Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The second TV-sitcom starring vehicle for future Oscar winner Sally Field (this first was Gidget), the weekly, half-hour The Flying Nun may have appeared to have been inspired by such movie hits as The Sound of Music and The Singing Nun, but was actually based on The Fifth Pelican, a novel by Tere Rios. Field was cast as Sister Bertrille (née Elsie Ethrington), a novice nun assigned to the Convent San Tanco in San Juan, Puerto Rico. While hanging out the convent's laundry one morning, Sister Bertrille suddenly found herself airborne: it seemed that her light weight (90 pounds), combined with the starched, winglike coronet she wore on her head caused her to sail through the air whenever the trade winds were particularly strong. Although she was ordered to keep her flying skills a secret by the strict Reverend Mother (Madeleine Sherwood) and the less strict but no less firm Sister Jacqueline (Marge Redmond), the ebullient Sister Bertrille often found that her aerodynamics were indispensable in getting herself and her convent out of various jams. Our heroine's peculiar gift also frequently proved a lifesaver for Carlos Ramirez (Alejandro Ray), the swinging-bachelor owner of a local discotheque who was one of the convent's most generous and devoted patrons. Featured in the supporting cast were Sister Bertrille's best friends, Sister Ana (Linda Dangcil) and Sister Sixto (Shelley Morrison), the latter a Puerto Rican native whose grasp of the English language was hilariously tenuous. During the series' second season, Vito Scotti joined the cast as Gaspar Fomento, the overzealous local police captain who was convinced that all manner of criminal activity was occurring with the walls of San Tanco. And in season three, Manuel Padilla Jr., formerly a regular on the Tarzan TV series, was seen as a capricious orphan boy named Marcello. Debuting September 7, 1967, on ABC, The Flying Nun racked up 82 episodes before its cancellation on September 18, 1970. Although the network was initially worried that the series' subject matter would offend Catholics, the series was instead embraced by several religious organizations for its positive and upbeat portrayal of nuns.