Ben Matlock ate all those hot dogs thanks to a bad investment in 8-track tapes
''You think it's odd that I eat so many hot dogs?''
Ben Matlock is not only known for his impeccable record in the courtroom and his high fees, he's known for consuming endless amounts of hog dogs and that iconic grey suit.
For nine seasons on Matlock, Andy Griffith portrayed the fearless, funny and dedicated Atlanta-based lawyer. Though the courtroom drama was serious by nature, Griffith had his own ways of making the show funny for viewers.
For example, why is a lawyer like Matlock eating so many hot dogs and wearing the same, light-grey suit over and over again? The defense attorney's base fee is $100,000, so you wouldn't think it would be money that's holding him back from lavish meals and some new threads. However, when Griffith reprised the role of Ben Matlock in a 1997 episode of Diagnosis Murder, fans found out some bad financial advice may be the root cause to the same suit every case and the endless amounts of dogs.
Between 1996 and 1997, Diagnosis Murder was in its fourth season. The medical crime dramedy starred Dick Van Dyke and his son Barry Van Dyke, who play father and son Mark and Steve Sloan. When Dr. Jesse Travis, played by Charlie Schlatter, gets sued after an emergency room operation, he asks Mark Sloan if he can reach out to a lawyer he knew from a long time ago, based in Atlanta.
Aready attending a conference in the ATL, Sloan makes his way to the Fulton County Courthouse. Spotting an unmistakeable grey suit, Sloan approaches a man sitting at the concession counter eating a hot dog. When Ben Matlock turns around and sees Sloan, he says, "Hold onto your kite... Money seems to disappear when this man's around."
In the initial reaction from this two-part episode "Murder Two," Matlock is hesitant to help Sloan, and money is the reason why. When Matlock refuses to travel to Los Angeles with him, Sloan asks, "this can't be about the money can it?" Apparently it is. Perhaps that's why when Sloan offers round-trip first class tickets to LA, Matlock gives in.
As the second portion of the episode winds down, Matlock emerges into a scene carrying "one of the last remaining 8-track cartridges in the entire world." It turns out Sloan gave Matlock some bad investment advice back in the day. As his "former investment counselor," Sloan told Matlock to put his entire life savings, $5,000 in 1969, into the product. When it flopped, Matlock lost the cash.
Still shook up about the investment, Matlock reveals, "I didn't have the money to buy these fine, hand-made suits... had to get cheap stuff off the rack! You think it's odd that I eat so many hot dogs? That's how I got started. That's all that I could afford."
So, after attending Harvard Law School, Matlock's career got off to humble beginnings thanks to some bad advice from an investment coach. All the hot dogs and grey suits throughout Matlock have an explanation, and even though he's pretty upset at Sloan by the end of this Diagnosis Murder episode, he finally lets go of the grudge in typical Matlock fashion.
After multiple apologies from Sloan, Matlock rambles, "Yeah, well... yeah... yeah... well... I'm sorry too."
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"Still shook up about the investment, Matlock reveals, 'I didn't have the money to buy these fine, hand-made suits...'"
Former investment COUNSELOR,
When it FLOPPED, Matlock lost the cash.
Still SHAKEN up about the investment...
8 track took off, he wouldn't have lost money.
And how many cases does he need to recover the $5000 lost?