“Jiggle TV” was the name given to ABC in the mid ’70s by competitor NBC, execs of which having the nerve to accuse the alphabet network of using T&A to attract audiences. But, seriously, what kind of proof did they offer? Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman? Three’s Company…. uh, Charlies… Angels?
Ah, who cares what NBC thinks? Charlie’s Angels was a phenomenon right from its premiere in 1976. The show focused on a trio of female crime fighters initially played by Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Jaclyn Smith, and it captured the imagination of people around the world. Females because they were watching empowered women getting themselves out of jeopardy without a male hero doing the rescuing, and males because…. okay, fine, it was Jiggle TV and the powers that were took every opportunity they could to put the Angels in bikinis, though it always served as an organic part of the plots. Seriously.
There was some question on how Charlie’s Angels would survive when Farrah Fawcett left the show partway into the second season, but a replacement in the form of Cheryl Ladd kept things chugging right along. As the show would continue to do until 1981, and despite additional cast changes. In fact, it had become such a strong part of pop culture history that it’s inspired two feature films starring Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz; a 2011 TV reboot, and a new movie version that’s currently in development.
And the person who knows more about Charlie’s Angels than pretty much anyone — including the ladies who played them — is Angelologist Mike Pingel. Not only has he written two books on the subject, not only does he run the site charliesangels.com, and not only does he have a huge memorabilia collection devoted to the show, but Mike has worked as an assistant to the late Farrah Fawcett, and is friends with the rest of the Angels (some of whom have even paid him surprise visits at his birthday parties). Let’s face, the man has got serious Angels cred, and he’s the subject of this episode of Closerweekly.com’s Classic TV & Film podcast.