Charlie's Angels Fought Crime And Looked Good Doing It

Culture | September 22, 2017

Left: the Charlie's Angels cast in season 4 consisted of Cheryl Ladd, Jaclyn Smith, and Shelley Hack. Right: Farrah Fawcett in the season 1 episode 'Angels On Wheels.' Sources: Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images; IMDB

When the "angels" of Charlie's Angels -- Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson and Farrah Fawcett -- made their TV debut in 1976, it wasn't clear whether these were empowered women or just investigators who were really nice to look at. Really nice. They were out to solve crimes and catch bad guys on their own after having quit their unsatisfying jobs in the police department. Despite the fact that the women were legitimate graduates of the police academy, they were not taken seriously and were assigned the jobs of meter maid, office secretary and crossing guard… not at all what they had anticipated. 

Charlie’s Angels was a crime/drama television series that first aired in September 1976. The show was created by Ivan Goff & Ben Roberts and was produced by the well-known, Aaron Spelling. The Angels worked for a private detective agency owned by millionaire Charlie Townsend in sunny Los Angeles, California. 

“Once upon a time,” as the show’s opening begins, Jill, Sabrina & Kelly were police officers whose skills were being wasted performing menial duties typically reserved for women. Enter a secretive millionaire named, Charles Townsend, who took them away from all of that to his own private investigation agency, and hired these gorgeous ladies as his operatives… Charlie’s Angels!

Mysterious millionaire, Charlie, ran a private detective agency, seemingly as a hobby. In the show, he was known for surrounding himself with extravagances and painted women, including his Angels! The Angels were tasked with fighting crime and brought countless dangerous fugitives to justice; all while sporting flawless make-up, form-fitting clothing as well as high heels; rarely breaking a sweat! They carried guns, and used them, mind you, and could solve crimes that local law enforcement agencies could not. The sexy trio frequently went undercover as models, strippers, cocktail waitresses and other sexually suggestive characters. Ironically, the Angels decided to work for Charlie because they wanted to disassociate themselves from jobs mostly held by women and didn’t want to be judged for their physical appearances.  

The original cast included John Forsythe as the voice of millionaire, Charlie Townsend, whose face was never actually seen on the show, Kate Jackson as Angel, Sabrina Duncan, Farrah Fawcett as Angel, Jill Munroe, Jaclyn Smith as Angel, Kelly Garret and David Doyle, as John Bosley, the Angels’ obliging sidekick. Cheryl Ladd was subsequently cast as Angel, Kris Monroe, Jill Monroe’s younger sister, after Fawcett left the show. Whoever cast this show was a genius! Each of the women had a “back story” but really, who cared? They were young, curvy and easy to look at!

Over the course of the series, many notable celebrities appeared on Charlie’s Angels. Among these appearances were by Ed Begley, Jr., Sonny Bono, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Gary Collins, Jamie Lee Curtis, Gavin MacLeod, and Dean Martin.

Charlie’s Angels received mixed reviews from critics and the public, mainly because it was felt that the show exploited the portrayal of sex and women. Despite that fact, the series aired for 5 seasons and continues to have a sort-of cult-like following in syndication; not shocking given that sex sells! Like it or not, the Angels were the total package and viewers rarely cared if the bad guy was thrown in jail or not! Although, the seemingly superficial premise of the show offended some, it certainly didn’t keep people from watching!

Tags: Charlie | Charlies Angels | David Doyle | Farrah Fawcett | Jaclyn Smith | Kate Jackson | Sabrina Duncan | The 1970s | TV In The 1970s

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.