Angels on Vacation


SUMMARY

In the dusty little town of Paylon, Arizona, three of the townsfolk approach Sheriff Paul Danvers - a brief conversation ends with the bewildered Sheriff being led into their car at gunpoint.

Meanwhile, the Angels and Bosley are driving toward Paylonto visit Kris's Uncle Paul (who's the Sheriff) and Aunt Lydia (who's the Mayor) for their vacation. While already en route, Kris explains to the others that Paylon is a tiny retirement town for the "elderly set". Kelly and Sabrina look accordingly thrilled. A news bulletin on the radio announces that a mobster named George Camaris has just been captured nearby, and will be held by Sheriff Danvers in Paylon until the FBI can transport him. Only Kris seems impressed.

Meanwhile, Uncle Paul and company arrive out in the wilderness somewhere, where there's three more bad guys and a school bus full of old ladies waiting. They refuse to explain what's going on, and Paul's ushered onto the bus to be driven further out into the wilderness.

Upon their arrival, the Angels are puzzled by an awkward reception from Aunt Lydia, who seems to be caught off guard and not quite herself. The Angels excuse themselves to check into their hotel, but are again perplexed to learn that the hotel has no record of their reservation and is all booked up. Tourism must be booming - the only other hotel in the population-87 town is also totally booked.

Kris asks literally everyone she sees where her Uncle Paul is, and they all make up unconvincing explanations, knowing full well that he was actually taken away at gunpoint earlier the same day. Each one picks up his phone and makes a "They were just here! No, I didn't tell them anything!" phone call to the others as soon as the Angels leave the room.

Finally, everyone returns to Bosley's car to find the headlights smashed out, and not surprisingly, the only service station in town can't repair them. Everyone keeps advising them to head back down the mountain before dark. Considering the plague of accidents and weird behavior, the Angels start to wonder if something funny is going on. Even though Kris is the only one familiar with Paylon, it takes the disinterested Sabrina to realize they haven't seen any women around town, only men. This explains the repetitive shots we've been shown of small groups of old men standing around in the street looking suspicious.

The gang returns to Aunt Lydia's house to ask some questions. As soon as they arrive, two men sneak up behind them and start shooting, and a good old-fashioned gun battle ensues. When Bosley announces that both men are dead, Aunt Lydia cryptically sobs to Kris that she's just killed her Uncle Paul. After much cajoling and dramatic pauses, she explains that kidnappers loaded Uncle Paul and all the women in town onto a bus and took them hostage in exchange for George Camaris' release. The kidnappers will blow up the bus with everyone on it, unless they hear from their friends - the ones Kelly just killed - by 4:00. It's now 3:30. Kris quickly formulates a plan and asks Aunt Lydia to get her a CB radio and some old clothes.

Posing as a trucker using the wrong frequency, Kris gets on the CB and contacts her Uncle Paul. She uses the handle Sweet Krismas, which was her nickname as a child, so Uncle Paul knows to play along. He is allowed to reply just long enough to tell Sweet Krismas to get off the frequency. While doing so, he reveals their location via the most obvious clues in the world - literally saying where they are, in plain English, twice - which the supervising bad guy fails to notice.

The Angels speed to the location, dressing up in Aunt Lydia's old lady clothes on the way. They see the school bus parked off the road with all the town's old ladies standing around whispering. Aunt Lydia sneaks in and circulates around the group, telling them to act like she's been there the whole time. The Angels then infiltrate one by one.

The kidnappers announce that their time is up, and demand that everybody get back on the bus so they can kill them. The disguised Angels take the bad guys by surprise, as Bosley springs out of the brush for backup. After taking canes to the face, kicks to the gut, and dirt to the eyes, the bad guys plead not to be turned over to the mob of angry old ladies armed with sticks. Aunt Lydia and Uncle Paul are reunited and it is heartwarming.

Back in LA, Kris reports that Aunt Lydia has enjoyed her taste of action, and wants Uncle Paul to deputize her. Everyone praises Aunt Lydia for her courage even though she had simply been cowering in her home and allowing the kidnappers to have their way until the Angels took over.

BACKGROUND CHECK

Angels on Vacation Episode #59 Season 3, Episode 13 Airdate: Jan 10, 1979 Writer: Ed Lakso Director: Don Weis Guest stars: Jeanette NolanJohn McIntire

FILMING LOCATIONS

The Townsend Agency Office • Paylon, Arizona

WHAT'D YOU THINK?

Rate this episode:

CURIOSITIES

• By this time in the third season, Kate Jackson seems to have mentally checked out of the show, and it's beginning to show in her performance. Watch how she talks to Kris when they are trying to figure out what is going on - “It's your uncle, your town, what do you think?” Could she have sounded any more irritated?

• The Angels seem excited about heading for "The West" even though they are actually heading east from Los Angeles, but whatever.

• There is no such place as Paylon, Arizona. When they arrive, Kris claims she phoned there from the office "a couple of hours ago". How did they manage to drive there from Los Angeles in a couple of hours, even if Paylon was right on the state border?

• Kris decides to take cover from gunfire behind a glass door. Sigh.

• For an episode containing this much action, the Angels seemed to be doing a lot of their own shooting and fighting... with one major exception. When “Kelly” takes the bad guy down at the end with a kick to the face, not only is that not Jaclyn Smith doing the fighting, it looks like a middle aged Spanish man! Sheesh.

• Uncle Paul's hostage looks right at Kris, who's standing at a near-full profile 3 feet away and fake-coughing, but fails to notice her 20-something skin and voice quality. But we've already established that this man is unbelievably stupid.

John McIntire and Jeanette Nolan (Uncle Paul and Aunt Lydia) were married in real life from 1935 until his death in 1991. They appeared together in all manner of TV shows and movies including Bonanza and Psycho, where he played the sheriff and she played the (uncredited) voice of Mother Bates!

BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN

BAD GUYS KILLED BY ANGELS

SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS

SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS

DAYS TO SOLVE CASE

TOWNS LOST

TURTLENECKS

CHARACTER DEATHS

FASHION

The girls are pretty much dressed for a road trip the whole time, casual jackets and sweaters rule the day - that is until the end when they are forced to dress up like little old ladies.

Wardrobe Repeats Sabrina wears the same turtleneck and tweed combo in Angels in the Stretch, and just the coat in Teen Angels; also the same top as in Angels Ahoy. Kris' sweater also somehow secured a minor role in Of Ghosts and Angels.

Kate Jackson Vacation

Kate Jackson Stretch

Kate Jackson Teen

Cheryl Ladd Vacation

Of Ghosts and Angels Ghosts

Kate Jackson Vacation

Kate Jackson Ahoy

ANGEL KIN

Of course, they don't let us know who's Kris' actual blood relative here, or anything more than vague keywords about their relationship. But still, this is cool because it's incredibly rare that we meet any Angels' kin - in fact this is one of only 3 times, and that's counting Kris being Jill's sister.

Speaking of which, neither Kris nor Aunt Lydia nor Uncle Paul give any acknowledgement or even seem aware that Kris has a sister. She apparently spent a good amount of time with her Aunt and Uncle as a child... didn't Jill ever come along on visits? Was it really too much trouble to tack on "and Jill" into someone's line of dialogue? With all the times Kris gets nostalgic about her childhood, why doesn't she ever remember she has a sister? What a missed opportunity.

ANGEL OF DEATH

Again, Kelly kills two for the price of one! The bad guys iced in this episode are her 3rd and 4th lives taken. These are the series’ 8th/9th Angel shootings (but the first ones fatally so), and the series’ 6th and 7th Angel killings.

Read more Angel kill stats

SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS

Here's an odd mix of relatively high screen times for every angel, yet still not a great Angel content score (due to all-or-none scenes). This is actually one of the most balanced episodes ever filmed, despite how it feels like a Kris episode.

  • KELLY
  • KRIS
  • SABRINA
  • BOSLEY
  • HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 70%

ACTION

action-kelly-angels-on-vacation action-sabrina-angels-on-vacation

After watching Sabrina get her butt kicked TWICE in the last episode (Angels in the Stretch) the girls more than made up for it here. It seems cornering the Angels in an unfamiliar location was not the smartest thing these bad guys ever did, as the Angels use every trick at their disposal to beat some mafia butt including karate kicks, a cane in the face even some dirt in eye. All three Angels plus Bosley fire their guns in this outing but it is Kelly that shoots and kills two henchman (with her eyes closed!). Just because the Angels were on vacation doesn’t mean their ass kicking skills were.

I'D HATE TO LOSE THIS TOWN

Yes, it was par for course for shows in the 70’s to re-use canned laughter and dialogue but the dubbing in this episode has to be heard to believed. Listen near the end of the episode when the Angels are sneaking into the bad guys' camp, the voice of some old woman says, “I’d hate to lose this town,” on a continual loop over and over. We counted 9 times the exact same voice saying the exact same thing.

ALL SETUP, NO PAYOFF

After spending the whole hour going "Where's Uncle Paul? Where's Uncle Paul?" Kris never actually has a single line of real dialogue with her Uncle Paul. Her entire interaction with him consists of a string of attention-getting and contradictory gestures (a wink, a "come-here" finger, and a "shh!") and then she disappears from the scene entirely once her Aunt and Uncle are rescued.

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Denny Miller played the knife thrower in Circus of Terror and returns as Jeff in Stuntwomen Angels.

Ron Soble, the moronic henchman guarding Uncle Paul, was Ace in Angels in Paradise.

Louie Elias is a series staple bad guy also appearing in Angels at Sea, Angels on Horseback, Love Boat Angels, and Mr. Galaxy.

Lee Delano, also a staple bad guy, can be seen in Angels On Ice and Dancin' Angels.

Cliff Medaugh also appears in The Seance and Pretty Angels All in a Row.

Prolific writer Ed Lakso brought us roughly one third of the series, including Hellride, The Seance, Dirty Business, The Vegas Connection, I Will Be Remembered, The Blue Angels, Pretty Angels All in a Row, Angels in the Wings, Angels on Horseback, Angels in Vegas, Winning is for Losers, Pom Pom Angels, Counterfeit Angels, Disco Angels, Terror on Skis, Angel in a Box, Teen Angels, Marathon Angels, Angels in Waiting, Angels Remembered, Love Boat Angels, Avenging Angel, Angels on the Street, The Prince and the Angel, Angel's Child, One of Our Angels is Missing, Catch a Falling Angel, Dancin' Angels, Harrigan's Angel, Three for the Money, To See an Angel Die, Angel in Hiding, He Married an Angel, Angel on the Line, Chorus Line Angels, Stuntwomen Angels, Angel on a Roll, and Let Our Angel Live.

OUR TAKE

Anna's Rating: 3.5 stars Kris owes Bosley, Kelly and Sabrina a major refund for this vacation. 

Angels going undercover in a retirement village sounds like a recipe for a half-star rating, and in some regards that's what it deserves, but I actually enjoy this one. It gives them a life outside the office, it's a Kris episode, it's a little weird and endearing, and an absolute contradiction to the T&A reputation that pop culture uses to label Charlie's Angels. I'm not saying that label is undeserved, but it's not a fully accurate summarization of the whole show. There are plenty of overlooked, quirky, non-sexed-up episodes, and those are the ones I often enjoy the most. I think this episode is a good one for drawing a line between committed fans and casual viewers who would justifiably skip it.

Greg's Rating: 4 stars Compared to the formulaic plots in a typical Angel episode, this season 3 story was a breath of fresh air. Not only do the Angels not have a paying client to steal their camera time, they are actually hanging out together outside of work. Kris takes center stage here, as we get to take an all too rare peek inside the life of an Angel’s family. I also really dig when the Angels are in the dark, not really knowing what’s going on or why, of course Sabrina is going to figure it out eventually but it was a nice change of pace and the plot built up actual suspense.

Holly's Rating: Review I still don't understand why it's fun for Kelly, Bri and Bosley to visit Kris' family in their hick village. Is this a paid vacation?