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Memo from Purgatory 

The teleplay was adapted by Harlan Ellison from his autobiographical story "The Gang", which appears in his book "Memos from Purgatory". Fresh college graduate and wannabee writer Jay Shaw ... See full summary »

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(story and teleplay)
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Himself - Host
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Filene - Girl Gang Member
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Tiger
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Candle
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Simon Scott ...
The Defender
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Slats
Michael Lamont ...
The Trooper
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Ben
Jacquelin Palmer ...
Cherry (as Jacque Palmer)
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Ski
Jimmy Joyce ...
Proprietor
Will J. White ...
Guard
Leonard P. Geer ...
Derelict
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Storyline

The teleplay was adapted by Harlan Ellison from his autobiographical story "The Gang", which appears in his book "Memos from Purgatory". Fresh college graduate and wannabee writer Jay Shaw moves to early 1950's New York and decides that if he's going to write fiction about juvenile delinquent gangs, he'd better learn what they are really like. Becoming tough-guy Phil Beldone, he moves to a rough section of Brooklyn and seeks to join the Barons, a violent youth gang led by Tiger. During his three-step initiation into the gang, he gains Tiger's trust and respect and begins to fall in love with one of the gang's "debs". However, he makes an enemy of the gang's second-in-command, and risks exposure of his true identity. Written by Joshua Saint

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21 December 1964 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Pizza with Mr. Harlan Ellison and Mr. Neil Gaiman (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Really Quite Fascinating
5 May 2010 | by See all my reviews

"West Side Story" romanticized New York City gangs to the point that people forgot that youth gangs really did terrorize people and were quite nasty in the late 1950's. This episode really brings back the fear that people felt of gangs back then and how really vicious they were.

The episode was written by Harlan Ellison and is quite taunt and engrossing. Joseph Pevney, the director, had done a bunch of pretty good movies in the 1950's including "Tammy and the Batchelor." He stayed in television, directing about 1/6th of the original "Star Trek" episodes, among many other T.V. series.

The acting is great. James Caan is a sweet and intelligent hero and as handsome as he has ever been in a movie. Tony Musante ("Toma")is terrifying and Walter Koenig (Chekov on "Star Trek")is intense and complex as the gang leader. Based on this episode, it is obviously a shame that his career was sidetracked by his silly role in "Star Trek".

It is one of the best Hitchcock episodes. Don't miss it.


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