Flamingo Road was a prime time soap opera that ran on NBC from 1980 to 1982. It was first seen as a made-for-TV movie in 1980. The show was based on the 1949 Joan Crawford movie which, in turn, was based on a novel by Robert Wilder. Unlike the film, the sexual suggestiveness was frank (as it had been in the novel), and the show was set in Florida, and not in an abstract Southern state.
Flamingo Road takes its name from the fictitious road, the ritziest street, in the equally fictional community of Truro, Florida. Truro was located inside a corner of the Florida Panhandle and was very steamy for such a small community.
Running the town was County Sheriff Titus Semple (Howard Duff). He was a long-time law enforcer who was thoroughly corrupt (having committed many crimes while being the community's chief law enforcement officer) and pretty much got his way in everything.
One of the more wealthier families in town was the Weldon family, who ran the local paper mill, and lived on Flamingo Road.
The family was comprised of Claude (Kevin McCarthy); his wife, Eudora (Barbara Rush); his daughter, Constance (Morgan Fairchild) and his son, Skipper (Woody Brown).
Constance was the town's best known home wrecker, sleeping with pretty much every male in Truro, despite her marriage to her high school sweetheart, Fielding Carlyle (Mark Harmon), a former deputy of Titus Semple, who was a State Senator.
Field, as he was known, was no saint, either. He slept around himself, due to Constance's cheating on him, with reporter Sandy Swanson (Cynthia Sikes); and others.
However, what everyone did not know was that Claude had fathered Constance with Lute-Mae Sanders (Stella Stevens), the owner of a bar-bordello in Truro. She was also known for her friendship with streetwise singer, Lane Ballou (Cristina Raines, who played the Joan Crawford movie role, but in the series she was younger and she had been softened considerably), who worked for her, and her later husband, construction company owner, Sam Curtis (John Beck).
Eudora had a secret admirer in newspaper editor, Elmo Tyson (Peter Donat), who had always loved her and bowed out when she married Claude. Eudora also befriended Lute-Mae, despite her not knowing that the latter was the real mother of Constance.
However, no troublemaker came close to the antics committed by the mysterious and troublesome Michael Tyronne (David Selby).
The handsome but devious Michael was a businessman and a former ally of Field Carlyle, who had a huge grudge against Titus Semple, for him destroying his father. To get his way in things, he would use many means, up to and including voodoo, to rid himself of his enemies.
Between him and Constance, they bedded pretty much everyone in Truro. He drove Titus crazy, and even went so far as to reveal who Constance's real parents were (as noted, her father was Claude Weldon, but her mother was Lute-Mae).
However, someone killed him. It was revealed that Lute-Mae had killed him, but later it was proven he hadn't died. The suspect list, though, was pretty much a who's who of the cast. Almost everyone in town had a reason to kill the evil Michael Tyronne.
The series ended with Michael's spirit coming out of a barn, and there were clues that he wasn't really killed but alive. It was revealed that he was taken to a monastery, which meant Lute-Mae had not killed him.
Cast and Characters
- John Beck as Sam Curtis. Proprietor of Sam Curtis Construction. a former bedfellow of Constance and later, devoted husband to Lane. Field's campaign manager for Senate.
- Woody Brown as Skipper Weldon. Claude and Eudora Weldon's son. Constance's half-brother. Soon goes blind and marries the poor Alicia Sanchez. Skipper and Alicia are one of the few stable couples in the town.
- 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. Has done many dirty deeds, such as setting Lane Ballou up as a prostitute; raping women; fathering illegitimate children (namely Annabelle Troy) and orchestrating the Weldon Mill fire (in which Annabelle died). Arch-enemy of Michael Tyronne, who wanted him destroyed for what he had done to his family. Tyronne nearly succeeded in driving the corrupt sheriff crazy. 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 every male in town but him. Rival of Lane, though that was downgraded when Lane married one of her former bedfellows, Sam. Later revealed to be the daughter of Lute-Mae.
- 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 Semple. Secretly fathered Constance with Lute-Mae. Married to Eudora and father to Skipper.
- Cristina Raines as Lane Ballou Curtis. Streetwise singer who works for Lute-Mae at her bar. Carried on a relationship with Field before marrying and remaining devoted to her new husband Sam. She had been set up by Titus Semple as a prostitute, but that scheme failed.
- Barbara Rush as Eudora Flowers Weldon. Claude's long suffering wife. She befriends Lute-Mae despite not knowing about her being Constance's real mother. She would later go into an institution for a while, after a nervous breakdown.
- Stella Stevens as Lute-Mae Sanders. Kind, friendly ex-madam who owns a bar/brothel in Truro. Mother figure for Lane and Sam. Friend of Eudora Weldon, despite her secret; later revealed to be the mother of Constance Weldon by Claude Weldon. Thought to have killed Michael Tyronne, but when he was revealed to be alive, that was proven not to be the case.
- Fernando Allende as Julio Sanchez (Season 2 only). Bitter son of one of Sam's workers, and one of Constance's many lovers. Became his former lover's brother in-law, when his sister, Alicia, married Constance's brother, Skipper.
- 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 bedded Fielding Caryle and leaves town after surviving a car accident with him.
- Gina Gallego as Alicia Sanchez Weldon (Season 2 only). Julio's younger sister who eventually marries Skipper. Skipper and Alicia prove themselves to be one of the few stable couples in Truro, and to keep things that way, they leave town!
- 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 orchestrated by her corrupt father.
- Sandra Kerns as Beth McDonald (Season 1 only). Old friend of Lane's, from her circus days, who is killed.
- 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.
- 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 against Titus Semple.
- 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 Michael and his voodoo.
- Carmen Zapata as Lupe Sanchez (Season 2 only). Julio and Alicia's Puerto Rican mother.
Most of the cast were very well known from other series, and made a star out of Morgan Fairchild, who perfected her shirt-ripping character from her role of Jennifer Pace on the soap, Search for Tomorrow. Her role as Constance cemented her role as a shirt-ripping seductress, and she became known for similar roles in later shows like Paper Dolls and Fashion House. Howard Duff (Titus Semple) was best known for his role on the old sitcom, Mr. Adams and Eve, which he starred with his then-wife, Ida Lupino; Mark Harmon (Fielding Carlyle) is now best known throughout the world as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the long-running police procedural drama, NCIS. Barbara Rush (Eudora Weldon) had been on the 1960's soap, Peyton Place; Stella Stevens (Lute-Mae Sanders) was well known for her movie roles, most notably in Westerns; Esther Rolle (Julia) was known for her role of Florida Evans on the series, Maude and Good Times; Dianne Kay (Annabelle Troy) was of course, best known for her role of Nancy Bradford on Eight is Enough; Carmen Zapata (Lupe) would play Rosa Andrade on the series Santa Barbara, and would later play a chorus nun in the Sister Act movie franchise; and David Selby (Michael Tyronne) would later play the scheming Richard Channing on the long running serial Falcon Crest.