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What Happened to Bobby Earl? (1997)

TV-PG | | Drama | TV Movie 28 January 1997
Rose Earl is proud as a peacock when Bobby, her eldest, whom she raised, like his kid brother Michael, to become moral men and model citizens, is the first member of the modest family ever ... See full summary »





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Drew Ebersole ...
Bobby Earl
Tom Stahl
Jack Dietrick
Sean McCann ...
Mr. Earl
Jenny Kozinski
Steve Talbert
Officer Drummond
Nicki Corlis
Damir Andrei ...
Sean Dick ...


Rose Earl is proud as a peacock when Bobby, her eldest, whom she raised, like his kid brother Michael, to become moral men and model citizens, is the first member of the modest family ever to get accepted at college. It will take a while till she starts getting aware of it, but after he joins a respectable fraternity Bobby becomes ever more influenced by his roomy, the ambitious Tom Stahl, who promises him the world as they form an unbeatable team, the suave killer type and the puppy-eyed ideal son-in-law, and gradually drags him into the dark side of his glamorous life-style, complete with an adult lover, Chelsea Coals, who drags the boys even further from the righteous path, straight into crime; at last, after things have already gone wrong for them, he gets doubts and wants out, but they are too deep already. Rose's life becomes a never-ending nightmare when Bobby is suddenly missing, and she must gradually discover the grim truth before she gets to solve Bobby's fate... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

28 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murder in a College Town  »

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Did You Know?


This film was inspired by the murder of Roger "Butch" Pratt. See more »


[first lines]
Chelsea Coals: Over there.
[the police proceed to dig in the area indicated by Chelsea]
See more »

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User Reviews

Just Can't Believe That Anyone Could Screw This Horrible Tragedy Up Worse
6 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

I knew one of the persons involved in the real-life case from which this movie's plot evolved. I remember sitting, stunned, when I found out what had happened. As it appears, I cannot tell you about the case, because it would be a spoiler; yet, I don't think actually spelling out the entire movie in case could spoil it any worse than the company did by shooting it.

Kate Jackson plays a mother whose son has disappeared. She does an OK job, I guess, but she isn't given much support in either the plot additions or the making of the movie. The acting was flat; and the plot was muddied far beyond necessary by extra commentaries that really had nothing to do with the storyline. Maybe it was worse for me to finally view this movie, after years of looking for it, because I've been following the real cases and the shocking developments for almost 20 years now and know that there was more drama than imaginable from which to pull a gripping crime movie. There was so much heartache that followed the actual events that I did indeed lay awake some nights wondering about my friend. How could any movie so poorly relegate the actual tone that enveloped the actual crime? For anyone who really wants to be saddened and shocked, I suggest reading about Edward Swiger. Check him out on Google and do some research for yourself. You will understand my disappointment of this movie.

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