"FILTHY RICH AT LAST"
What do the very, very wealthy have that you and I don't? When Shepherd infiltrates the ranks of the super-rich in "Filthy Rich at Last," we join that exclusive and elusive monied society. Members only.
[ Courtesy: Pete Delaney - 09-18-2016 ]
Jean Shepherd's unchecked arrogance was most pronounced on the sets of movies made from his works. He would never have anything to do with members of the crew, opting instead to always be at the side of the film's producer and director. He made sure it was clear to all that he was an officer who had earned the right not to associate with mere enlisted men. This attitude makes this episode hard to watch as there is too much truth about the off-screen Shep and not enough silly satire in this spoof of
the "greed- is-good" mid 80s.
The show opens with a big close-up of a $10,000 bill. "Get down on your knees and kiss the TV screen!" Jean orders.
Jean then enacts the role of a billionaire, aimlessly tooling his yacht amid the waterfront castles of Lighthouse Point, Florida.
Dismissing the lives of a bridge fender ("A simple peasant.") and a shrimp boat crew ("Let 'em eat cake !'') he sails his craft spouting such inanities as "I love the unspoken, tacit, soft, aromatic essence of money! Don't let yourself be consumed with envy. If will do you no good. Ah, we blessed few."
Shep' s love of wealth is traced to when his Dad took him to the shores of Lake Michigan just to stare at the yachts and learn from the old man that" A yacht is a boat that doesn't do anything. It's just a big toy."
The show ends with a gag that's just too truthful. Docking his craft at a ritzy waterfront restaurant, officer Shepherd turns to the camera and tells us enlisted men, "Sorry, members only." He then smugly leaves us stranded on the pier as a waiter informs him "The girls are waiting, Mr. Shepherd."
In the 1985 Press Kit Shep wrote a small piece
The Devil Has All the Best Lines
by Jean Shepherd
I'm not one for fantasies. In fact, I can't honestly say that l've ever consciously had one. As a kid, I never fantasized that I was Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle or Humphrey Bogart. Sure I admired them. But fantasizing that I was them? Never.
But there are things that we all secretly would like to have done-or have been had time and circumstances allowed. I wonder how it would have felt to have been a knight during the reign of Richard The Lion-Hearted, or a buHalo hnnter on the Great Plains in the days of Cochise.
I've always seen television, at least my television, as a kind of magic wand. You can go places and do things that nobody in his right mind could ever pull off. For example, who among us has never wanted to visit Death Valley? Now there's a romantic name. Death Valley Soottyl The 20-mule team! .All of that. Well, why not go? And not just as a visitor, but as a participant.
So, in my new public television series, I played the role of a grizzled prospector struggling across the salt flats under the blazing sun, my only companion my faithful burro Flower. Who wouldn't like to do that? And what red-blooded male hasn't
always secretly wanted to turn a few laos at Indianapolis - the Brickyard- the home of the legendary 500? Why not? So seated in a magnificent million-dollar Dusenberg, in another of my new shows dressed in the costume of an early Indy
race driver, I raced against the heroic "Duke" Nalon, a real race driver of the Indy's glory days. What a gas!
How 'bout playing the Dev.il, with cape and sinister Palm Beach hat, visiting night time New Orleans for a little recreation and a field trip to see how sin is progressing on earth? We did, and 1 can tell you l began to feel that I was typecast as Satan by the end of the shoot. I loved it. As George Bernard Shaw said, "The Devil has all the best lines."
Fantasies? No. Television is magic, and I love it.