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The Iconic Charlie's Angels Series Almost Had A Very Different Title

"Charlie's Angels" is a title likely familiar to most, even if they haven't seen the original series, which ran from 1976 to 1981 (via IMDb). The iconic show follows three female detectives working for a mysterious man named Charlie. It's a concept that's been rebooted for generation after generation. There are the pair of "Charlie's Angels" movies directed by McG and released in 2000 and 2003, respectively. Then there was a short-lived 2011 reboot series, followed by another "Charlie's Angels" movie in 2019, directed by Elizabeth Banks

The title has ingrained itself into pop culture and seems like one that will never go away, which is why it may come as a surprise that "Charlie's Angels" was not the first choice for a title for the show that launched Farrah Fawcett and others to stardom. When the concept was first being pitched, producer Aaron Spelling even found "Charlie's Angels" facing plenty of rejections from studios that just couldn't wrap their heads around an action series with female leads at the time, with or without a good title (via The Sunday Post). 

Perhaps if it had stuck with its original title, "Charlie's Angels" would have been kept from being the widespread hit it was and continues to be. Even more surprising is the fact that the final title was the suggestion of one of the titular Angels themselves. 

Charlie's Angels was originally called Alley Cats

The original title for "Charlie's Angels" was "Alley Cats" (via the Television Academy Foundation). According to Aaron Spelling, "Alley Cats" was never a serious title, and the studio wasn't a fan of it. A fresh title was born when Kate Jackson came in for the role of Sabrina Duncan. 

"We were talking to her and said, 'we don't have a title yet.' The network doesn't want to call it 'Alley Cats' and we thought it was just a joke when we used that. And she said, 'the guy on the phone is named Charlie, that they don't know?' We said, 'yes.' She says, 'why don't you call it 'Charlie's Angels?'" Spelling recalled in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation. 

When Spelling asked Jackson where she came up with the title, she pointed to a painting behind the producer that had three angels on it. It was a painting that had been left on the office wall by Frank Sinatra when the musician previously occupied the space. Jackson said in 1979 after leaving "Charlie's Angels" that she believes the title had a lot to do with the show's success. She also revealed "Charlie" wasn't the first choice of name. "It was going to be 'Harry's Angels,' but there was already a show called 'Harry O.' But I thought of 'angels' and I think that contributed to the success of the show because angels are thought of as good," she told The Washington Post.