Francie ‘Gidget’ Lawrence was the main focus of the 1959 movie Gidget and the 1965 TV show of the same name. The famed film and series followed the adventures of a teenage Francie as she traversed the California surfing scene. Do you know exactly how old Gidget was supposed to be in the series? Gidget was not yet 16 when the series premiered
Francie ‘Gidget’ Lawrence was 15 and a half when the TV show premiered
When Gidget premiered on ABC in 1965, the series followed Francie Lawrence through her surfing adventures in California. In the series, the character, nicknamed Gidget, was 15 and a half. In theory, if the series had continued, Gidget would have aged across several seasons. It wasn’t meant to be, though.
Gidget was canceled after a single season amid middling viewership. While the show didn’t perform well when it premiered, a summer rerun garnered more attention and helped launch Sally Field’s career. Field, then a teen herself, took on the title role.
Additional TV movies showed Gidget all grown up
While Gidget the TV series only ran for a single season, the franchise wasn’t exactly done telling the surfer’s story. Over the years, several TV movies were produced that kept fans up to date with the spunky surfer.
In the TV movie Gidget Gets Married, Gidget marries Jeff, her long-term boyfriend, often referred to as Moondoggie. She is in her 20s in the film. In The New Gidget, a 1986 series, Gidget is firmly an adult, running a travel agency and married to Moondoggie when she tries to help her niece, Dani, navigate her teen years.
Sally Field and Sandra Dee were a bit older than their famed character when they took on the role
Sally Field infamously took on the role of Gidget for the TV show. Then a newcomer to Hollywood, Field was still a teen when she took on the part, but she was a bit older than the character she played. In 1965, Field was 19 when Gidget premiered but didn’t look much older than her character’s age.
Several years earlier, Sandra Dee took on the role in the hit movie Gidget. Just like Field, Dee was a bit older than the title character, but she was also just a teen. Dee was 17 when the movie premiered. Unlike Field, she wasn’t a newcomer to the entertainment industry. Dee had spent much of her childhood modeling and had appeared in several films before transforming into Gidget.