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.
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.
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.
John Forsythe was called in at the last minute to voice Charlie, when the original actor who had been cast turned out to have a drinking problem. Producer 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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
John Forsythe was uncredited throughout the series. Forsythe thought it would add more mystery to the show.
A lot of writers were fired from the show because the stars were always demanding better scripts.
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.
The third season of the show was the only season to not feature a major cast change.
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"; it is unclear why, due the pejorative meaning of the term, and it having nothing to do with the classy detectives but, thankfully, Kate Jackson suggested "Charlie's Angels" after seeing a picture of angels in Aaron Spelling's office, and the rest is history.
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.
President Gerald Ford visited the set during filming, as it was one of his favorite television shows.
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.
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.
That Shelley Hack was ever let go from the show is pure conjecture later propagated by certain hardcore fans of Kate Jackson who did not want her replaced. In reality, the production never released an official statement. After Tiffany's departure, S5 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."
Jaclyn Smith and David Doyle are the only cast members to appear in all hundred sixteen episodes of the show. There was just one episode where, apart from the intro, John Forsythe's voice was not heard.
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.
During the third season, Kate Jackson was offered the part of Joanna Kramer in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) with Dustin Hoffman but the producers refused to reorganize the shooting schedule to allow Jackson time off to shoot the film. The part of Joanna ultimately went to Meryl Streep, who won an Academy Award for her performance. Upset by this situation, Jackson decided to leave the series.
The original concept of the Angels was to have one brunette, one redhead, and one blonde. Kate Jackson was on-board 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, in great part due to Cheryl Ladd demanding to be the only blonde angel.
This show 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.
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.
Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Ladd, and Jaclyn Smith appeared on The Partridge Family (1970).
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.
Producer Aaron Spelling had previously used Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd in the movie Satan's School for Girls (1973).
Kim Basinger, who appeared in 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.
Among the actresses considered for the role of Tiffany Welles were Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathie Lee Gifford. Shelley Hack was eventually cast.
Cheryl Ladd auditioned for the role of Nancy Lawrence in Aaron Spelling's 1976 critically acclaimed family drama, Family (1976). As it often happens in Hollywood, she was turned down for this role, but saved for another Spelling production a year later, Charlie's Angels. The Nancy Lawrence role that Ladd was turned down for ended up going to Meredith Baxter.
Kate Jackson was the only Angel to receive an Emmy nomination. In fact, she was nominated two consecutive years, but never won.
Although the end credits always indicated different Make-up Artists for all three ladies, the beautiful Angels' faces awkwardly revealed that the same stick of lipstick and the same one color blush had been passed around between all three: in pretty much every episode, the angels are sharing the same exact shade of red blush and lipstick.
The chemistry between the angels seriously declined in season 5. Whereas none of the real-life animosity ever transpired onto the TV screen between Sabrina and Kris, on the other hand, Cheryl Ladd is often seen looking rather uncomfortable when next to Tanya Roberts, particularly at the end, when the angels typically bonded. Instead of the usual camaraderie, while Julie is talking, Cheryl is often seen either looking stern, insecure and completely ignoring Julie, looking away from her, or turning to look at Jaclyn Smith instead. This on-camera awkwardness would recur throughout season 5. As neither Kate Jackson, Shelley Hack nor Roberts ever came forward or wrote a tell-all, it is unclear why Ladd had so many problems getting along with her co-stars.
Era magazines in Spain consistently reported that Cheryl Ladd was jealous of Shelley Hack from the get-go, because Shelley's height made her uncomfortable and she felt dwarfed by it. Ladd also wanted to be "the only blonde on the show". They further claimed that Cheryl bullied Shelley, often to tears, and constantly walked into the producers' office and demanded Shelley's lines, so as to diminish the role of Tiffany Welles. (Ladd was often the star of the episode, since her arrival.) Indeed, Tiffany incidentally had less and less to say as the show progressed. Eventually, Ladd threatened to walk unless Shelley was fired, the Spain magazines reported that she got her way: rather than deal with the drama, Shelley chose to leave on her own. However, it would appear that none of this ever made the U.S. press. It is unclear if there ever was any truth to these published facts, or from where they were obtained, but Spain fans still hold Ladd directly responsible for Shelley Hack's departure. Strangely enough, as if to expunge her mea culpa, in later interviews, Cheryl Ladd often claimed that she took one look at Tanya Roberts when she came on-board, referred to her as the "b" word and said something to the effect of: "I don't want to work with her, she is too sexy!" This was supposed to be a self-humbling declaration on Ladd's part.
Whereas in season four, newcomer Tiffany Welles was more often than not relinquished to the background and barely had one storyline revolving around her during her entire run, with Shelley Hack's own lines greatly reduced, the latest newcomer in season five, Julie Rogers, quickly overtook Kris Munroe as center stage of most of the shows, seemingly with the most dialogue, while Ladd and Jaclyn Smith now were the ones in the background less active than ever before. According to show insiders, it was later found out that Shelley Hack was ostracized by the production, and her lines were given to Edward J. Lakso's own favorite, Cheryl Ladd.
In syndication, season 5 still ranks as the least watched of all Charlie's Angels' re-runs.
Contrary to the positive words she would later speak about her under-appreciated one-season co-star, not once did Jaclyn Smith speak up in defense of Shelley Hack when all the drama directed at her was going on behind-the-scenes, during season 4, created by the dalliance between Cheryl Ladd and Edward J. Lakso, who both wanted her ousted from the beginning. Ladd and Smith would soon regret their unkind (or passive) behavior: if the two "angels" felt insecure next to statuesque beauty Tiffany Welles, sexy Tanya Roberts would completely eclipse them both, as her own Julie Rogers took over Ladd's reign as "number one angel" with the most story-lines revolving around her. As a result, Ladd and Smith found themselves relinquished to "supporting actress" status and, yielding to the brand new angel turned star-of-the-show, both seemed to "phone in" their performances in Season 5.
Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson auditioned for the role of Julie Kotter on Welcome Back, Kotter (1975); but were beaten out by Marcia Strassman; which left them open for this action adventure series helmed by Aaron Spelling.
Tiffany Welles (Shelley Hack) promised to be a very interesting character, with a background in metaphysics, having studied at the Erhard Seminars Training, and a keen interest in the occult, which allowed her to communicate with the dead. Sadly, Tiffany's short-lived stay at the Charles Townsend Agency (Shelley Hack was sadly replaced after her first season) didn't allow enough time for the writers to develop her unusual past and explore her uncanny potential. She is remembered as the most elegant Angel of them all.
The telephone through which Charlie communicates at the beginning of each episode is a red Bell System 4A Speakerphone.
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.
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.
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.
Though many believe the detective series Vega$ (1978) was a spin-off of this show, 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 (season three opener 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 on-going 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, equalling twenty-one weeks and one day.
Although no official word ever came from the production as to why Shelley Hack didn't return for Season 5, the Spain press printed that Shelley had quit the series due to Cheryl Ladd's unkind treatment of her throughout her entire season. It was often reported in Spain that Ladd was so belligerent, she often caused Shelley to go home in tears, and the former model did not want to keep working any longer in such hostile environment.
The end of season 4 and pilot for season 5 are very both ironic as it pertains to Shelley Hack: both Kris and Kelly resign from the Townsend Agency at the end of S4, but it is, in fact, Shelley who would resign from her position as angel Tiffany right after that season finale. S5 sees a model hired as the latest angel when, in fact, it was Shelley who was the real life, high-fashion supermodel, and they completely missed the opportunity to bring in that element to her season. The latter is almost like a deliberate affront to an under-appreciated Shelley.
Edward J. Lakso strongly favored Cheryl Ladd, which explains why he wrote story after story revolving around Kris Munroe. He also strongly disliked Shelley Hack, and their unholy dalliance is a big part of the reason why Shelley decided to leave the series after Season 4.
In Charlie's Angels: The Killing Kind (1976), Bosley mentions having a wife. However in later seasons of the series, the character is portrayed as being a bachelor (i.e. he being in pursuit of females romantically).
Acting Oscar winners Jack Albertson, Kim Basinger, Tommy Lee Jones, Mercedes McCambridge, Ray Milland and Jane Wyman have appeared. Further, acting Oscar nominees Hermione Baddeley, Theodore Bikel, Lynn Carlin, Sally Kirkland, Robert Loggia, Dan O'Herlihy, Anne Ramsey and Barbara Stanwyck have also appeared.
Kris (Cheryl Ladd) was studying to become a teacher before she decided on a career in law enforcement.
John Forsythe appeared on this show and Dynasty (1981) concurrently. On both shows, he was the lead; on this series, he 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.
During Season 4, instead of taking advantage of a fresh face, the show started to, once again, repetitively revolve around Kris Munroe, with episode after episode having her as the central character, who is either in danger, takes a liking to a father figure she cares for, or reminds an older gentleman of his first wife---among many other such Kris-centric episodes. With gorgeous newcomer angel Tiffany Wells---portrayed by a very capable actress, Shelley Hack, who brought class and elegance to the series, along with her character's paranormal edge---the opportunity was unwisely lost to give the audience a fresh take on story-lines and bring the show to a new level and an exciting direction. Instead, it was retrograde to "look what Jill's wonder sister can accomplish", and---understandably---audiences experienced Kris-fatigue. The result was the ratings dropped severely, and Hack took the fall for this, when the writers didn't offer her more than one story-line which revolved around her (Charlie's Angels: Of Ghosts and Angels (1980)). As if to make up for their mistake, when Julie was introduced, the writers promptly made Tanya Roberts the star of the show, writing episode after episode starring Julie. However, lovely as she was, Roberts overt bombshell looks and persona was the wrong fit for the show, among the more modest and reserved angels. Julie's presence overpowered the series, and the same pattern happened: the audience experienced Julie-fatigue this time, a character which, unlike Tiffany, the audiences never took to, and the show was promptly canceled after season 5.
After her 13th episode established Tiffany as having strong psychic abilities---including ESP, accurate dream premonitions and mediumship---her paranormal skills are sadly not explored beyond that, and never mentioned again for the rest of her season.
In an effort to boost their dwindling ratings since Season 3 (when Kris Munroe became the focus of most episodes), the production brought in designer Nolan Miller, to glam up Season 4. Indeed, with the arrival of high-fashion model-turned-angel, Tiffany Welles aka Shelley Hack, the angels spruced up their act, wearing expensive jewels and fashions---the latter, however, not always in their most favorable color 'season'. If Shelley was evidently easier to style, Cheryl Ladd proved to be the most challenging to dress---perhaps due to her height. While Kelly and Tiffany are more often than not dressed quite elegantly, Kris is often seen wearing dissonant attire, such as dowdy purple cardigans on top of clashing plum-colored sweaters, in darker shades, which were unflattering to her complexion. In spite of this wardrobe revamping, the writers, however, stuck to their same formula of making Ladd the center of nearly every episode in Season 4, and the audiences weren't impressed. Some episodes of said season even repeat a same story which had already aired merely a couple of weeks prior. (Kris is kidnapped, Kris is jailed, Kris is in peril...). Even the Farrah Fawcett episodes (Kris' sister) were repetitive. (Jill is in love with a criminal; Jill is in love with a man who gets killed; Jill is blamed for his death so Jill is kidnapped etc.) As a result of this lack of originality, the ratings dropped even further, and the production cluelessly blamed newcomer angel, Tiffany---and Hack was let go. Unaware that the audiences wanted less repetitive storylines, such as the creatively original Charlie's Angels: Of Ghosts and Angels (1980), the production thought they needed a "sexy" angel this time, and brought in Tanya Roberts. This turned out to be a big mistake---considering that the show's male audience was minimal---and the ratings continued to drop. The show was canceled mid-season 5.
Neither Jaclyn Smith nor Cheryl Ladd ever warmed up to Shelley Hack. Quite the opposite, both actresses would take their lunch together, and didn't engage with her socially, between takes. This is due in part because Smith wanted a friend of hers to replace Kate Jackson, and Ladd had been promised another diminutive co-star, and expected to be the only blonde angel that season. Instead, Shelley was even taller than Kate was.