Tag Archive: Charlie’s Angels


Charlies-Angels

Charlie’s Angels are a trio of female private investigators, the stars of an American crime drama that aired on ABC Television from September 1976 to June 1981. Despite mixed reviews, and a reputation for being “Jiggle TV,” the show enjoyed immense popularity with viewers. The series spawned a film revival in the 2000s, and a short-lived attempt at TV resurrection, in 2011.

The Premise

Three talented women graduate from the police academy, only to be assigned menial jobs like handling the switchboard or directing traffic. The ladies are recruited to work for The Townsend Agency, as private investigators. Their boss, Charles Townsend a.k.a. Charlie, nicknames them “Angels.”

Charlie – whose face is never seen – assigns cases to the Angels and his liaison, John Bosley, via a speaker phone in their office. Unlike the Angels, Bosley has met Charlie, and can contact him at any time.

Initially, the Angels were:

1. Sabrina Duncan (played by Kate Jackson): a graduate of the Los Angeles police academy – the unofficial leader of the trio. Sabrina is a divorcé who remains on good terms with her ex-husband. She eventually leaves The Townsend Agency to get married and start a family.

2. Jill Munroe (actress Farrah Fawcett): a graduate of the Los Angeles police academy. Jill is unmarried, athletic, and charismatic. She leaves The Townsend Agency to pursue a career as a race car driver and is replaced by her younger sister, Kris (see later). Jill returns to the agency occasionally (Season 3), when needed for a specific case.

3. Kelly Garrett (played by Jaclyn Smith): also a graduate of the Los Angeles police academy. Kelly grew up in an orphanage; a tough cookie, but with the sensitivity to help others in need.

Here they are, in a clip from 1976 (video comes courtesy of YouTube):

In most episodes, a crime is committed, the Angels are given the case details, and then go undercover to solve the mystery. The final scene takes place back at the Townsend office, with Charlie offering congratulations for a job well done.

The show was intended as a classy undercover detective drama, and worked in that vein for some time. Until the network got caught up in the whole “three hot chicks we can dress up in skimpy outfits, to boost our ratings” thing.

Disgruntled, Farrah Fawcett, then Kate Jackson left the series, sparking the first of several high-profile searches for new stars.

And Then, There Were…

In subsequent seasons, the Angels’ line-up would include:

4. Kris Munroe (actress Cheryl Ladd): younger sister of Jill, and a graduate of the San Francisco police academy. Kris is charming and mildly clumsy, providing the show with comic relief.

5. Tiffany Welles (played by Shelley Hack): a graduate of the Boston police academy. She is recruited in after Sabrina Duncan leaves, and works for The Townsend Agency only for a brief period before moving back east.

6. Julie Rogers (actress Tanya Roberts): a fashion model from The Bronx. Moving to Los Angeles, she worked with an undercover agent to expose drug dealers within the modeling industry. After her partner is killed, she’s recruited by The Townsend Agency on a trial basis to replace Tiffany Welles.

The series ran for five seasons, with ABC canceling the show in the spring of 1981 due to declining ratings.

Back – With a Movie

Charlie’s Angels returned via the big screen, in a 2000 American action comedy directed by McG.

The film starred Cameron Diaz as Natalie Cook, Drew Barrymore as Dylan Sanders, and Lucy Liu as Alex Munday – the latest in a long line of operatives of the Charles Townsend detective agency. The premise being that new Angels are drafted in over the years, as their predecessors leave for one reason or another.

John Forsythe returned as the voice of Charlie, with Bill Murray stepping into the shoes of his go-between, Bosley.

Set in the present day, the movie adventure sees the ladies embroiled in a complex case involving enigmatic villains, voice-recognition software, and a plot to kill their boss.

The Angels of the 21st century have stepped up their game, considerably – with Matrix-level martial arts skills, and near-genius IQs.

Here’s some of both at work, in an entertaining fight scene, from the movie (courtesy of YouTube):

With a well-crafted mystery, and three stunning leads exuding glamour, mad skills, and goofy charm in equal turns, the film was a critical and box-office success.

It spawned a sequel (2003’s “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”), which was notable for a cameo by Jaclyn Smith as Kelly Garrett, and the introduction of Demi Moore as former Angel turned crackpot ultra-villain Madison Lee. And not much else.

The sequel did however make enough money to whet the studio’s appetite for a television comeback.

The Short-Lived TV Revival

In November 2009, ABC announced it was considering a television revival of Charlie’s Angels, with Josh Friedman handling both writing and executive producing duties. The reboot movie’s Drew Barrymore shared co-production with Leonard Goldberg.

On May 13, 2011, ABC announced a 13-episode order for the series. The network canceled, after only four episodes.

Some Behind-the-Scenes Stuff You (Probably) Didn’t Know

* Kate Jackson – who had earned kudos for her portrayal of a cop’s wife, in popular police drama, “The Rookies” – was earmarked for a role during pre-production, and didn’t even have to audition. Initially cast as Kelly Garrett, Jackson opted instead for the role of Sabrina Duncan. That’s why the early part of the pilot episode focuses heavily on the Jaclyn Smith character; the casting change was made too late, for further rewrites.

* The show was initially titled “The Alley Cats”. But Kate Jackson suggested to the producers that the heroines should be called “angels”, instead. Jackson also came up with the idea that their boss should be a mystery man (both to the characters and the viewers), and that the Angels should receive their cases over a speaker phone.

* The Angels’ boss was originally going to be called Harry, but the title (“Harry’s Angels”) was dropped, so as not to conflict with “Harry O.”, another television detective series.

* I won’t say “cat-fight”, but stars Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd didn’t get along, during the show’s second season. Jackson believed the inclusion of relatively inexperienced actress Ladd had damaged the series considerably. Their animosity on-set reportedly placed great strain on the show’s producers, and their co-star Jaclyn Smith.

* The show became infamous as “Jiggle TV” or “T&A TV” (“Tits & Ass Television”), among critics who believed it had no substance other than its scantily-clad title characters. The skimpy outfits – roller derby girl, beauty pageant contestant, maid, female prisoner, or just plain old bikini – were justified as essential plot elements for the Angels, who often went undercover (so to speak).

* ABC attempted a spin-off for “Charlie’s Angels” in 1980 called “Toni’s Boys”. Essentially a gender reversal, it starred Barbara Stanwyck as Antonia “Toni” Blake, a wealthy widow and friend of Charlie Townsend’s who also ran a detective agency. The outfit was staffed by three good looking male detectives who took orders from Toni, and solved crimes in a manner similar to the Angels.

Never heard of it? No, neither had I; the show wasn’t picked up.

Well, that’s your lot, for now.

See you, for the next one.

Till then.

Peace.

Trick is a short film by Shooting Incident Productions (UK and Germany), based on an original screenplay by Des Nnochiri.

Trick follows a night in the life of John – an average guy with an extraordinary role to fulfill, in the events that unfold.

In the movie, John is played by actor Rob Proietti.

Actor Rob Proietti, star of "Trick"

Here’s a perspective on the film, in Rob’s own words:

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: My name’s Rob Proietti. I live in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.
It’s where I’ve been all my life, it isn’t the greatest place for
opportunity. I’d love to be comfortably living in a big city, perhaps
even abroad.
I love film, photography, indie music and gaming (You can never be too old!)
I’m a creative and adventurous individual that’s always seeking the
most from life, taking opportunities as they come. A dreamer,
ambitious.

Following all sorts of career paths and discovering myself – I’m now
deciding to pursue my dream of becoming successful in the TV and film
industry.
I have a flexible job at the moment and this allows me to have more
freedom to really get out there and chase my ambitions.

Q: How did you get into acting, and what have you done, so far?

A: Me and a long time friend of 16 years (and that’s a long time
considering I’m only 22 myself). We had a completely spur of the moment
idea which began at a car boot sale. The idea was to buy several
random objects and with using these objects we should develop a story
using them. This eventually turned into amateur acting, something we
do when we’ve got spare time. We’d create basic settings at home / in
the garden and create scripts for us to play out, or even on impulse
and improvise as we got along. Working on Trick is the first
professional production I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with.

Q: How did you get involved in the Trick movie?

A: I had been introduced to the website StarNow.co.uk where I decided
to invest in a full membership. This is where I spotted the
advertisement for extra work in the film Trick. Here, I first made
contact with Jay Spencer. He then put the idea across that I could
possibly be put in for the role of JOHN. A few days later, I caught
the train to Leeds, where I met Jay at his studio (Studio19). We had a
chat about the plot and how it plays out, he’s a great guy.

Q: Tell us a bit about the character you play.

Rob Proietti - in character, as John - on the set of "Trick"

A: At first, we see John as slightly mysterious. We’re unsure what his
intentions are as he spots a young lady alone.
Giving in to temptation, we soon see another side of John as a
nervous, hesitant, bumbling man. He’s very much out of his comfort
zone as he’s being led into an unknown journey…

Q: Any noteworthy events, on set?

A:It has so far been directed fantastically, there are a few little
touches which have been thrown in to create a darker atmosphere. Such
as intimidating looks from nightcrawlers and a quick sly drug deal
over the table.

Q: Your hopes for the future? Any upcoming projects we should know about?

A: I hope to appear in more productions, taking on more small roles
and extra work. Developing myself, gaining more and more experience to
the point where some day I can appear in feature films and bigger
projects, taking on more dominant roles.

There aren’t any upcoming projects at this very moment, but with my
new contacts and through the membership of the website I’m with, I
hope to seek new projects.

Q: Thanks for your time, Rob.

John. Doe? Smith?

“Just an average guy.”

“Nothing special, really.”

“He seemed like such a mild-mannered, unassuming fellow.”

Yeah. It’s always the quiet ones.

The unremarkable guy with a dark or hidden side to his nature. A staple of horror and crime cinema.

Remember Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960)?
The shy young motel proprietor with the domineering mother proved to be much more than that. Totally bonkers. And a dab hand, with a knife.
As for his mother…

In The Usual Suspects (1995), Kevin Spacey as wimpish loser Roger “Verbal” Kint spins a yarn as twisted as his own leg. A tale of a disastrous crime caper, and an evil mastermind named Keyser Soze – a man with whom Verbal shares a remarkable history.

Director M. Night Shayamalan’s (“I see dead people; The Sixth Sense) 2000 film, Unbreakable, delivers another twist. David Dunn (actor Bruce Willis) – a man coming to terms with his recently acquired powers of indestructibility – is assisted by Samuel L. Jackson, as Elijah Price. Elijah has the reverse problem to Dunn; his bones snap, in a stiff breeze. But his fragile form and bookish exterior hide a brilliant mind. One which… well. See it yourself, and find out.

Computer geek / software mogul Eric Knox (played by Sam Rockwell) provides Charlie’s Angels (2000) with their dream client; rich, bumbling, easy to manage. But his new software holds the key to a deadly mystery. And, of course, there’s no such thing as a dream client.

In Suspect Zero (2004), director E. Elias Merhige turns the screw of expectation the other way, building up Sir Ben Kingsley as ice-cold serial killer type Benjamin O’Ryan – a man suspected of targeting other serial killers, until he’s revealed to be something else, entirely.

Good, or evil?

Player, or played?

Misrepresentation: Blurring the distinction between the trickster, and the tricked is at the heart of many a good thriller.
Trick (I hope) is no exception.

BTW, you know Rob’s anecdote about improvising movie scenes from random objects?
It might interest you to know that the tale which gave birth to Trick grew from a software-generated selection of random words:
“hungry trying to look beautiful”.

Misrepresentation, all the way.

In the next part of this series, we’ll be talking to the man who’s both a director of Trick, and the head honcho of Shooting Incident Productions.

Till then.

Peace.