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Blaxploitation » Grindhouse » »
Book of Numbers


1973       Raymond St Jacques

During the Depression Thirties, Blueboy Harris (RAYMOND ST. JACQUES) and David Greene (PHILIP THOMAS), the former, a big, lovable man-of-the-world in his fifties, and the latter a handsome, green-eyed 22-year old, are two waiters who've managed to save enough money to travel to a small southern town (El Dorado, Ark.). There they intend to set up a numbers bank, a form of gambling which still flourishes today. They set up the bank with the help of four Sisters (PAULINE HERNDON, ETHEL MARIE CRAWFORD, ETHEL MARIE BROOKS and HOPE CLARKE).

At Booker's, Blueboy explains his plans for setting up his numbers bank as Ma Booker (QUEEN ESTHER GENT), Mr. Booker (CHARLES F. ELYSTON), a local bruiser type named Makepeace Johnson (WILLIE WASHINGTON, JR.), a middle-aged man called Eggy (DOUG FINELL) and Pigmeat listen. They are soon joined by Georgia Brown (IRMA HALL), the madam of a local bordello, and three of her girls: Didi (CHIQUITA JACKSON), Honey (KATIE PETERS) and Becky (PAT PATERSON).

Before long, Blueboy and Dave are joined by three other

locals, Kid Flick (STERLING ST. JACQUES), Blip Blip (C. L. WILLIAMS) and Billy Bowlegs (D'URVILLE MARTIN), who sign on as numbers runners. Thus established, the El Dorado numbers bank begins to grow with increasing success.

In a nearby town, however, there is another numbers bank set up by a white man, Luis Antoine (GILBERT GREENE), and fronted by Black hood Joe Gaines (JERRY LEON) and his flunkies (RAY McDONALD and CHARLES LEWIS). They are also abetted by a white psychopathic killer, Carlos (FRANK de SAL).

In an effort to run Blueboy and his crew out of town and thus eliminate competition, Antoine has Carlos and his goons raid Blueboy's counting house, and destroy his numbers pads and adding machines.

Refusing to run, Blueboy has Flick, Blip Blip, Billy Bowlegs and Dave disguise themselves as Ku Klux Klansmen, drive to the headquarters of the rival group, set up a burning cross and frighten Antoine's Black associates out the back door. The phoney Black Klansmen then proceed to load Antoine's numbers pads into their pickup, destroying his machinery as they go.

But Blueboy's men are then surprised by a group of real Klansmen who see the burning cross and robes and plan to get in on what they think is some "good action." The whites soon realize that there are black faces beneath the familiar white hoods and the real Klansmen (DESMOND DHOOGE, FRANK SCHAEFER, BILL WHITE and JOHN KUHN) take off in pursuit of the Blacks. After a harrowing chase, the Klansmen are eluded.

Blueboy and Dave are back in business and in time a beautiful young local girl, Kelly Simms (FREDA PAYNE), is attracted to Dave and eventually moves in with him. She is opposed to the numbers operation and tries to talk Dave into giving it up.

Unexpectedly, the local constabulary stage a raid on the counting house. After stuffing whatever money is present into their own pockets, they arrest Blueboy. But the crafty old man beats the rap by pretending to be an ignorant, shuffling colored man when his trial on charges of gambling comes up. His case is dismissed and the whites still have no idea of how really big his operation is.

But their problems are far from over. Dave and Kelly are making love when they are interrupted by Carlos and his hoods. Carlos grabs Kelly and threatens to kill her. In an attempt to help Kelly, Dave rushes Carlos, who shoots Dave in the shoulder. Blueboy then enters and kills Carlos, but is himself killed by one of the hoods. Antoine, also present at this melee, is killed in an ensuing gunfight by Kelly.

The final scene finds Dave, Kelly, Kid Flick, Billy Bowlegs, Pigmeat and Makepeace leading a somber funeral procession for Blueboy. But a portent of the future is offered by Pigmeat, who stops long enough in the procession to take a bet from an onlooker.

And the El Dorado, Arkansas numbers bank rolls on.




Item Details:
1-Sheet 27x41 single-sided folded




Book of Numbers

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CAST

Blueboy Harris .......................... RAYMOND ST. JACQUES
Kelly Simms .......................... FREDA PAYNE
Dave Greene .......................... PHILIP THOMAS
Pigmeat Goins .......................... HOPE CLARKE
Makepeace Johnson .......................... WILLIE WASHINGTON, JR.
Eggy .......................... DOUG FINELL
Kid Flick .......................... STERLING ST. JACQUES
Blip Blip .......................... C. L. WILLIAMS
Billy Bowlegs .......................... D'URVILLE MARTIN
Joe Gaines .......................... JERRY LEON
Luis Antoine .......................... GILBERT GREENE
Carlos .......................... FRANK DE SAL
Sister Clara Goode .......................... TEMIE MAE WILLIAMS
Sister No. 2 .......................... PAULINE HERNDON
Sister No.3 .......................... ETHEL MARIE CRAWFORD
Bus Station Prostitute .......................... MIMI LEE DODD
Mr. Booker .......................... CHARLES F. ELYSTON
Mrs. Booker .......................... QUEEN ESTHER GENT
Georgia Brown .......................... IRMA HALL
Didi .......................... CHIQUITA JACKSON
Honey .......................... KATIE PETERS
Becky .......................... PAT PETERSON
Goon No. 1 .......................... RAY McDONALD
Goon No. 2 .......................... CHARLES LEWIS



Producer-Director .......................... RAYMOND ST. JACQUES
Associate Producers .......................... JOE DENNIS & MIKE FIELDS
Production Supervisor .......................... MARTY HORNSTEIN
Director of Photography .......................... GAYNE RESCHER
Based on the Novel by .......................... ROBERT DEANE PHARR
Music Composed and Arranged by .......................... AL SHACKMAN
Art Director .......................... BOB SHEPHERD
Film Editor .......................... IRV ROSENBLUM
Costume Designer .......................... GERTHA BROCK
Unit Manager .......................... JOHN TAYLOR
Make-up Artist .......................... TINO ZACCHIA
Special Effects .......................... CLIFF WENGER, SR.


Record on BRUT Records
A JOSEPH E. LEVINE and BRUT Presentation
AN AVCO EMBASSY RELEASE
Running Time: 80 Minutes
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