Wonder Woman (1974 film)
|Written by||John D. F. Black|
|Directed by||Vincent McEveety|
|Music by||Artie Butler|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer||John D. F. Black|
|Producer||John G. Stephens|
|Running time||75 minutes|
|Production company||Warner Bros. Television|
Wonder Woman is a 1974 American made-for-television superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, directed by Vincent McEveety and starring Cathy Lee Crosby. The film was a pilot for an intended television series being considered by ABC. The movie presented the character as a James Bond-style superspy, and did not contain many elements from the comic book series. Ratings were described as "respectable but not exactly wondrous," and ABC did not pick up the pilot.
Instead, Warner Brothers and ABC developed a different Wonder Woman television concept that fit the more traditional presentation of the character as created by William Moulton Marston, turning away from the 1968–1972 era that had influenced the pilot. The New Original Wonder Woman, which premiered in 1975, starred Lynda Carter and eventually led to the Wonder Woman TV series. Crosby would later claim that she was offered the chance to reprise the role in that series.
Wonder Woman's first broadcast appearance in live-action television was a movie made in 1974 for ABC. Written by John D. F. Black, the TV movie resembles the Wonder Woman of the "I Ching" period. Wonder Woman (Cathy Lee Crosby) did not wear the comic-book uniform, demonstrated no apparent super-human powers, had a "secret identity" of Diana Prince that was not all that secret, and she was also depicted as blonde (differing from the black hair established in the comic books).
This 1974 film follows Wonder Woman, assistant to government agent Steve Trevor (Kaz Garas) as she pursues a villain named Abner Smith (Ricardo Montalbán) who has stolen a set of code books containing classified information about U.S. government field agents. Along the way, she has to outwit Smith's chief assistants: the handsome yet dangerous George (Andrew Prine) and a rogue Amazon, Ahnjayla (Anitra Ford), whom Smith has taken on as a bodyguard; a brief duel between Wonder Woman and Ahnjayla is the film's only significant action sequence, which occurs during the final third of the story.
The pilot aired originally on March 12, 1974 and was repeated on August 21 of that year. Ratings were described as "respectable but not exactly wondrous." ABC did not pick up the pilot, although Crosby would later claim she was offered the series that was eventually given to Lynda Carter. An ABC spokesperson would later acknowledge that the decision to update the character was a mistake.
Warner Brothers released this pilot into syndication as a stand-alone 90-minute telefilm, where it played on independent TV stations throughout the 1970s and 1980s. On December 11, 2012, Warner Brothers made the Cathy Lee Crosby pilot available as a Video On Demand purchase through their online store.
- Cathy Lee Crosby as Diana Prince (Wonder Woman)
- Kaz Garas as Steve Trevor
- Charlene Holt as Hippolyta
- Ricardo Montalbán as Abner Smith
- Richard X. Slattery as Colonel Henkins
- Andrew Prine as George Calvin
- Anitra Ford as Ahnjayla
- Beverly Gill as Dia
- Sandy Gaviola as Ting
- Robert Porter as Joe
- Jordan Rhodes as Bob
- Donna Garrett as Cass
- Roberta Brahm as Zoe
- Thom Carney as Fred
- Ed McCready as Wesley
- Sacks, Jason; Dallas, Keith (2014). American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1970s. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 145. ISBN 978-1605490564.
- Shales, Tom (November 7, 1975). "Wonder Woman Tries Comeback". The Washington Post.
- Joby, Tom (May 12, 1980). "Cathy Crosby turns down 'Wonder Woman' offer". Associated Press.
- Bergeron, Tom (2004). "Forward". What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television. By Hofstede, David. Back Stage Books. pp. 31–33. ISBN 978-0-8230-8441-8.
- "TV Staff Previews". Uniontown (PA) Morning Herald. March 12, 1974.
- "TV Key Best Bets". Wisconsin State Journal. August 21, 1974.