While the ABC Movie of the Week is probably best-remembered today for its horror and sci-fi offerings that made strong impressions on young viewers, the program also delivered a number of very stupid comedies, like Gidget Grows Up (1969) and this wannabe hip attempt by director Jerry Paris. A former actor who soon moved behind the camera for a number of bad big-screen movies and mildly enjoyable small-screen ones, Paris is in over his head with this story of hippies, feminists, and sexist cops that has some mildly amusing moments, but is overall kind of a washout.
San Francisco, 1970, a city where finding an apartment is as difficult as finding one in New York City, or so says policeman Jerry Frazer (David Hartman, future "Good Morning America!" host). When he learns of an apartment recently vacated by a hippie and his buddies, he swoops in but runs into equally desperate doctor Jane Bowers (Barbara Eden, soon after the cancellation of "I Dream of Jeanie"). Bowers, a staunch feminist but with no clear philosophy on the subject, butts heads with smart-ass Frazer, but the two tentatively agree to pose as a couple to share the place. You'd better believe they'll find love before the 75 minutes are up.
Predictable as hell, Feminist and the Fuzz is about as bone-headed as its title, sort of like a supersized sophomoric soapbox episode of "Three's Compay". Of course part of the joy of TV movies, even garbage like this, is spotting all the familiar faces and names of the era. Eden hams it up accordingly and Hartman is one handsome, tall block of wood, but keep an eye on the people around them. Eden is joined at the hospital by Roger Perry (the Count Yorga films and Thing with Two Heads) as a sexist fellow doctor and loud-mouthed Jo Anne Worley ("Laugh-In" and "Match Game") as her equally feminist best friend who also happens to have a black belt in karate. Eden's dad comes to visit and he's played by Harry Morgan ("Dragnet" and "M*A*S*H*"). Hartman's girlfriend is Farrah Fawcett in another of her pre-"Charlie's Angels" dimbulb performances. She is, as per usual, just dynamite, introduced giving her boyfriend a framed portrait of herself in a Playboy bunny outfit as a housewarming gift. Howard Hesseman ("WKRP") is the hippie whose apartment eviction is the catalyst for the story, and very busy character actor John McGiver is the apartment building landlord. Julie Newmar is just terrific as a prostitute who aspires to be in porno movies, and she is actually the best thing about the entire telefilm. When Eden throws a women's lib meeting in the apartment, the gals include Penny Marshall (before "Laverne and Shirley"), Patti Chandler (all those AIP teen movies from Bikini Beach to Ghost in the Invisible Bikini), and Sheila James ("Dobie Gillis"). The ladies hold a protest at the Playboy Club in what is maybe the best scene of the movie. You haven't lived till you've seen Jo Anne Worley in a bra on-stage yelling that women are not property!