Event box

Date:
Saturday, November 18, 2023
Time:
7:30pm - 9:30pm
Location:
Billy Wilder Theater
Campus:
UCLA Film & Television Archive
Categories:
Screening

In-person: Introduction by author and UC Irvine Associate Professor Bambi Haggins.


Admission is free. No advance reservations. Your seat will be assigned to you when you pick up your ticket at the box office. Seats are assigned on a first come, first served basis. The box office opens one hour before the event.


Produced by television impresario David Susskind’s pioneering Talent Associates company, the short-lived CBS drama East Side/West Side (1963-64) remains one of the most acclaimed and controversial series ever to air in primetime. Starring Academy Award winner George C. Scott (Patton) as a passionate social worker serving New York City and its impoverished communities, the innovative drama thoughtfully tackled complex social issues with uncommon grittiness, boldly challenging the status quo and expanding the boundaries of a risk-averse broadcast medium and its conservative sponsors.

Reflecting the progressive democratic ideals of Kennedy’s New Frontier, Talent Associates controversially cast future superstar Cicely Tyson (Sounder) as a series regular in a groundbreaking role in East Side/West Side. Thematically, the series also featured pointed scripts examining the harsh realities of the African American experience at the height of the civil rights movement. In “Who Do You Kill?,” the most distinguished episode of the series, executive producer Arnold Perl (director of the 1972 feature documentary Malcolm X) penned a striking teleplay that dramatized the horrific consequences of Black poverty resulting from systemic racism. Starring icon James Earl Jones and Diana Sands (A Raisin in the Sun), the stark, humanistic hour was pulled from airing in the South by CBS’ WAGA-TV affiliate in Atlanta and was preempted for paid political ads on KSLA-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana. According to Susskind, a subsequent episode examining racist real estate practices and housing discrimination against African Americans (“No Hiding Place”) was dropped from broadcast by 26 southern stations (in the press, CBS refuted that assertion). 

Despite receiving the National Critics Award for Best Film Series in 1964, East Side/West Side did not survive beyond 26 episodes (reportedly canceled adjacent to the day the award was announced). Decades ahead of its time, the revered series remains unavailable on home video or official streaming platforms.

Join us for a rare screening of two critically acclaimed episodes of East Side/West Side — newly digitally preserved by UCLA from elements held at Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. Introduced by author and UC Irvine Associate Professor Bambi Haggins.

Program notes by Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Curator.

Special thanks to our community partner: UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
 

East Side/West Side: “Who Do You Kill?”

U.S., 11/4/1963

Digital preservation from 35mm elements 

A young African American couple (Diana Sands and James Earl Jones) face unimaginable tragedy due to the inhumane conditions of the Harlem tenement where they live with their infant. Actors Diana Sands, James Earl Jones, and writer Arnold Perl all received Emmy nominations for their work on this uncompromising episode that confronts the wrenching effects of poverty caused by racial discrimination. For his direction, Tom Greis received an Emmy for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama.

DCP, b&w, 60 min. CBS. Production: Talent Associates-Paramount, Ltd. Executive Producer: Arnold Perl. Director: Tom Gries. Writer: Arnold Perl. With: George C. Scott, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Diana Sands.

Digitally preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive from elements held in the collection of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research; special thanks to Amanda Smith.
 

East Side/West Side: “No Hiding Place”

U.S., 12/2/1963

Digital preservation from 35mm elements with commercials

In this artfully nuanced teleplay, co-authored by blacklisted writer Millard Lampell (The Adams Chronicles), an African American couple (Ruby Dee and Earle Hyman) encounter housing discrimination via unscrupulous real estate practices that expose the latent racism and limits of allyship in their new community. During a commercial break in this rebroadcast, Executive Producer David Susskind accepts an award honoring the episode from the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith.

DCP, b&w, 60 min. CBS. Production: Talent Associates-Paramount, Ltd.  Executive Producer: Arnold Perl. Director: Herschel Daugherty. Writers: John Gabriel, Millard Lampell. With: George C. Scott, Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee, Lois Nettleton, Earle Hyman, Joseph Camanella.

Digitally preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive from elements held in the collection of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research; special thanks to Amanda Smith. 

Event Organizer

Katy Nicholas