1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
32 x 30 minute episodes
The story of Gidget – a contraction of the words “girl” and “midget” (although she was a rather normal five-feet-two-inches) – began in 1959 with the movie starring Sandra Dee, James Darren, and Cliff Robertson.
Gidget (Sally Field in her television debut) was fifteen-and-a-half-years old and lived in California with her widowed UCLA college professor father Russ (Don Porter).
Her full name was Frances Elizabeth Lawrence, but her dad only called her “Frances” on a couple of occasions when she had done something really wrong.
Gidget attended Westside High School, had a boyfriend named Jeff “Moondoggie” Matthews (Stephen Mines) and spent most of her free time at the beach, hanging out with friends and surfing. She also had a knack for getting in and out of trouble.
Gidget’s best friend was named Larne (Lynette Winter), she was allergic to the sun and was much less popular with the opposite sex than Gidget, even though she drove a beautiful red Mustang convertible (used mostly to transport surfboards to the beach).
Anne was her serious older sister (Betty Conner) who was married to John Cooper (Pete Deuel), a psychology student. The couple lived at number 417 in The Terrace Apartments.
Gidget spoke to the audience during her journey to adulthood, letting them know exactly what was on her mind and what she had discovered about life. She had her own unique lingo, including words and phrases such as “holy minestrone,” “rest the bones” (meaning sit down) and, of course, “toodles” (meaning goodbye).
The Lawrence house was on the back lot at the Columbia Ranch, right next door to the house used on Bewitched – which was in production at the same time. In certain episodes of Gidget, Samantha and Darrin Stephens’ house is visible in exterior shots from Gidget’s front yard.
Frances Elizabeth ‘Gidget’ Lawrence
Professor Russell Lawrence