The Secrets of Isis
|The Secrets of Isis|
|Also known as||Isis|
|Developed by||Marc Richards|
|Theme music composer||
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||22 (list of episodes)|
|Producer(s)||Arthur H. Nadel|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 6, 1975– September 3, 1977|
The Secrets of Isis, originally broadcast as Isis, is an American live-action superhero television series produced by Filmation from 1975 to 1977 for CBS's Saturday morning lineup. The series was renamed to The Secrets of Isis in syndication.
The program was the first weekly, American, live-action television series with a female superhero lead character (debuting September 6, 1975, predating the weekly debuts of both The Bionic Woman (January 14, 1976), and, Wonder Woman (April 21, 1976)). In the series, Isis (Joanna Cameron) is the alter ego of Andrea Thomas, a seemingly normal schoolteacher, who transforms into the Egyptian goddess when presented with crises a mere mortal cannot resolve.
Episodes of the series featured crossovers featuring Captain Marvel from companion series, Shazam!. Likewise, Joanna Cameron appeared as Isis on Shazam! in return; and since then DC Comics has adopted the character of Isis into their mainstream continuity for modern comics.
Isis starred Joanna Cameron as Andrea Thomas, a science teacher at Larkspur High School who found an ancient mystical gold amulet, the "Tutmose amulet," on an archeological dig in Egypt. The Isiac amulet, which resembled the headdress of Hathor, had originally belonged to Queen Hatshepsut, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. The amulet gave the wearer (specifically, Hatshepsut and her descendants, of which Andrea was one) "the powers of the animals and the elements," which would be bestowed upon such wearer by the goddess Isis whenever it was exposed to the sun and her name invoked. Whenever Isis was needed, Andrea would reveal the Isiac amulet (which she wore as an everyday necklace) and recite an incantation—"Oh mighty Isis"—transforming her into the goddess/super-heroine.
The series co-starred Brian Cutler as fellow teacher Rick Mason who acted as Andrea's potential love interest, Joanna Pang as student Cindy Lee, and Albert Reed as Dr. Barnes, the school principal. In Season 2, Ronalda Douglas joined the cast as Rennie Carol, replacing the Cindy character. Guest stars on the show included Mike Lookinland, Debralee Scott, Leigh McCloskey, Phil Bruns, Mark Lambert, Steven Paul, Thomas Carter, Colleen Camp, Johnny Doran, William Engesser, Laurette Spang, Tommy Norden, Victor Sen Yung, Russ Marin and Christopher Norris.
Most of the program's storylines involved Isis coming to the rescue of high school students who found themselves in danger due to unwise choices. A notable exception was the two-part series finale, "Now You See It...", and, "...Now You Don't", which had an espionage-related plotline revealing that Rick Mason has been working secretly for the U.S. government on a weather-making machine. This two-parter introduced a trio of crime-fighting teens dubbed "The Super-Sleuths;" the double episode was intended as a backdoor pilot for a Super-Sleuths series, which never materialized.
The Secrets of Isis often "broke the fourth wall," with Isis/Andrea winking at the camera or otherwise acknowledging the audience, at pertinent moments in a story. In signature Filmation fashion, each episode featured an epilogue with Isis directly addressing the camera and imparting a moral lesson derived from the preceding events of that episode. These moral-message segments were later deleted from syndication prints.
Powers and abilities
Isis displays a vast array of superpowers, usually invoked through incantation of a rhyming couplet. For example, Isis can take flight by reciting "O zephyr winds which blow on high / Lift me now so I can fly." Among her many powers, she exhibits superhuman strength, command of the elements (earth, air, fire, and water), and control of the weather. She can control the molecular density of her body and other matter, passing herself through walls, and in one instance, causing a car to pass unharmed through a road grader. She can divine the recent past, which is manifested for the viewer in the jewel of her diadem. Isis can cause living things, including trees and animals, to appear and disappear at will. She can increase local gravity, and stop and reverse the flow of time.
Isis' superhuman abilities are limited when in her Andrea Thomas form. She is still able to communicate telepathically with her pet bird, Tut, and in one instance, the reflection of light off her amulet restored a forgotten memory to a person.
Twenty-two episodes of Isis aired as part of The Shazam/Isis Hour on CBS from September 6, 1975, to September 3, 1977, with 15 episodes in the first season and seven in the second. The success of the show led to syndication of the series in 1978 as The Secrets of Isis. The character also appeared in three episodes of Shazam!.
Isis later appeared in animated form (voiced by Diane Pershing) on the Freedom Force segment of Filmation's Tarzan and the Super 7 show in 1980. The animated Isis also made a guest appearance on the Filmation cartoon Hero High in 1981 (voiced by Linda Gary).
Despite sharing a program block with Shazam! and appearing in 1970s DC Comics publications, Isis was an original Filmation property. The rights to the character are today controlled by Universal Television, which owns the rights to most of the Filmation catalog and characters. A considerably reworked comic-book version of the character, still connected with Captain Marvel and given the alter-ego "Adrianna Tomaz" in honor of the television character, was introduced in the 2006 DC weekly maxi-series 52. This version of Isis becomes the wife of Captain Marvel's nemesis Black Adam, attempting to reform him before her death and resurrection later drive both Adam and Isis into villainy.
Isis appeared in the season 10 episode "Isis" of the CW Network's Superman-based drama series, Smallville. Portrayed by Smallville actress Erica Durance, this version saw the amulet take over the body of Lois Lane. However, there were nods to The Shazam!/Isis Hour and the modern character in Durance's portrayal.
Season 1 (1975)
|Title||Original air date|
|1||1||"The Lights of Mystery Mountain"||September 6, 1975|
|A rash of UFO sightings leads Isis to an unscrupulous real estate developer.|
|2||2||"Fool's Dare"||September 13, 1975|
|Cindy Lee enters a scrap yard on a dare and stumbles into a ring of car thieves.|
|3||3||"Spots of the Leopard"||September 20, 1975|
|Isis helps an innocent man wrongfully accused of a jewel robbery. Guest starring Debralee Scott.|
|4||4||"The Sound of Silence"||September 27, 1975|
|To get money for a car, a student steals a dangerous force field generator.|
|5||5||"Rockhound's Roost"||October 4, 1975|
|On a rock hunting expedition a student finds himself face to face with an angry bear. Guest starring Thomas Carter.|
|6||6||"Lucky"||October 11, 1975|
|The loss of his dog leads a boy into danger as he learns about life and death.|
|7||7||"Bigfoot"||October 18, 1975|
|A student looking for the legendary Bigfoot instead finds a giant man who shuns humanity.|
|8||8||"How to Find a Friend"||October 25, 1975|
|A boy tries to make a friend by giving an older boy his father's dangerous antique gun. Guest starring Mike Lookinland and Tommy Norden.|
|9||9||"The Show Off"||November 1, 1975|
|An escaped gorilla menaces the Science Club's camping trip.|
|10||10||"The Outsider"||November 8, 1975|
|A new student is framed for the theft of a rival school's mascot.|
|11||11||"No Drums, No Trumpets"||November 15, 1975|
|Exploring a ghost town lands Andrea and her students in the clutches of a robbery gang.|
|12||12||"Funny Gal"||November 22, 1975|
|An insecure overweight girl running for student council steals Mr. Mason's boat as a publicity stunt. Isis must call upon Captain Marvel to help with the rescue. Guest starring John Davey as Captain Marvel.|
|13||13||"Girl Driver"||November 29, 1975|
|A girl competes with her male rival in a road rally for the presidency of the Car Club, but his cheating puts them in danger.|
|14||14||"Scuba Duba"||December 6, 1975|
|A student in Mr. Mason's scuba diving class disregards safety rules and Isis must rescue him when he is trapped underwater.|
|15||15||"Dreams of Flight"||December 13, 1975|
|A young girl stands up to her brother when he opposes her competing in a model airplane competition.|
Season 2 (1976)
|Title||Original air date|
|16||1||"Seeing Eye Horse"||September 11, 1976|
|A boy blinded in a riding accident must learn to trust a new guide horse when his family farm is threatened by fire.|
|17||2||"The Hitchhiker"||September 18, 1976|
|A girl learns a lesson about the dangers of hitchhiking when the boy she rides with loses control of his car. Guest starring Barry Miller.|
|18||3||"The Class Clown"||September 25, 1976|
|A new student's practical jokes endanger his fellow students.|
|19||4||"The Cheerleader"||October 2, 1976|
|A girl (Laurette Spang) cheats on her chemistry exam and frames a fellow cheerleader (Colleen Camp) in her desperation to become number one.|
|20||5||"Year of the Dragon"||October 16, 1976|
|A Chinese-American girl learns to overcome her shame of her immigrant father's (Victor Sen Yung) adherence to traditional customs.|
|21||6||"Now You See It ... (Part 1)"||October 23, 1976|
|Rick is framed for the theft of part of a top-secret government device that can control the weather. Guest starring John Davey as Captain Marvel and Craig Wasson as "Feather".|
|22||7||"... Now You Don't (Part 2)"||October 30, 1976|
|The weather machine thieves kidnap Rick to compel him to turn over the plans for the rest of the weather control machine. Guest starring John Davey as Captain Marvel and Craig Wasson as "Feather".|
Chronological list of crossover episodes with Shazam!
- Shazam!, Season 2: "The Odd Couple" (Oct. 18, 1975)
- The Secrets of Isis, Season 1: "Funny Gal" (Nov. 22, 1975)
- Shazam!, Season 3: "Finders Keepers" (Oct. 2, 1976)
- Shazam!, Season 3: "Out of Focus" (Oct. 16, 1976)
- The Secrets of Isis, Season 2: "Now You See It ..." (Oct. 23, 1976)
- The Secrets of Isis, Season 2: "... Now You Don't" (Oct. 30, 1976)
Home video releases
On July 24, 2007, American DVD distributor BCI Eclipse (Under license from Entertainment Rights, then owners of the Filmation catalog) released The Secrets of Isis: The Complete Series as a 3-disc DVD box set in North America. The episodes were presented in their "known original airdate order," with extant copies of the "moral-message" segments cut for syndication presented as bonus features. The DVD includes the first issue of The Legend of Isis, a comic book published by Bluewater Productions, that debuted in 2007.
|DVD Name||Episodes||Release date|
|The Secrets of Isis: The Complete Series||22||July 24, 2007|
|The Secrets of Isis||7||September 6, 2011|
A film version is reportedly in the works.
- "The History of DC Comics on TV". IGN. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- Audio commentary for The Secrets of Isis: The Complete Series. BCI Eclipse LLC
- DVD liner notes for The Secrets of Isis: The Complete Series. BCI Eclipse LLC
- Episode 8, "How to Find a Friend"
- Episode 4, "The Sound of Silence"
- Episode 8, "How to Find a Friend"
- 52 #12 (July 26, 2006). DC Comics, Inc.
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #23 (Mar 2009). DC Comics, Inc.
- "The Secrets Of Isis". Andymangels.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "Classic Media Announces a New Single-DVD Release for Isis: Date, Cost, Box". 2011-06-16. Archived from the original on 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2012-06-10.