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Archives On The Air 70: The Flying Nun—The Harry Ackerman Papers

Harry Ackerman was a tv producer who helped create I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver and Gunsmoke. Ackerman also worked on some lesser known shows.

One of these shows was The Flying Nun. The show’s premise is that a nun’s winged cornette hat caught the wind and now she can fly.

Sally Field was the show’s star. She was embarrassed by the concept and said she felt humiliated hanging from a crane for the flying effect.

The Flying Nun aired for 82 episodes from 1967 to 1970. A test audience first read the show’s concept and felt they would not enjoy the program “because a ‘flying nun’ seemed childish and silly.”

After seeing the pilot the test audience liked the show but thought the flying was not needed. They expressed concern that too much flying would make the show like Batman.

The Harry Ackerman papers at UW’s American Heritage Center contain production files from dozens of tv shows.