There was a TV show called “The Millionaire”.  It was on early television.  Wikipedia has the following:

The Millionaire is an anthology series that aired on CBS Television from January 19, 1955, to June 8, 1960, originally sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive. The series explored the ways sudden and unexpected wealth changed life for better or for worse and became a five-season hit during the Golden Age of Television. It told the stories of people who were given one million dollars[1] from a benefactor who insisted they never know him, with one exception. The series was known in syndication as If You Had a Million.[2]

The benefactor was named John Beresford Tipton, Jr. Viewers heard his voice, making observations and giving instructions; they saw only his left arm as he reached for a cashier’s check for one million dollars each week and handed it to Michael Anthony, his executive secretary. It was Anthony’s job to deliver that check to its intended recipient.

The Millionaire told the stories of Tipton’s beneficiaries in flashback, as if from Anthony’s case files. Each episode began with Anthony, behind his desk and looking directly into the camera, speaking one or another variation on this theme:

My name is Michael Anthony, and until his death just a few years ago, I was the executive secretary to the late John Beresford Tipton, Jr. John Beresford Tipton, a fabulously wealthy and fascinating man, whose many hobbies included his habit of giving away one million dollars, tax free, each week — to a total stranger.

From there, the camera faded to a brief tour of the grounds on which Tipton’s home stood, as Anthony continued speaking:

This is Silverstone, John Beresford Tipton’s 60,000 acre estate. From here, he spent the later years of his life pursuing many hobbies, often tied to his fascination with human nature and behavior. Mr. Tipton was a man of so many wide interests, that when called into his presence, one never knew just what to expect.

The camera then showed Anthony entering Tipton’s presence, invariably greeting him with, “You sent for me, sir?” Tipton spoke for a moment to Anthony (always referring to him as “Mike”), explaining what prompted him to choose “our next millionaire”, before handing Anthony the envelope containing the check, sometimes adding, “I’ll want a full report.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars?  I asked that question years ago of a friend of mine.  Shirley did not have much money of her own and her husband was a horrid man.  That in itself could be a whole book.  In fact Alice Hoffman wrote one years ago that reminded me of this relationship called “Black and Blue”.  I do not believe Everett ever struck her.  I do know for a fact that he taunted and verbally assaulted and abused her. I simply loved her.  She was a great friend and listener.

Most days I would go down for coffee.  She was ever willing to have me and rarely came up to my house.  I think that had more to do with her marital relationship and keeping her at home.  Over coffee and her kitchen bar we would solve all the problems of the world.

One day I asked if we could actually spend a million dollars.  It had to be all spent with no chance of coming back to us.  The premise was that we had to live the same or as close to the same lives we were living then.  The husbands would keep the same jobs and we would still be homemakers.  We set out to do this and found it harder to do than we imagined.

We paid for college educations for our kids.  At the time we each had two and estimated the 4 years of college to be the $69,000 that was the current number being used for estate planning.  Times 2 each that was only $138,000.

We could not invest any as then the money would grow and come back to us.  Neither one of us were extravagant in our clothing so mink coats were out.  We did not take fancy vacations either so to keep the same lifestyle a world tour was also out.  That would not have mattered either as at the time it was valued at about $50,000 so even for a family of 4 would have been $200,000 and with the college expenses we were not even to a half a million in expenses yet.

We thought of improvements to our homes.  She did all her work so could have spent some there yet we had recently shingled her roof and put on board and batting so not much needed repair at the time.  It was an interesting morning’s exercise.  We never did spend it all.  Came close as we expanded the parameters to be a little more frivolous than the original thought.

Could you spend a million keeping your same lifestyle?  I could now.  In fact as I said in a previous post it was determined in order to actually have a million now we would have to be gifted with about two due to taxes.  At this stage in my life I would also be very willing to change my lifestyle.  Sell everything and go on the road to see the world.  A million would go very quickly then I imagine.


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