Fly Me to the Past

My mind was churning. Getting a solid night’s sleep and starting fresh in the morning was the solution, but it was easier said than done. I needed to distract myself from myself. In a move I rarely take, I decided that watching mindless entertainment might provide what it promises: ‘a-muse-ment,’ which literally means ‘not thinking.’

A little online browsing turned up the solution. The Flying Nun was a silly, vacuous show from the 1960s starring Sally Field. She played Sister Bertrille, a well-intentioned, bubbly, novice nun sent to an established Puerto Rican convent. Weighing only 90 pounds and sporting a corvette (head covering) that resembled wings, Sister Bertrille was regularly launched into the sky by wind currents. Clearly, the show was not grounded anywhere near reality. The perfect diversion from the real world.

Naturally, the show featured a complement to the upright nuns. Carlos Ramirez, a rakish and agnostic gambler, owned and operated a local nightclub. The pilot episode showed him trying to entice local beauties to vacation with him on a nearby island. This was not an easy sell.

My reaction was probably different from that of a viewer who saw this in the 1960s. I was charmed. One after the other, these young women, perhaps meant to be in their twenties, hesitated. “Would there be a chaperone,” one asked. Another thought that her parents would object. All of them, at the sight of a nun, rejected his advances. Sunday found them in church, not in a tryst.

Scenes that I am sure were somewhat provocative in 1967 are quaint now. While the show did help me get to sleep, I am left with the question, “Where did the slippery slope start (probably the Garden of Eden) and how do we push our way uphill again?”

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