East Side/West Side (TV Series 1963–1964) Poster


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A truly Naked City
schappe11 June 2002
The comparison has been made between this show and "Naked City", which was canceled the spring before this one appeared. Both were grimily serious shows filmed on the streets on New York using new York City Stage actors, (many of whom became famous movie and TV actors). Both shows were well done but there is more than a few months difference in thinking between them . Naked City tended to show stories with neat, (if often tragic) endings. ESWS didn't show ending at all. Everything it depicted was an ongoing problem, with no clear solution. The heroes could not simply arrest someone to end the problem at the conclusion of the hour. Often, they are nothing more than powerless observers, which is not very dramatically pleasing. The "Who do you kill" episode is somewhat disappointing to me because of the complete inefficacy of the heroes- it seems to rub your face in the problem but supplies no solutions. At least that's "real".

The second difference is that ESWS was the first TV program to come to terms directly with the problem of race, to show white audiences what it was like for a black man or woman in America. Black faces are almost totally absent from Naked City. Imagine a "realistic" story about big-city policeman who investigate nothing but crimes involving Caucasians. ESWS showed New York the way it really was- and is.
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Gritty,on location of New York
wiggy30561 December 2001
Great series with George C Scott at his usual best! Gritty black and white, ahead of its time. On location on streets of the Big Apple just made it that much more realistic, like Naked City was! Can not believe it lasted only one season. Just goes to show you how stupid the bean counters on the networks are!
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Brilliant but canceled that lasted one season and 26 episodes
raysond3 October 2003
"East Side/West Side" was a beautiful series that became a one season experiment that ran for 26 episodes on CBS from September 23,1963 to April 27,1964 that filmed on location in New York and in black & white. This was an grand one run experiment that was absolutely brilliant in every aspect and in every grand detail. It came out at a period where America was at a crossroads within itself and also a tumultuous time period where the issues were confronted---the years 1963 and 1964.

The years 1963-1964 were conflicts of turmoil with the escalating violence the occur with the issues of racial prejudice and discrimination in the South,the encompassing of the death of JFK,the passing of the Civil Rights Bill,the senseless killings of three Civil Rights workers in Mississippi,the bombing of three African-Americans on a bloody Sunday in Alabama and the senseless race riots that engulfed the Southern states and not to mention the escalation of the fighting and the opposing of the war in Vietnam. All of this occur within a single season during the show's run and it was just that--- A gruesome chapter in American History.

The series starred the great George C. Scott in his first and only television series. Scott played a social worker in Manhattan,while Cicely Tyson played his secretary,and before they softened the series,or before the series went off the air toward its own whimsy,they changed the course of television into a whole new agenda by looking at the way America looked at itself---ashamed at the way people are depicted here and the way society uses them as a pawn in life's uncrueled world. But the series offer some very controversial material that was ahead of its time when showed the social status of a nation in constant turmoil. The series,however was filmed on location in New York City and shot in grainy black and white with location shoots within the burrows of Manhattan,Queens,Bronx,Staten Island,Brooklyn,and Yonkers.

These episodes haven't been seen in almost 40 years,but there are four that really stick out that are totally spellbinding and brilliant in detail including two that were totally blocked in the Southern states of Georgia,Alabama,Tennessee,Mississippi,and South Carolina,but it is vital that the other two are worth seeing..........

1. Social Services takes away the child of a prostitute,who was portrayed as a devoted mother--her grief was seismic.

2. A mentally retarded adult is charged with the molestation of a young child and the father is to blame for the son's mistake.

3. A young black father who loses a baby to a rat's attack gets a weapon and wanders through Harlem looking for someone to kill.(This episode was totally blocked-out in four Southern states--hasn't been seen since its original broadcast more than 40 years ago)

4. A middle-class black couple moving to the suburbs sets off a calculated real-estate stampede,and even the liberal whites who sponsored them finally rebukes them.(This episode was totally blocked-out in four Southern states also hasn't been seen since its original broadcast more than 40 years ago)

5. A young teenager decides to kill himself after his parents find out that he is committing suicide----on the top of an apartment building.

NOTE: The guest stars ranged from Carroll O'Connor, Norman Fell, Howard Silva, Maureen Stapleton, Alex Cord, Ruby Dee, James Earl Jones, to Beah Richards, Raymond St. Jacques, Simon Oakland, Daniel J. Travanti, and Brock Peters. It won the prime-time Emmy in 1964 for Best Original Drama series even though it lasted one season.
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Saw an episode once in High School
Joseph Harder21 June 2010
Apparently , the early nineteen sixties was one of the under appreciated eras of TV history. It may not have been a " Golden age; but at least it was a silver one. It began with Newton Minow lamenting the fact that Television was a vast wasteland, it ( probably ) ended when Slattery's People left the airwaves for good. It was a period of interesting writing and of shows that were socially conscious without ( usually ) being preachy. While some of these programs are never rerun and are not even on DVD( Witness SLattery's People), East Side/West Side was actually rerun about seven years ago on the sadly departed TV network TRIO. Of course, It helped that East Side West Side starred a true legend of acting in George C. Scott. Unlike Slattery's People, which (usually) tried to be pretty optimistic, for all its ironic undercurrents, East Side West Side was gritty, melancholy and frequently downright depressing. I have only seen one full episode. I saw as part of a high school class on "Black America" It was the classic, widely banned, Who Do you Kill, with James Earl Jones. I still remember how well acted and written it was, and how utterly sad. Like Slattery's People, and (maybe) the even more obscure Channing, it deserves to be on DVD.
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A unique one-year series that someone should be thanked for.
jwarthen-316 April 2001
Beautiful series-- a one-season long experiment that tried to reflect a tumultuous time-period (its single season encompassed JFK's death, the Civil Rights Bill, killings of Civil Rights workers in Alabama, escalation of fighting in Vietnam). George C. Scott played a social worker in Manhattan, Cicely Tyson his secretary, and before they softened the series toward the end toward whimsey, they produced at least three episodes that have stuck in my head for nearly 40 years: 1. social services take-away the child of a prostitute, who was portrayed as a devoted mother-- her grief was seismic; 2. a young black father who loses a baby to a rat's attack gets a weapon and wanders through Harlem looking for someone to kill; 3. a middle-class black couple moving to the suburbs sets off a calculated real-estate stampede, and even the liberal whites who sponsored them finally rebukes them. The second of these episodes was blocked-out in Georgia-- am surprised we got to see the other two; criticism at the time inevitably used the killing word "grim". Actors were drawn from the NY casting-pool, and shooting was done in the streets of the city.
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Brief reflections upon a dramatic series from the golden age of television
ejohnson-2922 November 2005
I have nurtured a fond memory of George C Scott's performances in East Side/ West Side since I first watched the series over 40 years ago. Although I obviously recall its power through the prism of nostalgia, I would definitely love to see some of the episodes again. I now live in the CBD of an Australian city, nowhere near as animated as the Big Apple of course, but ES/WS has local resonances for what it is like to interact with the homeless and disadvantaged on a daily basis, and to engage in their stories.I have noted somewhere on this site that old episodes have been digitally restored and available somewhere, but I guess I will be unlikely to follow this through, preferring to wait for an archival DVD production.
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Excellent show
martucci-23 February 2007
This was one of the best shows on TV. I recall watching it back when, well i guess i was 12 or 13 judging by the date. it was riveting and unlike so many dramas today, featured a dedicated social worker, George C. Scott with his face of reality and character. Thirty years later, Judging Amy, another fine show, featured Tyne Daly in a similar role, but a shared one within a family including the judge daughter, writer son, etc. Ido not recall individual episodes and came upon this looking for something else, but if i recall, the stories would be as relevant and fresh as good tales representing true life dramas often are. I suspect that the sociological wave of movies and TV shows of the early to mid 60's helped influence those of us at that vulnerable and suggestive age(teenage-young adult) the ideals and aspirations of humans as good, fixable and misunderstood, but with potential with a little dedication and hard work. Over the following decades, the entertainment industry's refocused its emphasis, and maybe coincidentally, so did the nation's ideals. Anyway, they were good shows with top notch acting-don' remember ever being bored with that one.
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Don't remember enough to write a spoiler
Miles-1030 March 2005
I saw one episode of this show during the 1990s at the NYC Museum of TV & Radio. I couldn't even tell you what it was about except that, considering it was done in the early 1960s, it was way ahead of its time. It had to do with a family's trouble facing the fact that it had serious trouble, and featured, I think, a self destructive daughter but it was probably something more shockingly specific. By the 1990s, what was shocking in 1963 almost seemed tame. By the way, who said George C. Scott played a *young* social worker? Did the Great Scott ever play somebody young? Along with other great shows of long ago (such as "Slattery's People"), this is one I wish that somebody would release on video/DVD.
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Two Corrections
pfeffermuse28 January 2008
This was not George C. Scott's only television series, as someone stated elsewhere. While "East Side/West Side" is a brilliant drama with intelligent stories and an incredibly talented cast, George C. Scott was the lead in an abysmal FOX Channel series called "Mr. President" (1987). Both Mr. Scott and FOX would have liked to forget this programme.

Also, as far as "Naked City", that series often did not have neatly tied-up endings. Often, the endings were left deliberately ambiguous to make the audience think. While certainly not the poster child for civil rights programming, "Naked City" did show a multi-ethnic NYPD, and there were often Hispanic and African-American characters/actors with sizable parts in individual episodes. I can't say that the episode "The Contract", about Chinese-Americans and the conflict of cultures was the greatest representation of Asians on television -- especially with James Shigata, Khigh Dhiegh and Abraham Sofaer all playing Chinese -- but the characters were treated with respect, and not as stock figures.
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