|This page is similar in name or subject to other pages.
|Running time:||60 min.|
|Production company:||Warner Bros. Television|
|Executive producers:||Douglas S. Cramer; Wilfred Lloyd Baumes|
|Producers:||Charles B. Fitzsimons; Mark Rodgers; Bruce Lansbury; John Gaynor; Arnold Turner; Rod Holcomb|
|Principal cast:||Lynda Carter; Lyle Waggoner|
|First aired:||November 7th, 1975|
|Last aired:||September 11th, 1979|
Wonder Woman is an American television series based on the DC Comics comic book character Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston (Marston's wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston was also involved in her creation). It starred Lynda Carter as Princess Diana/Diana Prince. Wonder Woman aired on two American networks between 1975 and 1979. During its original run the series was extremely popular. It is also the title of a TV movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby, loosely based upon the character, that aired in 1974.
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, the pilot was given the rather paradoxical title The New Original Wonder Woman. This pilot is available in its original length on the first season DVD, instead of the re-edited version of it which runs 60 minutes and was featured as the pilot when the series debuted a year later. This version is also the one shown on reruns. On the DVD version, however, the 1975 pilot movie title is changed to simply 'Wonder Woman', and the bullet-deflecting animated sequence is replaced by the lasso toss in the animated introduction and the rest of the television series.
Scripting duties were given to Stanley Ralph Ross, who had worked on Greenway's unbroadcast Wonder Woman pilot reel, but this time he 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. Thanks to a generous budget and more relaxed shooting schedule, the feature length pilot was able to attain a level of polish and special effects beyond that of regular episodic television at the time.
Some of these effects, such as the expensive full sized invisible plane prop and the stunt bracelets (designed to carry small explosive charges for Wonder Woman's iconic 'bullets and bracelets' encounters) were then able to be carried forward into the series proper.
After an intensive talent search, a former beauty pageant winner from Arizona named Lynda Carter was chosen to play the lead role. For the key role of Steve Trevor, the producers chose Lyle Waggoner, 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.
Although the pilot followed the original comic book closely, in particular the aspect of Wonder Woman joining the military under the assumed name, Diana Prince, a number of elements were dropped, presumably for practical reasons. The character of Etta Candy was no longer an obese member of Holliday College (the Holliday Girls never featured in the show), but a mature work colleague of Diana Prince. The ancient myths and legends which informed many of the early Wonder Woman comic book stories were lost too, in favour of more conventional stories involving Nazis. And, on a minor note, Steve Trevor was no longer blonde, but dark haired.
One change which was later to become synonymous with the show was the twirling transformation which dissolved Diana Prince into Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter claims to have suggested the move herself, having studied dance as a child. Coincidentally, this slow motion dissolve is similar to the illustrated "running" change sequences in the comic books of the era, in which Diana would peel off her uniform and add her tiara and boots. In both versions she is left with her outer uniform to stow somewhere.
Notes & Trivia
- Alternatively known as The New Adventures of Wonder Woman.
- Wonder Woman aired on Friday evenings at 8:00 pm EST.
- Special effects on The New Adventures of Wonder Woman were provided by Film Effects of Hollywood and Newkirk Special Effects.
- Shots of the IADC building from seasons two and three were filmed at Inglewood City Hall in Inglewood, California; 1 Manchester Boulevard.
- Christopher Reeve never made any guest appearances in this television series because his film "Superman" was in production at the same time. Lynda Carter attended this film's premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington, District of Columbia.
- Actor John Randolph played the role of General Phil Blankenship in the original pilot episode, "The New Original Wonder Woman". All of his remaining appearances throughout the course of season one, the character was played by Richard Eastham. He was based on General Phil Darnell from the DC Comics.
- Etta Candy (played by Beatrice Colen) was plump rather than obese like her comic book counterpart. Although, she was still clearly there to provide comic relief, this series decided to not make fun of her weight. For a substitution, the writers portrayed her as a woman of very limited intelligence, presumably in the belief that - in an age when women's rights were the order of the day - ridiculing women for being stupid was more acceptable than mocking their size! The unfortunate thing about her, however, was that she was completely stripped of her bravery and willingness to stand at Wonder Woman's side in battle. Etta was still a likeable character but there was little to her other than the comedy trimmings.
- Adam West and Burt Ward never made guest apperances in this television series because they were busy voicing animated depictions of Batman and Robin for Filmation.
- Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection
- Wonder Woman: The Complete First Season
- Wonder Woman: The Complete Second Season
- Wonder Woman: The Complete Third Season