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September 25, 2018

11 behind-the-scenes secrets of the original 'Charlie's Angels'

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"Charlie's Angels" hit the seventies like a breath of fresh air. An all-female cast crime drama was not the usual series pushed on viewers back then, but boy did everyone love it.

Producers and network executives weren't sure that an hour-long action series lacking testosterone would be found interesting at all.

In fact, ABC told Aaron Spelling and his partner Leonard Goldberg that it was the worst idea they had ever heard. Let's see what other industry secrets we didn't know about "Charlie's Angels."

11. NAME CHANGE

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Gender equality was a big deal in the 1970s – a period that was known as the "decade of feminism." The producers felt that calling the show "The Alley Cats" would not go down well among its newly awakened female audience.

Kate Jackson, the "star" of the show suggested "Harry's Angels" which was a great idea except the lead's name was changed to Charlie to avoid confusion with the detective show called "Harry-O."

10. DRUNK CHARLIE GOT FIRED

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Charlie Townsend, the benefactor of the "Angels," was only a voiceover role. The actor chosen to "play the character would never have to put in an actual appearance on the show since the angels received their case information through a Western Electric Speakerphone.

But Gig Young, a veteran actor, showed up drunk to record his lines and was promptly fired. Spelling quickly called John Forsythe of Dynasty fame and begged his help just to record the pilot. Forsythe reportedly arrived in his bedroom slippers and would remain the voice of Charlie for the full five years.

9. FARRAH FAWCETT'S DINNER CONTRACT

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Golden girl Farrah Fawcett-Majors was known for her shampoo commercials and for being Mrs. "Six Million Dollar Man." Her contract clearly stated that she had to be home at 7 p.m. each day in time to cook Lee Majors' dinner.  

While Farrah started out as a second-rate actress on the show, she soon eclipsed Jackson as the star with her face on magazine covers everywhere. 

8. FAWCETT QUIT

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At the height of the show's success, Farrah quit. ABC sued her and she agreed to make six guest appearances over the following two seasons. 

Cheryl Ladd played her character's sister in season two and ratings remained high.

7. DUSTIN HOFFMAN AFFECTED THE SHOW

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Kate Jackson had to pass up an opportunity to play opposite Dustin Hoffman in the 1979 divorce drama "Kramer vs. Kramer," a role that earned Meryl Streep an Oscar.

Her dismay was reportedly felt on set and she was let out of her contract before the start of the fourth season.

6. MICHELLE PFEIFFER AS AN ANGEL

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Michelle Pfeiffer was considered as a replacement for Jackson before model Shelley Hack was brought in.

5. FARRAH'S POSTER

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The Farrah poster came out before the show aired. ABC wanted publicity shots of the "Angels" but Farrah was the only one who agreed to participate.

The iconic bathing suit shoot went on to sell 12 million copies and is still available on eBay.

4. ABC WANTED TO REVEAL CHARLIE

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Forsythe continued to have a voiceover role on the film although the network pushed for an episode where the "Angels" met Charlie. It never happened.

3. CLOTHING BUDGET 

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The "Angels" fought crime wearing a series of high-end outfits and shoes that changed a minimum of 8 times every hour. No expense was spared with the clothing budget set at $20,000 per episode. 

In one of her guest appearances, Fawcett wore 12 different outfits.

2. THE LOVE BOAT

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Spelling had the idea of doing a crossover episode and getting the cast to visit his other successful series "The Love Boat" to investigate a $5 million stash of precious metals.

The whole purpose was to draw attention to the series and to help the network after Jackson's replacement caused a bump to the ratings.

Alas, it didn't help and the new "Angel" was written out of the show by the end of the season.

1. ALL-MALE SPIN-OFF

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Spelling arranged a pilot for a spin-off series titled "Toni’s Boys." The public did not take the bait and the idea was canned.

Audiences loved "Charlie's Angels" and stayed loyal to the original franchise even after the show was revived several times without as much hype. 

Did you watch any of the revival series'? Which series was the best?

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