Family Ties (1982–1989): Season 3, Episode 1 - The Gambler - full transcript

When ma Elyse has a convention speech in 'fascinating east coast resort' Atlantic City, she didn't plan to waste any time and money gambling, but brainiac Alex is dying to get his mathematical system tested and dad Steven makes sure they stay in a casino and play a few hands of blackjack. His luck runs out very soon, but Elyse has enough to win big with Alex's system. Of course casino lucks never lasts, yet when losing she's already hooked. When ma returns from her solo last run, she surprises the family with both results and conclusions...

♪ I bet we've been together
for a million years ♪

♪ and I'll bet we'll be together
for a million more ♪

♪ oh, it's like
I started breathing ♪

♪ on the night we kissed

♪ and I can't remember
what I ever did before ♪

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ and there ain't no nothin' ♪

♪ we can't love
each other through ♪

♪ ooh-hoo

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ sha-la-la-la

Yo, blackjack.

Again? You've beaten me
14 out of 15 hands.

Course I beat ya, Jennifer.

I'm playing with the Alex Keaton
blackjack system.

It's the work of a genius.

Okay, I've watched enough.

I think I got the hang of it.

Now, deal me in.

Okay. Ladies
and gentlemen,

place your bets.

One for the little lady.

One for the little man.

And one for the house.


Hit me.




Wai... Wai... W-W-Wait a minute.

Mallory, you got 46 showing.

So? Doesn't high man win?

For the last time, Mallory,

the object in blackjack
is to obtain a hand

having a value greater
than the dealer's hand,

but without being
over 21.

Hit me, Jen.

Yo, eight. I needed that.

Seventeen. You win again, Alex.

I'm tellin' ya Jennifer,

My system is gonna
help Mom and Dad

break the bank
in Atlantic City.

Forget it, Alex.

Mom and Dad are not
going to gamble.

Alex, The only reason
we're even going on this trip

is 'cause Mom
has to give a speech

to a bunch of architects
at some convention.

This trip is
all business to her.

## Walk in a dream ##

## On the boardwalk
In Atlantic City ##

## Life will be
Peaches and cream ##

## Wa ##

Haven't you guys gotten that
out of your system yet?

Mallory, we...
We're in a good mood.

We're gonna go
to Atlantic City.

It's the most exciting place
on the East Coast.

It's so rich
in history.

The old hotels,
the beaches,

the boardwalk!


Mom, don't forget gambling.

No gambling for us, Alex.

I still have to work to do
on my speech.

That's gonna take up
most of my free time.

I wouldn't say
no gambling, Elyse.

This is Atlantic City,

Las Vegas of
the Eastern Seaboard.

We wanna give that
ol' Keaton luck a try

Have you ever gambled
and won?


Th... That is like
throwing money out the window.

Yes, but that's
less entertaining.

Oh, there's the cab.

Let's go.

## On the boardwalk
In Atlantic City... ##

Isn't this
a great room, Elyse?

You can really smell
the fresh ocean air.


Does it make you feel...

...the way it makes me feel?

I don't know. Do you feel
like going over any notes?

I was hoping, at this stage
of our relationship,

that wouldn't be necessary.


I- I'm sorry, Steven.

I was thinking about
my presentation.

I'm a little nervous
about it.

Maybe this'll
help you relax.

It might.

I told you we
should've knocked first.

That wouldn't have
stopped 'em anyway.

So how do you two
like your room?

Great, but why do they have
mirrors on the ceiling?

Steven, they have our room.

I... I mean...

Uh, the, uh...

Th-the mirrors
on the ceiling are for, uh...

when in case you break your legs
and you wanna comb your hair.

Look, Mom. Tom Jones
is appearing in this very hotel.

Oh, maybe we can see his show.

Better yet, I might see him
in the lobby or something.

Room service, please.

Jennifer, I thought
we made it clear,

we have to economize
this trip.

No room service.

We don't need
room service, Jen.

It's so expensive.

We can eat great
and save a small fortune

with this coupon book
the travel agency sent.

Look at this:

for the five of us,

all you can eat
for $1.50.

This says we
have to eat breakfast

between 3:30 and 4:00
in the morning.

It'll work out fine. Look.

We'll set the alarm for 3:15.

We'll... W-We'll go downstairs
and eat a huge breakfast,

and if we really wolf it down,

you'll be back
in your bed by 4:00.

Okay, guys and dolls,

I have condensed the entire
Alex Keaton blackjack system

into 98 simple steps.

Here you go, Mom.

Alex, I do not want
to spend my weekend

sitting in some dark,
smoky room

with some desperate,
driven gamblers

just obsessed with the idea
of making a few miserable bucks

by the luck of the draw.

Why not?

Oh, my God!
There he is!

That's Tom Jones!

Look! Look!

That is not
Tom Jones, Mallory.

I think I know what Tom Jones
looks like, Jennifer. Thank you.

Then why is he
getting into the city bus?

Maybe he wants to go somewhere.

You ever think of that?

He's getting into
the driver's seat, Mallory.

Well, that doesn't
prove anything, Jennifer.

Give it up, Mallory.

Look, what do you say
we all go

for a walk
on the boardwalk, huh?

## Down on
The boardwalk ##

## Out of the sun ##

## Under
The boardwalk ##

## We'll be having fun ##

Wait. Wai... Wait a minute.
Wait a minute.

Where are you going?
You forgot your cards.

What, what, what,
what cards?

The Alex Keaton
blackjack system.

Alex, we're going
for a walk.

## Down on
The boardwalk ##

## Boardwalk ##

Yeah, well, look. Th... There are
blackjack tables on the way.

Maybe we can play
one or two hands, Elyse.

Well, okay, but I wanna
get back soon

so I can get my work done.

Okay, Dad, always remember:

split aces and eights,
never split picture cards,

always double down
on nines, tens, and 11s.

Okay, you got that?
Got it.

Mom, run that back to me.


All right. We'll get it
in the elevator.

You gotta
double down...

I know. I know.


Look at this, Dad.

Fortunes won and lost.

Hearts broken,
lives ruined,

free drinks.

Thisis what America
is all about.

Thank you,
Thomas Jefferson.

Whoa, Dad.

Mom, I'm hungry.

Oh, can I get some ice cream?

Oh, in a few minutes, honey.

Your dad and I are gonna play
a couple hands of blackjack

and then we'll
go have a snack.

Hey, hey, Mom. Mom, look,
what are you doing?

Every second you delay
means interest lost

on the money
we're gonna win.

Oh, there's Tom Jones!
There's Tom Jones!

He's coming this way.
Here he comes.

Good call, Mal.

Looked like him
from a distance, Alex.

Come on, Elyse.
You wanna give it a try?

Well, we might as well
get it over with.

Now, You guys stay behind
the rope, here,

and don't get in any trouble.

I'm sorry, but only people
over 21 admitted.

Oh, well,
I'll stay back here.

Dealer has 21.

What do you think
I should do, Elyse?

Oh, don't ask me, Steven.

I can only
think about my speech.


Didn't you read the cards
that Alex gave you?

Since the deck is rich in tens,
you've gotta stick,

figuring the dealer's four
will bust him.

You heard her. Stick.

Twenty-three. A bust.

Hey, we won.

Come on, let's cash in
those chips.

Oh, come one, Elyse, why don't
you just play one game?

Well, oh, all right.

Come on.

Guess it'd be silly to come
all the way to Atlantic City

and not play one hand
of blackjack.

Hey, Mom. How's it going?

Remember: If the dealer has
a four, five, or six showing,

you wanna stick on 12.

If he's got three...

...hit to 13.

Seven or above,
hit to 17.

It's great to see
a mother and son

enjoying a common interest.

Okay, see, the dealer
has a picture.



17 for the dealer.

Hey, hey, we win.

I gotta get in on this.


How you doing?
I'm big Al from Vegas.

Vinnie says hello.

Excuse me, son,

didn't I tell you
you weren't allowed here?

Who, me? No, you've never
seen me before.

I'm just here with my wife
and my brother-in-law.

Nice try, kid.

See you later, hon.



On that note,
let's call it a day.

Come on, honey.
Let's hit the boardwalk.

Can it, Steven.
We're not going anywhere.

Hit me over here.


Hit here, but be gentle.

Ooh. Soft 16. Hit me again.

Ooh. Stick.

Hit me over here on the end.

Stick. Thanks, Eddie.

My pleasure, Elyse.

The lady wins on all three.


Way to go, Mom.
Hang in there.

How you doing?
Nice to see you.

You've won quite a bit
of money, Elyse.

Why don't we just
cash in now?

Oh, Steven, everything
is under control, baby.

One more hour
and we are in Fat City.

Okay, now, Eddie,
I'm doubling my bets.

Be nice to me.

Mom, can I
go backstage

and hang around
Tom Jones' dressing room?

Sure, honey.
Say hi to Tom for me.

Mom, I'm really getting hungry.

Here's $10,
get yourself some ice cream.

Mom, uh, I saw this girl
in the lobby...

Okay. Stick, stick,

hit me here.

Whoo! Perfecto.


The lady wins again.

Sixty-one, 62...


Mom, you ready
for this?

I'm ready!

I'm ready!

You have won...

1,263 bucks.

Mom, we did it!

Mom, are we rich?

No, we're not rich.

We're well-to-do.

Oh, am I glad
you didn't quit, Elyse.

That was an incredible
string of luck.

This is great.

Okay, Mom.
All right, listen.

You're on a roll. You're playing
with the casino's money.

Nothing can stop you now.

At this point,
the Keaton system

takes a quantum leap.

We being quadrupling
all the bets.

Hold it, hold it, you're not
going back down there

to play again, are you?

She can't play up here, Dad.

Can't play up here, Steve.

What were you saying?
I'm gonna quadruple my...

No, wait. Elyse.

May I interject here, please?

What... What's a matter, Steven?

Well, Why don't we just quit
while we're ahead?

There are plenty of other things
to do here.

Uh, go see the old boardwalk,
the beaches,

salt water taffy.

It's a beautiful day.

Let's get out in the fresh air.

When you're back
down in the pit, Mom,

don't let anything
distract you.

All I see are the cards,

all I hear is the dealer.

I'm glad I made such
an impression on you.

You're supposed to give
a presentation in three hours.

I am way ahead of you, Steven.

I'll change clothes now,

take the papers down to
the table with me,

and I'll go to the conference
straight from there.

All right, I think...


You ordered
room service, sir.

I don't think so.

I ordered a snack, honey.

Come on in.

Over there.

Can't lose.
I can't lose.

Keep 'em comin', Eddie.
Keep 'em comin'.

Hi, Elyse.
Remember me?

Steven, what are
you doing here?

I thought you took the girls
for a walk on the boardwalk.

Uh, I did. We've been gone
for over two hours.

It was that long?

Hit. Stick. Stick. Hit. Stick.

Glad to see you,

The lady wins again.


Still winning, huh?

Oh, Steven, I wanna move here,
to Atlantic City.

Oh, S...

The salt air,
the chips.

The kids could go to school
right here in the casino.

And They could learn
the three Rs:

reading, 'riting, and roulette.

Bets down, Elyse.

Oh. Uh, 50...

Wait. 50... $50 on one hand?

Uh. No, That's $50
on each of five hands.

Oh, I see. On each of...

five hands?

Dealer has blackjack.

Elyse, you just lost $250.

Oh, come on, Dad.
We can't win every hand.

That's why they call it
a game of chance.

I know that Alex.

What are you
doing over here?

I kinda got swept in here
by the crowd.

Let's just see if they can
sweep you back over there, okay?


Mom? Psst, Mom?

What is it?

Mom, it's 6:00.

Isn't it time
for your conference?

My what?
That's right.

Your conference
is about to start.

You know, the main reason
we came out here.

Mallory, go up to
the Palisades convention room.

There'll be about 400
architects there.

Tell 'em you're my daughter.

Read 'em this speech.

Mom, I don't know anything
about architecture.

Well, how do you expect
to learn unless you try.

Let me know how it goes.

We flew halfway across
the country for you to speak

to this convention.

It'll be a big honor for you.

It'll be a big honor
for Mallory.

Okay. I'm gonna stick with 20.

17, 17, 13, 13.

The lady holds.

The dealer has 13,
and 8 is 21.

You just lost
another $250, Elyse.

Th... That was my eight!

I- I would've had 21
with that eight.

Hey, hey, Mom, Mom, Mom.
Don't panic.

Here's what you do.

Okay, kid, what are you
doing here?

I'm, uh, studying
to be a pit boss

and I wanted to learn
from the best.

No, huh?

I'm outta here.

Come on, Elyse.
Make this the last hand.

We still have enough money
for a nice dinner.

The lady's a loser.

I wasn't hungry anyway.

I don't understand, Steven.

Bets up, Elyse.

How's Mom doing?

Oh, don't be
so negative, Jennifer.

Her luck will change.

Worse than I thought.

Mom? Mom?

What is it?

Um, this woman here
liked your speech.

She has a-a-a question about
the relative advantages

of wind power
over solar power.

Wind power's better.

Uh, use it. You'll love it.

Hit me.
An ace.

I'll stick with 20.

Fifteen, six is 21.
Lady's a loser.

The lady's not a loser.

She lost a hand, that's all.

Bets up, please.


Alex. I need some more money.

I- I-I can't get even
on $2.00 bets.

Look, Mom,
why don't you take a break.

You're losing
your concentration.

I don't need a break, Alex.

I need more money.

Mallory, Mallory.

What is it?

Uh, give me all the money
you've got on you.

Mom, I don't have any.

Elyse, that is it.

We are getting
out of here right now.

Uh, yoo-hoo!


Remember me?

You liked my speech
on wind power and architecture?

Could I borrow $20?

Mom, listen. Look.

There... There are still
a few bugs in my system.

So why don't you take a break.
Relax. Have something to eat.

Will you quit
bothering me, Alex?

You're not even
supposed to be in here.

Henry! Henry, uh, would you
come over here, please?

There's someone underage
bothering the players.

Never mind, Mom.

Come on, Eddie. Deal.

Elyse, I'm taking
the girls upstairs.

Wha...? Oh... Ss...

What...? Who is it?

It's me, Alex.

Alex, what time is it?


I couldn't sleep.

Guess you couldn't
either, huh?

I might have dozed
for a minute.

What's going on?


Dad and I couldn't sleep.

Guess you guys
couldn't either, huh?

Not since you got here.

Hasn't mom come back yet,
at all?

Nope. I Went down to the casino
about two hours ago,

she was still playing.

You know, Dad, uh...

I kind of feel
responsible for this.

If I hadn't pushed you and Mom
so hard to gamble,

none of this
would have happened.

It's not really
your fault, Alex.

Yeah. You're right.

Mom went nuts.


Uh, I-I didn't expect
you'd all be up.

We couldn't sleep.

Just come from the casino?

I left the casino
about an hour ago.

The bottom fell out, Steven.

I see.

So, uh...

I- I took a stroll
along the boardwalk.

## Under the boardwalk ##

You'll... You'll forgive me
if I'm not in the mood

for a sing-along right now.

I... I forgive you.

I'm sorry, honey,
but I saw this coming.

You got seduced by the thrill
of getting rich quick,

and you totally
lost all perspective,

you fell right
into their trap.

You win big for awhile,

but inevitably the odds
catch up with you.

So how much did you lose?



I won almost $2,000.


Mallory, if I'm dreaming,
please don't wake me up.

You have my word.

Elyse, I don't get it.

You said...

Th... The bottom falling out.

It did fall out,

An hour ago, I-I was sitting
at that table,

and I'd just won my 18th
consecutive hand.

And the dealer handed me
a stack of chips that big.

There was more money than I'd
ever seen in my life before.

And at that moment,

I never felt more empty
or alone...

in my life.

You weren't alone.
You had the chips.

Th... Th... Then I
tried to think about...

what this weekend
was supposed to mean.

The conference,
for one thing.

You know, I-I had
an opportunity to...

To present an exciting
and innovative paper

to my fellow architects.

A paper I'd spent
months preparing.

And I gave it all away.

And then I...

I thought about you guys

and how I'd ignored you

and mistreated you.

I just turned away
from my family

so that I could
win more money.

It's okay, honey. It's okay.


what you did
was terrible.

We're rich!
We're rich!

It was so scary, Steven.

The only thing I lived for
was my next blackjack hand.

Let's just call it
temporary insanity.

I'm glad it's all over.

Mom, you look awful.

Let's get some room service
up here,

And then we'll all
feel a lot better.

Yeah, Jen. Do you want
to call or should I?

No. No. No room service.

Why not, Mom?
We're rich.

Yeah... No, see,
you don't understand.

We are not rich.

We are not even well-to-do.

Come on, Mom.

Uh, We are not high rollers
like you are.

To us, 2000 bucks is rich.

No, but you see,

this money isn't
ours anymore.

What do you mean?

Well, after I left
the blackjack table,

I- I put the money
in the hotel safe

and I went for a stroll
on the boardwalk.

And about a mile away
I found a Midnight Mission,

and I went in,
and I pledged $2000 to them.

All of this?

No. This is 1800.

We owe the other 200.

Let me see if
I hear you correctly, Elyse.

You won $1800
playing blackjack,

and we are in debt for $200
to the Midnight Mission.

That's right.

We're poor.
We're poor.

Okay. Okay,
Let's not panic here.

I don't think any pledge
made at 3:30 in the morning

is legally binding
in the state of New Jersey.

It is binding, Alex,
because I pledged it.

They don't know you here, Mom.

We can put
a fake mustache on ya

and sneak you across
the state line.

You make a father
proud, Alex.

Don't you see?

I- I had to do this.

I- I had to do something

to get rid of that
terrible feeling that I had.

If... If I kept this money,

I'd have never felt good
about myself again.

This is tainted money!

There is no such thing
as tainted money, Mom.

Alex, that's enough.

I hope you all

We do, Elyse.

If you felt
that strongly about it,

then giving away that money
was absolutely the right...

You gave it all away?

You did the right thing.
You did the right thing.

Right, kids?

We're with you, Mom.


Is the mission still open?

'Cause I could go over there
and talk to the guy.

You did
the right thing, Mom.

I love you all so much.

I'm still hungry.

Do you still have
those coupons, Dad?