American Playhouse (1981– )
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Overdrawn at the Memory Bank 

The mind of a computer programmer is removed by a totalitarian government and accidentally trapped in a virtual reality simulation.



(short story), (teleplay)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Griffiths ...
Donald Moore ...
Novicorp Chairman / The Fat Man (as Donald C. Moore)
Helen Carscallen ...
Dr. Darwin
Rex Hagon ...
Shuttle Passenger (as Rex Hagan)
Patrick Brymer ...
Nirvana Clerk
Denise Pidgeon ...
Doppling Medico (as Denise Pigeon)
Bunty Webb ...
Audra Williams ...
Hadley Kay ...
Arnie Achtman ...


Raul Julia plays Aram Fingal, a very intelligent computer programmer and a very bored man in the employ of Novicorp, a mega-corporation that exists somewhere in the future. When caught watching "Casablanca" at his desk, Fingal is required to undergo rehabilitation therapy called "doppling." Doppled patients find their minds transferred into the bodies of animals for a new outlook on life (and for a number of amusing nature documentary sequences narrated by Julia). However, Fingal's body is misplaced and he is transferred into a computer while the body is located. With the help of Appolonia James, a medical technician played by Linda Griffiths, Fingal manages to reprogram himself into a simulation of Casablanca and eventually gains access to Novicorp's financial computers, bringing the company to its knees. But Fingal's real problem is getting back into his body before his memory patterns are erased. Written by Chris Holland <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Caught in a future world, his only escape is back in time. See more »


Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

4 February 1985 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


All of the animal footage during the sequence where Fingal is doppled into a baboon is taken from the film Beautiful People (1974). See more »


Throughout the movie the characters refer to The Computer as the HX368. Gomez there even types it as such in one part of the film, also the credits at the end of the film refer to it as the same. Meanwhile all the other computer graphics refer to the computer as the HX254. See more »


Aram Fingal: I got 47 credits. What kind of a dopple do you think that buys?
Train passenger: An anteater? Maybe.
See more »


References The Blue Angel (1930) See more »

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User Reviews

Even the worst dreck can trigger fond memories
13 December 2000 | by (Twin Cities, MN) – See all my reviews

I realize this is a bad movie. But I like it. It's incomprehensible, features some rather insulting Casablanca references (as the MST3K cast said, never put a good movie in your bad movie), and frankly it's astonishing that it contained so many good actors. (Really! Raul Julia stars, and there are also a lot of very talented character actors who basically sleepwalk through their parts in this movie. Goodness knows how they were talked into doing it.)

The direction is practically nonexistent. I'm convinced the actors are making up the blocking on their own. The cinematography is terrible, except in the stock footage of African wildlife used for Fingel's dopple. And the whole thing reeks of the kind of "social commentary" fiction I used to write when I was in ninth grade. (Wretched stuff, really.) MST3K really is the best venue for this film, even if the fat jokes got a bit old.

Nevertheless, I have a soft spot in my heart for this movie. When I was little, this movie was shown on the local PBS station. I must've been nine or ten, and for years I only remembered tiny snippets -- a glowing cube, somebody going into a computer and making it snow indoors, and, of course, my first introduction to "Casablanca." My brother, who couldn't have been more than 7, was my only corroboration for having seen this movie because he remembered it too, twelve years later when I mentioned it over dinner after watching "Casablanca."

And so began my crusade to find this movie. All I knew was that it had a floating cube, a shootout in a restaurant resembling Rick's "Cafe Americain," indoor snow, and a scene where a schoolchild almost spilled mustard on a man's exposed brain.

It wasn't until my junior year of college that I found it, in the sci-fi section of the Northfield Video Update. I watched it, and was astonished at how amateurish the movie was. It was fun to see Raul Julia, who had recently passed on, and I decided that the movie was intensely cheezy, probably disliked by most (and with good reason), but that it had it's own particular charms. I do have a soft spot for cheeze, after all.

So it was with great joy that I discovered MST3K was doing the movie. Sadly, I kept missing that episode. This year, I finally managed to catch it via timed record. And it was worth the wait. It's a pretty typical MST3K episode, but for me nothing can dim the charm of this crazy film. It's a bad movie, make no mistake there. The actors mostly seem embarrassed to be in it and are working without the benefit of direction. The script is putrid. The music is hilariously bad. The general effect is only slightly less comprehensible than the "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite" segment at the end of "2001." But I still like it, for some inexplicable reason.

As a footnote, I saw "Total Recall" a few years before I finally rediscovered this movie. Although I could not remember much of "Overdrawn" at the time, "Total Recall" still brought back memories and left me with the nagging feeling that I had seem the same thing done better sometime previously. Strange how the memory cheats. Maybe I've become overdrawn at the memory bank myself!

12 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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