While bringing you everything fierce happening in gay culture, I simply love interviewing celebrities and people who know celebrities. Something else I really love? Charlie’s Angels. The ’70s phenomenon. The two films. The fabulous Angels. The recent reboot… Well, it wasn’t dreadful. It just didn’t last long enough to get into. Plus, my DVR found the episodes sitting there quietly never really calling out for a play. The original is always worth a watch. Now Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Series is available! Dear Santa…
Mike Pingel is considered the ultimate Charlie’s Angels collector of priceless memorabilia. His personal memories and experiences of life with the Angels, and the vast knowledge Mike has of the franchise is often called upon. Mr. Pingel is quick to answer the need. He is from Angel Heaven. That’s why I called Mike “Charlie’s 7th Angel.” Here’s what he has to say about his lifelong love affair with the Angels.
Steven Michael – Mike, thanks for taking time between visits with famed Angels Cheryl and Jaclyn on the set of The Talk and playing with your trading cards. I want them desperately! You were Farrah Fawcett’s assistant for how long? Any fabulous memories of you and Farrah that you can share that haven’t made it into your new book or print before?
Mike Pingel – “I was Farrah’s personal assistant for two years and we stayed friends after my working relationship ended. One of the best memories was cooking in the kitchen with her. She loved to cook and we had such a good time goofing around in the kitchen.”
Which Angel do you most relate to character wise and actress wise? I’d say I relate to Kelly Garrett the most because she was definitely a constant staple that held the series together. I’ve often felt I’m the glue holding things together. Although I’m super flirty like Farrah’s “Jill.”
“I fell in love with all the Angels, but my favorite angel is Kris Munroe! I began watching the series when Cheryl Ladd stepped into her role after Farrah left. Kris was such a fun character. She was the rookie, made mistakes and provided comic relief. – I feel like Kris most of the time!”
I taped the first episode on our new VCR and was a fan from minute one. I’m envious of your memorabilia. I had some great trading cards that were either lost or clipped along the years. One of the vans. A lunchbox I’d kill for. And something that never came in the mail. A detective kit, I believe. Wonder if there’s someone I could talk to about that.
“I don’t think there was ever a Charlie’s Angels Detective Kit, but I’ve been known to be wrong! HG toys did made a lot of “Beauty Care Kits” so everyone could look like an Angel. There was the official Charlie’s Angels Fan Club Kit which came in the mail and included a Charlie’s Angels fan club card. Maybe that’s what you’re thinking of?”
Honestly, I think that is what it was! Iconic Angel moments for me were “Angels in Chains,” Kelly flying in her belly dancing costume to save the ice show, when they would go undercover as sex workers, Bosley John Bosley, anytime Farrah was on screen, when Sabrina fell in love with the wrong man, “Angels in Paradise,” Kelly’s white bikini poolside photo shoot, Julie riding atop the car hood, Kris’ satin jacket. How about you?
“Oh my… There are so many moment of the show I love and remember. One of the great ones is when Kris is wrestling an alligator. How about the time when Kelly was in a cat fight with a drag queen in “Angels on the Line”? Or the fights in “Fallen Angel” when Kris and Kelly were mad at Jill? Remember the time when Sabrina had to jump into the river with bomb belt attached to her waist? You can’t forget about when then Angels had to get help from Toni’s Boys! – The sexy male version of Charlie’s Angels. The list goes on and on and on… How heavenly!”
Yes, the drag queen murderess was so too much. Or when Kelly was riding the brown tiger of heroin. The song Sally Storm sang in the porn movie. The Miss Chrysanthemum pageant. When they played football with the dyslexia girl. Oh, the fabulosity of it all! Tell me about Rainbow PR. How did that start?
“My world in PR all started with Charlie’s Angels! After CharliesAngels.com was created, the media called and I quickly had to learn how to handle media and myself with them. I worked with larger agencies in Los Angeles, but now I have my company. I’m able to help and take on great clients that I believe in.”
You seem to have a close connection with most of the Angel actresses. Is it difficult staying in touch over the years?
“Not really… I work with Cheryl Ladd and Tanya Roberts on their websites and see the other Angels at events from time to time. It’s like any friendship, even if you have been out of touch – you just start again where you left off. These ladies are truly heavenly and all have been super sweet to me with allowing me into their lives. I’m the luckiest and most blessed man in the world.”
I agree. I’m just green with envy over your time with them. So glad people have kept the Angels in the pop culture for new generations to fall in love with them. Ever think about opening your place up as a collector museum? You seem to have everything they have released. I love it! Do your friends ever think about getting you on Collection Intervention? Where and when did you start your collection and what was your first piece? You must let me come gawk at your treasures sometime. Over 1200+ items, gems and rarities.
“Well, my collection was in a Hollywood Museum here in Los Angeles in 2006! Most of my friends find the collection a fun hobby. What’s great about Charlie’s Angels is that everyone as a kid had something of the show such as the dolls, lunchbox or trading cards. When I have parties, guests always want to see the collection and touch the thing they had as a kid. It’s pretty cool.”
“I started my collecting as a kid, but later, my parents said I had to grow up and I threw much of what I had out. Later when I arrived to Los Angeles, I went to a party where the host had a large collection of celebrity dolls and they had the set of four Charlie’s Angles Dolls. I said ‘I want those’ and that’s how it began! A box arrived shortly later with the four dolls and twelve doll dresses, and the collection started to grow again!”
What was in your opinion the best season of Angels and what was its demise?
“I think the best was season two with the arrival of Kris Munroe (Cheryl Ladd). That is when I started to watch as a kid. Cheryl saved a show which might have died after the exit of Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Farrah was the ‘it’ girl of the ’70s. The cast and crew had no idea the fate of the show. But Cheryl’s entrance allowed the show to go on for four more years.”
“The demise began with Kate’s exit from the series and the lack of creating a great new Angel character. When Shelley Hack entered as the fifth Angel, Tiffany Welles in 1979, the scripts had a ton of mis-steps including making the new Angel a wallflower for most of the first half of the season which made the audience lose interest.”
Were you a fan of the reboot? What went wrong there? I didn’t hate it but didn’t feel I needed to catch it religiously on time. It didn’t last long.
“I hated the Charlie’s Angles 2011 series reboot, but I really wanted it to work. The writers/producers took a ‘darker’ direction with the Angels. They were all ex-criminals, which was never the premise of Charlie’s Angels.”
“The first mistake was in the pilot when they KILLED off an Angel! What a horrific way to begin a series. The stories where not well thought out and the Angels lacked chemistry. They put three pretty girls in high fashion outfits, made them detectives and presto you have the Charlie’s Angels reboot. There was much more to the series than that. If it was just pretty clothes and detectives the show could be easily duplicated. Charlie’s Angels: Fawcett, Jackson, Smith and Ladd all had a special charm and elegance which came across on the screen.”
“With all that said – I was in front of my TV set every Thursday watching the 2011 show and hoping and praying it would be good.”
Who would you cast in a reboot if you had the offer? What would be the setting? I know you have thought about it!
“I would want to do an Angel hunt casting call. Try to find and recreate that southern bell chemistry that producer, Aaron Spelling found with Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett-Majors & Jaclyn Smith!”
All-time favorite episode and why?
“‘Circus of Terror’ is my favorite episode which was actually the first episode Cheryl Ladd filmed. It’s just a fun episode and Kris has knives thrown at her! ‘This has been fun, but I gotta run.’ ~Kris Munroe. My 2nd favorite is ‘Angels at Sea’ with Farrah.”
What made the Angels work as a successful series?
“The chemistry of the actresses made it work. Women wanted to be friends with them, men wanted to date them, teenage boys got those feelings down there and teenage girls had role models.”
Biggest misconception about the Angels?
“I think the biggest misconception was that it was just Jiggle TV. It was so much more than high fashion and hair spray. It portrayed women taking charge in a man’s world. It was a #1 TV show with three females as the leads.”
Think there will ever be a Charlie’s Angels 3 film released?
“Yes, I have heard Drew Barrymore wants to put out another one. It would be fun, maybe with a new crop of Angels.”
I’d love that! I think it’s about time. How were you involved with Drew and McG for the original film? How did that come about?
“I had a few meetings with Leonard Goldberg, Drew & McG. They wanted to get the feel with the look and style of the original Angels.”
When you’re not in Angel Heaven, what is Mike doing for fun? What’s a night out with you like?
“A Pingel night out is a great dinner & cocktails with friends.”
What’s happening next for you?
“My new book on Betty White called ‘Betty White Rules the World: The Ultimate (and Unauthorized) Guide to Television’s Grande Dame’ will be out shortly. The release date for this book has been hard to pin down from the publishers, but I think fans of Betty White will love it! If you need a Betty White fix right now, watch me in Bio.com’s Betty White mini-Bio.”
I hadn’t realized I asked Mike so many wonderful and interesting questions. Sending a BIG HUG to him for sharing his Angelic life and of course to our Angels for years of joy and entertainment. I know our pop culture lexicon would be empty without a certain speaker box spouting out over-the-top assignments to our dear Sabrina, Jill, Kelly, Kris, Tiffany and Julie! The Angels!
Catch Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels for EVERYTHING HEAVENLY! ♥