American Playhouse (1981– )
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Overdrawn at the Memory Bank 

The mind of a computer programmer forced to take a virtual vacation is removed by a totalitarian government and accidentally trapped in the virtual reality simulation. He must find a way out before he expires.


Douglas Williams


John Varley (short story), Corinne Jacker (teleplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Griffiths Linda Griffiths ... Computech Apollonia James
Raul Julia ... Aram Fingal / Rick Blaine
Donald Moore Donald Moore ... Novicorp Chairman / The Fat Man (as Donald C. Moore)
Wanda Cannon ... Felicia Varley / Lola
Helen Carscallen Helen Carscallen ... Dr. Darwin
Rex Hagon Rex Hagon ... Shuttle Passenger (as Rex Hagan)
Patrick Brymer Patrick Brymer ... Nirvana Clerk
Chapelle Jaffe ... Djamilla
Denise Pidgeon Denise Pidgeon ... Doppling Medico (as Denise Pigeon)
Bunty Webb Bunty Webb ... Teacher
Audra Williams Audra Williams ... Desirée
Hadley Kay Hadley Kay ... Marco
Gary Farmer ... Tooby
Arnie Achtman Arnie Achtman ... Slavin
Maury Chaykin ... Gondol


Raul Julia plays Aram Fingal, a very intelligent computer programmer and a very bored man in the employ of Novicorp, a mega-corporation that exists somewhere in the future. When caught watching "Casablanca" at his desk, Fingal is required to undergo rehabilitation therapy called "doppling." Doppled patients find their minds transferred into the bodies of animals for a new outlook on life (and for a number of amusing nature documentary sequences narrated by Julia). However, Fingal's body is misplaced and he is transferred into a computer while the body is located. With the help of Appolonia James, a medical technician played by Linda Griffiths, Fingal manages to reprogram himself into a simulation of Casablanca and eventually gains access to Novicorp's financial computers, bringing the company to its knees. But Fingal's real problem is getting back into his body before his memory patterns are erased. Written by Chris Holland <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Caught in a future world, his only escape is back in time. See more »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites: (Spanish)


Canada | USA



Release Date:

1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Archivio segreto See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Throughout the movie the characters refer to The Computer as the HX368. Gomez there even types it as such in one part of the film, also the credits at the end of the film refer to it as the same. Meanwhile all the other computer graphics refer to the computer as the HX254. See more »


Appollonia: Listen to me, Fingal... Your navel is very deep. I can't even see to the bottom of it. If you fall in, I can't guarantee to pull you out.
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User Reviews

How Overdrawn came about
7 August 2001 | by Jonah14See all my reviews

As I've stated before, there is a special place in my heart for Overdrawn At The Memory Bank - it's similiar to those Saturday afternoon WNET movies that I'd watch when I was either sick in bed or just plain bored and channel flipping. (The Tripods come to mind, for one.)

It's not strange that Raul Julia, an ardent public television advocate who lived in New York, would do it. The question of why and how it came about is, though.

For one, the movie was part of a series of science fiction productions by WNET in 1985, all adapted from short stories and novels. The people who produced Overdrawn At The Memory Bank also produced The Lathe of Heaven for PBS in 1979 as well. After The Lathe of Heaven, they had planned to produce a series of science fictions films, though they only got to do Overdrawn afterward. You can read an interview with them here: .

As stated before, Overdrawn was one of three films in a series, which also included Kurt Vonnegut's "Between Time and Timbuktu". The movie was deliberately shot on video so they could include the digital effects. Considering the budget given, the visual effects were actually effective, if a bit psychedelic.

Raul Julia does do a very good job acting in this movie - someone on an MST3K site said he looked "embarrassed". Hardly. He actually sold the part pretty well. Incidentally, PBS had the rights to both Animals Are Beautiful People and Casablanca, which is why they made good use of both. The movie was shot in Toronto, and most of the actors are from there - so blame Canada if you must.

(Incidentally, Animals Are Beautiful People is the funniest (and oftentimes sad and touching) animal documentaries you're likely to find, earning an Oscar nomination and directed by James Uys, who also did the classic The Gods Must Be Crazy.)

The woman who plays Appolonia James, Linda Griffiths, also did a very successful one woman show in Toronto as well - - based on the life of Gwendolyn MacEwen called Alien Creature: A Visitation From Gwendolyn MacEwen. She also has had steady work since Overdrawn, too.

In the end,is Overdrawn At The Memory Bank a bad film? Maybe. MST3K fodder? Oh, most definitely. However, for me, it brings back happy memories of childhood, and there is one quality that makes it better than most seen even in Hollywood flicks:

Everyone seems to be having a GOOD TIME making the film. They're having FUN. Donald Moore in particular (who plays Walenda Irving, the huge chairman of the board) is having a hammy ball with the material. Unfortunately, after Overdrawn, he only did Blue Velvet then passed away.

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