In a weird, far-out opening, elderly Charlotte Sheridan gets a case of the jitters after witnessing, in mixed company, what appears to be a UFO; she is promptly removed as a result of her hysteria. Niece Joyce enlists the Angels’ help to investigate her disappearance, and they start with Charlotte’s secretary, Seth, whom Sabrina and Bosley intimidate into confessing that Charlotte wanted to “go to another planet.” Their trail leads to an organization known as the Celestial Research Foundation; Kris and Bosley meet its head, a bogus scientist known as Dr. Perine, as well as his accomplice, a retired astronaut named Britten, and join the group, for the not-so-reasonable initiation fee of $7,500.
They attend a meeting, where Perine announces the presence of aliens and their space vehicles among us (after ejecting Sabrina, under cover as an obnoxious PI). Kelly’s been busy too: dressed as an alien, she gets a nerdy club member to fess up that Charlotte was abducted (and ultimately murdered) over her research on Venus, which belied what Perine’s been spouting, and she also dates Brittin long enough for him to admit being a front for the fraudulent CRF. In the end, the Angels survive a car chase and a would-be plane ejection to turn the CRF over to the cops.
U.F.O.’s were huge in 1977, the year of Star Wars and Close Encounters in the movies, and Project U.F.O. on TV. So natch Charlie’s Angels, never afraid to exploit a trend, would jump on the alien bandwagon. But the question persists: is it really about extraterrestrial visits? Barely – it’s all just a front for con operation, although we do get a halfway decent shot of a (fake) flying saucer. And even better: Jaclyn Smith in a silver, space-girl outfit, replete with short skirt and knee-high boots. (Anne Francis just called and wants it back.)
The plot is fairly easy to figure, although the outcome of the disappearance in question turns out to be a cold-blooded murder, and it’s handled somewhat casually, particularly in the debrief scene (wouldn’t the niece be a little distraught?). Ad the lynchpin of it all, having to do with Charlotte’s incriminating knowledge of Venusian temps, reminded me more than a little of an Encyclopedia Brown villain’s fatal flaw.
Oh, well. Not terrible, but spectacularly ho-hum. Too bad, given its galaxial potential.
Client: Joyce (niece of Charlotte Sheridan)
Plot difficulty level: 5