The Flying Nun

Last updated

The Flying Nun
FlyingNunTitleCard67.jpeg
GenreSitcom
Created by
Based on The Fifteenth Pelican
by Tere Ríos
Developed by Bernard Slade
Starring
Theme music composer Dominic Frontiere
Opening theme"Who Needs Wings to Fly?"
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes82 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producerHarry Ackerman
Producers
  • Jon Epstein
  • Ed Jurist
  • William Sackheim
Running time25 minutes
Production company Screen Gems
Distributor
  • Screen Gems (1967–1974)
  • Columbia Pictures Television (1974–1984)
  • Colex Enterprises (1984–1986)
  • Sony Pictures Television (2002–present)
Release
Original network ABC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 7, 1967 (1967-09-07) 
April 3, 1970 (1970-04-03)

The Flying Nun is an American sitcom about a community of nuns which included one who could fly when the wind caught the large headpiece of her habit. It was produced by Screen Gems for ABC based on the 1965 book The Fifteenth Pelican, written by Tere Rios. Sally Field starred as the title character, Sister Bertrille.

Contents

The series originally ran on ABC from September 7, 1967, to April 3, 1970, producing 82 episodes, including a one-hour pilot episode.

Overview

Developed by Bernard Slade, the series centered on the adventures of a community of nuns in the Convent San Tanco in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The comic elements of the storyline were provided by the flying ability of a novice nun, Sister Bertrille.

In the hour-long series pilot, Chicago native Elsie Ethrington arrives in San Juan from New York City after her arrest for having been involved in a protest; she then adopts the name of Sister Bertrille. It is also later learned (in the episode "My Sister, The Sister") that Sister Bertrille comes from a family of physicians, and that she is the only member of that family who did not follow in their footsteps. She instead became a nun, joining the Convento San Tanco, after being impressed by the missionary work of her aunt, and broke up with her boyfriend of eight months, a toy salesman.

Sister Bertrille could be relied upon to solve any problem that came her way by her ability to catch a passing breeze and fly. This was generally attributed to her weighing under 90 pounds (41 kg), high winds at the Convent high on the ocean bluffs, and the large, heavily starched cornette that was the headpiece for her habit. (The cornette was based on one worn until the middle 1960s by the Daughters of Charity, although Sister Bertrille was never said to belong to that order. [1] Indeed, the order which included the Convento San Tanco was never actually specified in the series.) Her flying talents caused as many problems as they solved. She explains her ability to fly by stating, "When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, anything can fly." In one episode, she tries to gain weight so she could stay grounded, but the attempt fails. Additionally, in the first-season episode "Young Man with a Cornette," she specifically tells a young boy who intended to use her cornette to fly that there were many factors other than her weight (which was distributed differently from that of the boy) that made her flying possible. She was unable to take off only when heavy rains or storms caused her starched cornette to lose its shape, when she had to wear something that would keep her grounded at all times, or, on one occasion in the episode titled "The Flying Dodo", when an inner ear infection caused her to lose her balance.

Characters

Redmond, Rey, Morrison, and Field. Missing from picture: Sherwood. Sally Field Flying Nun 1967.JPG
Redmond, Rey, Morrison, and Field. Missing from picture: Sherwood.

Production

After the cancellation of ABC's Gidget, in which Sally Field starred in the title role, producers sought a way to keep Field on the air. As a result, The Flying Nun was developed. [2] Field found the concept of the show silly and refused the role at first, only to resettle on it after her stepfather, Jock Mahoney, warned her that she might not work again in show business if she did not accept the role. [2] Screen Gems dismissed its second choice, Ronne Troup, who had already begun filming the pilot. Field recalled hanging from a crane and being humiliated by a parade of episodic television directors, one of whom actually grabbed her shoulders and moved her into position as if she were a prop. She credits co-star Madeleine Sherwood for encouraging her to enroll in acting classes. [3] Field has commented that she has great affection for her young Gidget persona and was proud of her work on that show, but she has also admitted that she disliked and was embarrassed by The Flying Nun. [3]

Prior to the production of The Flying Nun, producers were concerned with how the series would be received by Catholics. In an effort to prevent religious criticism, the National Catholic Office for Radio and Television (NCORT) served as a series adviser, with on-screen credit. [4] (The NCORT, like its motion-picture counterpart, the National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures, was ultimately absorbed into the United States Catholic Conference, and both were later merged into the Office for Film and Broadcasting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or USCCB.)

The San Juan convent courtyard exterior was the rear area of a house façade at the Warner Brothers Ranch's suburban street/backlot in Burbank, California, along Hollywood Way north of West Oak Street. [5] The pilot episode and the series opening and closing credits were filmed on location in Puerto Rico. Serra Retreat Center, Malibu, has photos in one of their conference rooms stating the exterior was shot there. On September 25, 1970, the Malibu Canyon Wildfire destroyed the original buildings. [6]

A soundtrack LP featuring songs from the series sung by Sally Field, titled Star Of "The Flying Nun," was released by Colgems in 1967. [7]

The series gradually changed comedic gears in its second season, focusing on slapstick and other forms of broad humor, which overzealous but bungling police Captain Gaspar Fomento, played by Vito Scotti, usually fomented. Beginning in the show's third (and final) season, changes were made to revert the series to a "warm and slightly saccharine" tone as seen in the first season. [8] Another problem the show's producers had to contend with during its last season was the fact that at the beginning of the filming schedule, Field was noticeably pregnant with her first child. This was a logistical nightmare for a series in which Field's character was supposed to be a religious celibate, and skinny enough to fly away in the wind. The producers solved the problem by using props and scenery to block view of Field's body below the chest, and using long shots of Field's stunt double for the flying sequences. [9]

Following the deaths of Shelley Morrison in 2019 and Marge Redmond in 2020, Sally Field is the only surviving cast member of the series.

Broadcast history

During its first two seasons, The Flying Nun aired on Thursday nights at 8:00pm EST, where the series competed in the ratings with Daniel Boone on NBC and Cimarron Strip on CBS. [10] The show was an instant hit, with high ratings and was declared the "hit of the season;" however, the ratings dropped as the season progressed. [11] During its second year, the series was scheduled against Daniel Boone and Hawaii Five-O. During its final season, the series was moved to Wednesday nights at 7:30pm EST, scheduled opposite The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. All of the competing shows ranked higher in the ratings than The Flying Nun, which eventually led to its cancellation. During its three-year run, the series was a part of a three-show comedy block on ABC that also consisted of Bewitched and That Girl. [12] Despite its early popularity, the show's ratings never broke the Nielsen top thirty and the final episode aired on April 3, 1970.

Syndication

Beginning in the summer of 2011, the show was transmitted on weekends on Antenna TV. [13] The complete first season also became available on iTunes. [14] Beginning in 2018, it began broadcasting on FETV. It currently airs on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 2-4am ET (3 hours earlier PT). The series is available on Tubi via livestream.

Awards

Despite the show being unpopular with critics, Marge Redmond was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Sister Jacqueline during the 1967–68 season. She lost to Marion Lorne, who won posthumously for her role as "Aunt Clara" on Bewitched. [15]

Novels

A series of novels, all based on characters and dialog of the series, were written by William Johnston and published by Ace Books in the 1960s.

Comics

Dell Comics published 4 issues of a comic book based on The Flying Nun from February to November 1968. [16]

Home media

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the first season of The Flying Nun on March 21, 2006, on DVD in Region 1. [17] This was followed by the release of the show's second season on DVD on August 15, 2006. [18]

On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library, including The Flying Nun. [19] They re-released the first and second seasons in a 2-season combo pack DVD on October 7, 2014. [20]

DVD nameEp #Release date
The Complete 1st Season30March 21, 2006
October 7, 2014 (re-release)
The Complete 2nd Season26August 15, 2006
October 7, 2014 (re-release)

Related Research Articles

Marjorie Jacqueline "Marge" Simpson is a animated character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons and part of the eponymous family. Voiced by Julie Kavner, she first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Marge was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his mother Margaret Groening. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three seasons, the Simpson family received their own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

Julie Kavner American actress

Julie Deborah Kavner is an American actress. She first attracted notice for her role as Brenda Morgenstern, the younger sister of Valerie Harper's title character in the sitcom Rhoda, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She is best known for her voice role as Marge Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons. She also voices other characters for the show, including Marge's mother, Jacqueline Bouvier, and sisters Patty and Selma Bouvier.

<i>Rhoda</i> American television sitcom

Rhoda is an American television sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns starring Valerie Harper that originally aired on CBS for five seasons from September 9, 1974, to December 9, 1978. The first spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Harper reprised her role as Rhoda Morgenstern, a spunky and flamboyantly fashioned young woman seen as unconventional by the standards of her Jewish family from New York City.

Sally Field American actress

Sally Margaret Field is an American actress and director. She is the recipient of various accolades, including two Academy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and nominations for a Tony Award, and two British Academy Film Awards.

"Treehouse of Horror VIII" is the fourth episode of the ninth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 26, 1997. In the eighth annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer Simpson is the last man left alive when a neutron bomb destroys Springfield until a gang of mutants come after him, Homer buys a transporter that Bart uses to switch bodies with a housefly, and Marge is accused of witchcraft in a Puritan rendition of Springfield in 1649. It was written by Mike Scully, David X. Cohen and Ned Goldreyer, and was directed by Mark Kirkland.

"Lisa Gets an 'A'" is the seventh episode of the tenth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 22, 1998. In the episode, Lisa cheats on a test for which she fails to study and receives an A+++ grade, but becomes guilt-ridden. In the subplot, Homer buys a lobster with the intention of fattening him up to eat, but he bonds with the crustacean and keeps him as a pet named Pinchy.

"Half-Decent Proposal" is the tenth episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 10, 2002. In the episode, Homer's snoring interferes with Marge's sleep. To earn money to cure Homer's snoring, Marge agrees to spend a weekend with Artie Ziff if he vows to not grope her as he did during their high-school prom date. While spying on Marge and Artie, Homer mistakenly thinks they are making out, so he leaves with Lenny to work on an oil rig.

"The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" is the twenty-fifth and final episode of the eighth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 18, 1997. Bart gets sent to a military academy as punishment for bad behavior. While visiting the academy, Lisa sees that the school is far more challenging than hers and she decides that she wants to attend as well. It was directed by Mike B. Anderson, written by Richard Appel and featured Willem Dafoe in a guest spot as the school's commandant.

Gidget

Gidget is a fictional character created by author Frederick Kohner in his 1957 novel, Gidget, the Little Girl with Big Ideas. The novel follows the adventures of a teenage girl and her surfing friends on the beach in Malibu. The name Gidget is a portmanteau of "girl" and "midget". Following the novel's publication, the character appeared in several films, television series and television movies.

"Homer vs. Patty and Selma" is the seventeenth episode of the sixth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 26, 1995. In the episode, Homer loses all his money in pumpkin futures and must turn to Patty and Selma for a loan. Meanwhile, Bart takes up ballet lessons, with an instructor voiced by actress Susan Sarandon.

<i>Gidget</i> (TV series)

Gidget is an American sitcom by Screen Gems 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 father Russell Lawrence. The series was first broadcast on ABC from September 15, 1965 to April 21, 1966. Reruns were aired until September 1, 1966.

"Fear of Flying" is the eleventh episode of the sixth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It was first broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on December 18, 1994. In the episode, the family attempts to go on a vacation but soon discovers that Marge is afraid of flying.

Marge Redmond American actress and singer

Marjorie Redmond was an American actress and singer.

Barts Friend Falls in Love 23rd episode of the third season of The Simpsons

"Bart's Friend Falls in Love" is the twenty-third and penultimate episode of the third season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 7, 1992. In the episode, Bart's best friend Milhouse falls in love with the new girl in school, Samantha Stanky. Milhouse and Samantha spend all their free time together, leaving Bart feeling jealous and excluded. To sabotage Milhouse and Samantha's relationship, Bart tells her strict father about it. Samantha is sent to an all-girls Catholic school as punishment, leaving Milhouse heartbroken. Meanwhile, Homer orders a subliminal cassette tape to help him lose weight, but instead receives one that helps him increase his vocabulary after the weight-loss tape sells out.

Cornette

A cornette is a piece of female headwear. It is essentially a type of wimple consisting of a large, starched piece of white cloth that is folded upwards in such a way as to create the resemblance of horns on the wearer's head. It remained fashionable for some Parisian ladies around 1800, wearing ones made of muslin or gauze and richly ornamented with lace.

He Loves to Fly and He Dohs 1st episode of the nineteenth season of The Simpsons

"He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs", also known as "He Loves to Fly", is the nineteenth season premiere of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It was the first episode to air after the release of The Simpsons Movie, having originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 23, 2007. In the episode, Homer falls in love with private planes after taking a flight to Chicago with Mr. Burns. He tries to find a job that involves flying in a corporate jet, and hires a life coach named Colby Kraus to assist him with his goal.

Jeff Donnell American actress

Jean Marie "Jeff" Donnell was an American film and television actress.

Ronne Troup is an American actress and educator whose acting roles include Polly Williams Douglas on the sitcom My Three Sons.

Gone Maggie Gone 13th episode of the twentieth season of The Simpsons

"Gone Maggie Gone" is the thirteenth episode of the twentieth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 15, 2009. The episode was written by both Billy Kimball and longtime Simpsons writer Ian Maxtone-Graham, and directed by Chris Clements. In the episode, Homer leaves Maggie on the doorstep of a convent, but when she disappears, Lisa goes undercover as a nun to solve the mystery and find her. Meanwhile, Homer tries to keep Maggie's disappearance a secret from Marge, who was temporarily blinded while watching a solar eclipse.

References

  1. "Today in Catholic History – The Last Episode of The Flying Nun". Catholic: Under the Hood. September 18, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  2. 1 2 Winfrey, Oprah (March 2008). "Oprah Talks to Sally Field". O, The Oprah Magazine . p. 4. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  3. 1 2 Sally Field (March 21, 2006). The Flying Nun – The Complete First Season: Interview featurette with Sally Field (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. ASIN   B000E3L7EQ.
  4. Wolff, Richard (March 25, 2010). The Church on TV: Portrayals of Priests, Pastors and Nuns on American Television Series. Continuum. pp. 39–40. ISBN   978-1441157973.
  5. "The PF Ranch Tour". C'mon, Get Happy. February 2000. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  6. Photo Display viewed by editor in a conference room at Serra Retreat Center, Malibu on March 10, 2018
  7. "The Flying Nun – Soundtrack Details". Soundtrack Collector. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  8. Lowry, Cynthia (August 11, 1969). "Many TV Series Being Overhauled". The Register-Guard . Associated Press . Retrieved February 27, 2013 via Google News.
  9. "Bun in the Oven: A Flying, Not to Mention Pregnant, Nun". Time . February 2009. Archived from the original on February 13, 2009. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  10. "Complete Television Programs for Thursday". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . February 6, 1969. Retrieved February 27, 2013 via Google News.
  11. Laurent, Lawrence (September 12, 1968). "Marge Gets Bigger In 'Flying Nun' Role". St. Petersburg Times . The Washington Post . Retrieved February 27, 2013 via Google News.
  12. Lowry, Cynthia (November 15, 1968). "Nielson Ratings Smashing Several Television Shows". The Sumter Daily Item . Associated Press . Retrieved February 27, 2013 via Google News.
  13. "TV Listings – The Flying Nun". Antenna TV . Tribune Broadcasting . Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  14. "iTunes – TV Shows – The Flying Nun". iTunes . Apple Inc. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  15. "The Flying Nun (1967) – Awards". IMDb . Amazon . Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  16. "GCD :: Series :: The Flying Nun".
  17. Lambert, David (January 9, 2006). "The Flying Nun – Nun Spotted Flying Onto DVD At Last!". TVShowsOnDVD.com . Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  18. Lacey, Gord (June 5, 2006). "The Flying Nun – It's a bird, it's a plane, it's The Flying Nun Season 2!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  19. Mill Creek Entertainment Signs Deals With Sony Pictures Home Entertainment To Expand Their Distribution Partnership Archived October 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  20. Packaging Art and New Info for Mill Creek's 'Seasons 1 & 2' Archived April 12, 2015, at the Wayback Machine

Further reading