Armstrong Circle Theatre: Season 4, Episode 38

The Use of Dignity (25 May 1954)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Florence Anglin ...
Mrs. Giordano
...
Louis Giordano
Jim Boles
Frank Campanella
Joe Downing ...
Mr Allison
Albert Paulson
...
John Robinson
Bob Sherry ...
Himself - Host
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Drama

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Release Date:

25 May 1954 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Excellent early television!
21 August 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This one is from the anthology series, THE ARMSTRONG CIRCLE THEATER. This series, which started in 1950, ran for 405 episodes over 13 years.

This live broadcast stars, Ed Begley and Cliff Robertson.

The episode is set on the docks in New York. A group of long-shore men are standing around the union hiring hall. Begley, the hiring boss, enters. He has a message for the assembled workers.

"The union boys upstairs appreciate the contributions so far but it is now two bucks a day to work. If you wish to complain, take it up with these gentlemen." Begley points to three large men in hats and trench coats standing at the door.

New man on the docks, Cliff Robertson, asks one of the other men, P.J. Sidney, what gives with the kickback? Sidney replies that since the mob took over the union, that is how things run. Robertson says he will never pay a kickback.

Begley hires the men you pony up the cash and sends them off. He then slinks over to a corner and pulls a bottle out. After a healthy swallow, he leaves.

Sidney says to Robertson that Begley used to be a stand up guy. He changed when his son was killed over in Korea. He became a drunk and let the union local slip to the mob.

Begley is at home nursing his bottle when his wife, Florence Anglin, tells him she will be leaving in a week. She can no longer take his wallowing in the booze over their son's death.

Anglin hands Begley their son's pocket watch and heads out to her sister's place. Begley opens the watch and looks at the engraving. "A man must have dignity to live," it says. Begley starts to cry and takes another belt from the bottle.

The next day, Begley makes the rounds of the long-shore men asking if they would support a walkout. Of course the mob hears about this, and sends the large men to collect him. They deliver Begley to the boss, Joseph Downing.

A smiling Downing, "suggests," that Begley behave himself, or one of those mysterious dockside accidents might happen. Begley nods and says, "ok".

The next day at the hiring hall, Robertson starts to complain about being passed over for work again. The boys in the trench coats start in with the pistol butts and toss Robertson out on his face.

Begley now loses it and yells to heard over the crowd. He points at the mobsters, then tells the workers about the murders etc that he knows about. A general free for all begins between the mobsters and their supporters, and the other workers. Begley is the first to hit floor with a pipe to the head.

The next day finds Robertson, Sidney etc visiting Begley in the hospital. They show him the headlines from the morning papers. The police have arrested Downing and his crew. A commission will be starting on waterfront corruption while the union is back in the hands of the local.

Beside those mentioned, the cast includes, Albert Paulson, Jim Boles and Frank Campanella.

The director was long working (1952-86) TV vet James Sheldon. He worked on hundreds of episodes on series as varied as, MR PEEPERS, PERRY MASON, THE PATTY DUKE SHOW, IRONSIDES, THE NAKED CITY, ROUTE 66 and STUDIO ONE.

There was no d of p listed. I found this a pretty good example of live television. (b/w)


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