The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 'It's Monopoly out there'. Jason Staebler, The King of Marvin Gardens, has gone directly to jail, lives on the Boardwalk and fronts for the local mob in Atlantic City. He is also a dreamer who asks his brother, David, a radio personality from Philadelphia to help him build a paradise on a Pacific Island - asking him to believe in yet another of his dreams, yet another of his get-rich-quick schemes. But luck is against them both and the game ends badly - real life reduced to radio drama.

    - Written by Dave Cook <cookd@mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca>
  • David Staebler, who suffers from chronic depression, is a Philadelphia-based late night radio host, his program on which he waxes philosophically about his less than satisfying life. Many of those stories revolve around his relationship with his two year older brother, Jason Staebler, who is always out for the big score, and living with their grandfather. After not hearing from Jason in one and a half years, David receives what is an urgent telephone call from him, Jason who wants David to act as the intermediary with one of Jason's associates, Lewis, to bail him out of jail in Atlantic City, where he is charged with a felony. Although David doesn't speak directly to Lewis as Jason had instructed, Lewis does bail him out of jail. David learns that Jason is living in Atlantic City, running one of Lewis' third rate resort hotels. Jason lives in the hotel in one of the small suites with his girlfriend, Sally, an aging and fading ex-beauty queen who clings to that past as her sole identity. Also living with them is Sally's younger longtime companion Jessica, to who Sally tries to pass along her beauty queen identity. Sally and Jessica's relationship is more than meets the eye. For as long as David stays in Atlantic City, Jessica is his implied companion. Using his connections through Lewis, Jason says that he is working on a developing his own resort casino in Hawaii, and wants David to come along with him, Sally and Jessica. Deep in his heart, David knows that Hawaii is just another of Jason's pipe dreams, just like all the other times he has made such proclamations. Regardless, David stays in Atlantic City for the two brothers to reconnect. However, this life cannot last forever, based partly on the several house of cards on which Jason is living, one of which is destined to crumble around him.

    - Written by Huggo


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