Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nostalgia Theater: The First Wonder Woman!

With this week's impending release of Warner Bros.' much-anticipated Wonder Woman feature film, I thought it might be fun this week to take a brief look back at the character's very first foray into live action, which is definitely a far cry from the version that Gal Gadot is playing, and doesn't even have much to do with the original DC comics. Instead, this version took some broad cues from comics of the late '60s/early '70s that saw Wonder Woman ditch her trademark star-spangled bathing suit in favor of being de-powered and wearing "mod" clothing.

That didn't last long (understandably so), but some of the premise for that take rubbed off on the TV version. After a failed try at bringing her to TV in the late '60s via producer Bill Dozier in the vein of his Batman show, the Wonder Woman TV movie that aired on ABC in March of '74 and starred Cathy Lee Crosby (later of That's Incredible!), as the titular hero, who very conspicuously looks nothing like her four-color counterpart. In addition to being blonde, she wears a goofy flag-themed skirt-and-leotard that's not particularly wondrous. Here's the opening title sequence, which sure doesn't hide its '70s origins:

And here's a clip of Crosby in action as special agent Diana Prince, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, who doesn't have any powers, but can sure karate chop and kick with the best of 'em:

In addition to Crosby running and jumping in the title role, the film also starred V's Andrew Prine, while baddie Abner Smith was played by Ricardo Montalban (because when I think of someone named "Abner," Ricardo Montalban is totally who comes to mind). Ratings for the pilot were actually okay (surprisingly so, if you watch the thing). However, ABC bigwigs made the (correct) calculation that while the character had tremendous appeal, there wasn't a lot of gas in this particular reinvention. Thus, they went back to the drawing board the next year, ditching Crosby, casting Lynda Carter, and the rest was history...which you can read all about here.

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Generation X -- The X-Men's First Movie!

Two Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: What the Heck Was Young Samson?

Three Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Sky Commanders Goes High Concept

Four Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: The Franchising of Ewoks

Five Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: My Kind of Zoo

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