Charlie’s Angels Set Jinxed!

That’s the startling opinion of veteran crew members on the top-rated TV show, who say the new season’s very first episode ran into more problems than anyone could remember.

“I’ve never seen so many things go wrong,” lamented one shaken cameraman who has been with the show for years.” The show is jinxed!”

With “Angels” still reeling from continuous star wars and major shake-ups – culminating with Kate Jackson’s sudden firing – the show got off to an unsteady start with a frightening chain of bad omens. Among the mishaps:

• The plane taking “Angels” Cheryl Ladd, Jaclyn Smith and Shelley Hack from Los Angeles to location shooting in the Virgin Islands Saturday, June 9, was forced down in Miami because of mechanical trouble.

• Another, smaller plane that was flying them from Puerto Rico to the island of St. Thomas ran into a violent storm with gusts up to 100 MPH.

• When the exhausted stars and crew members finally arrived, they had to cross angry picket lines to get into their hotel – only to find their rooms weren’t ready and their baggage had not yet arrived.

As if that weren’t enough, in the seven chaotic days the cast and crew spent filming the first segment, the company was plagued by constant prop problems, poor weather conditions, equipment that refused to work, and more.

Plus, all three Angels complained of painful physical problems.

“There is no doubt about it – the show is jinxed,” concluded one insider. “Everyone on the set is talking about it.”

At one point, Jaclyn Smith just threw up her hands and groaned, “Nothing seems to be going right…”

The series of hard luck incidents began on a Lockheed L-2022 Jumbo jet flight Saturday, June 9, to Puerto Rico. Suddenly the pilot came on the intercom and announced to his startled passengers that he was making an unscheduled landing in Miami because a wing flap wasn’t operating properly.

The plane landed safely- but after waiting two hours, they Angels were informed that they would have to switch to another plane for the remainder of the flight to Puerto Rico.

After flying on to Puerto Rico, the tired girls dragged themselves onto a small, two-engine plane for the final leg to the island of St. Thomas. But they did not know that the worst was yet to come.

“It was a terrifying experience and the Angels were really scared,” recalled actor and fellow passenger Dick Sargent, describing the nightmare flight during which the small plane flew through a line squall of raging thunderstorms.

Air Traffic Controller Tim Stuff, estimated that violent wind gusts reached 100 MPH.

“We were bumping all over the place and several times I thought we were going to ditch. Everyone was sitting teemedly and gripping the arms of their seats. There were a lot of white faces in that cabin and I’m sure there were a lot of prayers – I know I was one,” remembered Sargent.

“When we landed in St. Thomas, we were just glad to have made it alive.”

After facing what seemed like the end, the trembling stars were whisked to their hotel, where they crossed a picket line of hotel employees involved in a local labor dispute.

Safely inside the hotel at last, the bone-weary travelers were stunned to find out that their rooms were not ready and their luggage had not arrived. It was two more hours before they were finally able to collapse in their beds.

But that was only the beginning. The following day, Jaclyn Smith was unable to leave her room. She was suffering excruciating pain from earlier dental surgery – and it wasn’t getting any better.

That same day, Cheryl Ladd was sucked under by a huge wave while swimming in the surf, and hurled up on the beach.

“She nearly drowned. She came up sputtering and choking – she was in a lot of trouble,” recalled a photographer who witnessed the incident.

Cheryl ended up with an injured eye that slowed production and made it necessary to shoot some scenes from special camera angels. The eye was scratched, so she had to wear dark glasses to protect her eyes from the sun.

The following day, Monday, June 11, called for location shooting at sea in boats. But the seas were so heavy that Cheryl became violently seasick, and all the vessels had to turn back – further delaying production. When the ocean eventually calmed down, some of the boats couldn’t work.

Cheryl’s eye injury kept her out of the water. Unfortunately, her part called for a lot of swimming. So a local double had to be found and signed up. The double could swim – but couldn’t take direction. More delays.

Once, the double was swept away by a fast-moving current and had to be rescued by a nearby boat manned by a photographer.

Jaclyn Smith bravely bit back her tooth pain – but wound up feeling woozy and ill from the constant rocking of the boats.

“Here we are shooting on a tropical island – and I’m not even enjoying it!” the star complained to a pal.

As production limped along, scene after scene was crippled by one irritating problem after another.

“Props don’t work properly, the weather is bad, and two of the stars are hurting,” fumed an assistant director.

It wasn’t long before all three stars were in pain.

Several days into the shooting, Shelley Hack came down with an agonizing case of severe sunburn.

Then Cheryl slipped and cracked her head as she was stepping aboard a boat. She staggered, and for a frightening moment it looked serious. She remained in a daze for several minutes.

To make matters even worse, Cheryl was also hit with a vicious case of sunburn as painful as Shelley’s.

“It really hurts,” she groaned to a friend.

“The sunburn is all the way down my back to here,” she said, pointing to the seat of her shorts. “I can’t even sit or lie down…”

By Friday, Cheryl felt so sick she was unable to report for work. Then production officials were horrified to find that a whole half-day’s worth of film was mysteriously fogged and had to be re-shot.

These bad luck incidents plus a mountain of accumulated snafus threw the shooting schedule into chaos. One official projected that the cost of the star-crossed first episode would jump “from 1.8 million to well over $2.1 million.”

Adding to the misery was the food, widely described as “just terrible,” by dispirited company members.

To cap it all off, the cast and crew received an anonymous threatening phone call linked to the hotel union problem. The caller warned ominously that “if you people don’t get out of that hotel someone is going to get hurt.”

In the end, it was all the troubled cast and crew could do to force themselves to stay on St. Thomas even one more day. When Saturday finally came, the entire cast and crew heaved a sigh of relief, packed their bags, and fled for home. Jaclyn Smith seemed to sum up the feelings of her fellow sufferers when she shook her head and sighed wearily: “I want to get out of here very badly – I really don’t like it at all.”

- Thomas L. Muldoon

Jaclyn Smith: I’m Quitting

“I’m quitting after this season!” declares Jaclyn Smith – the last of the original Charlie’s Angels. In an exclusive interview in London, the soft-spoken actress dropped the bombshell announcement that she’s “had enough” of the hit show. “It seems ‘Charlie’s Angels’ will go on forever – but I don’t want to go on forever with it.”

The sultry star was keeping a tight lid on the real reasons she’s determined to quit after this coming season. But The ENQUIRER learned the untold story – that a furious Jaclyn:

• Is outraged by scripts that “are more like a soft-core porno movie.”

• Despises the luridly skimpy outfits she’s forced to wear.

• Feels betrayed by producers for not consulting her on changes in the show.

• Is being pushed hard to quit by her actor-husband, Dennis Cole – who wants her to do projects with him.

• Feels sexy super-model Shelley Hack was miscast as the new Angel.

Although Jaclyn personally gets along well with Shelley on the set, when she first heard news of the casting she saw red. In fact, less than 48 hours after Shelley Hack was named to replace the departed Kate Jackson, Jaclyn demanded a meeting with ABC executives.

“She is wrong, wrong, wrong!” Jaclyn fumed at the executives, according to an eyewitness.

Banging her hand on the table as she spoke, the normally mild-mannered actress angrily snapped:

“I do not think Shelley Hack is right… There is no contrast between Miss Hack and Cheryl. Facially they look very much alike.”

Turning to the show’s producer, Aaron Spelling, she told him: “I’ve lost faith in your word, Aaron. You’re forcing her down our throats.”

She said she’s happy with the guest appearance her husband will be allowed to make on the show and with her salary - $40,000 a week.

But then Jaclyn gave a deep sigh and solemnly announced: “I want it understood that this will be my last year. I will not, cannot continue. As I said before, with the bikini scripts and semi-nudity, I would get more coverage from a postage stamp. I will not promote the show or give interviews. I must look to my future as an actress.”

With anger and resentment burning in her eyes, Jaclyn snapped at producer Spelling: “You should replace us with (porno stars) Marilyn Chambers and Linda Lovelace. That’s all the present scripts are – sex. You stop just short of explicit sex. Nothing can compensate for the cheapness that is foisted upon us and the public. I’m amazed that the public doesn’t just retch in pure disgust. If this low-life show doesn’t destroy it, I will have a future in feature films. Farrah and Kate were right (in leaving). Nothing will make me change my mind.”

When Jaclyn left the room, there were tears of anger in her eyes.

One insider who works on the set told The ENQUIRER that one of the reasons Jaclyn doesn’t walk off right now is because she’s afraid of breaking her contract would jeopardize future projects.

“She wants to star in ABC movies with her husband,” said the source. “She’s already had him written into episodes of Charlie’s Angels.’ She’s told people on the set, ‘I’m not doing any more of that garbage after this year’s contract ends. She has openly said that she show is getting too sexy and the tiny bikinis the girls have been given to wear are nothing more than pieces of twine. She told the producers scornfully, ‘Your scripts are more like a soft-core porno movie.’”

The insiders said Jaclyn felt “double-crossed” by the production company because – even though she’s the only original Angel who’s loyally stayed with the show – she hasn’t been consulted on scripts, wardrobes or the selection of Shelley Hack.

But there’s another big reason Jaclyn is shedding her Angel wings – her husband wants her to boost his career by working with him, believes another insider, who asked not to be named.

“Her husband Dennis is trying to get work very, very badly,” said the source. “I think he’s trying to get Jackie out of the ‘Angels’ so they can do films and joint ventures. Jaclyn and he have been pushing the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ producers to let Dennis have a running character part. The producers are just not going to buy it.”

Fleeing Angel heaven could be a terrible mistake for Jaclyn, said the source.

“I don’t think the producers will be worried, but Jackie certainly should. She is being pushed into a bad decision by Dennis who is trying to further his own career.”

And another knowledgeable source angrily slammed Cole, charging: “It’s obvious he’s rebuilding his career on hers.”

Jaclyn’s jovial costar David Doyle confirmed that she is dead set on hanging up her Angel halo.

“She does want to leave the show next year,” he said. “She very well might be bored with the repetition of appearing in a continuing series. What Jaclyn has said (about leaving) can be taken without any salt at all. It’s a very candid remark. Personally, I would like her to stay. But this will give her a chance to shine somewhere else alone rather than shine among a group.”

And Jaclyn herself confided: “Dennis and I have been in Paris talking about film projects we could do together. I’m planning to do something else, but I haven’t decided just what yet. I’d like to do something entirely different.”

- John Cooke, Stewart Dickson and John South

New Angel’s Start a Disaster

Shelley’s dismal debut came during filming of the first episode called “Love Boat Angels.”

The ENQUIRER has obtained a copy of the script, which finally explains just what happened to the character played by fallen Angel Kate Jackson, who was fired from the show.

Shelley, who is taking Kate’s place, made an awful beginning in her new career.

After blowing her lines repeatedly and driving the director up the wall, she privately confessed that her new job was harder than she’d thought. Stung and embarrassed by the fiasco of her major acting debut, Shelley – a top model with little acting experience – later lamented to a crew member: “I didn’t realize it was going to be this hard…”

Shelley’s startlingly frank admission followed a brutal day on the set in which she fledgling actress stumbled over her lines so many times that she finally drew the wrath of crew members, who were openly critical of her poor performance.

“All she had to do was speak a couple of simple lines and she flubbed them six times,” complained one crew member. “Every time she messed up she ran over and put her arms around the director and asked him to forgive her. By about the third time he was getting really angry with her. And so were the rest of the crew. They just don’t think she has any talent.”

Not only that, but insiders say Shelley is so unattractive when not wearing makeup that her stunning costars don’t feel even the least bit threatened.

“Shelley hack is such a plain Jane that the other two don’t feel threatened by her at all,” revealed an actor.

Added a cameraman: “She’s all right in makeup, but beside Cheryl or Jackie she might as well be a boy. Everyone expected a glamorous lady, but she’s not that glamorous…”

One insider confided: “Shelley’s flat-chested and looks like a boy standing next to Cheryl and Jackie – and without makeup she’s one of the plainest actresses anyone can remember seeing on the show.”

In the first episode, the Angels try to recover a cargo of stolen Greek treasures. The show’s first segment won’t air until the new fall season. So ENQUIRER readers are the first to know that Sabrina, played by Kate, got married an is expecting a baby.

Before introducing the Angels to their new partner Tiffany Welles – played by Shelley – Charlie speaks two brief lines that write Kate out of the show. The scene: Kelly Garrett (Jaclyn Smith) and Kris Munroe (Cheryl Ladd) are inside Charlie’s office.

“By the way, Angels, I heard from Sabrina,” Charlie says over the intercom. “… the honeymoon’s over.”

Kris asks: “Trouble in paradise?”

Hinting that Sabrina is pregnant, Charlie replies: “No… the oncoming patter of tiny feet.”

- Paul F. Levy

BACKGROUND CHECK

The Enquirer July 3, 1979