Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bio: Trouble in HEAVEN

On September 12, 1979, Charlie’s Angels fourth season debut episode, Love Boat Angels, topped the Nielsen ratings and the addition of Shelley Hack had revived interest in the show (Charlie’s Angels had slipped significantly from # 4 to # 12 in its third season in 1978.) The September 18 issue of Us Magazine predicted that the series, with Shelley Hack on board, would be one of the biggest hits on the “tube” in the upcoming season.

When asked whether she liked being a TV star, Shelley said, “Yes. I've got two parking spaces with my name on them. It's wonderful. Someone on the set asked me if I was scared, but it never even occurred to me. Before joining the cast, I thought the show was very well produced. Really, it's a wonderful tongue-in-cheek fantasy; three terrific-looking girls running around packing pistols. And it's funny.”

But as the new angel, Shelley wasn’t given the same airtime Cheryl Ladd got when she became the new angel two years back. In fact, Shelley wasn’t even given the spotlight in her first episode Love Boat Angels where she was being introduced. THE OFFICIAL EXPLANATION: Spelling-Goldberg was ready to go with only two angels so the third angel was written sparingly. We want to introduce the new angel gradually. THE TRUTH: According to writer/producer Ed Lakso, the persona of Tiffany and the performance of Shelley did not create the desired effect. During the filming of the first episode, he kept changing the script around so much that Cheryl was getting all the lines. “They (Jaclyn & Cheryl) said I was cheating Shelley. I danced around it because I didn't want to say that Shelley couldn't act, but I stuck with the revisions.” Lakso explained. According to Nolan Miller, “(Shelley) had a great fashion sense and she knew how to wear clothes, she wasn't the most cooperative or the most pleasant person for us to deal with.” Also, he later said, “(laughing) we kept, daily, wanting to get rid of her.”

Shelley was left so far in the background in the earlier episodes of the season that, in some of these episodes, she was almost forgotten. Furthermore, the solo episodes of Jaclyn and Cheryl were also aired early in the season (Due to the request of the cast for more time off, episodes focusing on one Angel, “solo episodes”, were produced. Shelley’s first solo episode, Angels on Campus, was the 10th original episode of the season and was aired on the 12th week). After all that hype upon the announcement of her Angel-dom, Shelley Hack was sadly reduced to mere decoration early in the season. She was given little to say or do. Angels Director Allen Baron said, “I felt bad for her because she wasn't integrated into the group.”