The funny way Frank Sinatra accidentally gave Charlie's Angels its name
Imagine if the show went with its original name, Alley Cats!
The action-packed show Charlie's Angels got an awfully slow start. The show struggled to get its feet off the ground and the first problem that executive producer Aaron Spelling ran into while attempting to pitch the show to ABC head Barry Diller was its name. Spelling explained in an interview with the Archive of American Television:
"When we pitched this idea to Barry Diller, it was called Alley Cats, and he said, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself. Three gorgeous girls are Alley Cats? No.'”
Diller's rejection of the original name didn't stop Spelling from moving forward with a script, though. That script, however, sat around until Fred Silverman came on as president at ABC in the mid-1970s. He said to Spelling, "You know, I read a script..." and Charlie's Angels was back in action - it just still didn't have that exact name.
Spelling continued to push off the problem, excited to cast Farrah Fawcett after her performance in the TV movie Murder on Flight 502 turned his head. Once Jaclyn Smith read and with Kate Jackson in mind due to her work on the series The Rookies ending, he was pretty certain he had his cast. He finally called Jackson into his office to discuss the part, and that's when everything changed.
"We were talking to her [Kate Jackson] and said we don’t have a title yet. The network doesn’t want to call it Alley Cats," Spelling said in the interview. "And she said, 'Well the guy on the phone, his name is Charlie, no?' We said, ‘Yes.’ And she says, ‘Why don’t you call it Charlie’s Angels?’"
Spelling was baffled how she leapt from Alley Cats to Angels, but it was all explained soon enough. In the interview, he said that he said to Jackson at the time, "Why did you say that?" She pointed to the wall behind him and said, "Aaron, right on the wall behind you, there’s a picture of angels."
The reason Spelling didn't know the paintings on the wall of his own office is simple: He'd inherited the office from Frank Sinatra, and the angel painting had belonged to Ol' Blue Eyes. Sinatra had left it behind when he moved on and Spelling had never taken it down after he moved in. That bit of serendipity led to a much better name for the iconic series, so in this case that old Sinatra tune rings more true if you sing it, "Luck be three ladies tonight."