is an Americansitcomthat aired onCBSfrom August 1982 to July 1983. StarringDixie CarterandDelta Burke, the series satirized prime-timesoap operassuch as
The series was set inMemphisat a fictional mansion called Toad Hall, which was owned by one Big Guy Beck (Slim PickensForrest Tucker), a very wealthy land baron. He had recently died of an undisclosed illness, and before he was cryonically frozen, he had made out a videotaped will, a piece of which was played every week, by his lawyer, George Wilhoit (David Healy; Vernon Weddle).
The wills terms were harshest on Big Guys oldest son, the snobbish Marshall Beck (Michael Lombard) and his equally snobbish wife Carlotta (Dixie Carter). Also aghast at the wills terms was Big Guys wily younger wife, Kathleen (Delta Burke). The terms stated that the family wouldnt be able to collect a dime of their inheritance until they accepted Big Guys illegitimate son, Wild Bill Westchester (Jerry Hardin) and his good-natured but ditzy wife Bootsie (Ann Wedgeworth) into their family.
Many of the situations stemmed from the conniving Kathleen, Marshall and Carlottas schemes to declare the terms and constraints of the will invalid and also to rid themselves of Wild Bill and Bootsie, not to mention the rest of the family, out of their lives, so the snobs could live it up on the money they would receive. Their wildly outlandish schemes usually and inevitably ended up failing.
Also appearing wereNedra Volz, who played Big Guys senile first wife, Winona Beck, called Mother B., who had escaped from her nursing home; andCharles Frank, who played Big Guys younger son Stanley.
Stanley, independently wealthy because he invested his money wisely, and thus not concerned about his inheritance from his father, was the nicest of the whole lot. Usually, it was Stanley who was able to protect Wild Bill and Bootsie (whom he and Mother B. accepted outright) from the devious scheming of his stepmother, who lusted after him; and his conniving brother and sister in-law.
Big Guy Beck(Slim PickensForrest Tucker) A very wealthy land baron; the patriarch of Toad Hall, and the decedent whose will stipulated that his family accept his illegitimate son, Wild Bill Westchester and wife Bootsie into the family. Father of Marshall and Stanley (by first wife Mother B. whom he divorced) and was married to Kathleen when he died. Had a tendency to end his videotapes with singing a very off-key version ofHappy Trails.
Carlotta Beck(Dixie Carter) Big Guys daughter-in-law, Marshalls snobby and shrewish wife. She considers herself the only reigning queen of Toad Hall. She, Marshall and Kathleen were always trying to get rid of the Westchesters as well as Mother B. and Stanley, so they would be the only ones who would get the vast fortune of Big Guy, and they would live it up on the money. Despite this, the three would often argue among one another as much as they fought the Westchesters. Their schemes were often thwarted by Stanley, who saw them for the connivers that they were, or by their own ineptitude. Although they shared the same goal, Carlotta couldnt stand Kathleen and vice versa. Carlotta would always snidely remind Kathleen that she was only Big Guyssecondwife and thus, was only herstepmother-in-law. She was also an enemy of Mother B, given that she and Marshall had put her in the nursing home, and she would often rat out her and Marshall and their wrongdoings, in retaliation.
Marshall Beck(Michael Lombard) Big Guys oldest, bi-sexual (and in therapy for it) son, and as snobby as his wife. Despite his snobbishness, however, he was also slightly milquetoast and weak willed compared to his strong-willed and snotty wife. Tended to wheeze a lot because of his asthma. Although he does love Carlotta, the two argue as well; and the three snobs often quarrel among one another as well. Marshall is appalled that his late father would force him, Kathleen and Carlotta to invite his half-brother and his wife to live in their home, and is equally appalled that his younger brother and mother would welcome them with open arms. Usually put in his place by Mother B, who tended to know more about his dishonesty and often delighted in ratting him out.
Kathleen Beck(Delta Burke) Big Guys much younger second wife (She was constantly reminded by Carlotta that she was merely Big Guyssecond wifeand would equally remind her that she was only herstepmother-in-law). She was a very wily woman who was always lusting after her younger stepson, Stanley, who often deflected her unwelcome advances. She was always needing a tranquilizer. Despite siding with Marshall and Carlotta against the Westchesters, she was also scorned by the latter who called her a tramp and slut. The three often squabbled amongst themselves as much as they fought the Westchesters. Kathleen retaliated by calling Carlotta a shrew. Thoroughly disliked by Big Guys previous wife, Mother B. who derisively called her Big Girl.
Stanley Beck(Charles Frank) Independently wealthy (due to his wise investment of his money) younger brother of Marshall; ally and half brother of Wild Bill. Ironically, he wasnt involved with the will of Big Guy or in need of the inheritance therein, due to his own wealth. Target of lust by Kathleen whose unwelcome advances he often deflected. Nicest member of the Becks, and welcomed Wild Bill and Bootsie immediately. In fact, it was he who had brought the Westchesters to Toad Hall in the first place. An avid Dr. Pepper drinker, Stanley is kind and concerned about others, but will not tolerate the more dishonest shenanigans of Marshall, Kathleen and Carlotta. Has a close bond with his mother, Mother B. (who calls him Skippy) and is usually there to help his half-brother and half-sister in-law with getting used to being wealthy after years of not having much, or in helping them in dealing with the other Becks and thwarting their schemes.
Winona Mother B Beck(Nedra Volz) Marshall and Stanleys senile mother. Big Guys first wife, whom he divorced prior to marrying Kathleen. She belied her age by constantly escaping her nursing home where she claimed they (meaning Marshall and Carlotta, who had presumably put her there) were holding her hostage. Mother B had no liking for Kathleen, whom she derisively called Big Girl. Eventually, she escaped the nursing home for good, and ended up living in Toad Hall. She, like her favored younger son, Stanley, whom she calls Skippy, accepted the Westchesters outright and likes them. She would also often take delight in ratting out Marshall and Carlotta for their constant wrongdoing, possibly in retaliation for them putting her in the nursing home.
Wild Bill Westchester(Jerry Hardin) A used RV salesman who is discovered to be Big Guys illegitimate son. (which was proven by DNA test) Accepted by Stanley and Mother B. outright, while being plotted against by Marshall, Carlotta and Kathleen. He and Bootsie were almost scared out of the house by Marshall, Carlotta and Kathleen, by means of a phony seance, but was convinced by Stanley and Mother B., who truly cared about them, that they would always have a home at Toad Hall, whether the other Becks liked it or not.
Bootsie Westchester(Ann Wedgeworth) Wild Bills gentle natured but ditzy wife. She, like Wild Bill, is thrilled to be part of the family. Her marriage was almost ruined by Kathleen, Marshall and Carlotta but she, along with Stanleys help, thwarted it. She unwaveringly loves Wild Bill, and makes the most of being on a budget.
George Wilhoit(David Healy; Vernon Weddle) Big Guys lawyer who played a section of his late clients video will every week, and was there to make sure the conditions, however outlandish, were carried out. Some conditions were reasonable (like the family getting a job or living within a strict budget, after Marshall, Carlotta and Kathleen were caught trying to throw out the Westchesters) while others (where Big Guy had Stanley kidnapped on his birthday to find out who his true friends were) were more than a mite bit bizarre.
Series creatorLinda Bloodworthbegan her television career by co-writing a script for an episode ofM*A*S*HwithMary Kay Place, and when that script was nominated for anEmmy Award, she found herself in high demand. Bloodworth was offered staff positions on several television series, but she turned them down. I just wanted to get my own shows on the air, she said. I didnt want to die working those long hours for someone elses show. I didnt want to bleed unless it was for my own show.1She formed her own production company, produced numerouspilot episodesand then, in 1980, she got the idea forFilthy Rich. I just set out to write a comedy about Southerners eccentric Southerners.1
The hour-long pilot forFilthy Richwas filmed on February 27, 19812as a candidate for inclusion onCBSs 1981-82 fall schedule. When the fall schedule was announced in May,Filthy Richwasnt included, but the network optioned it as a potentialmidseason replacement.3Apparently, the network wasnt sure of its feelings, commentedDixie Carter.4Some executives liked the concept, others despised it. Meanwhile,Delta Burkewas offered the role of Katherine Wentworth onDallas, as well as a recurring role on the TV spin-off ofPrivate Benjamin, but she was forced to turn both parts down because she was under contract forFilthy Rich.3Similarly, Carter was asked to replaceTammy Grimesin the Broadway production of42nd Street, but CBS prevented her from accepting.4Instead, cast members were forced to take small roles in films and guest-star on various TV shows while awaiting word on the fate ofFilthy Rich.
In March 1982, CBS ordered a second pilot episode, this time as a half-hour show.5The network stipulated that they wanted the new pilot to be less bizarre than the original pilot had been,4and though the material was toned down a bit, they still passed on including the show on the fall schedule.
In that era, it wasnt unusual for unsold pilots to be broadcast as filler during the summer – replacing low-rated reruns – as a means of recouping the money that was spent to produce them.4The original hour-long pilot was split in two and re-edited,6then packaged with the second pilot (titled Town and Garden), and the now-trio of episodes were billed as a limited run series7which was broadcast on Monday nights following reruns ofM*A*S*Hin August 1982. Much to CBSs surprise, the show topped the weeklyNielsen ratingsfor three consecutive weeks.5CBS Entertainment President Donald Bud Grant later commented, I think we conned ourselves into thinkingFilthy Richwas a hot show.8The network scrambled to find a place on the fall schedule for the show, ultimately opting to bump the new seriesMama Maloneoff the schedule altogether1(Mama Maloneeventually aired in 1984).
Although viewers initially tuned in, the series fared poorly with critics. This is the most misunderstood show Ive ever been associated with, said Bloodworth.1Associated Presswriter Fred Rothenberg commented in his widely circulated review, Its calledFilthy Richand the slant is more toward the former than the latter.9Bloodworth retaliated, I think because the Southern accents are thick and the first shows were very theatrical and broad, the critics tuned out.1She went on to defend the show against the Southern critics whod bashed the series as well. There are a lot of liberal-minded critics who consider themselves the keepers of the Southern flame. Were not maligning the South, were celebrating it.1
While working on the show, Burke felt particularly pressured to maintain a slender figure. Thats when I discoveredcrystal meth, a powerfulamphetaminethat cut my hunger but made my heart race, she revealed in her autobiography.10It had the side effect of paranoia and making her lapse into unconsciousness.10
Adding further woes to the troubled series, actorSlim Pickens, who played Big Guy Beck in the original hour-long pilot episode, was rushed to San Francisco Medical Center several days before the series premiered,11and he underwent five hours of surgery to remove a brain tumor the day after the shows TV debut.12Pickens was released from the hospital before production resumed on the series, but he was unfit to appear. Most subsequent episodes played without Big Guy, though Pickens was quickly replaced byForrest Tucker, who didnt play the role with the same broad, comic zeal.
Production soldiered on a little behind schedule. In the early weeks of September, scripts hadnt been completed for any episodes of the fall season, which began on September 26.6Every night I go home with notes on all the network suggestions and work on the scripts, Bloodworth said.1A messenger comes to pick up my rewrites at 1 a.m. I write in longhand and the scripts are typed and returned at 7 a.m. Im sure my neighbors think Im in some illegal business. Bloodworth quickly churned out some scripts, but she hired formerJimmy Carterspeech writerE. Jack Kaplanto help pick up the slack.1
Filthy Richreturned to the air on Wednesday, October 5. Nestled betweenAliceandTuckers Witchand opposite the new seriesFamily Ties, ratings quickly plummeted;Filthy Richranked 60 in the weekly TV ratings by the end of October.13In November, six weeks into the shows second season, all three series were yanked off the schedule and replaced withThe CBS Wednesday Movie.13Filthy Richreturned to the schedule by January 1983 on Monday nights, sandwiched betweenSquare PegsandM*A*S*H. Ratings didnt improve.4It aired for a month before being pulled from the schedule again. The remaining two episodes aired in June, after the series had officially been canceled.
Filthy Richpaved the way for one of CBSs most successful TV series of the late 1980s:Designing Women. Id worked with Dixie and Delta onFilthy Rich, Bloodworth revealed in a 1986 interview.14Weve had a secret plot since then to work together again. Bloodworth created the roles of Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker for Carter and Burke15(Burke referred to herFilthy Richcharacter as Suzanne in the Beginning;10and Carters Julia, with her self-righteous, long-winded monologues had more than a bit in common with Carlotta) and numerous one-liners were recycled along with a hog hat prop which was prominently featured in episodes of both series.Filthy RichstarsNedra VolzandCharles Frankeach guest-starred onDesigning Women, as did guest-starsTracey WalterWilliam UtayDavis Robertsand John Petlock, and E. Jack Kaplan penned an early episode. Additionally, Charles Frank reunited with Burke for an episode of the short-livedDesigning Womenspin-offWomen of the House.
By the early 1990s, anotherFilthy Richcast member found work in a new Bloodworth series.Evening Shade, which aired from 1990 through 1994, included Ann Wedgeworth among its cast as Merleen Eldridge, the wife of the town doctor.
At the reading of cryonically frozen family patriarch Big Guy Becks video-will, the Becks learn that Big Guy had an illegitimate son used RV dealer Wild Bill Westchester. To make matters even more embarrassing for the Becks, they learn that in order to receive their inheritance, theyll have to live in peace and harmony with Wild Bill and his lovely and whimsical wife, Bootsie, in Toad Hall, the family mansion. Independently wealthy son Stanley and his mother, Big Guys first wife, Mother B, greets the Westchesters with open arms. However, snobby older son Marshall, his wife, Carlotta, and Big Guys widow, Kathleen are overwrought with embarrassment and the three scheme to get the Westchesters out of the picture.
Marshall, Carlotta, and Kathleen devise a scheme to disprove Wild Bills relation to Big Guy so they drug him and steal a half gallon of his blood to use for testing. But in the end, all it proves is that Wild Bill actually
The Becks try to teach the Westchesters proper manners when they learn that a town and garden magazine wants to feature Toad Hall on the cover. But theres still the problem of Mother B. so Marshall attempts to drug her… but he winds up taking the sleeping pills himself. In the end, Mr. Means decides not to use Toad Hall, instead opting for Mother B.s nursing home.
Marshall, Carlotta and Kathleen scheme to break up the happy Westchester marriage and drive them out of Toad Hall. Their plan has Kathleen seducing Wild Bill, while Marshall makes a move on Bootsie. But the whole plan backfires when Stanley figures out whats going on and has Wild Bill pretend to be smitten with Carlotta.
Its Stanleys 35th birthday and Marshall, Carlotta and Kathleen expect him to get the gift of cash, so naturally they all suck up to him. But instead of cash, a cake arrives with two ladies inside who kidnap him. Its soon revealed that the kidnapping was arranged by Big Guy, so Stanley could find out who his friends really are his friends being whichever family members come up with the ransom. Needless to say that Marshall, Carlotta and Kathleen arent his friends… meanwhile Wild Bill and Bootsie work feverishly and valiantly to come up with the cash, but its Mother B. who saves the day (with cash she picked from the money tree that Big Guy left her).
In an attempt to prove himself to Carlotta, Marshall takes out a huge loan unaware that hes borrowing the money from a gangster. Marshall flaunts his newfound wealth… then loses it to one of Mother Bs friends in a poker game.
Bootsies sudden interest in the occult finds Carlotta scrambling to arrange a phony seance to contact Big Guys spirit, who tells the Westchesters to give up their inheritance and leave Toad Hall. The schemers are exposed, Marshall, Kathleen and Carlotta are foiled once again (and they leave arguing about the schemes failure), and Stanley convinces Wild Bill and Bootsie that they will always have a home at Toad Hall, whether Marshall, Carlotta and Kathleen like it or not.
The latest installment of Big Guys video will includes a promise of a $10,000 bonus for the family member who finds work and gets the best report. Marshall and Wild Bill get jobs at an RV dealership; Carlotta becomes a tour guide; Bootsie starts a fingernail and underwear franchise; and Kathleen receives promotion after promotion at the State Bank. Its smooth sailing until Bootsie reveals that shes set up an in-home presentation on the same night that the Southern 500 Committee is scheduled to arrive for a dinner meeting regarding Marshall and Carlottas failure to pay their annual dues.
Members of the Southern 500 Committee arrive for a meeting with Marshall and Carlotta on the same evening when Bootsies having an in-home presentation for a fingernail and underwear franchise that shes started. The festivities get off to a rocky start when Carlotta, whos fallen into the river at her job on Mud Island as an interpreter of the language of salty sea captains, is forced to wear her work clothes (a hoop skirt) to the party. Further complications ensue when Wild Bill burns dinner forcing Bootsies party into the adjoining room (though her sole guest is homeless Alvin Essary) and Mother B. arrives to liven things up.
The snobby Beck trio are horrified when Stanley arrives at the country club with Bootsie and Wild Bill. But what happens next horrifies them even more Bootsie and Bill decide to join the country club, with Stanley as their sponsor! In an attempt to discredit the Westchesters, Carlotta sets up a meeting with the admissions committee and encourages the Westchesters to be themselves. She and Marshall pick out the tackiest clothes in the Westchester closet, and invite wino Alvin Essary to speak on behalf of the Westchesters. But Stanley intervenes, making the rest of the Becks look like fools when Essary and the Westchesters arrive dressed and acting like royalty. The result is the Westchesters are accepted in the Country Club, while Marshall and Carlotta, due to a scheme to pocket money using phony foster children, are placed on probation, which leads Carlotta to moan Theyre IN, and were OUT!.
When Carlotta is nominated to be vice president of the Dames of the Confederacy, her rival nominee, Sissy Chastaine, gives Carlotta a most difficult charity to complete in order to stay in the running the high school equivalency test drive. Carlotta is determined to win the nomination, but has no idea how to complete her charity drive, until Bootsie reveals she does not have her high school diploma. Bootsie offers her help to Carlotta and Marshall, who repel her every effort. Finally, Stanley, Wild Bill and Bootsie (who has been preparing to take her exam by reading the entire Encyclopædia Britannica except the zs) come up with the perfect plan to help make giant billboards of Bootsie wearing her mortar board and holding a diploma under the heading: A Beck goes Back! [to school]. Carlotta, Marshall, and Kathleen are horrified, and, armed with paint and brushes, go around town blocking out the Beck name. Caught in the act, the snobs are arrested for defacing public property. When Carlotta returns home after spending a night in jail, she receives a phone call from Sissy Chastaine. Sissy tells Carlotta that the equivalency test drive was a huge success. Carlotta is thrilled, believing she has won the nomination, until Sissy tells her that due to her now criminal record, (her night of vandalism) she is disqualified.
When Bootsie discovers a Civil War diary which documents hidden gold in the mansion, Marshall and Carlotta quickly concoct a scheme to keep Bootsie from telling the rest of the family.
The Becks are delighted when they learn that Toad Hall is regarded as a historical site, thus entitling them to tax exemption. However, what the snobs dont anticipate is that as a historical site, they are required by law to conduct tours of the family mansion, something they are not too thrilled about.
When its revealed that theres a large inheritance waiting for the first Beck grandchild, Marshall, Carlotta and Kathleen begin to scheme. Kathleen takes the opportunity to try to seduce Stanley yet again, which he deflects as usual. Marshall and Carlotta, on the other hand, decide to adopt a child, thinking that an adopted child would still be a Beck grandchild (George later told them that would not be the case). Afraid that Bootsie will become pregnant before the adoption can be completed, the trio decide to keep the Westchesters apart Kathleen and Carlotta have slumber parties with Bootsie while Marshall keeps Wild Bill awake, telling him of his problems. Eventually, its revealed that Bootsie is unable to get pregnant, though she and Wild Bill have tried. Upon hearing this, and receiving a phone call that their application for adoption was denied, a truly furious Carlotta banishes Marshall out of their bedroom into a tent in the hallway.
The Best Revenge Is Stealing Your Ex-Husbands Second Wifes Fiance
Gold-digging Kathleen finds herself engaged to a rich old timer and the weddings just days away. Marshall and Carlotta are excited by this news because, by getting remarried, Kathleen forfeits her claim on Big Guys money. Kathleen sees this as her last opportunity to seduce Stanley who rings a fire alarm to scare her off. But Kathleens giddiness turns to despair when her fiance announces that hes in love with Mother B., just moments before they are to be wed.
Walz, Steve K. (November 16, 1982). Creator defends Filthy Rich
Filthy Rich – Ticket – Sitcoms Online Photo Galleries
Buck, Jerry (August 9, 1982). Delta Burke Ready When CBS Is.
Lewis, Dan (February 23, 1983). CBS Dickers Over Dixies Wacky Series.
Krupnick, Jerry (September 15, 1982). Network cashes in on Filthy Rich
Vadeboncoeur, Joan E. (June 13, 1983). If it sounds like its been done before, its because it has.
Rothenberg, Fred (August 9, 1982). Filthy Rich starts tonight with far more filth than richness.
Burke, Delta (July 1998). 1 Filthy Rich: Suzanne in the Beginning.
. New York: St. Martins Press. p.45.ISBN
Buck, Jerry (July 17, 1986). CBS hoping for fast success with slow drawl in Southern comedy.
Lina.The TV Ratings Guide: 1982-83 Ratings History — Soap Bubbles Rise, Several Veterans Part and NBC Renews Poorly Rated Masterpieces
Television series created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason
Television series by Sony Pictures Television
This page was last edited on 14 May 2019, at 15:41