1 9 6 6 – 1 9 6 7 (USA)
30 x 30 minute episodes
The Pruitts of Southampton were just like the Rockefellers or the Vanderbilts, except for two things: they were broke and Mrs Pruitt looked, dressed and acted like Phyllis Diller.
For reasons that don’t matter very much, the Pruitts were obliged to keep up appearances of wealth in their Long Island mansion while trying to reconcile themselves to the squalid life of a family with only eight rooms, one butler – Sturgis (Grady Sutton) – and one car.
Phyllis had to do the cooking, which gave her an opportunity to stuff a turkey while wearing full-length gloves, then put it into the washer to cook.
Each episode involved Phyllis trying a new harebrained scheme to raise money and keep it from the IRS, while self-deprecating stand-up comedienne Phyllis Diller clowned her way through the role of the tapped-out society matron with all the delicacy of a bulldozer.
Ned (Reginald Gardiner) was her octogenarian uncle; Harvey (Paul Lynde) her talent scout brother; and Stephanie (Pam Freeman) her 22-year-old daughter.
Regina Wentworth (Gypsy Rose Lee) was her nosy neighbour and Mr Fred Baldwin (Richard Deacon) was the IRS Agent who became a live-in accountant.
The format changed midseason to depict Phyllis’s adventures as a landlady when she began an elegant boarding house in an attempt to pay off her $10 million debt to the IRS.
John Astin was added as Phyllis’s inventor brother-in-law Rudolph Angus Pruitt and Marty Ingels as Norman Krump, the neighbourhood handyman. Guest stars included Ann B Davis, Arte Johnson, Ted Cassidy and Bob Hope.
Phyllis Diller died on 20 August 2012, at the age of 95.
Uncle Ned Pruitt
Gypsy Rose Lee
Mr Fred Baldwin