The family nickname of the boy-crazy, surfing teenager Frances Elizabeth “Gidget” Lawrence (Sally Field) on the sitcom GIDGET/ABC/1965-66.
Gidget lived in Southern California with her widowed father professor Russell Lawrence (Don Porter). Her older sister Anne (Betty Conner) is married to John Cooper (Pete Duel), a psychology student. Gidget spends most of her free time hanging out with her best friend Larue (Lynette Winter) and surfing at the beach.
An updated version of this series called THE NEW GIDGET/SYN/1986-88 starred Caryn Richman as Francine Lawrence Griffin who was married to Jeff “Moondoggie” Griffin, an architect and city planner in Santa Monica California. Their friends included Gidget’s best friend Larue (Jill Jacobson), a partner at the Gidget Travel Agency, and a legendary surfer known as the Great Kahuna (Don Stroud). Gidget’s teenage niece, Danielle “Dani” Collins (Sydney Penny) lives with her while Dani’s parents (Gidget’s sister, Anne and husband John) are overseas.
Note: The Gidget character was created by novelist Frederick Kohner who wrote a book about his own daughter Kathy, who really was nicknamed “Gidget.” The book was entitled “Gidget, the Little Girl with Big Ideas” (1957).
Motion pictures based on Gidget include: Gidget (1959) with Sandra Dee; Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) with Deborah Walley; Gidget Goes To Rome (1962) with Cindy Carol; Gidget Grows Up (1970) with Karen Valentine; and Gidget Gets Married (1972) with Monie Ellis.
In the movie Gidget (1959) starring Sandra Dee, the term “Gidget” meant a “girl” who was five feet two inches…not really tall, but yet not a “midget.” Cliff Robertson played the role of surfer Burl Vail, aka “The Big Kahuna”.
Note: Actress Sally Field was nicknamed “Doodles” in her younger days.