The Angels in Chains episode of the eternally fresh Charlie’s Angels gave mid-70s television viewers a mild taste of lesbian subculture. There the energy was all jail-yard female power plays & aggressive correction officers, one even emphatically played by cult goddess Mary Woronov, the cinema’s supreme manipulator of androgynous tension! Two years later, the production team upped the femme-on-femme ante even more. Drenched in pink, Angels in Springtime, which takes place at the beginning of this glamorous detective outing’s third season, is perhaps the most Sapphic entry in that original Angels oeuvre.
Taking place at an exclusive health spa for well-to-do women and guest starring the magnificent Mercedes McCambridge during her coarsest prison matron years, this episode finds the plucky trio menaced not only by McCambridge’s ego-soaked Norma, an ex-actress, but by a needle wielding psychiatrist (Joan Hotchkis) & a sumo wrestling masseuse (Nancy Parsons), as well. That the psychiatrist’s interest in the romantic adventures of Jaclyn Smith’s Kelly seems more profound than just the plot line’s blackmail purposes Is due, almost exclusively, to the silkily seductive way that Hotchkis operates as an actress. The way she expresses the character’s interest in Smith, posing as a well-to-do mistress here, definitely seems more than just casually criminal. Meanwhile, Parsons’ Zora might try to kill Cheryl Ladd’s perkily masquerading Chris through wet towel mummification…but this is seemingly only because she didn’t have a sweaty dildo and a gag ball nearby to help her perform that duty instead.
Of course, McCambridge, the diabolical heart of the episode, is definitely frightening the horses here, as well. Despite her character’s humorous mention of many ex-husbands, you know what two options she would choose in the kill-fuck-marry categories when dealing with any of Charlie’s finest, frilliest best.
Indeed, from a casting standpoint alone, it could easily be surmised that one of the show’s producers was a closeted, gay movie buff. Joining McCambridge & Parsons, best known for her dementedly villainous actions in (cult classic) Motel Hell, are film noir diva Marie Windsor and future horror queen Bobbie Bresee (Mausoleum, Evil Spawn). That Windsor, regally hoisting a cigarette holder as a prop, plays Eve La Deux, a board treading rival of McCambridge’s, is almost worth the price of admission alone for the show’s many queer fans. Her dramatic performance in the opening scene is, indeed, the starting point of an evening filled with both subtle and emphatic alternative delights.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!