On her first day at the studio, Cheryl Ladd wore a specially designed t-shirt with the phrase, "Farrah Fawcett Minor" as her way of breaking the ice of replacing Farrah Fawcett-Majors.
The surname of David Doyle's character, John Bosley, was an in-joke reference to the fact that Doyle was often misidentified as television actor Tom Bosley.
When Farrah Fawcett left the series, her absence was explained by having her character Jill become a professional racing driver on the Grand Prix circuit in Europe. Kate Jackson's absence was explained by having Sabrina getting married and starting a family.
John Forsythe was never on the set, his voice was recorded, and dubbed in later. He told Aaron Spelling that for him to make an on-screen appearance, he would have to be paid a lot of money. Forsythe also never visited the set during the entire run of the show.
John Forsythe was called in at the very last minute to voice Charlie, when the original actor who had been cast turned out to have a drinking problem. Aaron Spelling called Forsythe past midnight on a Friday, and begged him to come to the studio immediately, as the pilot was to be broadcast after the weekend. Forsythe ended up recording his first voice-over in his pajamas.
A lot of writers were fired from the show because the stars were always demanding better scripts.
The Angels all drove Ford automobiles. Jill, and later Kris, drove a Cobra, Kelly drove a Mustang, and Sabrina drove a Pinto. For the record, Bosley drove a Thunderbird.
The house used as the filming location for the Charles Townsend Private Investigations office façade address is: 189 N. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211.
Charlie's Angels was in the top ten for its first two seasons: 1976 to 1977 number five, 1977 to 1978 number four, competing in a three way tie with 60 Minutes (1968) and All in the Family (1971). Midway through season three, when Kate Jackson announced her impending departure, the show slipped out of the top ten to number twelve. When Shelley Hack became Jackson's replacement, the ratings dropped even further to number twenty. The ratings slide continued, and Hack was let go. Tanya Roberts was hired to replace Hack, but the ratings didn't improve; plummeting to an abysmal number fifty-nine. The show never recovered, and was cancelled at the end of its fifth season.
When Farrah Fawcett left the series, this began a series of lawsuits, in which the producers sued her over breach of contract. However, the suits ended, when Fawcett agreed to make a total of six guest appearances the following two seasons, so she would be let go.
Jill, Kelly, and Sabrina were all former members of the Los Angeles Police Department. Kris worked for the San Francisco police, and Tiffany was with the Boston police. The only Angel who was never a cop was Julie, who was originally a model.
Aaron Spelling had also been the producer of the first prime time television series with a female private eye in the title role, Honey West (1965) starring Anne Francis. That show may have been ahead of its time, as it only lasted one season. Then in 1976, the public was ready to accept the concept, and this series was a runaway hit.
Among the actresses considered for the role of Tiffany Welles were Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathie Lee Gifford. Shelley Hack was eventually cast.
The original concept of the Angels was to have one brunette, one redhead, and one blonde. Kate Jackson was aboard from the beginning of the project, and was set to play the lead angel. Farrah Fawcett was the next to join, filling the blonde role, but then the producers dropped the hair color concept, and brought in Jaclyn Smith to complete the trio. This hair color concept finally came into being when Tanya Roberts (a redhead) joined the show in the fifth season.
Producer Aaron Spelling had previously used Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd in the film Satan's School for Girls (1973).
Kate Jackson was the only Angel to receive an Emmy nomination. In fact, she was nominated two consecutive years, but never won.
Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd reportedly did not get along during their two seasons working together. Ladd stated in interviews there were some days Jackson would not even speak to her.
David Ogden Stiers was in the pilot. This was right before he would play Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on M*A*S*H (1972).
Kim Basinger, who appears in the episode Charlie's Angels: Angels in Chains (1976) as an inmate, was later offered the role of Kris Munroe, but turned it down, because she wanted to make movies.
Although in most episodes, Charlie was heard, but never seen, he did appear in a couple of episodes, but his face was never shown.
Shelley Hack's absence was explained as a result of her character Tiffany Welles' decision to move to the East Coast.
Sabrina was the only Angel that was previously married. She was married to a fellow officer when she was still a cop, but the marriage ended in divorce.
In the opening sequence of the first season, the city where the Angels attended the police academy was never mentioned. It wasn't until the next season that we found out where the various Angels got their police training.
The third season of the show was the only season to not feature a major cast change.
The telephone through which Charlie communicates at the beginning of each episode is a red Bell System 4A Speakerphone.
President Gerald Ford visited the set during filming, as it was one of his favorite television shows.
According to producer Edward J. Lakso, the title "Charlie's Angels" was suggested to producer Aaron Spelling by Kate Jackson. Jackson also suggested that the show be about three private investigators rather than three policewomen.
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner were silent investors in this show. They were investors who were not listed as producers in the credits, as investors usually are. Wagner and Wood' s business arrangement with Aaron Spelling became apparent, when they sued Spelling for misappropriation of funds. They claimed that money they had given him for the series was used for other television shows. The press dubbed the ensuing scandal "Angel-gate".
At the 58th Primetime Emmy awards in August 2006, original angels Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Jaclyn Smith walked out on stage, hand in hand, to pay tribute in honor of Aaron Spelling, who died two months earlier. Cheryl Ladd admits being hurt about being left out of the tribute to Aaron Spelling. In an interview she said, "Kate Jackson decided how it was going to be...that I was going to be the outsider...and that's how it was". It's no secret that Jackson and Ladd did not get along, and that Ladd has complained about being treated badly.
Jaclyn Smith criticized Farrah Fawcett for backing out of her "Angels" commitment. In interviews, she said, "I didn't think it was the right thing to do. I mean, you have a contract."
Though many believe the detective series Vega$ (1978) was a spin-off of Charlie's Angels (1976), Dan Tanna (Robert Urich) was not introduced here, but rather in a pilot that was aired as ABC television movie of the week on Tuesday, April 25, 1978. The crossover, (Charlie's Angels: Angels in Vegas (1978)) was simply used to reintroduce the Dan Tanna character, and to remind and promote the debut of "Vega$" as an ongoing series, it debuted one week later on Wednesday, September 20, 1978. The two dates, Tuesday, April 25, 1978, and Wednesday, September 20 1978, differ one hundred forty-eight days, equaling twenty-one weeks and one day.
When the show started, Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett were paid five thousand dollars an episode. Kate Jackson, being a more well known actress, was paid ten thousand dollars per episode. These amounts, after adjusting for inflation in 2015, would be equivalent to twenty-one thousand dollars, and forty-two thousand dollars, respectively. Three years later Jaclyn Smith got a raise to forty thousand dollars an episode, to keep her from also leaving the show. This would be equivalent to one hundred thirty-two thousand dollars in 2015.
In an "Emmy TV Legends" interview, John Forsythe called the show a "potboiler" (a bad show), of deliberately poor quality, made quickly on the cheap, solely to make a lot of money, which it did.
Kris (Cheryl Ladd) was studying to become a teacher before she decided on a career in law enforcement.
Edward J. Lakso not only produced the series, he was also an accomplished musician and songwriter, who wrote many of the songs used in the series.
Kate Jackson was chosen to play Joanna Kramer in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), until it became apparent that Robert Benton's schedule would interfere with Aaron Spelling's. Benton asked special permission from Spelling to work around this, and when Spelling said no, Jackson was forced to back out. This ultimately led to Jackson leaving after season three.
It was originally going to be called "Alley Cats", but Kate Jackson suggested "Charlie's Angels" after seeing a picture of angels in Aaron Spelling's office.
Shelley Hack was essentially fired from the season before a season passed, because Spelling and his producers did not feel like she clicked with viewers. This is when they added Tanya Roberts' reformed thief and streetwise model character Julie Rogers, and the opening changed from ,"Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy," to "Once upon a time there were three beautiful women."
John Forsythe starred on this series and Dynasty (1981) concurrently. On both shows, he was the lead; on this series, played the eponymous Charlie; on that series, he played Blake Carrington, the patriarch of the Carringtons. It is one of the only times an actor has had the lead in two shows at the same time.
Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Ladd, and Jaclyn Smith appeared on The Partridge Family (1970).