THE OTHER GIDGET
It doesn't matter how many Oscars, Emmys or Nobel Peace Prizes Sally Field wins, how many people "really, really like her" or how many times she gets bleeped during an acceptance speech, no write-up about her achievements will be complete without a snide reference to Gidget, the role she played from 1965 to 1966 on the ABC sitcom of the same name.
What many don't realize, however, is that there was another TV Gidget. In 1986, The New Gidget hit first-run syndication. It starred Sydney Penny (currently Julia on AMC), Dean Butler (Almanzo to all you Little House fans, Buffy's dad for fans of the Vampire Slayer), and as the titular character, Caryn Richman.
Richman may have been a new face for primetime viewers, but daytimers already knew her as Elena on Texas. (She went on to play a role in another TV classic when she was cast as Nora, Greg's wife, in The Brady Bunch reunion movies and series).
To watch Caryn Richman before she was Gidget -- or a Brady! -- check out the AOL/PGP Classic Soap Channel's episodes of Texas, here!
(On a personal note, while interviewing Sydney Penny I once asked her, off the record, how she could have gone from critically lauded fare like The Thorn Birds to the bubble-gum of Gidget. She replied, "I was 14 years old. And they filmed at the beach.")