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Requiem for a Heavyweight

(1956 b 73')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Written by Rod Serling, a boxer learns he cannot fight anymore, and his manager and trainer also have to adjust to the change in his career.

         In a boxing match Mountain McClintock (Jack Palance) was knocked out in the seventh round. His trainer Army (Ed Wynn) and his manager Maish Rennick (Keenan Wynn) help him back to the dressing room. A man tells Maish they must pay the money, and Maish says he will get it. Army says it was not Mountain’s night. They notice his cut face, and the doctor (Edgar Stehli) comes in to treat him. Maish says he was number five in 1948. The doctor points out the damage to his eye and says he could become blind. The doctor says he must retire. Maish objects and says he has been fighting for fourteen years. The doctor leaves. Mountain says he will be all right and asks what he did wrong. Army says he aged. Mountain goes into the shower. Army asks Maish what they should do. Maish says he must find someone else to manage. Army asks what will happen to Mountain. He asks Army for a robe and says his head still hurts. Maish tells Mountain to sit down. He tells him the doctor said he has had it; he has to stop fighting. Mountain asks what he will do. Maish says he can do whatever he likes. Army suggests he go back to Tennessee, but Mountain says he does not know anyone there anymore.

         On the way out Pirelli (Stanley Adams) tells Maish he saw a slaughter and laughs. Maish says goodbye to Army, and a man follows him. Outside Mountain walks with Army.

         In a bar Army and Mountain order two beers. The bartender gives Mountain a free drink. Maish comes in and takes them to a booth. He asks Mountain what he did with his money. Mountain takes out $58, and Maish says he needs $3,000. Maish said he paid for a specialist. Mountain says he could get a job. Maish wishes he could buy a piece of a featherweight. Mountains feels like he does not belong anymore. He goes out to take a walk. Army says Maish bet against him, but Maish says he bet he would not go three rounds. The man asks Maish when his boss will be paid and steps on his hand until he answers, “Soon.” The man leaves. Army and Maish talk about Mountain. Army remembers when they waited for Mountain outside a hospital, and Maish cried. Army advises him to be careful and leaves.

         In the street Mountain punches a boxing poster. Maish stops him and tells him to take it easy. Mountain tells Maish he depends on him.

         At the New York employment office Army advises Mountain what to say. Mountain is called into the office and tries to take Army with him, but Army says he has to go in alone. Mountain asks Grace Carney (Kim Hunter) if his friend can come in too. She asks him questions for a form. He left school in the ninth grade. She asks his past employment, and he says he fought for Maish for fourteen years as a heavyweight. He says he would take dish-washing or anything. She asks about factory work or sales, but he says he would scare away customers. She says they will find something for him. He says he left his last job because he was hit so much he became punchy and may go blind. She says they will contact him if something comes up. She says she helped wounded men after the war. He wants to put down on the paper that he was almost the heavyweight champion of the world. She asks if it hurts, and he says he is used to it. He goes out, and she goes after him. She says they will find something he likes.

         In their hotel room Army asks Maish is he wants to play cards. Maish answers the phone and says he wants to talk to Pirelli himself. Army asks why he wants to talk to a wrestling promoter. Maish says how they could bill Mountain. Army says he will not take getting laughed at. Maish asks if he is sensitive. Maish says that Mountain owes him. Army says Mountain only has his pride left. Maish says Army can starve and stalks out.

         In the bar Grace comes in to see Mountain. He sees her, and they sit at a table. She says he gave her his hotel. She has never been there before. He says ex-fighters talk about the past. She has been thinking about him and wonders if he thought of working with children in athletics. She asks if he likes children. He says they will have to look at him and listen to him. He asks why she came. She wants to help. She asks for a beer, and he orders two beers. She asks for music, and he puts a coin in the jukebox. She says the music is pretty, and he agrees. He only knows the national anthem because they play it before fights. He talks about another fighter and pays for the beers. He got a glass for her, and they drink. He tells how Maish helped him. He asks why she is not married. He says she is beautiful. She encourages him to talk about his father. It reminds him of a fight, and he starts acting it out. She stops him and asks if there is anything else for him. She mentions the violins, and they laugh.

         They go out in the street, and she says she has to go home. He says he has not had a date before. He says a girl ran away from him after seeing his face. He calls a cab and opens the door for her. He says he had 111 fights and never took a dive. He is proud of that.

         In their hotel room Pirelli, Maish, and Army are waiting for Mountain. Maish gets a call from Mr. Hansen and says he will have it in a couple weeks. He promises to have it by a week from tomorrow. Mountain comes in, and they talk about the girl. Maish tells him that Pirelli is a wrestling manager. Pirelli says he could line up some matches for him. Mountain says he is not supposed to fight anymore. Maish says it is wrestling, not boxing. He does not know how to wrestle. Maish says they will call him the Mountaineer. Mountain says he would lose. Maish and Pirelli tell them they take turns winning and losing. Mountain says he never took a dive. Pirelli leaves, and Maish says Mountain owes him. Mountain leaves. Maish tells Army that he will come around. Maish asks Army to help him with him. Army says it is a burial. He says Mountain is a decent boy. If Maish takes him down, he will rot. Army says he can’t leave him alone and will be there. As he leaves, he asks why so many people have to feed off one man’s misery.

         Pirelli instructs two wrestlers what they are to do in the ring. Maish and Army come in, and Maish shows him the mountaineering hat. They laugh at the two wrestlers pulling each other faces. Maish asks for the rest of the money, and Pirelli says after the match. Pirelli steps out. Maish says he can’t sleep nights as Mountain comes in. He puts the hat on Mountain and says he could take it off after a short time. Mountain says he will be a clown. Pirelli comes in and asks for a picture. Mountain wants them to go away. Maish begs him not to walk away and says he bet Mountain would not go three rounds. Mountain asks why he bet against him. Maish says he is not a winner anymore. Now he must make money on losing. Mountain says he feels ashamed for the first time. He gets his coat and walks to the door. Army asks him to listen to him, and Mountain knocks him down. Mountain asks if he hurt him, and Army tells him to go. Pirelli sees him walking out and complains to Maish.

         In the bar ex-fighters asks Mountain about a fight, but he says he does not remember. He buys a beer. In the street Army meets Grace, who asks what happened. Army says he will listen to her. He asks her to give Mountain a ticket to Tennessee. He asks if she loves him, but she does not know. Army asks her to tell him that she likes him and that he is a decent man.

         Army finds Maish and tells him that Fox (Harry Landers) is outside and that it is a deal. The door opens, and Fox comes in. He grabs Maish and leads him out to meet a young boxer. Maish says he is like Mountain was. He says he wants to be a fighter. Maish says there are only eight champions, and the rest are also-rans. Army goes with them.

         In the bar Mike (Max Baer) talks about his past fights. Grace arrives and talks with Mountain, giving him the ticket. He walks away. She runs after him and kisses him on the cheek. He thanks her. She asks him to write to her and gives him her home address. He kisses her on the cheek and thanks her for not running away. He walks away, and she says goodbye.

         On a train a boy (Charles Herbert) says hello to Mountain and says he is a fighter. The boy asks him how to hold his hands, and Mountain instructs him. His mother asks if the boy is bothering him. He says he is heading home, and he will be working with kids. Mountain goes back to instructing him.

         This TV play exposes the brutality that boxing does to men who fight for years and the exploitation of the men who are employed to assist the fighter.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

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