Dewhurst.|
|1–25||"The Givers"||April 13, 1964||Brock and Hanson must battle pro-business lobbyists in their bid for legislation that would stiffen penalties for contracting fraud.|
|1–26||"Here Today"||April 27, 1964||Brock writes a series of articles highlighting the plight of the poor, but is unable to get them published anywhere. He finally finds one paper that can do so, but the paper itself is about to be taken over, with its style of journalism certain to be neutered.|
Awards and nominations
In 1964, the series received eight Emmy Award nominations, including one win for Outstanding Directorial Achievement awarded to Tom Gries for the controversial November 4, 1963 episode entitled, "Who Do You Kill?". The episode, which also garnered a writing nomination, as well as acting nominations for supporting actors James Earl Jones and Diana Sands, explored the aftermath of a child's death from a rat bite in a Harlem slum.
- Roush, Matt (June 3, 2013). "Cancelled Too Soon". TV Guide. pp. 20 and 21
- "Cicely Tyson Biography". Biography. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
- Stephen, Bowie. "East Side/West Side". classictvhistory.com.
- Bowie, Stephen classictvhistory.com George C. Scott lost the best actor award to, of all people, Dick Van Dyke (at a time when comedic and dramatic actors competed in the same category), and both of the “Who Do You Kill?” guest stars, James Earl Jones and Diana Sands, went home empty-handed. Jack Priestley, nominated for his exceptional cinematography, was effectively removed from consideration by his consecutive wins in the two preceding years for his work on Naked City. East Side’s single Emmy was picked up by “Who Do You Kill?” director Tom Gries, beating out “Blacklist”’s Stuart Rosenberg – the original choice to direct the episode for which Gries won!