Gidget is an American sitcom about a surfing, boy-crazy teenager called "Gidget" and her widowed father Russ Lawrence, a UCLA professor. Sally Field stars as Gidget with Don Porter as father Russell Lawrence. The series was first broadcast on ABC from September 15, 1965 to April 21, 1966.
Gidget was among the first regularly scheduled color programs on ABC, but did poorly in the Nielsen ratings and was cancelled at the end of its first season.
The television series was based upon concepts and characters created by Frederick Kohner in his 1957 novel "Gidget, the Little Girl with Big Ideas," which Kohner based upon the adventures of his teenage daughter Kathy. The novel was adapted into a 1959 movie starring Sandra Dee, James Darren and Cliff Robertson. The 1965 weekly, half-hour television series is seen by some as a sequel to the 1959 film, despite numerous discontinuities in plot, time frame and other details. It can also be seen as an independent incarnation, related to but distinct from either the novels or the films. Kohner served as a script consultant on the show.
The series reintroduced Gidget's friend Larue and married sister Anne Cooper, both of whom appear in Kohner's original novel, but are absent from the motion picture series. Gidget's brother-in-law, who appears in the novels as the intelligent but condescending child psychiatrist Larry Cooper is reinvented in the television series as John Cooper, an obtuse but lovable psychology student.
Gidget is about the father-daughter relationship between Frances "Gidget" Lawrence and her widowed father Russell Lawrence. Episodes follow Gidget's adventures in school, at home, and at nearby beaches. Russell Lawrence guides his daughter through her fifteenth year, while married sister Anne and husband John offer often unsolicited child-rearing tips. Gidget's friend Larue sometimes takes part in her escapades. More often than not, Gidget receives moral instruction from her father and gains wisdom from her experiences.
Each episode is narrated by Gidget; on occasion, she breaks the "fourth wall" and directly addresses her audience, usually reflecting on what she has learned from the evening's story, sometimes ending with "Toodles!" (an expression Field improvised during production).