East Side/West Side: Season 1, Episode 21

The Passion of the Nickel Player (9 Mar. 1964)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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Neil comes into conflict with a numbers runner who preys on his neighborhoods poor gamblers.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Linden Chiles ...
Congressman Manson
Joe Silver ...
Harry Silverman
Paul Mace ...
Davie Macklin
...
Walter Macklin
Martha Greenhouse ...
Mildred Silverman
...
Susie Macklin (as Lori Heineman)
Jacqueline Towns
...
First Arresting Officer
Bill Lazarus ...
Second Arresting Officer
Cedric Jordan ...
Policeman in Station House
Bill Alton ...
Policeman in the Diner (as William Alton)
T.J. Castronovo ...
Policeman in Brock's Office (as Tom Castronova)
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Storyline

Neil comes into conflict with a numbers runner who preys on his neighborhoods poor gamblers.

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Drama

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Release Date:

9 March 1964 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
The stark realities of life in the big city
16 May 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

***SPOILERS***In this episode the all knowing and never wrong super social worker Neil Brock, George C. Scott, really doesn't have an answer to the situation he's facing. That in 12 year old numbers runner Davie Macklin's, Paul Mace, reason for working for the local mob to keep his family afloat financially. Both Brock and newly elected congressman Manson, Linden Chiles, who hasn't a clue in what's going on in his congressional district try to straighten Davie out in convincing him that running numbers isn't exactly kosher. In the end the two end up with egg on their faces in realizing that the entire neighborhood is in or involved in the numbers racket in order, if they ever hit, to pay their bills and supplement their barley above cost of living income.

With his mother dead and his dad laid off from his job Davie together with his aunt or surrogate mother Mildred Silverman, Martha Greenhouse,are knee deep in the numbers racket just to make ends meets meet put food on the table and pay their rent and medical bills. With a willing public playing the numbers game it's a bit extreme in having the 12 year old Davie arrested and put behind bars for participating in it. Yet throughout the entire episode that's exactly how Davie is treated like, as Brock calls him, a junior John Dillinger!

****SPOILERS*** In the end when a confident in how right they are Brock and Congressman Manson confront Mildred in what a bad influence she has on Davie her response completely floors them. In the fact that Davie as well as Mildred are not criminals but just trying to get by in life and are not hurting anyone by exploiting the numbers racket which they have many willing people, without a gun pointed to their heads, in the neighborhood playing it. And in the end has them for the first time realize that they, members the city establishment,don't always have the right solutions for the problems at hand. That in fact they for the most part are the ones who end up causing them!

P.S Not long after the East Side/ West Side TV series was prematurely canceled, it was too real and shocking for the general public to absorbed, it was the state as well as federal governments that got themselves into the gambling business big time with lotteries off track betting as well as casinos that made Davie and Mildred and their fellow numbers runners actions look microscopic in comparison.


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