1 9 6 3 – 1 9 6 4 (USA)
26 x 60 minutes episodes
Although it was only on the air for a year, the hour-long East Side/West Side drama series became the prototype for many similar low-key urban shows that followed. It was also one of the first series filmed on actual locations in New York City.
The excellent cast was headed up by George C Scott as Neil Brock, a Manhattan social worker whose clients – the aged, the poor and the desperate – lived in the slums of New York.
Neil was a man who stood by his convictions and wanted to see a better life for the people he represented. He said: “I hate filth, I hate people who don’t know how to love. I hate laws, grafting cops; I hate landlords who jam 12 people into a room to make a profit from other people’s misery.”
Elizabeth Wilson played Frieda ‘Hecky’ Hechlinger, Brock’s boss at the welfare agency, and Cicely Tyson played his coworker Jane Foster (pictured at right).
In an attempt to revise the show and make it more palatable to viewers who seemed to shy away from the depressing subjects it dealt with, the show was altered when Brock went to work for local congressman Charles Hanson (Linden Chiles) mid-season.
The show’s gritty portrayal of life amongst the underprivileged won praise from TV critics for its realism, but the show was years ahead of its time and viewers found it difficult to accept the show’s seedy atmosphere and characters, and it was cancelled after completing little more than one season.
George C Scott
Frieda ‘Hecky’ Hechlinger