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The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon 

Charlie Gordon, a mentally challenged man who is eager to learn, is given an experimental operation to increase his intelligence to genius level. The experiment seems to work, until one of ... See full summary »


Fielder Cook


James Yaffe (adapted by), Daniel Keyes (from the story "Flowers for Algernon")


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Episode cast overview:
Cliff Robertson ... Charlie Gordon
Mona Freeman ... Jane Rollins
Maxwell Shaw Maxwell Shaw ... Dr. Strauss
Joanna Roos ... Dr. Edith Kinnian
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ... Joe (as Gerald O'Loughlin)
Ira Barmak Ira Barmak ... Medical Student


Charlie Gordon, a mentally challenged man who is eager to learn, is given an experimental operation to increase his intelligence to genius level. The experiment seems to work, until one of the lab animals the procedure was tested on begins to lose its intelligence... Written by MajorB

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Comedy | Drama


Did You Know?


Given that his role as Joe Clay from Playhouse 90: Days of Wine and Roses (1958) was taken by Jack Lemmon in the successful film adaptation Days of Wine and Roses (1962), Cliff Robertson (Charlie Gordon) bought the rights to the story in the hope that he would also star in the film version. This hope came to fruition seven years later with the production of Charly (1968). Robertson won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, becoming the second of only two actors to win an Oscar for a role that he had originally played on television. The first was Maximilian Schell, who won the same award for his performance as Hans Rolfe in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). Schell originally played the role (under the name Otto Rolfe) in Playhouse 90: Judgment at Nuremberg (1959). See more »


Version of Flowers for Algernon (2000) See more »

User Reviews

Once again, you saw it first on television!
21 April 2018 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Originally, this story was from a novel by Daniel Keyes. And, following this teleplay, there was a movie version of the story entitled "Charly"...for which Cliff Robertson received the Oscar for Best Actor. This sort of thing was not unusual in the 1950s and 60s, when many of the best films got their start on television...with live versions of great films like "Marty", "Days of Wine and Roses" and "12 Angry Men" appearing before the slicker Hollywood versions.

Charly (Cliff Robertson) is a nice guy but he's also intellectually disabled*. When a radical new approach to intelligence is developed, there's a chance Charly would be the subject...and the hope is that he'll go from extremely low functioning to a normal, higher functioning adult. Well, the surgery goes extremely well...and soon Charly isn't normal...he's actually brilliant. But, being a story on TV, you know things can't just end this way...there's got to be a catch!

There's very little not to like about this production. The acting is superb, the writing and direction are as well. The only negative is that it's quite sad...but so worth seeing in spite of this. And, you can by going to YouTube's UCLA Archive Channel....where it and seven other wonderful teleplays from "The US Steel Hour" are currently posted.

*Nowadays, words like intellectually challenged or mentally challenged would be used instead of retarded...which is used in this episode.

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Release Date:

22 February 1961 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Theatre Guild See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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