Question: Could you please tell me what year and network Get Christie Love was on and who was its star? How long did it last on television? Thanks!
Answer: Get Christie Love, which sought to play off the renown of such tough blaxploitation cookies as Cleopatra Jones and the legendary Pam Grier's Coffy, debuted on ABC in September 1974, starring the late Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In bikini girl Teresa Graves as the titular undercover cop.
The big problem is that the genre's popularity stemmed from watching a slick, beautiful, street-savvy woman dispatch bad guys with brutal violence and Graves was a devout Jehovah's Witness. Christie beat down evildoers with karate chops and kicks and even tossed one nasty character 15 stories to his death in the Movie of the Week version. However, by the time the property went to series, Graves was able to use her influence to tone the violence down an admirable goal, certainly, provided said mayhem isn't the reason viewers were supposed to tune in to begin with.
To complicate matters further, the actress' newfound piety meant she no longer allowed the type of wardrobe she sported in, say, Vampira (also released as Old Dracula), in which she played a female bloodsucker who apparently feared buttons as much as garlic and stakes. "Because of her commitment to the tenets of the Witnesses, she would never do anything dealing with the Devil, the occult or with blood... Nor would she ever show so much cleavage," Graves' manager explained in a TV Guide interview. "The mere sight of Teresa walking on a stage is going to give somebody the feeling that sex is there. She doesn't have to play sexy to be sexy. It's nature's accident."
Maybe so, but such subtlety apparently didn't click with the intended audience, and the show was off the schedule in July.
Now, before I get any angry mail, I'm not trashing Ms. Graves' religious views or suggesting that only violence and sex work on TV. Family shows are often very popular 7th Heaven and Touched by an Angel are current examples but if you're going to program a street-tough, sexy-cop drama, it's a good idea to deliver. Otherwise you end up with, as one critic wrote in describing Christie Love's first regular-season episode, something with "all the humor of Shaft and all the devil-may-care breakneck action of Mary Tyler Moore."