Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Charlie's Angels in the TVCU -- A blog post by Gordon Long of the TVCU Crew

Continuing the blog updates in the order in which they were originally posted, this one comes up next on the list.  However, this isn't one of mine. This is a blog written by Gordon Long.  He expressed to me that he will update his own blogs, when enough new information is available to warrant it, and this one doesn't warrant it at this time.  So keep checking back in the future.  -- Rob


"Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the police academy.”

Charlie’s Angels”: One of the most iconic television series of the 1970s, filled with some of the most beautiful women to ever appear on television, it was also a strong, groundbreaking series, with strong women who were quite clearly the equal of every man. Their only real weaknesses were their choices in men… Despite being derided as ‘Jiggle TV’, there were many strong episodes, with excellent acting, on the part of both the Angels and the guests. Hi, I'm Gordon Long (aka PDXWiz), your host for this excursion into the TVCU!

Charles Townsend, a mysterious millionaire, served in the OSS during World War II. After the war, he got into law enforcement, later becoming a private detective. He was quite successful, and became a multi-millionaire. Eventually, as a result of making a lot of enemies, he changed how his Townsend Detective Agency worked. He began hiring attractive and talented women as undercover agents, which enhanced the appeal of his agency, and expanded the agency’s reputation for success and discretion. Charlie leads the operation via speakerphone, due to his need to stay behind the scenes. He does extensive research and was an early convert to computers, frequently using them to conduct research as easily as modern researchers do over the Internet in 2011. Many of the contacts Charlie made throughout the years in law enforcement, business, intelligence, and Hollywood turned to him for help or recommended friends of theirs to become his clients.

When we first encounter the Townsend Agency, he has several operatives---three former policewomen who left the force because of the discrimination they continually faced (Sabrina Duncan, Kelly Garrett, and Jill Munroe), the head of the office who has worked for Charlie for a long time (John Bosley), and the lead detective who coordinated all of the activities of the operatives, Scott Woodville (as well as unseen secretarial staff).

1942-1945: The United States Office of Strategic Services handles American intelligence operations during World War II. Charles Townsend served for a while in the OSS. Charlie met a war hero named Colonel Blaylock, who eventually had a daughter named Sabrina after the war.

Sometime after World War II Charles Townsend became a police officer.

1950s: Kelly Garrett grows up in an orphanage in Texas. She was surrounded by kindly nuns and harsh nannies, one in particular named Beamish who was abusive towards her.

1951: Jill Munroe is born to a man named Munroe and a lady whose maiden name was Danvers.

1952: Kris, the younger sister of Jill Munroe, is born. As young children, they lived near the beach, forming an attachment to the shore that will last the rest of their lives.

Late 1950s-1960s: Paul Danvers, the uncle of Jill and Kris, is a police officer for the city of Phoenix. His wife is Lydia.

1960s: Charlie retired from the police force and became a private detective, forming The Townsend Detective Agency.

1964: Police officer Thomas Jefferson (TJ) Hooker is promoted to Sergeant.

1970: Kris is supposed to be attending college to become a teacher, but actually attends the San Francisco Police Academy.

Early 1970s: Sabrina Blaylock and Kelly Garrett graduated from the Los Angeles Police Academy, where Sabrina was the quarterback on the Academy football team. Sabrina falls in love with and marries fellow officer, Bill Duncan. After short careers facing discrimination in work assignments, they quit and eventually go to work for Charlie. Sabrina was hired first and received a Ford Pinto. Kelly received a Mustang. Bill and Sabrina broke up over her refusal to choose a safer job path, but they continued dating off and on. Paul Danvers becomes the sheriff of the small town of Paylon, Arizona. Tiffany Welles graduated from Whitney College, studying parapsychology among other things, and was eventually tops in her class at the Boston Police Academy. Tiffany’s father, Lt. Welles, is a long-time friend of Charlie’s.

1971: THE ROOKIES PILOT Five rookies arrive at the Los Angeles Police Academy.: Jared Whitman, Kevin Lassiter, Mike Duncan, William ‘Willie’ Gillis, and Terry Webster. They are assigned in training to Sgt. Eddie Ryker. Mike’s wife is Jill, a registered nurse. His older brother is Bill, another officer in the LAPD. (Duncan’s name was given as Danko in the television series, but I think it more likely that he is Bill’s brother, considering the interlinking of the various Spelling series. The show later spun off “S.W.A.T.”, which would have been set in the same police department, and footage of the front gate of the LA Police Academy from the credits of “The Rookies” [and reused in episodes of the series] appeared in the credits of “Charlie’s Angels” and “T.J. Hooker”, indicating that characters on those shows graduated from the same academy. In addition, for all the police series mentioned here, the agencies were all given various clearly fictional names. And the bulk of shooting locations are in Los Angeles.) Ryker is promoted to Lieutenant.

1972: Cases as seen in the first season of THE ROOKIES.

1973: Cases as seen in the second season of THE ROOKIES.

1974: Gillis left the force. Joining the force was rookie Chris Owens. Cases as seen in the third season of THE ROOKIES. The officers encounter the Los Angeles S.W.A.T. team, whose members at this time are led by Lt. Dan ’Hondo’ Harrelson and his second-in-command Sgt. David ‘Deacon’ Kay, and include Officers Jim Street, Dominic Luca, and T.J. McCabe (the team sniper). Hondo’s wife is Betty. Cases seen in the first season of S.W.A.T. take place.
Early 1975: Jill Munroe graduates from the Los Angeles Police Academy. After a brief career where she is highly discriminated against and given token work, she quits the force and joins the Townsend Detective Agency.

1975: Cases as seen in the fourth season of THE ROOKIES and the second season of S.W.A.T.

1975: CHARLIE’S ANGELS PILOT The Agency is hired to investigate the disappearance of a wealthy winegrower named LeMaire. Shortly thereafter, Woodville leaves the Agency and Bosley takes over his role. Jill buys a house on the beach and a Mustang Cobra II.

Late 1975: Charlie’s television friend, Aaron Spelling, produces a television movie pilot based on the Townsend Agency’s successful cracking of the LeMaire case. Sabrina becomes the leader of the team.

1975-76: Cases as seen in the first season of CHARLIE’S ANGELS.

March 31, 1976: The pilot telefilm for “Charlie’s Angels” is broadcast. The show is a success, and ABC picks up the series for a regular run.

1976: Jill leaves the Agency. Her younger sister Kris leaves the San Francisco police force after four years of service (including her time at the academy), and replaces her at the Agency, then takes over the beach house and car from her. Shortly after Kris joins, all three of the Townsend operatives---Kris, Kelly, and Sabrina---are called on to judge the Miss Harbor Beauty Contest, where they meet some goofy guys--Buddy, Stuf, Dancer, Moose, and Boychick--who live on, at, or near the beach in San Pedro. (Stuf was played by Stuart Pankin.)
1976-77: Cases as seen in the second season of CHARLIE’S ANGELS and life events in the only season of THE SAN PEDRO BEACH BUMS..

September 22, 1976: The first episode of the “Charlie’s Angels” television series is aired.

1977: Jill becomes a successful race car driver in Europe. Among other highlights, she came in third at Le Mans and won a Grand Prix.  The Townsend operatives encounter Las Vegas private investigator Dan Tanna, an acquaintance of Charlie and Bosley. After becoming engaged to fellow racer Steve Carmody, Jill got involved with the Agency on a case revolving around the racing world, only to see Steve killed in a blast meant for her.

1977-78: Cases as seen in the third season of CHARLIE’S ANGELS and the first season of VEGA$.

1978: Sabrina leaves the Agency. She marries and has a child. Former Boston police officer Tiffany Welles joins the Agency, taking over the Ford Pinto. Shortly after Tiffany joins the team, they have a case on the Pacific Princess cruise ship, owned by Princess Cruise Lines, and captained by Merrill Stubing. (LOVE BOAT crossover)

December 9, 1978: FANTASY ISLAND episode Charlie’s Cherubs -- Amber Ainsley and her two best friends are huge fans of the “Charlie’s Angels” television series. They visit Fantasy Island in order to fulfill their fantasy of being detectives. Tattoo tells Mr. Roarke he is a fan of the show as well and wishes the Angels were real. Roarke hints strongly that he knows the show’s detectives are real. Most likely, if some of the operatives visited Fantasy Island in an unseen FI episode, Tattoo would certainly know about it. So, it is highly probable that Roarke and Charlie know each other; and considering the types of people that we see they know on both series, it is almost completely certain that their paths have crossed in the past. This only implies that there is a television series of “Charlie’s Angels” in the TVCU, although we do know there are numerous books, films, comics, and radio and tv shows about the people of the TVCU.

1978-79: Cases as seen in the fourth season of CHARLIE’S ANGELS and the second season of VEGA$.

Early 1979: CHARLIE’S ANGELS episode TONI’S BOYS -- After the girls are targeted for murder, Charlie hires his friend/rival/colleague Toni Blake, who has an agency of her own with three male operatives--former US Olympic gold medalist Bob Sorenson, master of disguise Matt Parrish, and champion rodeo rider/roper/tracker Cotton Harper. (Attempt to spinoff a series starring Barbara Stanwyck and former gold medalist pole vaulter Bob Seagren as Sorenson.)

1979: Tiffany leaves the Agency and is replaced by model Julie Rogers, who is from the Bronx, New York. She attended a top modeling school, although she had gotten in trouble with the law before that. Julie takes over the Ford Pinto. Julie joined the Agency while Kris and Kelly were on a case in Hawaii (operating out of the Honolulu office), with Charlie helping her get a ‘temporary Investigator’s license’ back in California.

1979-80: Cases as seen in the fifth season of CHARLIE’S ANGELS and the third season of VEGA$.

Early 1980: The partner of detective Sgt. Thomas Jefferson ‘T.J.’ Hooker is killed. Hooker decides to return to plainclothes duty and rookie officer Vince Romano is assigned to partner with him in unit 4-Adam-30. They operate under precinct commander Captain Dennis Sheridan.

1980-81: Cases as seen in the first season of T.J. HOOKER.

1981: Sheridan’s daughter, rookie officer Stacy Sheridan, teams up with veteran officer Jim Corrigan as unit 4-Adam-16.

June 24, 1981: The final episode of “Charlie’s Angels” airs.

1981-82: Cases as seen in the second season of T.J. HOOKER.

1982-83: Cases as seen in the third season of T.J. HOOKER.

1983-84: Cases as seen in the fourth season of T.J. HOOKER.

1984: Officer Romano left the force. T. J.’s long-time friend, Detective Pete O’Brien, teamed up frequently with Hooker, not letting his using a wheelchair prevent him from doing his job.

Late 1984: Hooker and company encounter undercover officer Dani Starr. Her father is (or was) a detective. (Episode of “T.J. Hooker” called “Hollywood Starr”. Attempt to create a show around Dani, presumably called HOLLYWOOD STARR, and to star Sharon Stone, failed.)

1984-85: Cases as seen in the fifth season of T.J. HOOKER.

1987: ANGELS ’88/’89 -- Operatives of the Townsend Detective Agency at this time include Connie Bates, Pam Ryan, Trisha Lawrence, and Bernie Colter. (Attempts by Spelling and the Fox television network to create a series based on the cases of these ladies fail, in part due to the major Writer’s Guild strike. One of the ladies cast was Téa Leoni.)

1990s: Madison Lee is an operative for the Townsend Agency.

Late 1990s: CHARLIE’S ANGELS At this time, the Townsend Agency operatives are Natalie Cook, Dylan Sanders, and Alex Munday.  They are assigned to find missing software genius Eric Knox.
Early 2000s: John Bosley retires from the Agency after working for Charlie for a good thirty years or more. His half-brother, Jimmy Bosley, is hired to replace him.

Early 2000s: S.W.A.T. Following a shakeup at the Los Angeles S.W.A.T. team, it is reorganized. One unit is now under Sgt. Second Grade Daniel ‘Hondo’ Harrelson II, the son of a previous team leader, Lt. Harrelson and an unknown woman. Team members include Officer Third Grade Jim Street II, whose father was also a team member; Officer Third Grade Deacon ’Deke’ Kaye, nephew of earlier team member David Kaye; Officer Third Grade T. J. McCabe, Jr., whose father also served on the team once; Officer Third Grade Chris Sanchez who is mother to a young girl named Eliza; and Officer Third Grade Michael Boxer. Former S.W.A.T. member Officer Third Grade Brian Gamble quit the LAPD after he was demoted, following the incident that led to the shakeup of S.W.A.T.; and there are several other S.W.A.T. teams, too. After another incident involving drug lord Alexander Montel, he is captured but there are attempts to break him out. The S.W.A.T. members successfully prevent those attempts.  (Come on, several of the characters have to be the sons of the characters as seen in the TV series---too many similar names!)

2002: CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE  Former Townsend operative Madison Lee is involved with criminals in a case involving a special list of people in the Witness Protection Program that is stolen from the Department of Justice, and several persons are killed or wounded. Former operative Kelly Garrett meets Dylan Sanders in a bar when Dylan was contemplating leaving the Agency, possibly as a deceased spirit.
April 1, 2010: Charles Townsend passes away at 92 years old. His son, Charles Townsend II (not previously seen) inherited the Agency. At some point, Charlie or Charles II opened up an office in Miami, Florida (previously, we had seen the Los Angeles office, and an office in Honolulu). Operatives in the Miami office include former Miami police officer Kate Prince, mysterious street racer Eve French, and Abigail “Abby” Sampson, well-to-do thief, and another operative named John Bosley, who may or may not be related to the John Bosley and Jimmy Bosley that we’ve met before.

Alternate Universe: CHARLIE’S ANGELS video game -- Alex, Dylan, and Natalie attempt to solve a mystery of missing national monuments. Critics panned it and it is considered one of the worst video games ever made. Considering that national monuments are missing, this sounds like a crossover to the CARMEN SANDIEGO universe.

Sources: IMDB.com; Wikipedia.com; http://angelsforever06.tripod.com/index.html; http://hillyblue.blogspot.com/2010/06/angels-88.html?zx=b674806731d4b7d9; http://www.townsend-agency.com/index.shtml; http://www.tj-hooker.com/index.html


  1. Possibly a moot point since it never made it to air, but the "Angels '88" weren't Townsend Agency detectives. There wasn't going to even be a Charlie in the show. They were four out-of-work actresses who decided to start a detective agency (as you do).

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