The Pruitts of Southampton
|The Pruitts of Southampton/
The Phyllis Diller Show
|Created by||David Levy
(based on the novel House Party by Patrick Dennis)
Gypsy Rose Lee
|Theme music composer||Vic Mizzy (two different themes were used during the season)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||30 [17 Pruitts of Southampton/13 Phyllis Diller Show]|
|Executive producer(s)||David Levy|
|Running time||30 min.|
|Production company(s)||Filmways TV Productions, in association with PhilDil Productions Limited|
|Original release||September 6, 1966 – September 1, 1967|
The Pruitts of Southampton is a situation comedy that aired during the 1966-67 season on the ABC network. The show was based on the novel House Party (1954) by Patrick Dennis. It was ABC's futile attempt to turn female stand-up comic Phyllis Diller into a sitcom comedienne very much in the style of Lucille Ball.
The program starred Diller as Phyllis Pruitt, and featured Gypsy Rose Lee and Richard Deacon in supporting roles with Diller feeling the series was an inverted version of The Beverly Hillbillies. The show's producers originally sought comic actress Beatrice Lillie in the Diller role.
The premise was that the Pruitts, a supposedly incredibly wealthy family living on Long Island in the Hamptons, were approached by the Internal Revenue Service about overdue taxes. An audit revealed that the Pruitts were in fact broke; rather than reveal this fact publicly and cause the economic depression which would presumably result from this revelation, an improbably charitable IRS allowed them to continue living in their mansion and maintaining the pretensions of great wealth, which was difficult given their reduced circumstances. By mid-season, in order to raise more money, Phyllis had opened the mansion to boarders, attracting a "nutty" collection of tenants as well, a group that included Paul Lynde as her hopeless brother, John Astin as her brother-in-law, and Marty Ingels as a handyman.
In the premiere episode, Phyllis Diller unsuccessfully tries to roast a chicken in her clothes dryer. On January 13, 1967, with the episode "Little Miss Fixit", the program changed its title to The Phyllis Diller Show.
The show was created by executive producer David Levy, who also served in the same capacity on the ABC television series The Addams Family from 1964 to 1966. When ABC canceled that show in the spring of 1966, a few Addams Family alumni were recruited for the Diller series. Vic Mizzy, who composed the finger-snapping theme song to The Addams Family, also composed the musical theme for Diller's show as well. John Astin, who played Gomez Addams on The Addams Family, joined the cast of The Phyllis Diller Show in January, 1967. In addition, the series marked a reunion for Astin and Marty Ingels who had starred in the 1962-1963 ABC-TV sitcom, I'm Dickens, He's Fenster. According to Television magazine, The Pruitts of Southampton finished 77th among the 91 shows rated during the 1966-1967 season. It began the season airing on Tuesdays, opposite The Red Skelton Hour on CBS, which finished second in the ratings. For the first half of the season, The Pruitts of Southampton followed ABC's unsuccessful The Rounders starring Ron Hayes, Patrick Wayne, and Chill Wills, loosely based on a 1965 film of the same name. In January, the Diller series moved to Fridays under its new title.
In the fall of 1968, NBC signed Diller to a weekly variety series hoping that the comedienne would have the same kind of success that Carol Burnett had achieved for the rival network CBS. The program, entitled The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show, was a ratings disaster and as a result, NBC canceled the show after three months.
|Episode #||Episode title||Original airdate|
|1-1||"Phyllis Goes Broke" (pilot)||September 6, 1966|
|1-2||"Phyllis, the Milkmaid"||September 13, 1966|
|1-3||"Phyllis Beats the Rap"||September 20, 1966|
|1-4||"Phyllis, Take A Letter"||September 27, 1966|
|1-5||"Phyllis, the Cookie Tycoon"||October 4, 1966|
|1-6||"Phyllis Fires the Butler"||October 11, 1966|
|1-7||"Phyllis Saves the Day"||October 18, 1966|
|1-8||"Phyllis Goes Commercial"||October 25, 1966|
|1-9||"Phyllis Entertains Royalty"||November 1, 1966|
|1-10||"Phyllis, the Upstairs Girl"||November 15, 1966|
|1-11||"Phyllis, the General Stealer"||November 22, 1966|
|1-12||"Phyllis, the Dress Maker"||November 29, 1966|
|1-13||"Phyllis Goes Arty"||December 6, 1966|
|1-14||"Santa Was A Lady"||December 13, 1966|
|1-15||"The Hubcap Caper"||December 20, 1966|
|1-16||"Phyllis, Queen of the Road"||December 27, 1966|
|1-17||"My Brother Harvey"||January 3, 1967|
|1-18||"Little Miss Fixit"*||January 13, 1967|
|1-19||"Learn To Be A Millionaire"||January 20, 1967|
|1-20||"The Ghost of Pruitt Mansion"||January 27, 1967|
|1-21||"Portrait of Krump"||February 3, 1967|
|1-22||"How To Rob A Millionaire"||February 10, 1967|
|1-23||"Nobody Here But Us Chickens"||February 17, 1967|
|1-24||"Phyllis, the Bat Girl"||February 24, 1967|
|1-25||"Marry A Million"||March 3, 1967|
|1-26||"Goddess of Love"||March 10, 1967|
|1-27||"My Sister-in-Law Phyllis"||March 17, 1967|
|1-28||"Krump, the Playboy"||March 24, 1967|
|1-29||"Phyllis, the Beauty Queen"||March 31, 1967|
|1-30||"The House Is Not A Zoo"||April 7, 1967|
*First episode as The Phyllis Diller Show
- Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows
- Diller, Phyllis; Buskin, Richard (2005). Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy. New York: The Penguin Group. pp. 190–193. ISBN 1-58542-396-3.
- The Curtain Will Rise Soon for 34 New Television Programs, published August 28, 1966, in the Reading Eagle, page 27; via Google News Archive
- 100 Favorite Moments in Television at scrubbles.net