Flamingo Road was NBC's first attempt to jump into the 1980s
primetime soap opera craze. It was first seen as a TV movie on May 12,
1980, and as a series on January 6, 1981, after a rebroadcast of the pilot
on December 29, 1980. The show was based on the 1949 movie starring Joan
Crawford, which was, in turn, based on the novel by Robert Wilder. It was
created to be NBC's idea of competition against CBS's Dallas
Landing, nighttime dramas that were inspired by the daily soap operas
that aired in the afternoon.
The series took place in the fictional town of Truro, Florida, which
was situated on the inside of corner of the panhandle. Action revolved
around the various characters of the show, most of whom had ties to the
very wealthy Weldon family, who resided on the high-priced Flamingo Road:
Claude, who gained his fortune through the paper industry; Eudora, his
naive wife; Constance, their believed to be adopted daughter, and Skipper,
their son who was in his early 20s. Fielding Carlyle was Constance's
husband, whilst Lane Ballou was his frequent mistress. Lane worked for bar
owner Lute-Mae Sanders, Constance's biological mother (Claude was her
biological father, but no one knew it). At Lute-Mae's Lane became good
friends with Sam Curtis, a construction magnate. Other important members
in the cast were Titus Semple, the ruthless sheriff, and Elmo Tyson,
editor of the Truro Clarion and Eudora's high school sweetheart.
Though the show was semi popular throughout 1981, it soon succumbed to
being scheduled against ABC's hit romance/mystery Hart
to Hart. NBC pulled the plug on the show in Spring 1982, though reruns
aired in the timeslot until mid summer of that year. Several of its stars
went on to become famous for other works, including Morgan Fairchild, Mark
Harmon, John Beck, and Woody Brown. Others were already relatively known
when the series debut, such as Howard Duff, Stella Stevens, and Barbara
Pilot (May 12, 1980, 2 hrs)
In the first part of the TV movie, we learn about how Lane Ballou, a
singer in the traveling circus, was left behind when the show ran out of
Truro, Florida. She is found by Deputy Fielding Carlyle, and they begin to
bond over time. The sheriff, Titus Semple, is dismayed at this, because he
wants Fiedling to someday become a Senator, and he believes that he must
marry the rich bitch socialite Constance Weldon. Lane stays in town, and
starts a "secret" affair with Field and takes a job at the Eagle
Cafe, alongside Annabelle Troy, a middle-class young woman who is dating
Constance's brother Skipper. Constance starts planning her wedding, and
begins to worry about Field's whereabouts when he would be with Lane.
Lute-Mae Sanders, a local bordello owner, starts worrying about Constance,
who doesn't know that Lute-Mae is her biological mother. At the end of the
hour, Lane is falsely picked up for solicitation.
In the second hour, Lane comes back to town and gets a job at
Lute-Mae's, angering Titus, who thought he had finally gotten rid of her.
Lute-Mae is confronted by the sheriff, but has the upper hand in the
situation and Lane stays. Field and Constance are married in the Weldons'
backyard, and much of the town is in attendance. Those who aren't, though,
are partying at Lute-Mae's, where Lane is miserable over Field's nuptials.
Lute-Mae steps out and heads over to the reception to have a quick chat
with Claude, Constance's father. Claude comforts her, much to the dismay
of an observant Eudora Weldon, Claude's wife. She gets even and gets
"comforted" by Elmo Tyson, claiming that "it's hard to
watch my little girl get married." Annabelle dies in a fire set at
the Weldon Paper Mill & Company, where Skipper planned to meet her.
Season One (January 6, 1981 - April 2, 1981, 15 episodes)
The series began with a steady start. Field and Constance honeymoon in
the Bahamas, yet most of the time out there, Field is thinking of Lane.
They are abducted by a couple hired by a drug dealer that received a bad
deal from Titus. When they return, however, the drama continues. Field
keeps his relationship up with Lane, including taking her with him on a
business trip to Tallahassee. Constance gets wind of Field's deception and
conspires with Titus to get Lane sent out of town, but they prove
unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Mary Troy, Annabelle's mother, comes to town upon
learning of her daughter's violent death. She, Skipper, and Lane, come to
the conclusion that the Weldon fire was an arson, though they are never
quite sure who set it up. Field goes back to drinking and is drunk on the
day of an important campaign function, resulting in Constance blabbing
unconfirmed information about his opponent. In the end, however, Field
wins the election is made a Senator of Florida. After various fights and
arguments, the Carlyles separate. Skipper, on the other hand, begins a
relationship with new girl in town Christie Kovacs, who moved to Truro
with her overbearing sister Alice. Skipper also prepares to leave town to
accept a job in New Orleans, but decides to stay after Claude is seriously
injured in an accident at the mill.
Lane becomes frightened when she realizes that a murderer is after her,
because she has inside information about a killing that went on several
years earlier. Her friend from the circus, Beth McDonald, is killed, and
within weeks, Lane is secretly kidnapped. While she is gone, Field and
Constance finally divorce. Hurricane Michelle storms towards town and
leaves most of the main cast stuck at Lute-Mae's, with the exception of
Elmo and Eudora who have dinner at the Clarion's headquarters. The
hurricane sends Lane's kidnappers back to Lute-Mae's as well, and try to
play on the act that they all entered the bar separately. Soon, though,
hell breaks loose and one of the men is shot, while they are all arrested.
Field comforts Lane, but Constance breaks them up, claiming that the
divorce papers she had drawn were fakes and that she and Field were still
married. In a rage, Field sent Constance over the railing at the top of
the stairs and unto the floor.
Season Two (November 3, 1981 - May 4, 1982, 22 episodes)
Constance survives her fall, but is paralyzed indefinitely from the
waist down as a result. Claude is ready to press charges on (and kill)
Field for pushing down his little girl, but Constance agrees to keep him
quiet if Field continues their farce of a marriage. He agrees to her
terms. While in the hospital, Lute-Mae and Claude have a candid talk about
Constance, not knowing that Eudora is in the chapel with them. She soon
learns that Lute-Mae and Claude are Constance's biological parents.
Lute-Mae faces her own problems, though, when she is raped by a delivery
boy who works for the grocery store she shops at. Since the boy is part of
an affluent Flamingo Road family, Titus refuses to press charges against
him, but Lane and Lute-Mae soon get their justice. Field, acting as
Senator, tries to fix a Cuban barrio in town, but then discovers that
Claude Weldon owns it, though it is signed in Eudora's name.
Michael Tyronne makes his first appearance in town, bidding against Sam
for a piece of waterfront property. Sam also becomes closer to Lane as the
two slowly start to fall in love. After winning the bidding war with Sam,
Michael also wants to buy the Cuban barrio, but Eudora doesn't want to
sell, despite Claude's efforts to make her think otherwise. Eudora becomes
addicted to painkillers and eventually is sent to live in a mental
Constance regains the use of her legs, but realizes that while she was
in her wheelchair, Field felt softer to her and that a reconciliation
might happen. She pretends to still be paralyzed, but the truth comes out
when Eudora has a fit for pills and Constance hops out of her chair to
help her. Field happens to pass by the open door to Eudora's room and sees
Constance out of her chair, running frantically around Eudora.
While Eudora is away, Claude forges her signature to sign over the
barrio property to Tyronne. Tyronne has Titus evict the Cubans who live
there, which includes two early 20 somethings who have ties to the Weldon
family: Julio Sanchez, who starts a sexual relationship with Constance,
and his sister Alicia, who falls in love with Skipper. Skipper and
Alicia's relationship seemed doomed. They were working late at the Clarion
office one night when an explosion went off. They both survived, but
Skipper lost his sight in the accident. Soon they eloped and moved into
the Weldon mansion together.
Michael Tyronne finally gets the barrio property and wants to build a
casino resort on it. The problem is that gambling is illegal in Florida.
He tries all he can to make Field rock the vote in the Senate to legalize
gambling. Tyronne buys the bank that Claude has the Weldon Mill's trust at
and forecloses on it, making Field the new owner. As much as this pleases
Field, he still goes against Tyronne's plans. Tyronne loses the barrio,
however, when Eudora gets wind of her name being forged.
Fielding begins to stray away from Constance again, but not with Lane
(who had gotten married to Sam in a beautiful ceremony). He meets a
reporter named Sandy Swanson and they fell in love. Unknown to Field,
though, Sandy was Michael Tyronne's sister. Tyronne had vengeance on his
mind when he came to Truro. Over 20 years ago, Tyronne's father had lived
in Truro. He was convicted of a murder and Fielding's father, Judge Andrew
Carlyle, and Titus, who was still the sheriff back then, had him receive
the death penalty. Tyronne firmly believed that his father was innocent,
despite the endless evidence that pointed to his guilt. Still, Tyronne
wanted everyone connected to Titus and Judge Carlyle to suffer. His method
of destruction was voodoo. He kills Sandy by having her car go off a
cliff, because she was sleeping with Field.
After Tyronne beds most of the women on the show, and Constance beds
most of the men, they find each other, but only for a while. Tyronne
leaves her for a few rendezvous with Lute-Mae, after finding out that she
is Constance's mother. Lane is shocked that Lute-Mae would date a man like
Tyronne, and it drives a wedge between the longtime friends. Lane also has
good news. She and Sam are expecting a baby.
Field finally cuts his ties with Tyronne when he decides to resign from
the Senate, making him useless in Tyronne's urge to make gambling legal in
Florida. This angers Tyronne much more, and leads him to get his job done
faster. He plots to drive Titus insane and reveals to Constance her true
parentage. Soon after, though, someone gets the guts to kill him. After he
dies, many people are suspected in the crime, everyone from Lute-Mae to
Constance to Eudora to Claude, but the murder is never solved. The series'
last scene was of Michael's spirit rising from a burning barn, revealing
to the audience that he was not dead.
- John Beck as Sam Curtis.
- Proprietor of Sam Curtis Construction. Bedfellow of Constance and
later, devoted husband to Lane. Field's campaign manager.
- Woody Brown as Skipper Weldon.
- Claude and Eudora Weldon's son. Soon goes blind and marries the poor
- Peter Donat as Elmo Tyson.
- Editor of the town's newspaper, The Truro Clarion and secret admirer
of Eudora. Candidate for Sheriff.
- Howard Duff as Titus Semple.
- Corrupt sheriff of Truro County. Has done many dirty deeds, such as
setting Lane up as a prostitute and orchestrating the Weldon Mill
- Morgan Fairchild as Constance Weldon Carlyle.
- Wealthy, spoiled daughter of Claude and Eudora. Married to Field,
yet sleeps with everyone but him. Rival of Lane.
- 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
- Kevin McCarthy as Claude Weldon.
- Overly nervous paper mill owner and ally of Titus'. Secretly
fathered Constance with Lute-Mae.
- Cristina Raines as Lane Ballou Curtis.
- Streetwise singer who works for Lute-Mae at her bar. Carried on a
relationship with Field before marrying Sam.
- Barbara Rush as Eudora Flowers Weldon.
- Claude's mentally unstable wife who was committed to a sanitarium.
She befriends Lute-Mae.
- Stella Stevens as Lute-Mae Sanders.
- Kind, friendly ex-madam who owns a bar/brothel. Mother figure for
Lane and Sam.
Fernando Allende as Julio Sanchez (Season 2 only).
Joel Bailey as Tony.
Denise Galik as Christie Kovacs (Season 1 only).
Gina Gallego as Alicia Sanchez Weldon (Season 2 only).
Sandra Kearns as Beth McDonald (Season 1 only).
Glenn Robards as Jasper, the Weldon butler.
Charlie Robinson as Phil, bartender at Lute-Mae's.
Marcia Rodd as Alice Kovacs (Season 1 only).
Esther Rolle as Julia, voodoo priestess (Season 2 only).
David Selby as Michael Tyronne (Season 2 only).
John Shearin as Deputy Tyler (Season 1 only).
Cynthia Sikes as Sandy Swanson (Season 2 only).
Carmen Zapata as Lupe Sanchez (Season 2 only).
The address for the Weldon mansion is 1600 Flamingo Road, Truro,
Florida 83245. Notice that 1600 is also the number for The White House in
The character of Constance ranked at #16 on E!'s list of "The 50
Most Wicked Women in Primetime."
Mason Adams portrayed Elmo Tyson in the pilot movie. Other notables in
the pilot were Melba Moore (popular singer), Norm Alden (character actor),
and Dianne Kay (of Eight
is Enough fame).
1949 movie, Joan Crawford's Lane was much older and more hard-edged.
The show aired in the United Kingdom from 1982-1983. It also was reran
in the United States on the Goodlife TV Network from June 2003 to