Gidget – Introducing Sally Field
by Guy Belleranti
an 18 year-old Sally Field
made her national acting debut with
the ABC television comedy Gidget. Based upon the character from a 1957
novel and then made more famous by Sandra Dee in a 1959 film
, the series
followed an impulsive and melodramatic high school girl who loves to
The girl’s real name is Frances (Francine) Lawrence. However, her surfer
friends give her a nickname by combining the words girl and midget. Thus
the name Gidget.
on the sunny southern California coast with her widowed
father, Professor Russel “Russ” Lawrence (played by Don Porter).
Field’s character has this to say about her life: “For 15 ½ years my
life was a complete and total ick. But then on the 23rd of June two
things happened. I fell in love with two things: Jeff, my Moondoggie,
In the film version James Darren
had a big co-starring role as Jeffrey
Matthews, Gidget’s Moondoggie. However, in the television series
Moondoggie (played by Stephen Mines) only appears in a couple of
episodes, with his character spending most of his time away at college
at Princeton University.
Other important characters in the television series included:
Betty Conner as Anne Cooper, Gidget’s motherly and overly-protective
Pete Duel as Anne’s husband John, a psychology student who considers
Gidget a perfect study specimen
Lynette Winter as Larue, Gidget’s best friend.
Gidget only lasted one season and 32 color episodes. However, it became
more popular as it ran, and the series gathered a cult following which
grew over subsequent years when it was syndicated.
to Rewind the Fifties Home