Home Television Drama Flamingo Road

Flamingo Road

1 9 8 1 – 1 9 8 2 (USA)
39 x 60 minute episodes

Flamingo Road showed that you can’t make a successful soap out of any old bunch of sexy scandals.

Based on a novel by Robert Wilder set in the American deep south (and a 1949 movie adaptation starring Joan Crawford), it ran for two seasons only in America (on NBC) and was bought by the BBC for screening in the UK in 1982 and 1983.

Produced by the same company responsible for CBS’ Dallas, it was colourful, melodramatic and seemed at first like Dallas with politics, a brothel and mango groves, with a similar mix of corruption, sex, financial manipulation and political jockeying – albeit on a smaller scale.

flamingoroad_stella

British and American audiences both soon tired of going down its pink-feathered paths though and found none of the characters likeable or even strong enough to tolerate.

Also their names – Lute-Mae, Eudora and Lane Ballou – just made us giggle.

Morgan Fairchild as Constance Weldon was a spectacular bitch, it must be said. Probably the most beautiful aristocratic bitch in the soap firmament.

Spoiled by her rich adoptive parents, her marriage to the politically ambitious Fielding Carlyle (who loved another, naturally) began the action.

While Constance proceeded to rip the clothes off every man in the steamy little town (only Skipper, her young brother, escaped), Field dithered and dallied with Lane, a poor carnival queen with a heart of gold.

Even though played by budding heartthrob Mark Harmon, Field Carlyle was so puny – especially in scenes with Howard Duff as scheming wheeler-dealer Sheriff Titus Semple who controlled the town.

The first series ended with Constance falling off a staircase.

By the second series, David Selby had joined as the evil tycoon Michael Tyrone, to have an affair with Lute-Mae, the brothel-owner, and so discovering that Constance was really her child.

Then he bedded Constance, shattering her with the truth, and sending the now deranged Lute-Mae into a sanatorium, threatening Lane and her new husband and practising voodoo against Titus (like you do).

In the last episode, he faked his own murder, hid in a monastery and had Titus blamed.

Field had contemplated suicide at one point, but was so boring no-one can remember if he did it or not . . .

David Selby and Morgan Fairchild lived to see better traumas in Falcon Crest; John Beck, who played Lane’s lover, went on to Dallas and Mark Harmon to St Elsewhere.

Constance Weldon Carlyle
Morgan Fairchild
Fielding Carlyle 

Mark Harmon
Sheriff Titus Semple 

Howard Duff
Lute-Mae Sanders 

Stella Stevens
Claude Weldon 

Kevin McCarthy
Eudora Weldon 

Barbara Rush
Lane Ballou 

Cristina Raines
Sam Curtis 

John Beck
Skipper Weldon 

Woody Brown
Elmo Tyson 

Peter Donat
Michael Tyrone 

David Selby
Jasper 

Glenn Robards
Tony 

Joel Bailey,
Deputy Tyler 

John Shearin
Christie Kovacs 

Denise Galik
Alice Kovacs 

Marcia Rodd
Slade 

Michael Baseleon
Julio Sanchez 

Fernando Allende
Alicia Sanchez 

Gina Gallego
Sandy Tyrone, Swanson 

Cynthia Sikes
Aareth 

John McCann