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Rico: "Sister Bertrille! You're...you're flying!"
Sister Bertrille: "Don't be silly, Rico! Whoever heard of a flying nun!?!"
The Flying Nun was a sitcom produced by Screen Gems for ABC based on the book The Fifteenth Pelican, by Tere Rios. The sitcom ran for three seasons, and produced 82 color episodes from 1967 until 1970.
The star was a young Sally Field (post-Gidget), who played a spunky novice nun assigned to the Daughters of Charity convent in Puerto Rico. As a novice, Sister Bertrille, as she was called, wore a white habit robe with a heavily starched winged cornette.
Due to some Hollywood Physics that beggar suspension of disbelief, Sister Bertrille was able to fly in a slight breeze. "When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, anything can fly." And once the breeze caught her cornette...
Every week Sister Bertrille would solve a new problem for the people of San Juan, due to her ability to fly. How this novice can be more effective and nurturing than all the middle-aged experienced nuns at her convent is interesting to note.
It should also be noted that flying amongst nuns is an unusual habit.
Tropes featured include:
- Baseball Episode: "The Big Game".
Reverend Mother Plaseato: We shall... pray... for your eyesight, Mr Umpire!
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Funny Foreigner Sister Sisto. Although technically not a foreigner since she is Puerto Rican.
- The Cast Showoff: Sally Field sang in several episodes and contributed to the show's soundtrack.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Usually, as is typical in a convent. But in one episode, an old boyfriend who fears his rejection caused Sister Bertrille to become a nun refers to her by her birth name of Elsie.
- Fantastic Comedy
- Give Me a Sign: Carlos's nearsighted uncle is convinced he's going to die in a week after seeing a giant white bird flying above him. Guess who the 'bird' was....
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Sister Betrille's Uncle Reggie is the Skipper, who gets involved with Hymie, a wanted criminal.
- "Doctor! Ve don't hypnotize Mother Superiors en KAOS!"
- Agarn is a slimy tabloid photographer posing as a priest to snap a picture of Sister Betrille in action.
- Maxwell Q. Klinger is a police officer with an uncanny resemblance to Frank Zappa.
- Chano is a policeman who gets in trouble for writing a ticket at Sister Betrille's insistence.
- One of the visiting priests is a real Center Square.
- Another visiting priest is a lot less creepy and kooky without his mustache.
- Betty "Princess" Anderson is the Sister's sister.
- Gary Seven wants to adopt a Convent Kid. Hopefully he can keep him under control.
- Stan Zbornak is a notorious Chicago gangster whose moll is hiding out amongst the nuns.
- Sister Sixto still has plenty of will, but not much by way of grace.
- Hypno Fool: One episode has a dentist (Bernie Kopell) cross this one with a bizarre Freaky Friday Flip: He uses hypnosis to make Sister Bertrille and the Mother Superior think they're each other. Hilarity, of course, ensues when a visiting Father (Paul Lynde) is observing the convent.
- Lottery Ticket: In one episode, Sister Betrille returns a lost lottery ticket to a poor couple, who come to believe the ticket is blessed to win after accidentally witnessing her flying off.
- Narrator: Episodes are usually introduced by Sister Jacqueline, although some episodes are set up by Carlos, and even a few by Reverend Mother Plaseato herself.
- Nice Hat: So nice, it lets her fly!
- Nuns Are Funny: Much of the series' raison d'être.
- Old Shame: Sally Field has said that she wishes she had passed on this show.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Sister Sisto.
- Ravens and Crows: In one episode, a crow takes off with a $5,000 donation check made out to the convent.
- Title Drop: The page quote in episode "Operation: Population," as Sister Bertrille gets a lift while demonstrating a pogo stick to a young boy.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Carlos and his cousin Luis.
- Unique Pilot Title Sequence: It shows Sister Bertrille walking with her welcoming party back to the convent.
- Wunza Plot (Nunza?)