Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's The Flying Nun!

Remember the TV show the Flying Nun? I always wanted to fly like that, but without being a nun. The show was inspired by a book called "The Fifteenth Pelican." The series was about the adventures of the Daughters Of Charity nuns in the convent San Tanco in Puerto Rico.
Patty duke was offered the role of Sister Bentrille, but declined. It was offered to Sally Field and she also turned it down. What's up with that? Nobody wants to be a flying nun? The role was then offered to Ronne Troup, but Sally changed her mind and got the part.
In the story, Sister Bertrille arrived to New York City from Chicago after being arrested for being involved in a protest. Now that's my kind of nun! She came from a family of doctors and decided to be a nun instead. Her real name was Elsie Ethrington. She could solve any problem that came her way by the ability to catch a passing breeze and fly.
She weighed 90 pounds and her head gear probably weighed more. The Roman Catholic Orders commended the show for humanizing nuns and their work.
There were problems with the series, as the story lines were limited and the writers struggled to create new situations for the nun.
Sally Fields was caught up in the role so much, that it was a difficult typecasting situation for her to overcome.
Another problem the producers had to deal with during the third and final season, was that Sally Field was noticeably pregnant with her first child. (Kind of hard to get off the ground like that!) How ironic for the public to see a skinny celibate nun pregnant. So, the problem was solved by using props and scenery to block her body from view. There also was a stunt woman for the flying scenes.
Thirty years later, televsion producers wanted to bring the series back, but Sally Field declined.


Marcia Bell, MPA:HA said...

What a neat memory. I had forgotten about Alejandro Rey, wowsy, wowsy. lol. Interesting background to the show's series storyline. And boy, were those some habits.


ethelmaepotter! said...

Thanks for the interesting onfo on one of my old favorites. I had no idea Sally was pregnant in the final season; I'll definitely watch for that, if ever I see the show again.
Funny, when I was a kid, I always wanted Sister Bertrille and Carlos to get married; guess I was a bit confused about the whole 'nun' thing!

Mary S said...

I have been waking up humming "We've got a lot of things to do" and started looking for it online. Finally downloaded the first episode from Itunes store, and was delighted that the song, sung supposedly by little children with Sally Field leading it is there in it's entirety.

A delightful series, that probably influenced my friend Peggy in her younger years when she actually was a nun. She left the convent before taking final vows, and is now married and living in Iowa.

We children of the sixties and fifties, never realized what a cultural heritage we experienced first hand. I am so glad they are making a DVD of the series. I wanted to read the book, but apparently it is out of print.