Gidget


Gidget Information

Gidget is an American sitcom about a surfing, boy-crazy teenager called "Gidget" and her widowed father Russ Lawrence, a UCLA professor. Sally Field stars as Gidget with Don Porter as her father. The series was first broadcast on ABC from September 15, 1965, through April 21, 1966.

Gidget was among the first regularly scheduled color programs on ABC, but did poorly in the Nielsen ratings and was cancelled at the end of its first season. The show gained some popularity in summer reruns but too late to reverse its cancellation.

Background

The television series was based upon concepts and characters created by Frederick Kohner in his 1957 novel Gidget, the Little Girl with Big Ideas, which Kohner based upon the adventures of his teenage daughter Kathy. The novel was adapted into a 1959 movie starring Sandra Dee, James Darren, and Cliff Robertson. The 1965 weekly, half-hour television series is seen by some as a sequel to the 1959 film, despite numerous discontinuities in plot, time frame and other details. It can also be seen as an independent incarnation, related to but distinct from either the novels or the films. Kohner served as a script consultant on the show.

The series reintroduced Gidget's friend Larue and married sister Anne Cooper, both of whom appear in Kohner's original novel, but are absent from the motion picture series. Gidget's brother in law, who appears in the novels as the intelligent but condescending child psychiatrist Larry Cooper is reinvented in the TV series as John Cooper, an obtuse but lovable psychology student.

Characters

  • Sally Field portrays Frances Elizabeth "Gidget" Lawrence, the prototypical southern California beach bunny.
  • Don Porter portrays Russell Lawrence, Gidget's widowed father and English professor at UCLA.
  • Betty Conner portrays Anne Cooper, Gidget's older married sister.
  • Pete Duel portrays John Cooper, Anne's psychology student husband.
  • Lynette Winter portrays Larue Wilson, Gidget's best friend.
  • Stephen Mines portrays Jeff "Moondoggie" Matthews, Gidget's boyfriend.
  • Michael Nader, Rickie Sorensen, and Bob Beach portray Gidget's schoolmates Siddo, Randy, and Toby, respectively.

Overview

Main article: List of Gidget (TV series) episodes
Gidget is about the father-daughter relationship between Frances "Gidget" Lawrence and her father Russell Lawrence. Episodes follow Gidget's zany adventures in school, at home, and on the nearby beaches. Russell Lawrence has much ado guiding his daughter through her fifteenth year. Married sister Anne and her husband John offer child-rearing tips. Gidget's friend Larue sometimes takes part in her escapades. Episodes typically end with Gidget receiving moral instruction from her father and gaining wisdom from her zany experiences. On occasion, Gidget "breaks through the Fourth wall" and directly addresses her audience, usually reflecting on what she's learned from the evening's story, sometimes ending with "Toodles!"

Production details

Gidget was filmed at the Columbia/Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank, California, with the exterior and kitchen set borrowed from the Hazel series, which was filming its final season at the time that Gidget began its run on television. The house situated next door to the Lawrence residence is the principal residence on Bewitched series, which was in production at the same time.

Though 18-year-old Sally Field defeated 75 other teenage girls for the title role, she exaggerated her surfing experience to the show's casting directors, when in fact she had none. Field took lessons just to be able to pretend to surf for the cameras from Phil Sauers, her instructor, who served as the series' "Surfing Technical Consultant" and provided the surfboards used during filming of the series.

While the Gidget of the novel and the original film are both blondes, the Gidget of the TV series is a brunette.

The Gidget theme song lyrics were written by Howard Greenfield, with music by Jack Keller. The song was sung in the pilot by The Four Freshmen and in the series by Johnny Tillotson.

Reception

The series faced stiff competition from The Beverly Hillbillies on CBS and The Virginian on NBC, two established shows with strong followings. Due to low ratings, ABC canceled Gidget in the spring of 1966. The series gained an audience during the summer of 1966 through reruns, but ABC executives decided to star Field in 1967's The Flying Nun rather than revive Gidget. Field later stated that while she loved working on Gidget, she despised The Flying Nun.

Subsequent history

Gidget remained in syndication for several years. Two telemovie sequels were produced: Gidget Grows Up and Gidget Gets Married. Gidget received airtime again in the early 1980s, furthering the show's popularity. Another telemovie was produced, Gidget's Summer Reunion, followed in 1986 by the syndicated sitcom, The New Gidget.

Merchandise

  • In the 1960s Milton Bradley Company manufactured and marketed a "Gidget Fortune Teller" game which used Sally Field's image on the box, the playing board and some of the game cards.

DVD release

On March 21, 2006, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released Gidget: The Complete Series featuring all 32 episodes of the series, on DVD in Region 1. The release contains an all-new interview with Sally Field as well as the original pilot.

Syndication

The show can purchased on iTunes, as well as streamed for free through Minisodes in the US on YouTube, Hulu, and Crackle.

Since the summer of 2011, the show has been shown on weekends on Antenna TV. On Wednesday, July 4, 2012, Antenna TV had a Independence Day marathon of all 32 episodes of the series, shown in chronological order. The all-day event was shown from 8:00am EST in the morning until midnight.

See also

  • Surf culture
  • Psycho Beach Party, a film by Charles Busch parodying the teen beach party movies of the sixties



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gidget_%28TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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