When my grandparents broke down and got a television in the middle Fifties one of the first shows they liked was The Millionaire. I can still hear my grandmother, saying philosophically what a great thing it would be if Michael Anthony rang their doorbell and dropped a million tax free dollars in their laps. My grandparents were immigrants from the Ukraine and no one ever gave them anything. Still it was an entertaining fantasy.
As it was for any number of homes back in the day when the fabulously wealthy John Beresford Tipton whom we never saw, but whose voice was supplied by Paul Frees would summon his secretary Michael Anthony in played by Marvin Miller. With the spacious Tipton estate of Silverstone in the background, Tipton explains to Anthony who will be this week's beneficiary.
The next thing we see is Marvin Miller knocking on someone's door and giving them a check for a million dollars. What that individual did with it was the basis of the episode of that week. That in turn depended on the character of the individual. The variations on human character was the heart of each episode.
Tipton found 205 characters to be generous with for six seasons. Presumably he died or ran out of money. He might have had to sell Silverstone, from what little we saw of it, it looked as grand as San Simeon.
They were good episodes, The Millionaire crammed a lot of plot and character development into a thirty minute show. The players had to be good to convey it. I wish I could see some of those episodes on the TV Land Channel now.
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