Sunday, January 17, 2021

Origin of a Classic: The New, Original Wonder Woman (1975)

 A year and a half after an ABC Movie of The Week tried to adapt then-current comics, Wonder Woman was given another chance.

"The New, Original Wonder Woman" (italics mine) proved to the network that the 3rd time was the charm. The first attempt being a campy sitcom pilot from William Dozier in 1967, and that, too, was set in the then-present.

This time, the setting is World War II. A Nazi pilot (Kenneth Mars, ex-He & She) is plotting to bomb a Navy yard in New York and steal some important papers. He sends a 2nd pilot (Eric Braeden, The Young & The Restless, ex-The Rat Patrol (as Hans Gudegast)) on a mission, only to be intercepted by Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner, ex-The Carol Burnett Show). The resulting collision leads, to, well, I think you know the rest.

Stanley Ralph Ross' story adapts the long told story about how Diana (Lynda Carter) made her way to "Man's World", a deception to get around a dictum from her mother, Hippolyta (Cloris Leachman, Phyllis), who wanted her daughter to remain on Paradise Island.

Ross also takes a good natured poke at the story of Marvel's Spider-Man by having Diana hook up with a talent agent (Red Buttons) after foiling a bank robbery. Ah, but what if she knew about the agent's duplicitous nature?

The following clip addresses said bank robbery:

The supporting cast also includes Stella Stevens and Henry Gibson ("Nashville", ex-Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In). The campy approach, using comic book captions, a gimmick also used on Spidey Super Stories when it aired on The Electric Company, and in more recent times by Eminem ("Without Me") and the recent CW series, iZombie, may be a big reason why it took so long for Hollywood to finally take Wonder Woman seriously.

Rating: B.

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