Gidget (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.
|Created by||Frederick Kohner (novel)|
|Theme music composer||Jack Keller|
|Opening theme||"(Wait 'Til You See) My Gidget", performed by Johnny Tillotson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||32 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||Harry Ackerman|
|Producers||Bob Claver (pilot episode)|
|Running time||25 minutes (per episode)|
|Production company||Screen Gems|
|Distributor||Screen Gems (1965-1974)|
Columbia Pictures Television (1974-1984, 1988-1995)
LBS Communications Inc. (1982-1984, 1986-1990)
Colex Enterprises (1984-1986)
Coca-Cola Telecommunications (1986-1987)
Columbia TriStar Television (1995-2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002-present)
|Original release||September 15, 1965 –|
April 21, 1966
|Followed by||Gidget Grows Up (1969)|
|Related shows||The New Gidget|
Gidget was among the first regularly scheduled color programs on ABC. With a Wednesday night time slot that put it in direct competition with The Beverly Hillbillies and The Virginian, it did poorly in the Nielsen ratings and was canceled at the end of its first season.
The television series was based upon concepts and characters created by Frederick Kohner in his 1957 novel Gidget, the Little Girl with Big Ideas, which Kohner based upon the adventures of his teenage daughter Kathy. The novel was adapted into a 1959 movie starring Sandra Dee, James Darren and Cliff Robertson. The 1965 weekly, half-hour television series is seen by some as a sequel to the 1959 film, despite numerous discontinuities in plot, time frame and other details. It can also be seen as an independent incarnation, related to but distinct from either the novels or the films. Kohner served as a script consultant on the show.
The series reintroduced Gidget's friend Larue and married sister Anne Cooper, both of whom appear in Kohner's original novel, but are absent from the motion picture series. Gidget's brother-in-law, who appears in the novels as the intelligent but condescending child psychiatrist Larry Cooper, is reinvented in the television series as John Cooper, an obtuse but lovable psychology student.
Gidget centers on the father-daughter relationship between Frances "Gidget" Lawrence and her widowed father Russell Lawrence. Episodes follow Gidget's adventures in school, at home, and at nearby beaches. Russell Lawrence guides his fifteen-year-old daughter, while married sister Anne and husband John offer often unsolicited child-rearing tips. Gidget's friend Larue sometimes takes part in her escapades. More often than not, Gidget receives moral instruction from her father and gains wisdom from her experiences.
Each episode is narrated by Gidget; on occasion, she breaks the "fourth wall" and directly addresses her audience, usually reflecting on what she has learned from the evening's story, sometimes ending with "Toodles!" (an expression Field improvised during production). It was explained in the pilot that her boyfriend called her Gidget because of her demure, petite build and short stature: girl midget, gidget !
- Frances Elizabeth "Gidget" Lawrence (Sally Field) - The prototypical southern California beach bunny.
- Russell Lawrence (Don Porter) - Gidget's widowed father and English professor at UCLA.
- Anne Cooper (Betty Conner) - Gidget's older, married sister.
- John Cooper (Pete Duel) - Anne's husband, a psychology student.
- Larue Wilson (Lynette Winter) - Gidget's best friend.
- Jeff "Moondoggie" Matthews (Stephen Mines) - Gidget's boyfriend who is away at Princeton University.
- Siddo (Michael Nader) - Gidget's schoolmate.
- Randy (Rickie Sorensen) - Gidget's schoolmate.
While Jeff was Gidget's true love (she regularly wore his high school ring around her neck), she regularly dated — or more accurately, pursued — other boys while he was away at college.
- Kahuna (Martin Milner) - "The Great Kahuna"
- Jack Collins (James Davidson) - "A Hearse, a Hearse, My Kingdom for a Hearse"
- Roger Haimes (James M. Crawford) - "Image Scrimmage"
- Mark (Robert Random) - "Chivalry Isn't Dead", "Gidget's Foreign Policy"
- Bret (Randy Kirby) - "The War Between Men, Women and Gidget"
- Tom Brighton (Daniel J. Travanti) - "Now There's a Face"
- Corky Cook (Peter Brooks), Tate Cook (Larry Merrill) - "Too Many Cooks"
- Baxter Stevenson (Tom Gilleran) - "I Love You, I Love You, I Love You, I Think"
- Durf the Drag (Richard Dreyfuss) - "Ego-a-Go-Go"
- Scott (Carl Reindel), Richie Ryan (David Macklin) - "Love and the Single Gidget"
- Toby (Robert Beach) - "I Have This Friend Who..."
Gidget was filmed at the Columbia/Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank, California, with the exterior and kitchen set borrowed from the Hazel series, which was filming its final season at the time. The house situated next door to the Lawrence residence is the principal residence on the Bewitched series, which was in production simultaneously.
The show launched the career of 18-year-old Sally Field, who defeated 75 other teenage girls for the title role. Field exaggerated her surfing experience to the show's casting directors during her audition (she had none); she later took lessons from Phil Sauers just to be able to pretend to surf for the cameras. Sauers served as the series' "Surfing Technical Consultant" and provided the surfboards used during filming of the series.
While the Gidget of the novel and the original film are both blondes, the Gidget of the television series is a brunette.
The lyrics of the theme song ""(Wait 'Til You See) My Gidget" were written by Howard Greenfield, with music by Jack Keller. The song was performed in the pilot by The Four Freshmen, and in the series by Johnny Tillotson.
In the credits for the pilot episode, John Cooper is listed as "Larry".
The show ranked 68th out of 108 shows airing that season with a 26.8 percent audience share.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Dear Diary-et al"||William Asher||Ruth Brooks Flippen||September 15, 1965|
|15½-year-old Gidget falls in love with a surfer and with surfing, discovering a new sport and a new lifestyle along with it; Anne reads Gidget's fanciful diary and assumes that all of her sister's outlandish entries ("...and I sink into nothingness") are true.|
|2||"In God, and Nobody Else, We Trust"||William Asher||Ruth Brooks Flippen||September 22, 1965|
|Anne is worried when Gidget asks her husband John to be her date to a luau; John, wanting to fit in with the surfing crowd, tries so hard to be hip that Gidget's friends immediately pin him as a poseur.|
|3||"The Great Kahuna"||William Asher||Story by : Frederick Kohner|
Teleplay by : Albert Mannheimer
|September 29, 1965|
|Gidget becomes infatuated with a rootless surfer bum called Kahuna (Martin Milner) and wants nothing more than to accompany him around the world to the greatest surfing sites. She changes her mind after inviting him home for dinner and discovering he has middle-class aspirations.|
|4||"Daddy Come Home"||William Asher||Ruth Brooks Flippen||October 6, 1965|
Gidget encourages her widowed father Russell to start dating again. His first date goes well but worries Gidget when stays out late without calling.Guest star: Harvey Korman as Joe Hanley
|5||"Gidget Gadget"||E. W. Swackhamer||Stephen Kandel||October 13, 1965|
|Gidget plays marriage counselor for John and Anne.|
|6||"A Hearse, a Hearse, My Kingdom for a Hearse"||William Asher||Story by : Louella MacFarlane|
Teleplay by : John McGreevey
|October 20, 1965|
|Gidget decides she needs her own transportation and puts a down payment on an old hearse with 99,000 miles; she then enrolls in Auto Shop at school.|
|7||"Gidget is a Proper Noun"||Oscar Rudolph||Austin Kalish & Irma Kalish||October 27, 1965|
Gidget in convinced that her English teacher expects more of her than his other students because she is the daughter of his former English professor, Russell.Guest star: Noam Pitlik as Donald Hardy
|8||"Image Scrimmage"||William Asher||Barbara Avedon||November 3, 1965|
|Gidget has a crush on Larue's cousin Roger from New York, and goes to extremes in hopes of being invited to his "kidnap" party.|
|9||"Is It Love or Symbiosis?"||E. W. Swackhamer||Story by : A. J. Mady & Frederick Kohner|
Teleplay by : A.J. Mady
|November 10, 1965|
|Anne and John convince Russ that he has become too dependent on Gidget and suggest he send her to a private school in Paris.|
|10||"All the Best Diseases Are Taken"||E. W. Swackhamer||Tony Wilson||November 17, 1965|
|Gidget leads a protest over rising movie ticket prices by getting protest singer Billy Roy Soames (Henry Jaglom) to perform.|
|11||"My Ever Faithful Friend"||Gene Reynolds||Ruth Brooks Flippen||November 24, 1965|
|Gidget gives Larue a makeover, but becomes alarmed when she thinks Russ has become attracted to her.|
|12||"Chivalry Isn't Dead"||E. W. Swackhamer||Story by : Martin A. Ragaway|
Teleplay by : John McGreevey
|December 1, 1965|
|Gidget and her friends hold a slumber party in order to teach their boyfriends some chivalry.|
|13||"The War Between Men, Women and Gidget"||E. W. Swackhamer||Story by : Pauline and Leo Townsend|
Teleplay by : Stephen Kandel
|December 8, 1965|
An isolated beach cove becomes the object of a battle between the boys, Gidget and the girls.Guest star: Linda Gaye Scott as Patty Cromwell
|14||"Gidget's Foreign Policy"||Jerrold Bernstein||Stephen Kandel||December 15, 1965|
Gidget educates Swedish college student and bride-to-be in the "American Way", resulting in a transformation from meek to man-chaser.Guest stars: Walter Koenig as Gunnar and Brooke Bundy as Inge.
|15||"Now There's a Face"||E. W. Swackhamer||Dorothy Cooper||December 22, 1965|
|Gidget falls for a photographer who believes she is the face of her generation, not realizing he is engaged.|
|16||"Too Many Cooks"||Oscar Rudolph||Albert Mannheimer||December 29, 1965|
|Gidget unintentionally makes a dance date with the dueling Cook cousin, unaware that Moondoggie will also be in town the same weekend.|
|17||"I Love You, I Love You, I Love You, I Think"||William Asher||Ruth Brooks Flippen||January 5, 1966|
|Gidget develops a crush on a surfer over the summer; only to discover in the fall that he is her new math teacher.|
|18||"Like Voodoo"||E. W. Swackhamer||Albert Mannheimer||January 13, 1966|
|When Gidget becomes accident-prone, she believes a fortune-telling gypsy who stole her surfboard has put a curse on her.|
|19||"Gidget's Career"||E. W. Swackhamer||Joanna Lee||January 20, 1966|
|Gidget accompanies a shy Larue to her guitar class, and ends up joining a band who gets a shot on television—provided Larue is removed.|
|20||"Ego a-Go-Go"||Jerrold Bernstein||Barbara Avedon||January 27, 1966|
Gidget decides to date the class nerd and invites him to the Spinster Hop—where his ego balloons.Guest star: Richard Dreyfuss as Durf the Drag
|21||"In and Out with the In-Laws"||Bruce Bilson||Ruth Brooks Flippen||February 3, 1966|
A nervous Gidget has a luncheon date to meet Jeff's parents, but causes confusion when she switches sweaters with friend Della Mae who accompanies her to the meeting.Guest star: Hal March as Jim.
|22||"We Got Each Other"||Bruce Bilson||John McGreevey||February 10, 1966|
|Russ begins to date again, causing Gidget to become jealous—despite her best efforts to prove she is not.|
|23||"Operation Shaggy Dog"||Hal Cooper||Dorothy Cooper||February 17, 1966|
|Gidget mounts a public relations campaign to save her favorite restaurant, The Shaggy Dog, from being demolished to build a new museum—unaware that Russ is on the museum committee.|
|24||"Ring-a-Ding Dingbat"||Hal Cooper||Barbara Avedon||February 24, 1966|
|Gidget and Larue scheme to meet the popular British rock group the Dingbats.|
|25||"Love and the Single Gidget"||Hal Cooper||Story by : Lee Karson|
Teleplay by : John McGreevey and Stephen Kandel
|March 3, 1966|
|While Russ is out of town, Gidget attends a surfing tournament in Oceanside with Anne and John's blessing—unaware that they have hired a college student to look after her.|
|26||"Take a Lesson"||Jerrold Bernstein||Ruth Brooks Flippen||March 10, 1966|
Gidget is lured out of her house—in her pajamas—to join a friend on a surprise car buying trip in Pasadena, which is complicated by her repeated attempts at contacting Russ to keep him informed of her whereabouts.|
Guest star: Paul Lynde as Herman Marshall.
|27||"Independence — Gidget Style"||Bruce Bilson||Joanna Lee||March 17, 1966|
|When Gidget gets a job at a local teenage diner in order to buy Russ a birthday present, the family mistakenly believe she is actually working at the Tomcat Club, a local Gentlemen's Club.|
|28||"One More for the Road"||Bruce Bilson||Austin Kalish & Irma Kalish||March 24, 1966|
|Gidget gets a job driving a floral delivery truck, except she does not have a driver's license.|
|29||"Ask Helpful Hannah"||Lee Philips||Story by : Don Richman and Janet Carlson|
Teleplay by : Austin Kalish & Irma Kalish
|March 31, 1966|
|Gidget gets involved with bringing two lovebirds together after she taking over the "Helpful Hannah" teen advice column on the school newspaper.|
|30||"A Hard Night's Night"||Don Porter||Barbara Avedon||April 7, 1966|
Gidget and Larue find themselves spooked while unknowingly sharing the house with a friend of Russ's whom he had chance meeting with at the airport—all during a raging thunderstorm.|
Guest star: Frank DeVol as Stu.
|31||"I Have This Friend Who . . ."||Christopher Cary||Story by : Gary Flaum|
Teleplay by : John McGreevey
|April 14, 1966|
|The father of Gidget's latest boyfriend insists on coming along on their date as a chaperone, so they scheme to find a way to be alone.|
|32||"Don't Defrost the Alligator"||Jerrold Bernstein||Ruth Brooks Flippen||April 21, 1966|
|Gidget places a deceased frozen alligator in the freezer without mentioning it to anybody, causing chaos when it is discovered.|
On March 21, 2006, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released Gidget: The Complete Series featuring all 32 episodes of the series, on DVD in Region 1. The release included the original pilot episode and a short interview with Field. This release has been discontinued and is out of print.
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 Gidget. They subsequently re-released the complete series on DVD on May 20, 2014.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date|
|The Complete Series||32||March 21, 2006|
May 20, 2014 (re-release)
Gidget faced stiff competition during its initial run. The show originally aired on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m., opposite The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS) and The Virginian (NBC), two established shows with strong ratings. The series was moved to Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. starting with Episode 18 ("Like Voodoo") where it performed poorly opposite CBS's Gilligan's Island, despite airing after the Top 5-rated Batman.
ABC canceled Gidget in April 1966 — just as the show began to find a large teen audience. Summer reruns launched the show into the Top 10 as viewers looked for programs they had not seen during their original fall/winter broadcasts. ABC had a belated hit on their hands, but refused to renew the show because they would have to admit they were premature in its cancellation. In addition, industry practice at the time rarely allowed for cancelled shows to be resurrected.
Rather than squander their newly found audience which ABC was hurting for at the time, the network scrambled to find a new starring vehicle for Field. The result was The Flying Nun (1967–70), where Field reluctantly portrayed Sister Bertrille for three seasons. Field later commented that she has great affection for her young persona and was proud of her work on Gidget but was embarrassed with The Flying Nun.
Gidget remained in regular syndication for several years, one of the few single-season programs to attain this status. Two made-for-television films followed after its demise: Gidget Grows Up (1969) and Gidget Gets Married (1972).
The series gained a new wave of popularity starting in 1983 when reruns began airing on a regular basis (along with The Flying Nun). Another television movie, Gidget's Summer Reunion, was produced in 1985 starring Caryn Richman in the title role. The movie was successful enough to warrant a syndicated sequel series, The New Gidget, with Richman reprising her role. None of the original cast members appeared on the new series, though original series producer Harry Ackerman was present.
Antenna TV began airing the show in summer 2011 on weekends, paired with The Flying Nun. The entire series was broadcast during an Independence Day marathon in 2012 and 2013, and a Memorial Day marathon in 2016 and 2017.
As of August 2018, the series was available on Amazon Prime video.
- Woolery, George W. (1985). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981, Part II: Live, Film, and Tape Series. The Scarecrow Press. pp. 197–198. ISBN 0-8108-1651-2.
- Gidget by Frederick Kohner  (2001) Berkley Publishing Group.
- Sally Field (2006). Gidget: The Complete Series (DVD). Hollywood, California: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- "Mill Creek Entertainment Signs Deals With Sony Pictures Home Entertainment To Expand Their Distribution Partnership". Tvshowsondvd.com. August 27, 2013. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
- "Hold the Phone! Sally Field Covers the Box for Mill Creek's Re-Release". Tvshowsondvd.com. April 15, 2014. Archived from the original on April 3, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
- "''Gidget: The Complete Series''". sitcomsonline.com. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
- Holland, Lila (March 18, 2006). "tv.com/shows/gidget". Tv.com. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
- Board Games of the 50s, 60s, and 70s: With Prices by David Dilley (October 1994) L-W Promotions ISBN 0-89538-068-4
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