Angels Eternal: The staying power of Charlies Angels
Charlie’s Angels is a show with legs. And no that’s not some horrible double entendre from a 1977 Leonard Goldberg interview with TV Guide either, it’s the truth. From it’s 1976 debut until now Charlies Angels has never really left the public consciousness, appearing for over 40 years in syndication, movie adaptions, dolls games and every picture ever of three girlfriends doing the Angel gun pose at their sorority sister's wedding.
What’s interesting about Charlie's Angels longevity and cultural impact is the way it has managed to connect with so many different demographics, sometimes in different decades.
Originally created as a detective escapist ex-cop drama for adults - airing at 10pm on a school night - the many ingredients that compiled the show (sexy women, action, women performing historically masculine roles, nice clothes, heroic acts) nevertheless caused it to become something different to everyone in the family. Dad can watch Cheryl Ladd in a bikini, mom can watch some nice clothes. The teenage daughter can be inspired by Sabrina’s intelligence and leadership while the pre-teen can thrill to Jill on the skateboard. On a cultural level, the entire family is exposed to women in action being heroes. Charlie's Angels literally has something for everyone.
The same qualities that made the show such a hit in the 1970’s has sustained its popularity in modern times. The simple themes and Girl Scout-like qualities of the Angels made the property perfect for after school syndication and later morning runs on cable networks like TV Land. Some of the fashions, hairstyles, and even the cars have also become iconic which helps the show work as the perfect retro program for fans of 70’s kitsch.
For those of us who grew up with the program and romanticized it, it works like chicken noodle soup. A comforting, predictable, safe place that reminds us of shag carpet and not having cell phone bills to pay. In an effort to explore exactly where and when Angel fans became Angel fans, we decided to do the unthinkable and ask a few. From Ohio to the UK we scoured the globe for Angel fans and this is what we got. Let’s start right here in the good ol' USA with Len from Snellville GA, USA.
BACKGROUND CHECKTownsend Agency original article by Greg March 10, 2016
Len Snellville GA, USA
“As a seven-year old boy, my favorite television show was The Six Million Dollar Man. I remember when Farrah Fawcett-Majors guest starred on her husband’s show and was fascinated by her. During a commercial break, there was an ad for a TV-movie called Charlie’s Angels which she would be appearing in. I had always loved shows that had strong female characters. I had been watching Police Woman for a while and The Bionic Woman had just started. Here was a movie with three strong female characters who worked for a mysterious man who communicated with them through the phone.
As the opening began with each woman getting the phone call to come to work, I was hooked. Three athletic women, a horse rider, a tennis player, and a swimmer who were all former cops were then teamed up like a mini Dirty Dozen to use their skills to right the wrongs. Batgirl was the last female character I had seen ride a motorbike on TV, but here was Kelly riding a motorcycle.
While I admit that a lot of the talking through the movie and the switching of Kelly and Sabrina pretending to be the same woman was a little boring for a boy my age, it was the overall “con” that I loved. My dad and I watched it together and he explained what a “con” was and my love for heist and con movies was born.
The finale in the swamp was the deciding factor with the three coming together for the final showdown. I was hooked on the idea of the show and lucky for all of us, the movie was aired again and it was a hit which then bore the series that followed.
In our next Angels Eternal Installment, we will go across the pond to England and find out what those bloody Brits think about our beautiful detectives!
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