Happy Holidays "Belled" Subscribers!

We hope you all enjoyed our multi-issue Designing Women Anniversary Celebration and encourage the many new subscribers to please check out the archives for the issues you may have missed during the last 4-6 weeks this celebration.

This issue marks our return to our regular schedule with a classic article which appeared in US Magazine prior to the series debut of Designing Women. And, as a special holiday bonus, Designing Women Tribute unveils a harmonious new section of the website!

-- Fine Design --

Four Top Actresses Power the Season's Sassiest Sitcom

A Classic 'Designing Women' Article

Source: US Magazine - September 22, 1986
Written by: Dale Kerns - Photos by: Blake Little/Visages

The way Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, producer and writer of Designing Women, remembers it, "The whole deal took less than twenty minutes. I told Harvey Shephard (then a CBS veep) that I wanted to do a comedy with the four funniest women I know: Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts and Jean Smart. He asked me what they were going to do. Off the top of my head, I told him, that they'd be interior designers. Harvey said, 'Great.' We shook hands, I French-kissed him, and we had a deal."

And so was born the captivating sitcom that some are calling a younger generation's version of The Golden Girls. Bloodworth-Thomason, who produces the show with her husband, Harry, laughs at the comparison. "If Golden Girls is menopausal comedy," she says in a Southern drawl, "Designing Women is PMS."

DW CastThe show features four full-blooded women in their thirties and forties. Bloodworth-Thomason describes the show's appeal as "eavesdropping on these women's lives. These women are feminists in the very best sense of the word -- not strident or angry. And of course, they definitely do like men." Bloodworth-Thomason was the first woman writer on M*A*S*H, and wrote and co-produced Lime Street and the first-rate Filthy Rich.

Dixie Carter stars as Julia Sugarbaker, a sophisticated widow and founder of Sugarbaker's, an interior-design firm whose headquarters are located in her Atlanta town house. "Julia hasn't too many illusions about life or people," says Carter, "but still maintains a strong strain of romance." Her thrice-divorced sister Suzanne is played by Delta Burke, a former Miss Florida who "cried like a baby when I didn't place in the top ten of the Miss America contest."

In the pilot, Suzanne's Mr. Right just happens to be the ex-husband of her co-worker Mary Jo. She's brilliantly played by Annie Potts, who's received considerable acclaim for her film roles (she played the amorous receptionist in Ghostbusters). Designing Women, she says, is the first television series she's wanted to do. "Linda writes so well for me," she declares. "This is a special kind of a show." And as Charlene, Jean Smart offers up the most realistically lilting Southern accent of the foursome. Smart says she "likes Charlene's innocence. She does read the National Enquirer --cover to cover-- but she's just a believer."

Scheduled to air Monday nights at 9:30, Designing Women is part of the "women's alternative" to Monday Night Football, but most people involved in the project are banking on the hope that this show will have male appeal. "Not every guy watches football," says Harry Thomason. "Plenty of men would like to see what makes four attractive women tick."

DWT Presents Musical Memories from 'Designing Women'

Okay, okay.......We surrender!

Dixie Carter as JuliaSince Designing Women Tribute first made its appearance on the net almost four years ago, the site has been inundated with email requests for music information and song lyrics from specific episodes of Designing Women.

Hmm......have you been trying to tell us something?

Well, the barrage of song questions and fan requests have not gone unheard. And as a special holiday gift to all the loyal (and patient) fans, Designing Women Tribute is proud to finally unveil a new section devoted entirely to Musical Memories from Designing Women and Women of the House.

Featured in the new section is an episode-by-episode guide to the songs used to enhance your favorite DW scenes -- listed by song title and artist. Also included are lyrics to many of the special selections and touching songs performed by the cast.

And as an added bonus, DWT's Musical Memories features a special collection of sound files so you can relive those touching performances, as well as enjoy each version of the series theme - Georgia On My Mind.

And Happy Holidays from DWT!

**Photo credit: Columbia Pictures Television
Courtesy of Designing Women Tribute

...Her Best Friend

"A shiny classic cadillac pulls through the gates of a large Atlanta estate and up in front of the home's massive columns. A distinguished elderly black man wearing a fedora gets out of the car and holds open the door to the back seat, just as the lady of the house makes her way down from the porch. She seems not to recognize her own frailness as she tries to barrel her way down the steps with the same swagger and attitude she has carried since youth. Pushing 90 years of age, she still imagines herself to be among the most beautiful woman in the world, with her oversized black wig and red lipstick -- obviously applied with an unsteady hand. Wrapped in a fur-collared wool overcoat and sporting dangerously high heels, she chastises the driver for his tardiness in her ever-present Southern drawl. Presenting her arm to the elderly gentleman, her peakedly-white complexion contrasts deeply against the black man's coloring as he helps her into the car and cuts off her constant and annoying banter by slamming the car door closed. The dampness in the air causes some slight discomfort in an old gunshot wound in the man's leg, but he puts it aside and drives his lady out to the country as she carries on and on about not being able to get a proper leg-waxing. As they reach a secluded country field hidden amongst the fall foliage, the elderly black man takes his lady's arm and guides her through the gently blowing leaves to a familiar clearing where he has laid out a blanket and basket lunch. They've been here before -- on this day every year for fifty years. The couple shares a romantic picnic, and as if he's done it fifty times before, the old man asks his lady to marry him. And as if she's had fifty years of practice, she smirks and bats her eyes and says, "Why Anthony Bouvier, that's just silly. What would people say if Suzanne Sugarbaker were to marry a black ex-convict?" She smiles and gives him a peck on the cheek, and the two spend the rest of the afternoon sipping champagne and holding hands, just as they've done on the anniversary of this day for the last fifty years." (submitted by Fumetti)

Don't forget to Email "Belled" with reader feedback and to tell us where you think the "Designing Women" characters would be today for future issues!

Musical Memories

(89) What is the name of the song that Anthony sang to Etienne as they sat in their matrimonial thrones?

(90) What did Julia sing to Phillip that he thought was so sexy?

(91) What song did Charlene and Bill dance to on their first date?

(92) What song did Charlene assume Julia was going to sing when she got up to perform at her son's wedding reception?

* Answers will appear in the next issue.

Trivia Answers from Issue #22
From 'Old Spouses Never Die'

(85) Which celebrity did Anthony introduce himself as after meeting the hitchhiking derelict who claimed his name was Calvin Klein?

Bryant Gumbel

(86) What entertainer was Charlene so excited to see in this episode?

Jerry Lee Lewis

(87) What prized possession did Charlene give to Mary Jo when she thought she was going to die?

Her personally autographed picture of Elvis

(88) What did Anthony claim was wrong with him when Clifford and Otis found him in the hospital bed in Charlene's hospital room?

Kidney Stones