You know Kellie Flanagan as a talented writer, teller of stories, and managing editor at Sierra News Online.
Now, you can now see our very own Kellie Flanagan as the cute and precocious Candice Muir on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, a sitcom that ran for two seasons in the late 60s. The show airs every weekday morning at 6 a.m. on GETTV, channel 373 on DishNet (sorry, DirectTV subscribers).
Before I was lucky enough to be introduced to Kellie through one hysterically funny blog about her experience raising chickens, she had a long and varied career both in front of and behind the camera.
Kellie started acting at the ripe old age of 3, when she did a Crest toothpaste commercial with June Lockhart. As my dad used to say, she was “cuter than a bug’s ear!” Kellie is the bathing beauty with her hands over her head, second from the right. She then went on to do over 100 commercials — some TV, and some print. Who could resist that face?!
Then, in 1966, she appeared on a quirky little show called Star Trek. Hallelujah.
“It’s an episode in the first season called Miri, where the Enterprise lands on a planet just like the United States, except there are no grownups, or ‘grups,'” says Kellie, “because when kids hit puberty they get a really bad condition – way beyond acne – their skin rots off, they foam at the mouth, go mad and then die.” Nice.
Things rolled along with Kellie’s young career, and she appeared in some other favorite shows of the day, including Mannix, Family Affair (twice) and Andy Griffith. (For Kellie’s scene in this clip, skip to 21:30. Cracks me up every time I see it!)
Eventually, she was up for a role in a television series based on a fabulous movie from the forties, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. It starred Hope Lange, Edward Mulhare, Charles Nelson Reilly and Reta Shaw — “with Kellie Flanagan and Harlen Carraher.”
“We were in every episode, though sometimes the parts were small, like ‘Hi mom, we’re home,’ and ‘Good night, mom!'” says Kellie. “The show was about a lovely widow on the east coast who is a writer and moves into a home that’s inconveniently occupied by a super-attractive ghost. Great story line, great actors. Charming to see, and it holds up well to this day.”
The show was released in 2014 for the first time on DVD – in Australia and New Zealand – so suddenly after many years, there has been a little attention put to it. Many people are still fans and the show is popular with people who write fan fiction, too.
While still filming “Ghost,” Kellie appeared in the cult classic 1968 movie called Wild In The Streets with Hal Holbrook, Millie Perkins, Richard Pryor and “the truly fabulous Shelly Winters. Shelly was a little salty in her manner of speech so I was not really allowed on the set when she was doing her scenes.”
She also did a 90 minute TV special called All Things Bright and Beautiful in 1968, starring with Burl Ives, and featuring Lionel Hampton, Randy Sparks and the Back Porch Majority.
Kellie retired from the business at age 10 when her mom passed away after years fighting cancer, and returned to school and “normal” living with her sister, Jill. She graduated from Venice High School in 1977 and went to UCLA where she had a lot of trouble parking and eventually dropped out.
After a few secretary/assistant-type jobs, a stint in something new called a “video store,” (hey, it’s the 80s) which morphed into a gig as a video freelancer on the wedding-birthday-and-bar mitzvah circuit, Kellie landed a job as a production secretary to Allen Funt of Candid Camera, who she describes as a “kind and brilliant bastard.”
So she was back in the TV biz, this time behind the scenes, working her way into documentary production with a show called The Wild West, a 10-hour syndicated series by Rattlesnake Productions in partnership with Time/Life. Next came The Civil War Journal, hosted by Danny Glover, and episodes of Biography. She ultimately produced segments and shows for all major television and cable networks and has written for all media.
“I worked my way up in the TV business, eventually as producer, writer and director,” she recalls. “Then, in the nick of time, I fell in love, had a baby and managed to work my career backwards into managing programs and issues reconciliation for public radio.”
In 2007, Kellie and her husband, Dave Briley, decided that visiting the central Sierra for two weeks a year and living in southern California was backwards. So they transplanted themselves here in the mountains, and visit the southern part of the state when they are so inspired. As her daughter grew Kellie returned to writing for electronic media and then, in 2012, threw hat into a little ring called Sierra News Online.
Kellie says she has never wanted to lead any new connection with “child actor,” and has not.
“For many of my friends, it’s the last thing they find out. Now, at my age, I like for people to know about my early TV career and I have a Facebook page where I share old photos and new perspectives. We have some very kind and dedicated fans of the show, and people who have enjoyed other shows I was lucky enough to appear on. They visit on the page and have even sent me pictures off of Ebay and fancy candy bars and such – so, all in all, it’s a great life. Also I have a job I love.”