Flamingo Road (TV series)
|Created by||Robert Wilder (Novel)|
|Developed by||Rita Lakin|
|Theme music composer||Gerald Fried|
|Opening theme||"Flamingo Road"|
|Composer(s)||Gerald Fried (1.1, 1.2, 1.8)
Elliot Kaplan (1.14, 2.1, 2.3, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 2.14, 2.15, 2.16, 2.18)
Charles Albertine (2.13, 2.19, 2.21)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||38 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Michael Filerman
Edward S. Feldman
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Michael Filerman Productions
|Original release||May 12, 1980– May 4, 1982|
Flamingo Road is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on NBC. It was first seen as a TV movie on May 12, 1980, and as a series on January 6, 1981, after a rebroadcast of the pilot on December 30, 1980. The show is based on the 1949 movie starring Joan Crawford, which is, in turn, based on the novel by Robert Wilder. Flamingo Road was created to compete against CBS's Dallas and Knots Landing, nighttime dramas that were inspired by the daily afternoon soap operas that had been a staple of TV for years.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Reception
- 3 Plot summary
- 4 Cast and characters
- 5 Differences from 1949 film
- 6 Broadcast
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The series took place in the fictional town of Truro, Florida, which was situated on the inside of a corner of the panhandle. Action revolved around the various characters of the show, most of whom had ties to the very wealthy Weldon family, who resided on ritzy Flamingo Road: Claude, who gained his fortune through the paper industry; Eudora, his naive wife; Constance, their believed to be adopted daughter, and Skipper, their son who was in his early 20s. Fielding Carlyle was Constance's husband, whilst Lane Ballou was his frequent mistress. Lane worked for bar owner Lute-Mae Sanders, Constance's biological mother (Claude was her biological father, but no one knew it). At Lute-Mae's Lane became good friends with Sam Curtis, a construction magnate, whom she later married. Other important members in the cast were Titus Semple, the ruthless sheriff, and Elmo Tyson, editor of the Truro Clarion and Eudora's high school sweetheart.
Though the show was initially popular, it soon succumbed to being scheduled against ABC's hit romance/mystery Hart to Hart. NBC pulled the plug on the show in Spring 1982, though reruns aired in the timeslot until mid summer of that year. Several of its stars went on to become famous for other works, including Morgan Fairchild, Mark Harmon, John Beck, and Woody Brown. Others were already relatively known when the series debuted, such as Howard Duff, Stella Stevens, Cristina Raines, and Barbara Rush.
As the 1981–82 season ranked No. 68 out of 105 shows, NBC executives planned a daytime version of the primetime series to debut in September 1982, but this never came to pass  despite the fact a bible for a third season had been drafted by producer Jeff Freilich.
Pilot (May 12, 1980, 2 hrs)
In the first part of the TV movie, we learn about how Lane Ballou, a singer with Coyne's Traveling Circus, was left behind when the circus was run out of Truro, Florida. She is found by Deputy Fielding Carlyle, and they begin to bond over time. The sheriff, Titus Semple, is dismayed at this, because he wants Fielding to someday become a Senator, and he believes that he must marry the rich bitch socialite Constance Weldon. Lane stays in town and she and Field embark on a secret affair. Lane also takes a job at the Eagle Cafe, alongside Annabelle Troy, a middle-class young woman who is dating Constance's brother Skipper. Constance starts planning her wedding, and begins to worry about Field's whereabouts when he would be with Lane. Lute-Mae Sanders, a local bordello owner, starts worrying about Constance, who does not know that Lute-Mae is her biological mother. At the end of the hour, Lane is falsely picked up for solicitation.
In the second hour, Lane comes back to town and gets a job at Lute-Mae's, angering Titus, who thought he had finally gotten rid of her. Lute-Mae is confronted by the sheriff, but has the upper hand in the situation and Lane stays. Field and Constance are married in the Weldons' backyard, and much of the town is in attendance. Those who are not, though, are partying at Lute-Mae's, where Lane is miserable over Field's nuptials. Lute-Mae steps out and heads over to the reception to have a quick chat with Claude, Constance's father. Claude comforts her, much to the dismay of an observant Eudora Weldon, Claude's wife. She gets even and gets "comforted" by Elmo Tyson, claiming that "it's hard to watch my little girl get married." Annabelle dies in a fire set at the Weldon Paper Mill & Company, where Skipper planned to meet her.
Season One (January 6, 1981 – April 2, 1981, 15 episodes)
The series began with a steady start. Field and Constance honeymoon in the Bahamas, yet most of the time out there, Field is thinking of Lane. They are abducted by a couple hired by a drug dealer that received a bad deal from Titus. When they return, however, the drama continues. Field keeps his relationship up with Lane, including taking her with him on a business trip to Tallahassee. Constance gets wind of Field's deception and conspires with Titus to get Lane sent out of town, but they prove unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Mary Troy, Annabelle's mother, comes to town upon learning of her daughter's violent death. She, Skipper, and Lane, come to the conclusion that the Weldon fire was an arson, though they are never quite sure who set it up. It is discovered that Annabelle was Sheriff Titus Semple's illegitimate daughter from years before after he forced himself on her mother Mary.Field goes back to drinking and is drunk on the day of an important campaign function, resulting in Constance blabbing unconfirmed information about his opponent. In the end, however, Field wins the election is made a Senator of Florida. After various fights and arguments, the Carlyles separate. Skipper, on the other hand, begins a relationship with new girl in town Christie Kovacs, who moved to Truro to live with her overbearing sister Alice who worked at the Weldon Paper Mill and who was secretly in love with Claude.Christie leaves Truro for good after being paid off for having a brief affair and then surviving a car accident with Field. Not long after Alice resigns and also leaves Truro after realizing Claude would never return her feelings. Skipper also prepares to leave town to accept a job in New Orleans, but decides to stay after Claude is seriously injured in an accident at the mill.
Lane becomes frightened when she realizes that a murderer is after her, because she has inside information about a killing that went on several years earlier. Her friend from the circus, Beth McDonald, is killed, and within weeks, Lane is secretly kidnapped. While she is gone, Field and Constance finally divorce. Hurricane Michelle storms towards town and leaves most of the main cast stuck at Lute-Mae's, with the exception of Elmo and Eudora who have dinner at the Clarion's headquarters. The hurricane sends Lane's kidnappers back to Lute-Mae's as well, and try to play on the act that they all entered the bar separately. Soon, though, hell breaks loose and one of the men is shot, while they are all arrested. Field comforts Lane, but Constance breaks them up, claiming that the divorce papers she had drawn were fakes and that she and Field were still married. In a rage, Field sent Constance over the railing at the top of the stairs and onto the floor.
Season Two (November 3, 1981 – May 4, 1982, 22 episodes)
Constance survives her fall, but is paralyzed indefinitely from the waist down as a result. Claude is ready to press charges on (and kill) Field for pushing down his little girl, but Constance agrees to keep him quiet if Field continues their farce of a marriage. He agrees to her terms. While in the hospital, Lute-Mae and Claude have a candid talk about Constance, not knowing that Eudora is in the chapel with them. She soon learns that Lute-Mae and Claude are Constance's biological parents. Lute-Mae faces her own problems, though, when she is raped by a delivery boy who works for the grocery store she shops at. Since the boy is part of an affluent Flamingo Road family, Titus refuses to press charges against him, but Lane and Lute-Mae soon get their justice. Field, acting as Senator, tries to fix a Cuban barrio in town, but then discovers that Claude Weldon owns it, though it is signed in Eudora's name.
Michael Tyronne makes his first appearance in town, bidding against Sam for a piece of waterfront property. Sam also becomes closer to Lane as the two slowly start to fall in love. After winning the bidding war with Sam, Michael also wants to buy the Cuban barrio, but Eudora does not want to sell, despite Claude's efforts to make her think otherwise. Eudora becomes addicted to painkillers and is sent to live in a mental sanitarium eventually to recover and return to Flamingo Road.
Constance regains the use of her legs, but realizes that while she was in her wheelchair, Field felt softer to her and that a reconciliation might happen. She pretends to still be paralyzed, but the truth comes out when Eudora has a fit for pills and Constance hops out of her chair to help her. Field happens to pass by the open door to Eudora's room and sees Constance out of her chair, running frantically around Eudora.
While Eudora is away, Claude forges her signature to sign over the barrio property to Tyronne. Tyronne has Titus evict the Cubans who live there, which includes two early 20 somethings who have ties to the Weldon family: Julio Sanchez, who starts a sexual relationship with Constance, and his sister Alicia, who falls in love with Skipper. Skipper and Alicia's relationship seemed doomed. They were working late at the Clarion office one night when an explosion went off. They both survived, but Skipper lost his sight in the accident. Soon they eloped and moved into the Weldon mansion together.
Michael Tyronne finally gets the barrio property and wants to build a casino resort on it. The problem is that gambling is illegal in Florida. He tries all he can to make Field rock the vote in the Senate to legalize gambling. Tyronne buys the bank that Claude has the Weldon Mill's trust at and forecloses on it, making Field the new owner. As much as this pleases Field, he still goes against Tyronne's plans. Tyronne loses the barrio, however, when Eudora gets wind of her name being forged.
Fielding begins to stray away from Constance again, but not with Lane (who had gotten married to Sam in a beautiful ceremony). He meets a reporter named Sandy Swanson and they fell in love. Unknown to Field, though, Sandy was Michael Tyronne's sister. Tyronne had vengeance on his mind when he came to Truro. Over 20 years ago, Tyronne's father had lived in Truro. He was convicted of a murder and Fielding's father, Judge Andrew Carlyle, and Titus, who was still the sheriff back then, had him receive the death penalty. Tyronne firmly believed that his father was innocent, despite the endless evidence that pointed to his guilt. Still, Tyronne wanted everyone connected to Titus and Judge Carlyle to suffer. His method of destruction was voodoo. He kills Sandy by having her car go off a cliff, because she was sleeping with Field.
After Tyronne beds most of the women on the show, and Constance beds most of the men, they find each other, but only for a while. Tyronne leaves her for a few rendezvous with Lute-Mae, after finding out that she is Constance's mother. Lane is shocked that Lute-Mae would date a man like Tyronne, and it drives a wedge between the longtime friends. Lane also has good news. She and Sam are expecting a baby.
Field finally cuts his ties with Tyronne when he decides to resign from the Senate, making him useless in Tyronne's urge to make gambling legal in Florida. This angers Tyronne much more, and leads him to get his job done faster. He plots to drive Titus insane and reveals to Constance her true parentage. Soon after, though, someone gets the guts to kill him. After he dies, many people are suspected in the crime, everyone from Lute-Mae to Constance to Eudora to Claude. Lute-Mae is revealed as the killer, however, in the series' last scene was of Michael's spirit rising from a burning barn and later being seen hidden away in a monastery, revealing to the audience that he was not dead.
Cast and characters
Starring in alphabetical order
- John Beck as Sam Curtis.
- Proprietor of Sam Curtis Construction. Bedfellow of Constance and later, devoted husband to Lane. Field's campaign manager.
- Woody Brown as Skipper Weldon.
- Claude and Eudora Weldon's son. Soon goes blind and marries the poor Alicia Sanchez.
- Peter Donat as Elmo Tyson.
- Editor of the town's newspaper, The Truro Clarion and secret admirer of Eudora. Candidate for Sheriff. Elmo was played by Mason Adams in the pilot. Elmo (originally named Elmo Weldon) was to have been Claude Weldon's first cousin, but this plotline was scrapped before production began on the pilot.
- Howard Duff as Titus Semple.
- Corrupt sheriff of Truro County. Has done many dirty deeds, such as setting Lane Ballou up as a prostitute and orchestrating the Weldon Mill fire. Sheriff Semple was originally to have been the long-lost father of Lane, but this plotline was dropped before the series made it to air.
- Morgan Fairchild as Constance Weldon Carlyle.
- Wealthy, spoiled daughter of Claude and Eudora. Married to Field, yet sleeps with everyone but him. Rival of Lane.
- Mark Harmon as Fielding 'Field' Carlyle.
- Constance's husband and high school sweetheart. Started as a deputy but became a Senator. Lover of Lane and Sandy and one-time ally of Michael.
- Kevin McCarthy as Claude Weldon.
- Overly nervous paper mill owner and ally of Titus'. Secretly fathered Constance with Lute-Mae.
- Cristina Raines as Lane Ballou Curtis.
- Streetwise singer who works for Lute-Mae at her bar. Carried on a relationship with Field before marrying Sam.
- Barbara Rush as Eudora Flowers Weldon.
- Claude's long suffering wife . She befriends Lute-Mae.
- Stella Stevens as Lute-Mae Sanders.
- Kind, friendly ex-madam who owns a bar/brothel. Mother figure for Lane and Sam.
- Fernando Allende as Julio Sanchez (Season 2 only).
- Bitter son of one of Sam's workers, and one of Constance's many lovers.
- Joel Bailey as Tony.
- Handyman at Lute-Mae's who ends up blackmailing her.
- Denise Galik as Christie Kovacs (Season 1 only).
- Skipper's devious girlfriend in the first season who bed's Fielding Caryle and leaves town after surviving a car accident with Fielding.
- Gina Gallego as Alicia Sanchez Weldon (Season 2 only).
- Julio's younger sister who eventually marries Skipper.
- Alice Hirson as Mary Troy (Season 1 only).
- Annabelle Troy's mother, who comes to Truro to investigate her daughter's death.
- Dianne Kay as Annabelle Troy (Pilot only)
- Young woman who is Skipper's girlfriend and Sheriff Titus Semple's illegitimate daughter. She dies in the Weldon mill fire.
- Sandra Kerns as Beth McDonald (Season 1 only).
- Old friend of Lane's who is killed.
- Melba Moore as Alma (Pilot only)
- Marcia Rodd as Alice Kovacs (Season 1 only).
- Christie's stern older sister who was secretly in love with Claude Weldon and leaves Truro not long after her sister does
- Esther Rolle as Julia (Season 2 only).
- Michael's mysterious voodoo high priestess.
- David Selby as Michael Tyronne (Season 2 only).
- Cunning and debonair businessman who is out for revenge.
- John Shearin as Deputy Tyler (Season 1 only).
- The deputy that replaces Field upon his arrival in the Senate.
- Cynthia Sikes as Sandy Swanson (Season 2 only).
- Michael's reporter sister who falls for Field and is killed by voodoo.
- Carmen Zapata as Lupe Sanchez (Season 2 only).
- Julio and Alicia's Puerto Rican mother.
- Glenn Robards as Jasper (entire run)
- The Weldon family's trusty butler.
- Charlie Robinson as Phil (Season 1 only)
- The main bartender at Lute-Mae's.
Differences from 1949 film
In the 1949 movie that inspired the series, Joan Crawford's Lane was much older and more hard-edged. Other notable differences with the show were the names of Constance Weldon and Sam Curtis, who were called Annabelle Weldon and Dan Reynolds, respectively.
Given the constraints on the 1940s film industry, the movie had departed in some ways from the original novel, toning down the sexual subject matter and changing the location from Florida to an unnamed Southern state. The series restored some of the frankness and again explicitly identified Florida as the setting, as the novel had done.
In France, the show was shown on the now defunct channel La Cinq, then owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The show was aired in Turkey on the state-owned network TRT from 1981-1982. Its popularity ended up with many establishments, particularly patisseries, to be named "Flamingo Yolu" (Turkish literal translation) after the series, and even some municipalities throughout Turkey named parks and promenades as that.