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***SPOILERS***Even though up against the wall grocery store owner Dave Meltzer, Clifton James, is determined to stick it out and hold on to his grocery store and as well as the tenants, mostly senior citizens, in his building through hell and high water with the city "Fathers" planning to demolish it and build a school yard on the site. It's the kind hearted and sensitive, to the cause of urban life, social worker Neil Brock, George C. Scott, who takes up Meltzer's cause when no one else will. After trying to convince the city Fathers and their behind the scenes shyster and paid off, by big real-estate interests, elected as well as unelected local politicians not to build the schoolyard that's probably to be used by the local drug dealers for their daily transactions Brock gets so fed up by their double as well as shyster talk that he blows a fuse. This almost not only cost Brock his job but in being arrested for damaging a top city big shot's Mark Hollister's, Paul McGrath, office and terrorizing his staff.
After fighting the good fight Meltzer finally throws in the towel and gives in leaving his beloved neighborhood and family run,going back three generations, grocery store for the city projects that's provided for him and the nine people living in his about to be demolished building. As for the overly emotionally Brock, who by then has regained his composure, he soon realizes that you can't fight City Hall when all the rules laws as well as money, that pays off the local politicians, is stacked up against you. It's a sad but true story about urban plight as well as soon to follow flight with the middle and working class of the Big Apple soon fleeing the city in droves and leaving what's left to the both very rich and and very poor that are still stuck or living there. Something that's happening far too often now in major US cities like Detroit Baltimore Cleveland as well as NYC now some 50 years after this "East Side West Side" episode was broadcast!
P.S This episode had a number of actors who later became famous on TV and the movie business with the likes of Kung Fu star David Carradine as well as actors Roscoe Lee Brown & Charles Durning to name a few.
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