Wonder Woman (TV series)

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For the 2011 television pilot, see Wonder Woman (2011 TV pilot).
Wonder Woman
Wwlogotv.jpg
Series' first season title card
Based on Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston
Developed by Douglas S. Cramer
Stanley Ralph Ross
Starring Lynda Carter
Lyle Waggoner
Beatrice Colen (season 1)
Richard Eastham (season 1)
Norman Burton (season 2)
Saundra Sharp (season 2)
Theme music composer Charles Fox (music)
Norman Gimbel (lyrics)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 59 + movie pilot (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Douglas S. Cramer
Wilford Lloyd Baumes
Producer(s) Bruce Lansbury (supervising producer, seasons 2–3)
Charles B. Fitzsimons
Mark Rodgers
Running time 42–51 minutes
Production company(s) Warner Bros. Television
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original network ABC (pilot + season 1)
CBS (seasons 2–3)
Original release November 7, 1975 – September 11, 1979

Wonder Woman is an American television series based on the DC Comics comic book superheroine of the same name. Starring Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and Lyle Waggoner as Steve Trevor Sr. & Jr., the show originally aired from 1975 to 1979.

Background[edit]

The show had its origins in a November 1975 American television movie entitled The New, Original Wonder Woman starring Carter. It followed a 1974 TV movie entitled Wonder Woman starring blond actress Cathy Lee Crosby, who neither resembled the super-hero character nor exhibited any apparent super-human powers (but was faithful to the character as depicted in comic books from 1968-72). (John D. F. Black wrote and produced the 1974 TV movie.) In this second movie, set during World War II and produced by Douglas S. Cramer and Wilford Lloyd "W.L." Baumes, who were working from a script by Stanley Ralph Ross, Carter as Wonder Woman matched the original comic book character. Its success led the ABC television network to order two more one-hour episodes which aired in April 1976. That success led ABC to order an additional 11 episodes which the network aired weekly (for the most part) during the first half of the 1976–77 television season. The episodes ran on Wednesday nights between October 1976 and February 1977.

Wonder Woman achieved solid ratings on ABC during its first season, but the network was reluctant to renew the series for another season. Wonder Woman was a period piece, and as such, it was more expensive to produce than a series set in the present day. Also, ABC thought that the 1940s setting limited possible storylines, with the major villains being Nazis. ABC did not renew the series, so Jerry Lieder, then-president of Warner Bros. Television, went to CBS with the notion of shifting the series to the present-day 1970s, which would cost less to produce and allow for more creative storylines. CBS agreed and picked up the show in 1977, and it continued for another two seasons. Unlike 20th Century Fox Television's Batman, the series was produced without having a theatrical feature film in the middle of its production. In addition, antagonistic characters from this series did not have recurring appearances except Nazis.

Early attempts[edit]

Who's Afraid of Diana Prince?[edit]

The first attempt to translate Wonder Woman to the small screen occurred in 1967. The success of the Batman television series led Batman producer William Dozier to commission a pilot script by Stan Hart and Larry Siegel. Batman writer Stanley Ralph Ross performed a re-write after Hart and Siegel's script was deemed unsuitable.[1][2] A portion of the pilot, under five minutes in length, was filmed under the title Who's Afraid of Diana Prince?[3] The piece starred Ellie Wood Walker (Robert Walker Jr.'s wife) as Diana Prince, Linda Harrison as Diana's "Wonder Woman" alter ego, and Maudie Prickett as Diana's mother. Diana's mother insinuates that she is ashamed that her daughter is unmarried.[4]

This pilot episode never aired on television, and the project was not taken any farther. The pilot has been circulated on the Internet, however, and is of interest to Planet of the Apes fans for the early appearance of Linda Harrison, who would later go on to play Nova in the first two films of that series.

Wonder Woman (1974)[edit]

Cathy Lee Crosby in the first Wonder Woman film

Wonder Woman's first broadcast appearance in live-action television was a television 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 Montalban) 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, Angela (Anitra Ford), who Smith has taken on as a bodyguard; a brief duel between Wonder Woman and Angela is the film's only significant action sequence, which occurs during the final third of the story.[5]

The pilot aired originally on March 12, 1974[6] and was repeated on August 21 of that year.[7] Ratings were described as "respectable but not exactly wondrous."[8] ABC did not pick up the pilot, although Crosby would later claim she was offered the series that was eventually given to Lynda Carter.[9] An ABC spokesperson would later acknowledge that the decision to update the character was a mistake.[8]

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. After the subsequent series with Lynda Carter moved from its 1940s setting to the contemporary era (the 1970s), certain elements of the Cathy Lee Crosby pilot were incorporated into the show: Diana Prince went to work for a government agency, with Steve Trevor as her supervisor; Diana remained in her civilian identity for the majority of the tale, only transforming into Wonder Woman during the climactic moments of the episode (or on those occasions that truly called for the use of super-powers).

On December 11, 2012, Warner Brothers made the Cathy Lee Crosby pilot available as a Video On Demand purchase through their online store.

This version of Wonder Woman would later appear in Infinite Crisis #6 as the Wonder Woman of Earth 462.

Wonder Woman (1975–79)[edit]

Pilot[edit]

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

Though not successful at the first attempt, ABC still felt a Wonder Woman series had potential, and within a year another pilot was in production. Keen to make a distinction from the last pilot, producers gave the pilot the rather paradoxical title The New Original Wonder Woman. Scripting duties were given to Stanley Ralph Ross, who was instructed to be more faithful to the comic book and to create a subtle "high comedy." Ross set the pilot in World War II, the era in which the original comic book began.

After an intensive talent search, Lynda Carter, who had had a handful of minor acting roles and had been the 1972 Miss World USA and a Bob Hope USO cast member, was chosen for the lead role. For the role of Steve Trevor, the producers chose Lyle Waggoner, despite his dark brown, almost-black, hair not matching the comic's blond Trevor, who at the time was better known as a comedic actor after several years co-starring in The Carol Burnett Show. He was also known to Ross as having been one of the leading candidates to play Batman a decade earlier, but instead Adam West was signed. Waggoner was also considered a pin-up hunk, having done a semi-nude pictorial in the first issue of Playgirl.[10]

Although the pilot followed the original comic book closely, in particular the aspect of Wonder Woman joining the military under the name Diana Prince, a number of elements were dropped. It mainly omitted Diana's origin, including her birth on Paradise Island. The comic book Diana obtains the credentials of a look-alike nurse. Although the pilot shows Diana briefly as a nurse at one point, Diana takes on the identity of a Navy Yeoman Petty Officer First Class. As it was set during World War II, many of the episodes involved Nazis and war events. Carter frequently complained about this unfortunate fact, explaining: "I yelled when the scripts were bad. Week after week, nothing...would change except the names of the villains. So I made noise. Men don't like dealing with women who make demands."

One change, which was later to become synonymous with the show, was the transformation of Diana Prince into Wonder Woman by spinning. During the filming of the pilot, producers were trying to figure out a way to show how Diana Prince became Wonder Woman, when Carter suggested that she do a spin.[11] The spinning transformation was later incorporated into the comics and into animated appearances such as Justice League Unlimited. (Prior to the series in which Carter starred, the transformation was depicted in the comics by way of Diana spinning her magic lasso around her body, with the lasso changing her clothes, or by simply changing at super-human speed.)

During season one, Wonder Woman has the ability to impersonate anyone's voice, which came in handy over the telephone. She did not use this ability during seasons two and three.

Unlike the earlier pilot, the comic-book origins of the character were emphasized by the retention of the character's traditional uniform (the design of which was interpreted and executed by Donald Lee Feld, credited as "Donfeld") with the original setting and through the use of comic book elements. The series's title sequence was animated in the form of a series of comic book panels featuring Wonder Woman performing a variety of heroic feats. Within the show, location and exposition were handled through comic book-style text panels. Transitions between scenes and commercial breaks were marked by animated starburst sequences.

Synopsis[edit]

In early 1942, during the Second World War, American pilot Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) bails out during an air battle over the Bermuda Triangle, location of Paradise Island.[12] The island is home to the Amazons: beautiful, ageless women with great strength, agility, and intelligence. Amazon princess Diana (Lynda Carter) rescues the handsome Trevor and helps nurse him back to health. Her mother, the Amazon queen (Cloris Leachman; succeeded by Carolyn Jones and Beatrice Straight in later episodes), decrees that Olympic-style games shall be held to select one Amazon to return Trevor back to America. But she forbids her own daughter Diana, the princess, to participate. Diana states that since she is not allowed to participate, she does not want to be present for the games and will take a retreat to the other side of the island. The games are held with participants wearing masks and numbers, shown as Roman numerals in triangles on white sleeveless short tunic-dresses. Among the contestants is a blonde Amazon. During the events, the blonde Amazon shows exceptional skills and she ties for first with another Amazon. To break the deadlock, the "bullets and bracelets" event is decided as the tiebreaker, wherein each of the women takes turns shooting at the other; the one being shot at must deflect the bullets with her bulletproof bracelets. The blond woman wins the event, superficially injuring her opponent's arm. When she is pronounced the winner, she removes her mask and wig and reveals that she is Diana. Her mother, though initially shocked, relents and allows her to go to America.

Diana's uniform as Wonder Woman, designed by Queen Hippolyta, features emblems of America, the land to which she will be returning Steve Trevor. A golden belt will be the source of her strength and power while away from Paradise Island. She has her bullet-deflecting bracelets and also receives a golden lasso which is unbreakable and forces people to obey and tell the truth when bound with it. As shown later in flashback, Hippolyta also teaches Diana how to transform her clothes magically into the uniform.

Diana, as Wonder Woman, flies to Washington, D.C. in an invisible plane. After dropping Trevor off at a hospital, the heroine stumbles upon a bank robbery, which she stops. A theatrical agent who sees her in action offers to help make her bullets and bracelets act a stage attraction. Diana is hesitant, but needing money in this new society, she agrees.

Meanwhile, Trevor's civilian secretary Marcia (Stella Stevens) is a double agent for the Nazi Fifth Columnists. She seeks to aid top spies in killing Trevor and opposing this new threat, Wonder Woman. Her first attempt is arranging for an accomplice to fire a machine gun at Wonder Woman during her stage act. Later, as spy activities increase, Trevor leaves the hospital but gets in a fight and is captured, prompting his "nurse" Diana to come to his rescue. Wonder Woman defeats Marcia in an extended fight sequence in the War Department. Having defeated Marcia, Wonder Woman thwarts a Nazi pilot who had plans to bomb the Brooklyn Navy Yard by using her invisible plane, and she rescues Trevor. With Marcia and the spy ring defeated, the film closes as Trevor and Brigadier General Blankenship talk about Trevor's new secretary whom Blankenship selected not only for her outstanding clerical test scores, but her decidedly plain appearance in contrast to Marcia: the bespectacled Yeoman First Class Diana Prince USNR(WR), Wonder Woman in disguise.

Season 1[edit]

The pilot film, aired on November 7, 1975, was a ratings success, and ABC quickly authorized the production of two one-hour specials which aired in April 1976. Technically the show's first season, these three productions would later be considered part of the show's first season. The episodes scored strong ratings, and ABC ordered an additional 11 episodes for the new 1976–77 TV season. The network began airing the episodes every few weeks apart at the beginning of the TV season in September 1976. After mid-December 1976, episodes aired on a weekly basis until mid-February 1977.

A few cast changes were made between the specials and the series. Former Happy Days recurring actress Beatrice Colen joined the cast as Corporal Etta Candy WAAC, General Blankenship's secretary, thereby providing YN1 Prince with a subordinate. Three episodes featured Debra Winger as Diana's younger sister, Drusilla, a.k.a. Wonder Girl, in one of her earliest acting roles.

One of the most memorable aspects of the show that was developed during the first season was the transformation sequence that changed Diana Prince into her superheroine alter ego. The sequence in the original specials employed a slow fade between two synchronized shots, both filmed with an overcranked camera to create a slow motion effect. A twirling Diana Prince's hair would fall loose as the shot transitioned to a twirling Wonder Woman holding her Diana clothes, which she would stow nearby in a closet or locker. (How she changes back to Diana is never shown, although presumably she must return to the location to retrieve her clothes.) To ensure both segments transitioned smoothly the camera was locked off (secured in place) while Carter's clothing, make-up, and hair was altered between identities, a process Carter said on a DVD commentary typically took about 45 minutes.

The iconic explosion overlay most associated with the TV show was introduced after the third episode to mask the cut point between the Diana and Wonder Woman clips, meaning they no longer needed to be perfectly aligned. This allowed them to be shot without a locked off camera at more convenient points in the production schedule, when Carter was already in the appropriate costume. The slow motion aspect of the sequence was dropped, and Wonder Woman was no longer left holding her Diana Prince clothes. A thunderclap sound effect accompanied the explosion effect; both the explosion flash and its sound are apparently non-diegetic (only heard by the audience, not within the narrative world), as demonstrated by Diana changing unnoticed in a dormitory of sleeping women, in adjoining office spaces, etc. Generally the audience never sees Wonder Woman change back to Diana Prince, although there is one occasion when it is almost shown: Wonder Woman reveals her secret identity to her little sister Drusilla by slowly turning on the spot, but the actual moment of transformation is masked by a cut-away reaction shot of Drusilla (no thunderclap was heard.)

The series began at a time when violence on television was under intense scrutiny. As a result, Wonder Woman was less frequently seen punching or kicking people the way she did in the early episodes. She would usually be shown pushing and throwing enemies or using creativity to get them to somehow knock themselves out (such as jumping high into the air to cause pursuers to collide). Despite the wartime setting, she almost never resorted to deadly force. The only exception occurs in the pilot episode when she sinks a German U-boat by crashing an airplane into it, presumably killing everyone aboard. Wonder Woman herself was occasionally overpowered by chloroform and poison gas, but she always came back in the second half of the show to save the day. In some episodes, her enemies learn the secret of her superhuman strength – her magic belt – and temporarily steal it, leaving her with average human strength. Her indestructible lasso and bracelets were stolen or taken away in one episode (leaving her defenseless against gunfire), but Wonder Woman recovered them by the end of the episode. (In the comics, Wonder Woman's bracelets were welded onto her forearms, and she would lose most of her strength if men were to join them forcibly with metal.)

With the backdrop of World War II, Diana frequently pontificated on the need to preserve the morally supreme ideals of democracy from the threat of Nazis, even in private to her sister. When doing so, she made no attempt to reconcile her democratic sentiments with their Amazonian system of hereditary monarchy, to which Diana herself was heiress apparent. Likewise, in each of the first two one-hour episodes, Diana asserted that the Nazis had no regard for their women, ignoring the vastly lower value which her own people placed upon men.

Wonder Woman herself remained active from 1942 to 1945 and was honored by Franklin D. Roosevelt for her work against Axis attacks.[13]

Season 2[edit]

Despite good ratings for the series, ABC stalled on picking up the show for a second season. This was because Wonder Woman was a period piece; being set in the 1940s. Period pieces are generally much more expensive to produce when necessities like the set, clothing, automobiles, furniture, etc., are factored into the show's budget. While ABC had not yet committed, the show's production company Warner Bros. listened to an offer from rival network CBS. While ABC continued to make up its mind, CBS agreed to pick up the series on condition that the setting be changed from World War II (the 1940s) to the modern day (the 1970s). Changing the title to The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, the series was nudged away from historical World War II writing to a more conventional police/detective action-type show that was more common in the 1970s.

Princess Diana, aging slowly because of her Amazon nature, returns from Paradise Island after a 35-year absence (looking virtually the same) to become an agent with the Inter-Agency Defense Command (IADC), a CIA / FBI-type organization fighting crime, criminal organizations and the occasional alien invasion.

Strictly speaking, Lynda Carter was the only cast member whose character continued into the second and third seasons (aside from a brief cameo appearance of Major Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) in Diana's flashback when she first encountered his son and a framed photograph of him seen on the younger Trevor's office credenza in season 3). The original Steve Trevor was revealed to have risen to the rank of major general and died in the 35-year interim between the first and second seasons, although Lyle Waggoner remained with the series, portraying Trevor's effectively identical son, Steve Jr. The wartime existence of young Steve Jr. was never mentioned in the first series.

As a child, Steve Jr. had heard his late father's stories of adventures with Wonder Woman during World War II.[13] It is essentially confirmed in the second season première that his father never introduced him to Wonder Woman and that he had never even seen her photographed. It is similarly implied that he and YN1 Diana Prince were unaware of each other. Diana is taken aback by the younger Steve's existence, implying that his father had never spoken of the boy to either Wonder Woman or YN1 Prince. This was particularly striking when she spoke to Steve Jr. about knowing his father well, from the j-shaped burn scar on his right shoulder, to the 20mm shell casing that he used as a paperweight.

The producers chose to drop any suggestion that the new Steve and Wonder Woman were anything more than good friends. Indeed, when an impostor posing as Steve Jr. attempted to seduce Diana, she made it quite clear that she had no sexual interest in him. Executive producer Douglas S. Cramer noted the difficulties in maintaining long-term romantic tension between leads, because the resolution of that romantic tension often results in the cancellation of the series.[14] Also, Wonder Woman had fallen in love with the first Steve Trevor. It would not have been the best writing decision to have her fall in love with both father and son.

Whereas Waggoner returned in a technically new role, Diana's mother Hippolyta was, conversely, the only other first season character to be seen or mentioned, but Beatrice Straight succeeded Carolyn Jones and Cloris Leachman in the role. The post-war fates of General Phil Blankenship, Etta Candy, and Drusilla / Wonder Girl were never revealed.

Diana, Steve and Joe Atkinson (Norman Burton), a weathered IADC agent, received their orders from a "Charlie's Angels-like" character who is heard but never seen. Diana and Steve would go out and work the field while Joe assisted from the office. The Atkinson character was dropped after the ninth episode of this season, and Steve was given a promotion, becoming IADC Director, and Diana's boss, in the process. This promotion for Steve Trevor meant that Lyle Waggoner was seen less in subsequent episodes for the remainder of the series run. In this season, the computer IRAC (Information Retrieval Associative Computer), more informally known as "Ira," was introduced: its first appearance is in season 2, episode 1, where Diana introduces her Diana Prince identity into its records, over IRAC's protests. Ira was the IADC's super-intelligent computer, who deduces that Diana Prince is really Wonder Woman, although he never shares this information with anyone, except Diana herself. Saundra Sharp joined the cast as Eve, Steve's assistant (the job held by Diana at the start of the season). Towards the end of the season, in the episode "IRAC is Missing," a small mobile robot called Rover was added for comic relief. An offshoot of IRAC who performs duties such as delivering coffee and sorting mail, Rover speaks with a high-pitched voice, occasionally makes "Beep Beep" sounds and, like IRAC, is aware that Wonder Woman's secret identity is Diana Prince.

The theme song was re-written to remove references to the Axis, reflecting the series' new present-day setting, and the action depicted in the opening's animated comic book panels was similarly updated. Beginning with the episode "The Man Who Made Volcanoes," the opening title sequence was changed again to an instrumental and more traditional "action scenes" opening. The animated stars used before and after commercial breaks were dropped.

The producers of Wonder Woman generally maintained her no-kill policy, although there were exceptions: In the episode "Anschluss '77" she is forced to destroy a clone of Adolf Hitler. Another episode made reference to a villain who was believed drowned following a previous unseen encounter with Diana/Wonder Woman.

Unlike the first season, Wonder Woman's sources of power (magic belt, bracelets, golden lasso) were never removed from her and stolen by villains during the two years the series was set in the 1970s.

Changes in season two (its first on CBS) included a slight redesign (again by Donald Lee Feld, still credited as "Donfeld") of Wonder Woman's uniform. The bustier was more flexible, featured less gold metal in the eagle wings in favor of red cloth background, and was cut lower to highlight Carter's décolletage and cleavage. The star-spangled bottoms were cut higher in the thighs, with the number of stars reduced, stopping below her hips, and rearranged in a more symmetrical starburst pattern. The bracelets changed from dull silver-grey to bright gold, and were noticeably smaller and thinner. Her tiara, appearing unchanged when on Wonder Woman's head, would flatten to become a boomerang, and its ruby star functioned as a communications link to Paradise Island and her mother the queen.

Feld also introduced multiple new variants on Wonder Woman's uniform beginning in season two. She still wore the red-white-and-blue cape for special events or appearances from the first season, but without the skirt. (This variant could be described as Wonder Woman's "full-dress uniform.") A diving uniform was introduced—this consisted of a navy-blue lycra body suit with matching gloves, gold bracelets, flat boots, and a flexible tiara; this was featured whenever aquatic activity was required. The same uniform, with low-heeled boots and a gold helmet, was used to ride motorcycles. At first, Wonder Woman would switch to these newer uniforms by performing an extended spin in which she first changed from her Diana Prince clothes to Wonder Woman's standard uniform, then continued to spin until a second light explosion occurred and she would appear in one of the newer variants. However, this extended spin device was dropped for expediency and Diana was then able to change into any of Wonder Woman's uniforms in a single change.

Wonder Woman's invisible plane appeared a couple of times in season two, and not at all in season three. The plane's shape was updated with the change in temporal setting, losing the rounded fuselage and modestly curved wings evocative of a WWII-era pursuit-fighter, in favor of a dart-like, delta winged jet.

Season 3[edit]

With the beginning of the third season, further changes were made to target the show at a teenage audience. The title theme was re-recorded again to give it a disco beat, the use of the robot 'Rover' was increased for comic effect, and episodes began to revolve around topical subjects like skateboarding, roller coasters and the environment. (Feld also gave Wonder Woman a "skate-boarder's" uniform, which was also capable of use for training in any "extreme sport" in which she participated.) Teenagers or young adults were commonly used as main characters in the plot lines. Eve disappeared from the cast although she is mentioned once or twice. Episodes during this season showed Diana on assignments by herself far more often (particularly outside of Washington DC), and Steve Trevor had become Diana's boss and was seen less.

Because of this series, the character did not appear in NBC's television special Legends of the Superheroes.

Wonder Woman was also allowed to become a bit more physical in the third season and could now be seen throwing the occasional punch or kicking. The writers also came up with several unusual ways for Diana to execute her spinning transformation, the most notable instances occurring in the episode "Stolen Faces" in which Diana makes the change while falling off a tall building, and the season two episode "The Pied Piper" in which she changes while strapped into a spinning chair.

Diana also exhibited other powers, particularly in the episode "The Deadly Dolphin," in which she is shown communicating telepathically with animals (reminiscent of the "mental radio" from the comics, which was never shown on the series) and generating bursts of an unknown form of energy to scare away a killer shark.

In the final episode produced, the writers attempted a "relaunch" of sorts by having Diana reassigned to the Los Angeles bureau of IADC with a new supporting cast. Though done in anticipation of a fourth season, the revamp was seen for only a single episode ("The Man Who Could Not Die"), which set up an assortment of new supporting characters. These included Dale Hawthorn, Diana's new IADC boss, Bret Cassiday (Bob Seagren), a genetically enhanced man who was indestructible (the titular character of the episode), as well as a streetwise youngster named T. Burton Phipps III who inexplicably is allowed to hang out at the IADC. Also added to the cast was a chimpanzee who, like Bret, is also indestructible. This episode was actually the last to be produced and should have ended the third season, but was shown out of sequence with the two-parter "The Phantom of the Roller Coaster." These final three episodes aired by themselves in August–September 1979, months after the broadcast of the rest of season three, creating a mini-season, though they remain grouped as part of season three as opposed to being considered an abbreviated fourth season.

CBS ultimately decided to move The Incredible Hulk up to the Friday 8:00 hour from 9:00 to introduce the new series The Dukes of Hazzard and no further episodes of Wonder Woman were produced. After her first musical television special, Lynda gave up the role to focus more on her musical career. In addition, she would star in television films and become a fashion and beauty director in Maybelline cosmetics commercials.[citation needed]

Wonder Woman '77 Comic[edit]

In October 2014, DC announced an ongoing comic book series set in the Lynda Carter TV series continuity. The comic will be written by Marc Andreyko.[15] It was first published as digital chapters on DC Comics' website. Wonder Woman '77 Special #1 was published in May 2015. A second Wonder Woman '77 Special collecting further digital first chapters was published in September 2015.[needs update]. A third special was published in April 2016.

Legacy[edit]

The series is widely regarded as the only successful attempt at portraying the Wonder Woman character on screen. Lynda's portrayal of the character strongly influenced the Wonder Woman comics, most notably the spin transformation was incorporated into the comics. The spin has also been used on Super Friends and Justice League Unlimited.[4] Carter maintains interest in the characters current affairs, often tweeting about Wonder Woman. The series is frequently syndicated throughout the world.

Re-runs[edit]

Re-runs of "Wonder Woman" aired in syndication during the 1980s. It also aired on FX and Sci-Fi Channel in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Beginning on December 28, 2013, the show airs Saturday evenings on the classic TV network Me-TV.

In the UK, the series has been syndicated on several channels. In 2006, Living broadcast the show every weekend as part of "Hangover TV". As of 2015, the series is shown on The Horror Channel.

Home video releases[edit]

Columbia House with Warner Home Video released the series on VHS videotapes through their Wonder Woman: The Collector's Edition series from the late 1990s-early 2000s, which was only available through mail order subscriptions. Each volume contained two episodes. The Season Two episodes "The Pied Piper" and "Flight To Oblivion," however, were not included on the VHS releases.[4]

Warner Home Video has released all three seasons of Wonder Woman on DVD in various regions, both separately and in a collected edition.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Details
The Complete 1st Season 14 June 29, 2004 All 14 episodes (including the pilot) with commentary by Lynda Carter and executive producer Douglas S. Cramer; New documentary retrospective.
The Complete 2nd Season 22 March 1, 2005 21 episodes plus a feature-length season premiere; Bonus documentary: "Revolutionizing a Classic: From Comic Book to Television."
The Complete 3rd Season 24 June 7, 2005 Audio commentary by Lynda Carter on "My Teenage Idol is Missing"; Featurette:"Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Feminist Icon." The initial Region 1 release included a bonus DVD containing the first episode of the Captain Marvel television series Shazam!, "The Joy Riders."

The pilot episode is included as a bonus feature on the February 23, 2010 Blu-ray release of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.[16]

The complete series has been remastered in high definition and transformed to a more modern 16:9 widescreen format. This version is available for purchase on iTunes.

Cast[edit]

  • Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Wonder Woman and is an adaptation of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. The original character was created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter and first appeared in All-Star Comics #8.

The character of Wonder Woman and her secret identity, Diana Prince were portrayed by Lynda Carter.

  • Beatrice Colen as Etta Candy which aired from 1976 and 1977 on ABC. She was General Phil Blankenship's secretary in this television series. This version of the character was plump rather than obese. Although she was still clearly there to provide comic relief, the show decided to not make fun of her weight. Instead, the writers portrayed her as a woman of very limited intelligence
  • Richard Eastham as General Philip Blankenship General Philip Blankenship worked for the War Department during the early years of World War II. In 1942, he worked with his subordinate Colonel Steve Trevor in an ongoing effort to prevent Nazi cells from infiltrating the United States and threatening the nation's security. Blankenship also kept in close contact with Steve's colleagues Diana Prince and Etta Candy. Blankenship never knew that Yeoman Prince was also the Amazonian super-hero Wonder Woman
  • Lyle Waggoner as Steve Trevor This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Wonder Woman and is an adaptation of Steve Trevor. The original character was created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter and first appeared in All-Star Comics #8.

This version of Steve Trevor was portrayed by Lyle Waggoner who also portrayed the character's son, Steven Trevor, Jr. for the following seasons of the series. The details surrounding the death of Steve Trevor remains largely unknown. What is known however, is that Steve passed away some time prior to 1977

  • Bradford Dillman as Arthur Deal III/Thor Due to his reputation as a patriot, Deal was handpicked by president Roosevelt to head a committee to investigate Major Trevor, who had been accused of being a spy and saboteur. In reality, Deal was a Nazi spy, codenamed "Thor" and in league with Baroness von Gunther, with whom he had spent months making Trevor out to be a spy for Germany
  • Christine Belford as Baroness Von Gunther During the early years of World War II, the Baroness Von Gunther was the leader of a Nazi spy ring known as the Abwehr. The ring was exposed through the actions of Major Steve Trevor, and the Baroness was imprisoned at the Fort Myer Federal Penitentiary. The Baroness proved to be a model prisoner, but by the Summer of 1942, she was involved once again in the Abwehr. Working through an American agent named Arthur Deal III, the Baroness was able to stage a series of attacks against military forces in Washington, D.C. Her efforts were coordinated through the aid of a sympathetic prison guard named Hansen. The Baroness possessed an old Austrian-made key, which gave her access to a secret tunnel in the prison. With Hansen's help, she was able to come and go as she pleased, and often sneaked out late at night for secret meetings with Arthur Deal. Through Deal, the Baroness was able to frame Steve Trevor for the Abwehr's acts of sabotage. Arthur Deal used his influence with the Senate in an effort to discredit Trevor's distinguished war record. The Baroness discovered that Steve was a close ally of the super-hero Wonder Woman. Von Gunther managed to purloin Wonder Woman's magic lasso and through the use of a special Nazi nerve agent, succeeded in capturing her. Wonder Woman broke free however and fought with the Baroness. Von Gunther tried to escape, but Wonder Woman recovered her lasso and apprehended the Baroness. She was returned to the Fort Myer penitentiary where she was placed inside of solitary confinement.
  • Lynda Day George as Fausta Grables Fausta Grables was a German woman from Berchtesgaden. She first gained prominence for her athletic prowess in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. By 1942, Fausta was a committed member of the Nazi party holding the rank of Colonel.

In the Spring of that year, Nazi agents recovered footage of an amazing Allied hero known as Wonder Woman. Colonel Grables presented this footage to Adolf Hitler who remained entranced by it for over six hours. He appointed her as his special emissary and assigned her to a project known as Operation: Fräulein. Grables operated from a secret Nazi headquarters in Berlin under the auspices of Colonel Kesselmann. Kesselmann took an instant dislike to Grables, and feared that she might attempt to usurp his authority. However, she convinced him of the importance of Operation: Fräulein and the group set about capturing Wonder Woman.

Fausta and several Nazi agents sneaked into the United States, whereupon she took on the guise of a cleaning woman. She infiltrated the War Department and used knockout gas to capture Major Steve Trevor. She hid Trevor at the South River Defense Plant, then made a telephone call to the War Department. She knew that Trevor had a close connection to Wonder Woman, and hoped that his abduction could bait her into a trap. Using the alias Eloise Livingston, Fausta spoke with Yeoman 1st Class Diana Prince, and warned her that Trevor had been kidnapped. What she didn't realize was that Diana Prince was also Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman rescued Trevor and grappled with Mueller, one of Fausta's underlings, while Grables watched from a safe distance. She was amazed at the mystical properties of Wonder Woman's golden lasso and believed that this item held the key to her power.

Fausta's next plan of action required her direct involvement. Disguising herself as Wonder Woman, she made a special appearance at a bond rally for federal employees. She demonstrated her great strength by scoring the highest possible mark at "ring the bell". While the soldiers cheered, the real Wonder Woman appeared and one-upped Grables by striking the mallet so hard, that the bell clapper flew off the top of the pole. Although someone perplexed, the spectators believe that the dual Wonder Women was merely part of the show. The next obstacle was a weight lifting competition. When Wonder Woman prepared to lift a barbell, Fausta's agents activated a trap door beneath her. Wonder Woman fell beneath the stage, and the spies were able to incapacitate her and steal the lasso. They hurriedly piled Wonder Woman into a waiting vehicle and started driving towards a private airfield. Steve Trevor immediately recognized that the first "Wonder Woman" to appear on the stage was obviously a fraud, and that the true Wonder Woman was in great danger.

Fausta brought Wonder Woman back to Berlin. She stripped her of her magic belt and bound her to an interrogation table with her own lasso. She explained to Colonel Kesselmann that the lasso forced anyone bound with it to tell the truth. Kesselmann didn't believe her and felt that she was only trying to make him look foolish. Angrily, he snatched the belt from Fausta's hand and threw it towards Wonder Woman. Though bound, Wonder Woman caught the belt, and was able to use her renewed strength to break free. She grappled with Fausta, quickly defeating her and made her escape.

As luck would have it, Steve Trevor made private arrangements to sneak behind enemy lines to rescue Wonder Woman. When he finally arrived at the Nazi castle, Wonder Woman had long since escaped. Fausta and the others captured Trevor and decided to use him as bait to trap Wonder Woman anew. Upon learning of Steve's capture, Wonder Woman returned to Berlin and found Steve chained to a dungeon wall. Kesselmann prided himself on the various traps and pitfalls he maintained throughout the castle, and activated a switch that forced the walls to close in on them. Wonder Woman and Steve evaded the crushing walls, but soon found themselves trapped in a deep cistern filled with water. At the surface of the pit, Kesselmann operated a device that would send 50,000 volts of electricity into the cistern, killing them both. Fausta and Kesselmann continued to argue with one another, and Wonder Woman used this conflict towards her advantage. She pleaded with Fausta, telling her that she was a strong, intelligent woman, and that she should not have to receive such harsh treatment from men like Kesselmann. The ploy finally worked, and Fausta turned against her Nazi colleagues. She grappled with Kesslemann and threw him into the cistern. She then dropped a rope down into the pit, allowing Wonder Woman and Steve to climb to safety. Outside the castle, Fausta returned Wonder Woman's belt and lasso and thanked her for helping her to see the light. Trevor was also grateful that Fausta betrayed the party, and he made special arrangements for her to work as a double agent for the German underground in Berlin.

Fausta's activities with the German underground and her actions following the war remain unknown.

  • Debra Winger as Drusilla / Wonder Girl Born as the second daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, Drusilla grew up on Paradise Island along with her older sister, Princess Diana. After her sister left the island, she quickly became the finest archer and rider of the Amazons.

When Hippolyta felt it was time for her elder daughter to return to the island, Drusilla was sent to America to urge her return. Reluctant to leave, Diana decided to show her younger sister of the need for Wonder Woman in the outside world. As part of this she convinced Drusilla to pose as Diana Prince's teenage sister for a few days.

During this time she accompanied General Blankenship on a car trip. They were attacked by Nazi spies who abducted the general and left her behind. Unable to contact her sister, she decided to go after the spies herself and transformed into Wonder Girl. Unprepared for dealing with this type of situation, she walked into a trap set by the spies who, mistaking her for Wonder Woman, knocked her out using chloroform.

At the spies' hideout, she accidentally revealed the location of Paradise Island. This prompted the Nazis to stage an invasion of the Amazon homeland. After managing to escape she exposed the spies to Steve Trevor. She then returned to Paradise Island to help fight off the invading Nazis. Once the crisis was averted, she remained on the island with the rest of the Amazons.

Some weeks later Hippolyta again sent her to retrieve Diana, this time for the bi-millennial celebration of the founding of Paradise Island. She traveled to Hollywood and befriended an American soldier named Jim Ames. She began to resent him when she found out he had lied about his heroism. This changed when he later proved himself a true hero. Afterwards she and her sister headed back to Paradise Island for the celebration

  • Mickey Morton as Gargantua
  • Teresa Graves as Nubia. In 1975, actress Teresa Graves of ABC's (by-then cancelled) Get Christie Love! was favored by executives of ABC's then very successful Wonder Woman television series to play the superheroine's black sister,[citation needed] but the series moved to CBS in 1977, before the character ever appeared on the show. That same year, the Mego Corporation produced a Nubia doll to tie-in with the show, advertised as "Wonder Woman's super-foe." Wearing a gladiator-styled costume modeled on one that Graves would have worn in the series, and resembling a uniform Nubia wore in the comic book, the doll was also given a white streak of hair as a dramatic touch to her otherwise black hair.[citation needed]

In the Season Two episode, "Knockout", after the show's move to CBS, actress Jayne Kennedy played a black female adventurer, with no apparent connection to Nubia or her Amazon island. Although Nubia never appeared in the Wonder Woman television series, a character with a similar background did appear shortly before in the 1974 Wonder Woman television movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby. In the film, written and produced by John D. F. Black and following more of a spy-adventure continuity than the comic-book one, a fellow Amazon named Ahnjayla left Paradise Island and became a nemesis of Wonder Woman. Ahnjayla was played by actress Anitra Ford, who was one of the original Barker's Beauties on The Price Is Right

  • Cloris Leachman as Queen Hippolyta Hippolyta is the queen of the Amazons of Paradise Island. Thousands of years ago, Hippolyta and her sisters were the slaves of men throughout Rome and Greece. When the Amazons shook off the shackles of slavery, Hippolyta led them to an island refuge deep in the Bermuda Triangle. She named this haven Paradise Island, and decreed that man would be forever forbidden to step foot on its shores.

As centuries passed, Hippolyta gave birth to a daughter, Diana. In 1942, Diana discovered an American officer named Major Steve Trevor who had washed up on the shore of Paradise Island. Hippolyta was agitated by Trevor's presence and wanted Diana to have as little to do with him as possible. When it came time to return Trevor to the United States, Diana volunteered to act as his escort. Hippolyta forbade Diana from leaving, and declared that a tournament would be held to determine which Amazon would be chosen for the task. Diana disguised herself as one of the contestants and won every contest. At the trial of Bullets and Bracelets, Diana unmasked herself and Hippolyta's worst nightmares came true. Forced to honor the tradition of the tournament, Hippolyta agreed to allow Diana to act as Paradise Island's emissary and bring Steve Trevor back to the United States.

Merchandising[edit]

Mego Corporation released a line of dolls in 1976 to correspond with the TV series. The boxes originally featured Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman on the front flap. However, in 1977, her image on the box was dropped and the line was revamped with only the Wonder Woman doll being featured and revised.

The Mego dolls included Wonder Woman, Diana Prince, Queen Hippolyta, Nubia, and Steve Trevor.[17] The line also included separate fashion outfits for Diana Prince that were released in Canada.[18] Various playsets were also created but were not released for sale.[19]

DC Direct (which creates merchandise for DC Comics) released a Wonder Woman statue in 2007 which is based upon the image created by Lynda Carter.

In 2015, Hallmark released a Wonder Woman Christmas ornament bearing the likeness of Lynda Carter that also plays the intro to the television theme song.

In July 2016, prior to Comic-Con International, the New York Times ran a story about Dynamite Entertainment. In it, best-selling author Andy Mangels was revealed to be writing a prestigious new intercompany crossover mini-series for the company, in conjunction with DC Comics: Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman, bringing together the Lynda Carter television character with Lindsay Wagner's fellow 1970s television super-heroine. The series was set to start in Fall 2016.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wonder Woman: Who's Afraid of Diana Prince? (writers)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  2. ^ "Wonderland: 1967 Presentation, Who's Afraid of Diana Prince?". wonderland-site.com. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ Daniels, Les; Kidd, Chip (2004). Wonder Woman: The Life and Times of the Amazon Princess. Chronicle Books. p. 120. ISBN 0-8118-4233-9. 
  4. ^ a b c Patterson, Stephen (January 19, 2016). "Why Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman Will Never Be Beaten". Moviepilot. Retrieved January 25, 2016. 
  5. ^ Bergeron, Tom (2004). "Forward". What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television. By Hofstede, David. Back Stage Books. pp. 31–33. ISBN 0-8230-8441-8. 
  6. ^ "TV Staff Previews". Uniontown (PA) Morning Herald. 1974-03-12. 
  7. ^ "TV Key Best Bets". Wisconsin State Journal. 1974-08-21. 
  8. ^ a b Shales, Tom (1975-11-07). "Wonder Woman Tries Comeback". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ Joby, Tom (1980-05-12). "Cathy Crosby turns down 'Wonder Woman' offer". Associated Press. 
  10. ^ Pendergast, Tom and Sara (2002). St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, vol. 4. St. James Press. p. 72. ISBN 1-55862-404-X. 
  11. ^ Carter, Lynda. The New Original Wonder Woman commentary (DVD). 
  12. ^ "The Arboretum of Los Angeles County, 301 N. Baldwin Ave, in Arcadia, CA.". TVLocations. 
  13. ^ a b "The Return of Wonder Woman". Wonder Woman. Season 2. 1977-09-16. CBS. 
  14. ^ Cramer, Douglas S. The New Original Wonder Woman commentary (DVD). 
  15. ^ "NYCC: DC Digital Adds "Wonder Woman '77," "Mortal Kombat X" & "Fables: Wolf Among Us"". Comic Book Resources. October 12, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ Lambert, David (November 24, 2009). "Justice League - Crisis on Two Earths Announced for DVD and Blu-ray: Details, Extras, Box Art". TV Shows on DVD.com. Archived from the original on November 27, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Wonder Woman 12" Gallery". Mego Museum. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  18. ^ "Wonder Woman - Wonder Wardrobe". Mego Museum. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  19. ^ "Wonder Woman Playsets". Mego Museum. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  20. ^ Gustines, George Gene. "Dynamite Entertainment Taps ’70s TV to Expand Lineup of Comics". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2016. 

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