Archive for the ‘"Charlie's Angels"’ Category

Remembering Nolan Miller

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The Archive is sad to report the death of costume designer Nolan Miller, who passed away on June 6th, 2012 from lung cancer at the age of 79. Miller designed the costumes for many Aaron Spelling/Douglas Cramer shows, including Dynasty, Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Vega$.

Below are some selections from Miller’s 2003 Archive interview:

On how he became interested in fashion:

What turned me on to fashion? Movies. I loved movies. I lived from Saturday to Saturday, and of course I particularly like Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Betty Grable … I knew when I watched Betty Grable movies that that was what I wanted to do.  All those costumes … it’s so strange that in movies there was always a fashion show or something or a girl was picked up by some guy who told her she needed clothes to be presentable and would take her to the store. Of course there was always a designer in a dark suit – note dark suit – and there was usually a staircase that the models came down. I just thought, “this is what I want.” I didn’t realize, though, the 18-hour-day of hard work sometimes. But it sounded glamorous and I loved the whole thing of movies. Anything to do with the movies. I just wanted to work at the studio.

On his start in costuming, on Matinee Theater:

It was an hour show, every day at noon, and it was live. There were usually three groups of people in the wardrobe department preparing shows, because one day it would be a modern show, one day it would be a biblical thing, another day might be a comedy. I think that there were probably 3 or 4 people in my group, and I think we did two shows a week, one if we were on a show that aired on Monday, and we would prep the rest of the week. Maybe we’d have a show for Thursday or something that week. We were always prepping the next show. It was quite an amazing show, particularly in that it was live every day.

On working in a flower shop and meeting Aaron Spelling:

He and his then wife Carolyn Jones were shopping in Beverly Hills and they stopped in the flower shop to say hello. At that point Aaron Spelling wasn’t anyone, you know. He was married to Carolyn Jones, who I was thrilled to meet. We decided to go and have a drink; it was late in the afternoon. So we went and had a drink and Carolyn was under contract to Hal Wallis at Paramount. She had just finished a film and she said the studio was sending her on a PR junket. She said the studio told her to get some clothes for personal appearances. She said, “do you want to design them?” I said, “of course.” She said, “okay, well, why don’t you bring me some sketches.” She told me what she needed and so I did sketches for her.  And that was the beginning, because I did those clothes for her. I found a dressmaker who was highly recommended who had quite a good star clientele, so I knew that she was capable, and I made the clothes for Carolyn.

On Aaron Spelling:

First of all, he’s very unassuming. He’s always been very, very thin, looks like he’s undernourished. He’s very warm, very friendly; he immediately puts everyone at ease that’s around him. After all of these years he still hasn’t run out of ideas and instantly knows what to do. He has a sixth sense about what’s wrong with the show or what he should do or something. He’s great to work with because he sees what the show is going to look like. When he says, “she’s running down the road; she should be in a white sweater,” he has a reason why she should be in a white sweater.  Over the years I would argue with him over certain things, but he usually proved himself right.

On working on Gilligan’s Island:

I was starting to be sort of known for glamour clothes and beaded gowns and that kind of thing. I had my shop at that time. I had a call from the producer, saying they were doing the show and they had a girl who was like a showgirl and they were all stranded. She must have had a very large trunk with her that day that they went for a cruise, because every season we’d do a couple of new gowns. They’d call me, “we need a couple more gowns,” so I did Tina’s clothes. I didn’t do the rest of the show. I just did Tina Louise’s gowns.

On the bra-lessness on Charlie’s Angels:

All of the Paris collections and everything were showing chiffon blouses with nothing under it. Everyone was just aghast. Everyone was so shocked, but they were showing the same blouses on Rodeo Drive. They weren’t so see-through, but you could tell there was no bra on. Before that we couldn’t even show the imprint of a nipple. I had to put a band-aid over the nipple or something. All of the sudden Farrah was in a crepe de chine blouse or a double white chiffon blouse with no bra under it. Everyone said, “ah, this is going to be shocking. They won’t allow this. You won’t get by with this.” But we did.

On Dynasty, TV fashion, and Joan Collins:

Read Nolan Miller’s New York Times obituary.

Watch his full Archive interview.

Good Work, Angels! Charlie’s Angels Turns 35 and the Series Remake Premieres Tonight!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Thirty-five years ago today, on September 22, 1976, Executive Producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg introduced the world to Charlie’s Angels — detectives Sabrina, Kelly, and Jill, played by Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett.  As the  title sequence explained, the women attended the police academy, received menial job assignments, and were rescued from boredom by the mysterious Charlie, who hired them as private detectives for his agency. The ladies solved crimes with the help of Charlie’s assistant, John Bosley, and reported to Charlie, whose face was never seen, but whose voice, provided by John Forsythe, became one of the most recognizable in all of television.

Different Angels worked for the agency over the years: Cheryl Ladd joined the show after Farrah Fawcett’s departure, and Tanya Roberts and Shelley Hack became Angels upon Kate Jackson’s exit. As Aaron Spelling explained in his 1999 Archive interview, the Angels were nearly known as “Alley Cats” until Kate Jackson came up with the final title for the show:

Two movies based on the series were released in 2000 and 2003, and the first television remake of Charlie’s Angels, starring Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly and Rachael Taylor, premieres tonight, exactly 35 years after the original show debuted. Good luck, Angels!

“Dynasty” Star John Forsythe Has Died– Archive Interview Online

Friday, April 2nd, 2010


John Forsythe, best known as oil tycoon Blake Carrington on the ’80s prime time soap Dynasty, has died at the age of 92. Forsythe’s TV career dates back to the 1940s, and baby boomers will remember his first regular series role as the single dad on the series Bachelor Father (1957-62). Forsythe’s other major TV claim-to-fame is providing the voice to the unseen “Charlie” in the ’70s hit Charlie’s Angels.

John Forsythe was interviewed by the Archive of American Television on July 24, 2000; his interview is currently available online.

Interview Description:
John Forsythe was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in Los Olivos, CA. During his interview, Mr. Forsythe spoke of his extensive live television work and his series role as Bentley Gregg on Bachelor Father. He then chronicled his work on two other series, The John Forsythe Show and To Rome with Love, as well as numerous made-for-television movie roles. He also spoke about his voice-only role as “Charlie” on Charlie’s Angels and his role as Blake Carrington, the patriarch of the popular long-running series, Dynasty, opposite actresses Linda Evans and Joan Collins. The interview was conducted by Don Carleton.

PR Legend Warren Cowan Has Died

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Warren Cowan has died at the age of 87. Interviewed in 2001 by the Archive of American Television, his nearly two-hour interview is available for viewing at Academy headquarters and will be available online soon.

Interview description:

Cowan recalled his entry into entertainment publicity working for Alan Gordon and Associates, and later for Henry Rogers. He also spoke about his transition to partner in the renamed Rogers and Cowan. Mr. Cowan talked about working with many well-known clients, including Kirk Douglas, Joan Crawford (on the first Oscar campaign), Steve Allen, Milton Berle, George Burns, Danny Kaye, Lucille Ball, Doris Day, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. Next, he explained the process of publicizing a television show, and talked about his work on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, G.E. Theater and That Girl. He also spoke about his longtime association with producers Aaron Spelling and Merv Griffin, and his work on their various television programs (including Mod Squad, Charlie’s Angels, and The Merv Griffin Show). Finally, he spoke about the day-to-day process of working in publicity and many of the various techniques used.