Flying High (TV series)
Still from title screen sequence
|Created by||Dawn Aldredge
|Theme music composer||David Shire|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||18 + 1 TV film (3 unaired)|
|Executive producer(s)||Mark Carliner|
|Producer(s)||Robert van Scoyk|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Mark Carliner Productions|
|Original release||August 28, 1978– January 23, 1979|
Flying High is an American comedy-drama television series, created by Dawn Aldredge and Martin Cohan, starring Kathryn Witt, Connie Sellecca, Pat Klous, and Howard Platt. The series aired on CBS from August 28, 1978 to January 23, 1979.
In early May 1978, CBS announced its new schedule plan for the 1978-79 season, with eight new shows including Flying High planned for 10-11pm Friday time slot. The main three characters, played by Kathryn Witt, Connie Sellecca, and Pat Klous, were recruited from top New York modeling agencies with a specific plan find three very attractive women models albeit with scant acting experience. As executive producer Mark Carliner recounted at the time, when he went to visit the CBS head of program planning Harvey Shephard to pitch the show with three models in tow, the networks sales head saw them on the elevator and after learning they were pitching a show, immediately called the head of programming to say "we need this show." The show was not a unique concept -- Flying High was one of a number of shows developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s in what has been called the "jiggle" era.
The first regular one-hour episode aired on September 29, 1978 (the show was pre-empted the prior week by a special two-hour wedding episode of the Incredible Hulk). By mid-October it was already clear that the show was in trouble due to low ratings. It only ranked 56th out of 65 shows for the week ending October 15, 1978, and maintained that dangerous low rating, leading to its cancellation. It had also received negative reviews (along with CBS' American Girls) for its representation of women as "curiously old-fashioned, if not stereotypical." Both shows were seen as trying to copycat the success of Charlie's Angels, but neither succeeded.
- Kathryn Witt as Pam Bellagio
- Connie Sellecca as Lisa Benton
- Pat Klous as Marcy Bower
- Howard Platt as Captain Doug March
- Ken Olfson as Raymond Strickman
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|0||Flying High||Peter Hunt||Marty Cohan, Dawn Aldredge||August 28, 1978|
|(Pilot): Three attractive young women – Marcy Bower, Pam Bellagio, Lisa Benton – succeed in qualifying for airline stewardess training, become fast friends as they manage to complete the tough course at Sun West Airlines Training Centre based in Los Angeles, and then start getting a taste of the rigors and fun of the real thing as rookie stewardesses, as well as getting the attention of womanizer Captain March. Meanwhile, waiting for them up in the air are Burt Stahl, a passenger relations representative for Sun West Airlines, and Paul Mitchell, a shy but love-hungry psychologist: Burt is trying to help Paul recover from the emotional wounds of a divorce by working his way through all the new crop of stewardess trainees alphabetically starting with the B-girls – Bellagio, Benton and Bower – and promises that if Paul surveys the trainees, he will fix him together with whichever girl strikes his fancy. A two-hour television film pilot with guest stars Jim Hutton, David Hayward, Marcia Wallace|
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Fear of Cheesecake"||Peter Hunt||Juliet Law Packer||September 29, 1978|
|Lisa, Marcy and Pam and the passengers get stuck in a pilotless plane spinning out of control because the entire cockpit crew are ill with gastric pains after consuming poisoned cheesecake and the stewardesses must take control of the situation; meanwhile, Lisa learns that the cheesecake she fed the pilots was contaminated.
Guest stars: Bill Daily, Anne Francis, Eileen Heckart, John Hillerman, Jerry Mathers
|2||"The Great Escape"||Nicholas Sgarro||Joyce Armor, Judie Neer||October 6, 1978|
|A prisoner, taken in custody, sets himself free from his guard and takes Marcy as a hostage on her flight; meanwhile, Pam and Lisa find themselves at the mercy of a noisy group of wild conventioneers on a stay at a San Francisco hotel.
Guest stars: George Gobel, James Gregory, Roosevelt Grier, Michael Parks
|3||"South by Southwest"||Peter Hunt||Dennis Palumbo||October 13, 1978|
|Pam, Marcy and Captain March are involved in a pursuit with the FBI when they mistakenly take the wrong briefcase left on the airplane containing strictly confidential papers which belong to a newspaper reporter; meanwhile, Lisa finds romance with a smooth-talking presidential candidate.
Guest stars: Victor Buono, Broderick Crawford, Scatman Crothers, John Gavin, Ross Martin
|4||"It Was Just One of Those Days"||Alan Myerson||Dawn Aldredge, Marion C. Freeman||October 20, 1978|
|Pam and Lisa must cooperate with a defector from the Soviet Union and a tyrannical senior flight attendant on her last pre-retirement run; meanwhile, Marcy becomes coach of a baseball team and the coach of the opposing team is Captain March.
Guest stars: Eve Arden, Rick Jason, Rose Marie, Jackie Mason
|5||"In the Still of the Night"||Peter Hunt||David Braff, Nick Thiel||October 27, 1978|
|Pam and Marcy are assigned on the flight to Miami but due to bad weather conditions, the jet is deviated to Georgia where they must spend Halloween night at a haunted hotel; meanwhile, Lisa attends a fashionable Halloween party in Connecticut and falls in love with an older, rich playboy.
Guest stars: John Carradine, Anne Jeffreys, Mercedes McCambridge, Craig Stevens
|6||"The Vanishing Point"||William K. Jurgensen||Joyce Armor, Judie Neer||November 3, 1978|
|Pam, Lisa and Marcy's flight to Los Angeles is filled with unusual travelers: a blind passenger, a nude medical student, a fear-crazed passenger, a stowaway and Pam has a surprise reunion with an old flame whom she later suspects of being a jewel thief when a diamond pendant is missing from an old socialite on the plane.
Guest stars: Bill Bixby, Hermione Baddeley, Pat Carroll, Jackie Coogan, Tom Poston, Kyle Richards, Paul Sand
|7||"The Marcy Connection"||Nicholas Sgarro||Terry Ryan||November 10, 1978|
|Marcy's new friend Greg turns out to be a drug smuggler who tries to convince her to become his accomplice and asks that she carry a package of opium from Mexico into the USA; when Marcy tells Captain March, the girls and the police about it, they pretend to be involved in the deal to help police break the drug-smuggling ring.
Guest stars: Michael Cole, Freddy Fender, Alejandro Rey, Bobby Van
|8||"Fun Flight"||James Sheldon||Katharyn Michaelian Powers, Robert Van Scoyk, William Taub||November 17, 1978|
|Marcy, Lisa and Pam are incensed when they discover that an advertising woman executive at Sun West Airlines suggest that they wear jauntier uniforms to represent a better image to the airline; Captain March and a male flight attendant are busy revving up the old charm and charisma to land themselves in the advertising blueprint.
Guest stars: Jim Backus, Nancy Dussault, Dave Madden, Charlotte Rae, Bobby Sherman, Lyle Waggoner
|9||"High Rollers"||William K. Jurgensen||Robert Van Scoyk||November 24, 1978|
|The girls visit Las Vegas where Pam befriends an elderly retired dentist who tells her that his psychiatrist son from Beverly Hills wants nothing to do with him and Pam shows understanding for the old man's grief; meanwhile, a Las Vegas nightclub star pursuses Lisa and Marcy wins at the casino.
Guest stars: Lew Ayres, Shelley Berman, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Jack Carter, Jack Jones, Ann Sothern
|10||"Palm Springs Weekend"||Peter Hunt||Joyce Armor, Judie Neer||December 1, 1978|
|The girls visit a resort in Palm Springs for a romantic weekend; while Lisa is helping Captain March try to keep his neck out of the bone-crushing grasp of a jealous boyfriend, Pam is trying to figure out what to do about the ardent attention of a teenage suitor.
Guest stars: Kaye Ballard, Charo, Alan Hale Jr., Jack O'Halloran, Red Skelton, Vincent Van Patten
|11||"Beautiful People"||Alan Bergmann||Dawn Aldredge, Marty Cohan||December 8, 1978|
|Pam is sent to attend stewardesses training school for temporary duty where she meets the spoiled daughter of a Sun West Airline executive and a scandal will lead the two women to clash; Marcy is startled to learn that the lone passenger on her flight is a very peculiar young multi-millionaire.
Guest stars: Darleen Carr, Dody Goodman, Bernie Kopell, Alan Napier, Natalie Schafer
|12||"Brides and Grooms"||Peter Hunt||Jerry Ross, Arthur Rabin||December 15, 1978|
|Captain March attends his high school reunion in San Francisco with Pam, Lisa and Marcy; at the toga party, March is reunited with his ex-girlfriend Candy who is engaged to his old friend Reggie, a fast-talking girlie magazine publisher, and when Candy's love for March is aroused once more, she feels insecure about whom she should marry.
Guest stars: Peter Brown, Robert Goulet, Art Metrano, Arnold Stang, Stephen Young
|13||"Swan Song for an Ugly Duckling"||Dennis Donnelly||Terry Ryan||December 22, 1978|
|Marcy and Lisa struggle to reunite Billy Bob and Essie Mae, an estranged married couple who are Marcy's old schoolmates; Billy Bob arrives in Los Angeles, locates Marcy and proposes marriage to her, and Marcy is surprised when ugly-duckling Essie Mae shows up and turns out to be Billy Bob's sweet, but neglected wife.
Guest stars: Dennis Cole, Debra Feuer, Terry Lester, Melinda Naud
|14||"Great Expectations"||Dennis Donnelly||Joyce Armor, Judie Neer||December 29, 1978|
|Captain March, who is suffering from temporary blindness due to a sport injury, takes full advantage of the girls when they offer to help him recover at their apartment, but when they discover that he is only simulating, they plot revenge on him; Marcy must face pilot Bill who turns to blackmail because of her unauthorized moonlighting.
Guest stars: Hoyt Axton, Bill Dana, Dick Gautier, Arthur Godfrey
|15||"Ladies of the Night"||Sigmund Neufeld Jr.||Laura Levine||January 23, 1979|
|Lisa and Marcy are mistakenly arrested as prostitutes in San Francisco; Captain March is reunited with an old Air Force buddy who has undergone a sex change and is now an attractive woman while the girls drop in on old friends who have also undergone significant changes over the years.
Guest stars: Brooke Bundy, Dan Frazer, John Hillerman, Harvey Lembeck, Marvin Kaplan
|16||"Eye Opener"||Dennis Donnelly||Jerry Ross, Robert Van Scoyk||UNAIRED|
|Captain March collides at the airport with a woman who proceeds to sue him for $2 million because she has become frigid since the accident; the woman turns out to be Pam's friend and Pam suspects that her frigidity is triggered by her fiancé.
Guest stars: Denise DuBarry, Tom Ewell, John Fiedler, Roddy McDowall, Mary Ann Mobley, Greg Mullavey
|17||"The Challenges"||Sigmund Neufeld Jr.||Deborah Zoe Dawson, Victoria Johns||UNAIRED|
|The girls find out independently that they have complexes and, determined to confront their weaknesses, they choose the same training place - a nudist's camp - where they find themselves embroiled in all kinds of embarrassing situations; Captain March has to abstain from womanizing for an entire weekend if he wants to get a date with Lisa.
Guest stars: Marty Allen, Barbi Benton, Perry Lang, Andrew Prine, Nipsey Russell
|18||"A Hairy Yak Plays Musical Chairs Eagerly"||Dennis Donnelly||Robert Van Scoyk||UNAIRED|
|On her flight to Los Angeles, Pam becomes friendly with TV star Rod Hunter and, unlike the tough policeman he plays on screen, Rod is in reality charming and courteous; meanwhile, a pregnant woman begins to undergo labor pains.
Guest stars: Bill Daily, Ty Hardin, Heather MacRae, Dorothy Malone, Denny Miller, Cameron Mitchell
- TV Guide. "Flying High Cast and Details". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-01-22.
- Brooks, Tim & Earle Marsh. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, p. 485 (9th ed. 2007)
- Shepard, Richard F. (3 May 1978). CBS-TV Adds 8, Drops, The New York Times
- Searching for beautiful women, Washington Post
- D'Acci, Jule. Defining Women: Television and the Case of Cagney and Lacey, p. 15 (1994)
- Terrace, Vincent. Encyclopedia of Television Series, Pilots and Specials, Volume 2 (1974-84), p. 149 (1985)
- (9 September 1978). ABC is off and running for the season, Anniston Star ("A preview installment' of CBS' "Flying High" comedy series was the week's most-watched program... 28.2 (rating) representing 20.5 million homes")
- (22 November 1978). ABC "Peart" tops the week, Index-Journal (For November 17, 1978 episode: "CBS' "Flying High" was 51st, followed by ABC's "Lucan" and three NBC shows - "Frankie and Annette," "David Cassidy-Undercover" and "Lifeline.")
- Crossette, Barbara (20 October 1978). 'Girls', 'Flying' to be dropped?, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (New York Times story)
- (18 September 1978) TV Angel Cheryl Ladd, People ("over copycat competitors like CBS’s Flying High and American Girls")
- Lester, Peter (5 February 1979). Their Series May Get Canned, but Howard Platt and Connie Sellecca Keep on Flying High—and United, People
- Buell, Bill (25 September 2014). TV veteran Platt delighted to be one of McCourt brothers, Daily Gazette
- Reilly, Sue (9 February 1981). Is the Jiggle Up?, People