Saturday, October 24, 2015

Too Hot

An ad for "Toni's Boys"
a Charlie's Angels episode aired in 1980

In 1979, Shelley joined the cast of one of the hottest (in fact too hot) shows on TV, Charlie's Angels, joining incumbent Angels Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd. The series had such an impact on popular culture that each and every Angel that passed trough Charlie's doors became instant superstars. Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn, Cheryl, Shelley and later Tanya Roberts became so ingrained in the minds of people worldwide, that to this very day, everyone is still talking about them.

a pic of Charlie's Angels with Toni's Boys

The series had such a huge following that a male version of the show was inevitable. And in the episode "Toni's Boys", that was exactly what happened. Matt Parish (Bruce Bauer), Cotton Harper (Steven Shortridge) and Bob Sorenson (Bob Seagreen) were the "male Angels" of Antonia McQueen (played by Hollywood legend Barbara Stanwyck) - hence the episode title. It was a sort of "pilot" for a spin-off series with the same title; but there seemed to be a lack of chemistry between the boys, so the ABC network passed on the spin-off. It was still a fun episode though and one of the most memorable of the series.

Jaclyn Smith, Shelley Hack and Cheryl Ladd
the Charlie's Angels team from 1979 to 1980

"Toni's Boys" was the second to the last episode Shelley did for Charlie's Angels. Sadly, she wasn't asked to return the next season which disappointed her fans, because they were finally beginning to see more of her in the show and then suddenly, she was out. Shelley improved a lot as the 4th season progressed; and when she was given more to say and do, she delivered good performances. It's really baffling how she was blamed for the show's decline when she wasn't even given a chance to prove herself - except during the final episodes of the season (her part became equal to that of her co-stars by then) when the ratings had already plunged. But then the show still ranked within TV's top 20 shows at end of that year, which wasn't bad for a four-year-old show.