Series / The Flying Nun

Rico: Sister Bertrille! You''re flying!
Sister Bertrille: Don't be silly, Rico! Whoever heard of a flying nun?!

The Flying Nun was a sitcom produced by Screen Gems for ABC based on the book The Fifteenth Pelican, by Tere Rios. The sitcom ran for three seasons, and produced 82 color episodes from 1967 until 1970.

The star was a young Sally Field (post-Gidget), who played a spunky novice nun assigned to the Daughters of Charity convent in Puerto Rico. As a novice, Sister Bertrille, as she was called, wore a white habit robe with a heavily starched winged cornette.

Due to some Artistic License – Physics that beggar suspension of disbelief, Sister Bertrille was able to fly in a slight breeze. "When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, anything can fly." And once the breeze caught her cornette...

Every week Sister Bertrille would solve a new problem for the people of San Juan, due to her ability to fly. How this novice can be more effective and nurturing than all the middle-aged experienced nuns at her convent is interesting to note.

It should also be noted that flying amongst nuns is an unusual habit.

Tropes featured include:

  • Absentee Actor: "The Dumbest Kid In School" is the only episode where Sally Field doesn't appear, in spite of playing the character after whom the series is named.
  • Baseball Episode: "The Big Game".
    Reverend Mother Plaseato: We shall... pray... for your eyesight, Mr Umpire!
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Funny Foreigner Sister Sisto. Although technically not a foreigner since she is Puerto Rican.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Sister Bertrille really tries to avoid showing people she can fly.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Usually, as is typical in a convent. But in one episode, an old boyfriend who fears his rejection caused Sister Bertrille to become a nun refers to her by her birth name of Elsie.
  • Give Me a Sign: Carlos's nearsighted uncle is convinced he's going to die in a week after seeing a giant white bird flying above him. Guess who the 'bird' was....
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: During the series' run Sally Field became pregnant, and obviously it couldn't be written into the show, so...
  • Hollywood Nuns / Christianity Is Catholic: Played straight in that the show involved nuns in a cloister and that they were truly Catholic, with the varying degrees of ages. The show's technical consultant was a U.S. Catholic advisory office for radio and television at the time, whose help made the setting and the characters (save the flying part) authentic and believable.
  • Hypno Fool: One episode has a dentist (Bernie Kopell) cross this one with a bizarre "Freaky Friday" Flip: He uses hypnosis to make Sister Bertrille and the Mother Superior think they're each other. Hilarity, of course, ensues when a visiting Father (Paul Lynde) is observing the convent.
  • Narrator: Episodes are usually introduced by Sister Jacqueline, although some episodes are set up by Carlos, and even a few by Reverend Mother Plaseato herself.
  • Never Win the Lottery: In one episode, Sister Betrille returns a lost lottery ticket to a poor couple, who come to believe the ticket is blessed to win after accidentally witnessing her flying off.
  • Nice Hat: So nice, it lets her fly!
  • Nuns Are Funny: Much of the series' raison d'ętre.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Sister Sisto.
  • Smurfette Principle: Inverted with Carlos.
  • Thieving Magpie: In one episode, a crow takes off with a $5,000 donation check made out to the convent.
  • Title Drop: The page quote in episode "Operation: Population," as Sister Bertrille gets a lift while demonstrating a pogo stick to a young boy.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Carlos and his cousin Luis.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: It shows Sister Bertrille walking with her welcoming party back to the convent.
  • Wunza Plot (Nunza?)