A Frank Sinatra Owned Painting Inspired a Classic TV Show

by Madison Miller

Often considered one of the best musical artists of the 20th century, one of the best-selling artists of all time, and the jazz-pop artist known for sensational hits like “Fly Me to the Moon” and “New York, New York,” Frank Sinatra continues to have a timeless impact on the music industry even after his death.

From inspiring artists to pursue a similar genre to getting more actors into the movie business, Sinatra could do it all.

Frank Sinatra was also the inspiration something a little less expected. His taste in paintings would eventually inspire a classic TV show.

Frank Sinatra Painting and ‘Charlie’s Angels’

According to MeTV, the producer of “Charlie’s Angels,” Aaron Spelling, had his office in what was once a bungalow owned by Sinatra himself. It was situated on the Fox lot where the classic TV show was filmed.

When Spelling moved into the office, there was still some artwork left from when Sinatra used the office. Right behind the desk, there was a painting that had three female angels on it.

One day, Kate Jackson, who played Sabrina Duncan in “Charlie’s Angels,” walked into the room before a meeting. She saw the painting and suggested to Spelling that he call the girls “Angels.”

Spelling seemed intrigued and asked where she got that idea. She then simply pointed to that Frank Sinatra owned painting right behind his head. This is where the show would get its infamous name.

“Charlie’s Angels” aired on ABC from 1976 to 1981 and starred Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Jaclyn Smith. The series followed the adventures of three women that worked in a private detective agency and solved crimes on the regular.

‘Charlie’s Angels’ Popularity and Beginnings

To this day, the show remains widely popular. This is in great thanks due to the many spin-offs that came after the original series. There was a film series that started in 2000, as well as a TV series that started in 2011 but ended after seven episodes. There was also a film in 2019 with Kristen Stewart and Naomi Scott.

“Charlie’s Angels” was a trailblazer show to some degree at the time. It was an all-female cast. ABC executives Barry Diller and Michael Eisner weren’t thrilled by the original notion of the show. According to Mental Floss, they said it was “the worst idea we have ever heard.” 

While the painting eventually inspired the name of the show, it was actually originally going to be called “The Alley Cats.” This was strongly opposed. At the time of the show, the women’s rights movements and feminism were taking off and a show called “The Alley Cats” wouldn’t appeal to viewers.

It was at one point also going to be called “Harry’s Angels” instead. Harry was the original name of the team’s boss. Viewers never actually see this character they only hear his voice over a megaphone. His name would eventually be changed to Charlie. This was done in order to avoid confusion with another popular detective show that was already on, “Harry-O.”