The Flying Nun (1967–1970)
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Sister Bertille's heart was always filled with good. She always remained upbeat when all the rest of the world was down. She always fought for those in need. Sister Bertille taught me to always find the good in people even when the bad was so much in evidence. Sister Bertille taught that hope was always present in the depths of despair and, wisdom was born in every pain. Sister Bertille taught that good was its own reward even if a world stands against you. Sister Bertille taught the power of a quiet conviction. Most of all Sister Bertille never lost her joy for life and, living.
The most important thing one must have in living is a joy for life and your one true mission in life is to keep your joy for living and, loving and, never ever let anyone steal it this is the real message of Sister Bertille in the Flying nun and, its a message of timeless importance. Be weak enough to love and, strong enough to cry hold tight to your joy in life and, you too might fly. Well thats wht I got from it. Only show that always makes me cry like a baby and, I am not given to such things easily.
"The Flying Nun" was admittedly outlandish, but it's harmless as can be. Specifically, Bertrille could represent the rebellious younger generation, while Mother Superior is the stagnant older generation.
Anyway, it's a fun show for everyone. A person would have to lack a sense of humor not to like it.
The series portrays the adventures of an airborne nun, Sister Bertrille, at the hilltop Convent San Tanco in Porto Rico. The fresh faced young sister is able to fly due to the combination of her light 90 pound weight, the elaborate, stiffly starched bird wing-like cornette of her habit, and catching whatever breeze chances to be blowing. She's a bubbly, free spirited young novice, whose unusual methods often bring her into conflict with the convent's more traditional & stern Reverend Mother. Other convent sisters also appear in the show, including her sidekick, Sister Jacqueline. The well intended Sister Bertrille endeavours to use her aviation skills to help people in trouble, but more often than not, instead gets HERSELF into trouble. She frequently runs into the charming casino playboy, Carlos Ramirez, disrupting his romantic activities with beautiful women. In fact, quite often Sister Bertrille requires Ramirez, who is the owner of a local disco and also a patron of the convent, to come to her rescue.
Sister Bertrille's adventures are many and varied. She has been mistaken for an enemy aircraft, had a pelican fall in love with her, inadvertently landed in the middle of a mobster's meeting, and ascended to the clouds to bring snow for a Norwegian nun's white Christmas. Occasionally she crash lands into a tree or whatever, but simply picks herself up and carries on.
True, nuns can't really fly so some complain that this program involves too unbelievable a premise. To them I would respond that the ideas behind other popular comedies of the 1960's aren't exactly realistic either, for example...Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan's Island, and Hogan's Heroes, to name but a few.
Sally Field is cast in the whimsical role of Sister Bertrille and makes this series fly in more ways than one. This versatile and talented star of Gidget later went on to a brilliant movie career with Oscar winning dramatic roles in Norma Rae & Places of the Heart, also starring in countless others including one of my favourite romantic comedies, Murphy's Romance. Yes, we do indeed really like her, and any success achieved by this series is undoubtedly due to Sally Field's legendary charm and appeal.
This show is simply pure whimsical and heartwarming fun. Pity there aren't more mindless but wholesome TV programs like it these days.
I haven't seen Season two since the show ended so many years ago.... Let me tell you I love season one... I really do,but I think the writing in season two is even better. The characters are now fully developed,plus the addition of the bumbling buffoon Captain Formento is lots of fun. Sister Bertrille is still getting herself into jams and Carlos is still coming to her rescue and bailing her out. Their love/hate relationship really shines through and in the end with his sincere admiration for her... even though she sometimes frustrates the heck out of him! Which is really a big part of the shows charm. They are really fun to watch. Sister Jacqueline Is always wonderful and wise and humorous, Sister Sixto with her unique version of the English language. To conclude, the cast as a whole has a great chemistry between them.
I hope they come out with season 3 really soon!
All very stupid but I enjoy watching Sally Field. It's no wonder she wants to distance herself from this mess of show. Gilligan's Island is stupid too but better!
"The Flying Nun" constituted the troika of sitcoms that truly represented the 1960's that used special effects and sometimes comedical humor. "Bewitched","I Dream Of Jeannie",were colorful and pushing the limits of its viewers. Other shows of that period included "My Favorite Martian","The Beverly Hillbillies","Gilligan's Island", "Batman","Get Smart",are examples of sitcoms that pushed the limits to the maximum potential for its viewers. "The Flying Nun" tells the story of Sister Bertille(Sally Field). Sister Bertille comes from the United States who after joining San Tanco Convent in Puerto Rico discovers that she can fly because of her lightweight and because of the aerodynamics that she wears on her cornette. She basically spends most of her time in the air but is always under the watchful eye of Mother Superior(Madeline Sherwood). Sometimes Sister Bertille's amazing abilities usually lends people who are in dire need of help or sometimes get into trouble,but is always there to lend a helping hand. Most of the time she always depends on a casino-playboy Carlos Ramirez (Alejandro Rey)to get her out of a tight situation,but still remain good friends. But sometimes Ramirez is always nervous every time Sister Bertille is around because you'll never know what she may do next. And that was just the case with the show. It may have been outlandishly childish with the special effects and all,but in heart it was a show with a inspiration for the soul and sometimes morally uplifting in some of the episodes.
The first season(the 1967-1968 season one)and second season(1968-1969 season two)constituted some excellent guest stars not to mention guest regulars that remain throughout the show's three year run. One episode featured the well respected Celia Lovsky,whom in Science Fiction circles is famous for performance of T'Pau in the classic episode of "Amok Time" from Star Trek. And then there was Elinor Donahue who was in two episodes,and this actress was a familiar face to television playing the oldest daughter Betty Anderson opposite Robert Young on the television series "Father Knows Best",and also was Elie Walker in the first season of "The Andy Griffith Show". Donahue portrayed Sister Bertille's older physician sister Janet in several episodes. Also to point out others including Paul Petersen of "The Donna Reed Show",and the other episode that featured Manuel Padilla,Jr. as one of Sister Bertille's helpers. Manuel Padilla,Jr. was also a familiar face on television as well playing Ron Ely's sidekick of the jungle Jai on the action-adventure series "Tarzan" and a child actor in several television shows of the period. Others included veteran actor Vito Scotti,and also familiar to television viewers Shelley Morrison(of "Will and Grace" fame later on).
The show itself does however depict a realistic portrayal of Latin America even though the show was filmed on the backlot of Columbia Pictures Studios in Hollywood,but uses Latin America locations as the backdrop scenery which was brilliantly photographed,since it was the ONLY show that did not stereotype Latinos in any way nor did it talk down to them neither. Its amazing that they spoke magnificent English and were living in good conditions. After "The Flying Nun" went off the air in the spring of 1970, Sally Field went on to bigger and better things in her career including becoming an Oscar winning actress!
It wasn't as weird as the Munsters, or as sophisticated as My Favorite Martian. It never came close to the Twilight Zone in dealing with man's darker nature. It never seemed as "complete" as Nanny and the Professor, and it wasn't as magical as Bewitched. I guess what bothered me the most is that she didn't even try to keep her identity a secret as well as Jeannie. Did she keep her identity a secret at all? Really, she looked like a nun flying around. Any criminal mastermind could easily follow her back to the convent. Or for that matter, any reporter for a tabloid could do the same.
Why was she even a nun? Flashy flying doesn't mix well with the nun lifestyle of simplicity and hard work. I remember the other nuns trying to get her to stop flying around all day, but she did it anyway. I kept wondering why they didn't fire her. Just de-frock her or whatever they do to nuns and send her packing.
Another problem with the show was the actual flying. It never looked real. Superman flying around in the 1950's looked more realistic. The only flying I can think of that looked less realistic was on the Saturday morning Shazam! show, where Captain Marvel always flew about 10 feet off the ground and only over paved roads. It was so stupid because he would even bounce around when the truck he was strapped to hit a bump. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071050/ Sometimes you could even see the shadow of that truck on the road beneath him as he "flew". OK, the Flying Nun wasn't quite that bad but then that's nothing to brag about.
To top it all off, I never understood the romantic interest of the show. She was supposed to be a nun. So why did she spend so much time hanging out on a yacht with a millionaire playboy? I couldn't sit through a single episode of this show today.
Watching it as a kid, the show was perfectly magical.
Sometimes I wonder how much better the shows would be without the laugh track?
When I was growing up, I had heard about "The Flying Nun" but had never seen it at that time. Descriptions I had heard of the show had given me the impression that it was an absolutely awful television show. Once I finally had the chance to see it for the first time, I found the show to be a rather humorous novelty sitcom from the 1960's. Any negative criticisms I had heard about the series were probably attributable to the fact that some people apparently found the flying nun concept to be somewhat sacrilegious. However, I did not find the show to be the least bit offensive. The premise was a bit strange; but, the show itself was very gentle and light-hearted.
Sally Field was appealing in the role of the flying nun. The actress was very young when she played the role; and, her character had a very bubbly personality. The other characters and their interactions were also enjoyable to watch.
Overall, the comedy series was a charming example of 1960's television. The young nun's flying abilities were a peculiar aspect to the show; and, one had to sometimes wonder why the writers had given the nun these abilities in the first place. However, the stories were a lot of fun; and, and the series was very enjoyable to watch.
So, before you sit yourself down to watch this ridiculous, religious-based junk, just go and try to lift a 90 lb. object off the ground (that's the weight of Sister Bertrille). And as you are doing so, just imagine how strong of a wind it would require to lift Bertrille off the ground and keep her flying for an unspecific length of time.
The truth is - It would literally require gale-force winds to lift a 90 lb. object off the ground. And if winds were as strong as this, Sister Bertrille's headgear (aka. a cornette) would, literally, need to be nailed to her head to keep her flying around, this way and that, without losing the blasted thing.
Containing some of the phoniest-looking flying sequences imaginable - The Flying Nun (a truly pathetic, one-note joke) turned the Catholic religion into an idiotic, 3-ring circus. I cannot believe that this rubbish and all of its unfathomable stupidity actually lasted for 3 seasons (1967-1970).
Anyway - I think that actress Sally Field (who was 20 at the time) should be absolutely ashamed of herself for appearing in this garbage TV show.
Novice nun Sister Bertrille is sent to the convent of San Tanco in Puerto Rico where it is discovered that the cornet she wears that looks like Dumbo's ears gives her the gift of Dumbo. Those breezes lift her up and Sally Field looks like Peter Pan soaring.
Field has a good heart and is always ready to lend a helping hand. Even when it's not wanted. She drives to distraction the Reverend Mother Madeline Sherwood. Fellow nun Marge Redmond is more philosophical and Shelley Morrison speaks English like Desi Arnaz.
One goodnatured adversary was Alejandro Rey who runs the local casino. In Puerto Rico gambling is legal still he's a bit shady like a lot of Las Vegas like characters.
Of course the overriding concern was that outsiders not learn of Sally Field's airborne gifts. An interesting commentary on the Catholic religion how they themselves know how miracle rumors get going.
The Flying Nun lasted 3 years and then Sally Field got a career that included her growing up into 2 Oscars. Still The Flying Nun and her aeronautics were mildly entertaining.
AMONG THE IMPORTANT changes implemented by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) was the de-emphasizing of Latin; which had been the official language for the Catholic ever since the earliest days. In its place, Mass would now be said in the vernacular; being the language of the locale in which the Mass was being celebrated.
THERE DID SEEM to be some consternation on the part of Catholics; as it seemed that it was Latin and Gregorian Chant one week and English and Guitars and Tamboreens the next.* It was indeed a most interesting time to live in, the cultural flux then seemed unreal.**
AS FOR THIS series, we must say that we didn't realize that this show was on ABC for 3 seasons. It was never a favourite; as this reporter was going through a rebellious period then, not attending church, playing the iconoclast and drinking beer under aged, horrors!
WE DID SEE it on occasion; if only to see Miss Sally Field. The former Star if the GIDGET TV Series, had been a favourite and donning that Nun's Habit didn't change that. We later learned that Sally was just four days younger than this reporter, a fact that has little bearing on this review; but we couldn't help but do a little bragging!
THE PERFORMANCE THAT the young Miss Field turned in was quite credible and proper; considering the sort of hybrid premises and storyline. As for her "Flying", it's a classic case of what Walt Disney called "The Plausible Impossible"; being the means in which certain occurrences in animated cartoons can be "explained."
AFTER ALL, WITH Sister Bertrille's diminutive size and her wearing the Habit, which would strongly catch the wind (particular her headgear) she could have a propensity toward gliding like a kite; if not exactly flying.
THE SERIES, SET Puerto Rico, made for some beautiful scenery and impressive panoramic photography. It boasted of a seemingly highly skilled and dedicated stock company in pulling off what could have been strictly laughed at instead of laughed with. The supporting players included: Madeleine Sherwood as Reverend Mother Superior Placido, Marge Redmond as Sister Jacqueline, Alejandro Rey as Carlos Ramirez, Shelley Morrison as Sister Sixto, Linda Dancil as Sister Ana and others.
PERHAPS THE REAL value of THE FLYING NUN was to tell us to lighten up a little. Could that also be the message of The Second Vatican Council?
NOTE: * We wondered then why the individual Parishes weren't retaining at least one Latin Mass on Sundays. Later, they did (some did, anyway.)
NOTE ** Although considered to be sacrilegious in some quarters, Satirist Tom Lehrer's song, The Vatican Rag (1966) sums it up.