1/3/14

Wonder Woman - S1E7


This episode - penned from the same guy who wrote a third of the Batman episodes. In this episode:

Mr. Brady has The Black Death
Dr. Bellows makes homemade earthquakes
And Wonder Woman does lots of math

So, what are we waiting for?  Let's jump in.



Before we start, let me bring up a bit of confusion regarding the episode number designation.  IMDb calls this Episode 8 because they count the pilot as Episode 1.  I do not.  Lynda Carter wasn't even WW in the pilot (it was Cathy Lee Crosby).  Plus, the official series began seven months after the pilot; which puts the pilot even more in a world unto itself.


Mike Brady (Robert Reed) gets to play the villain in this episode - The Falcon... and he plays with a flair and panache the part deserves.  This is post-Brady Bunch, and the rakish Reed is jaunting from one show to the next - from The Love Boat to McCloud to The Boy in the Plastic Bubble... and he's having a blast.  The following year (1977) he'd be back with the Bradys in The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

Our story begins with an Oscar Wilde-esque Falcon getting detained in a US airport.  The lovely lady at his arm is Mikki McGoldrick (AKA Mikki Jamison) who just passed away in 2013 (obituary).


BTW the custom's agent in this scene is played by the daughter of Pat O'Brien, "Hollywood's Irishman in Residence".  He was one of James Cagney's best friends, and starred with him in 9 films.  He's the guy that said  “win just one for the Gipper" (in Knute Rockne, All American).

Any clue on these equations? Are they for real, or gobbldygook?  Inquiring minds want to know.

The Falcon escapes and steals his way into the laboratory of Professor Warren.  Warren is played by Hayden Rorke, Dr. Bellows from I Dream of Jeannie.

The Falcon wants Warrens "Pluto File" - his secret for creating and prediction earthquakes.  It's The Brady Bunch vs. I Dream of Jeannie.  Who will win?


Yeoman Prince visits poor Dr. Bellows Professor Warren in the hospital - the old coot couldn't handle the trauma of a face-to-face with The Falcon.  

It's filmed at Walter Reed Hospital.  Lynda Carter was Miss USA in 1972 and toured the military hospital with Bob Hope visiting wounded soldiers just four short years before this episode was shot.  Who knew that in '76 she'd be back, not as Miss USA, but as Wonder Woman.  (insert dramatic music here)


Yeoman Prince notices The Falcon on a rooftop with a sniper rifle aimed at Professor Warren.  She quickly changes into WW and deflects the bullets with her bracelets.  But the ever elusive (and dashing rogue) Falcon escapes without a scratch.

I couldn't help but note that WW makes her twirly transformation right in front of the window The Falcon was aiming through.  Seems he could've had a pretty easy head shot had he pulled the trigger.


Back at an undisclosed location, The Falcon plots his nefarious plan to "induce the world's first man-made earthquake".  (insert Dr. Evil laughter here)

Actor Albert Stratton plays one of his forgettable henchmen, Charles Benson.  Stratton hopped from one supporting TV role to next back in the day.  He got a few prime gigs on the revived Perry Mason show and an episode of Quantum Leap.  He's probably best remembered for a Star Trek: The Next Generation second season episode "The Outrageous Okona"  (because you can always count on Trekkies to keep your memories alive).

In an interesting connection, this episode's director, Herb Wallerstein, directed four episodes of the original Star Trek.

Robert Reed was such a dandy.
And here's where shit starts getting a tad crazy with the story line.  See if you can follow me: 

Remember Mikka from the beginning? Well, she's got the Bubonic Plague.  (You may need to read that sentence twice).  The last case of The Bubonic Plague was in India, which just happens to be where The Falcon was before he came to the States.  So he's a carrier!


Turns out, Benson is one of Professor Warren's fellow scientists... and he looks like Holy Hell.  It doesn't take long for Steve Trevor to put two and two together and realize that, if Benson has The Bubonic Plague, he must have been in contact with The Falcon..... which can only mean Benson is a Nazi traitor!

I know, there's like a million mental leaps in order to come to that conclusion (maybe Benson just has a sinus infection); but the accusation is enough to make ol' Benson lose his marbles, pull a gun on Trevor, and get out of Dodge.


WW chases Bubonic Benson into a cannabis(?) field and uses her Lasso of Truth to get to the Falcon Connection.

So, if you're keeping track.  The Falcon has not only an earthquake device, but also The Bubonic Plague.   What's next, a nuclear bomb?  Oh, snap...


Mike "The Falcon" Brady has plans to use The Pluto File to create an artificial earthquake around a nuclear reactor.  The seismic activity will cause the reactor to go "boom" and The Falcon can go home to his Nazi brethren a conquering hero.

Note that "Pluto" was a genuinel WWII code-name used for the method of delivering oil during the D-Day landings (Pipe Line Under The Ocean = PLUTO).  "Pluto" also could refer to the radioactive element, Plutonium, used to make these nuclear weapons.  Who knew Wonder Woman had so many layers?


WW meets with the professor and the two combine their brains to solve a way to cool down the nuclear reactor.  She actually schools the old scientist, and provides the solution for him.  (Apparently, the solution is to just add water.... brilliant.)

This episode aired on Christmas Day 1976.  Nothing says the holidays like natural disasters, nuclear meltdown, and biological warfare.


The Falcon bum rushes the lab, rightfully concluding that it would the professor who could stop this nuclear meltdown.  But, he suddenly breaks down with The Bubonic Plague and can fight no more.

Professor Warren alerts the nuclear plant on how to stop the meltdown (just add water), and in a moment of parallelism, WW gets a glass of water for The Falcon.   


And so it ends.  Not one of the best episodes, but still none too shabby.  It was written by Stanley Ralph Ross, an ordained minister who actually presided over the marriage of Burt Ward (Robin from Batman). Ross also directed that intro to Wide World of Sports we're all familiar with ("... and the agony of defeat")

And speaking of defeat, we learn that The Falcon didn't die from The Bubonic Plague, but is recovering in a maximum security prison.  

THE END


9 comments:

  1. "IMDb calls this Episode 8 because they count the pilot as Episode 1. I do not. Lynda Carter wasn't even WW in the pilot (it was Cathy Lee Crosby)."

    The first WW pilot (with Cathy Lee Crorby) has no connection to the later series beyond the title.
    Totally different concept and cast.
    It's no more related than the 1960s promo reel with Linda Harrison ("Nova" in the first two Planet of the Apes flicks as Wonder Woman, done by William Dozier (Batman/Green Hornet).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilIodk5wQ6c
    Now, if they had integrated Crosby's pilot into the Lynda Carter series the way Star Trek incorporated "The Cage" into Classic Star Trek (maybe as an "alternate universe"), then you might have a case...

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  2. Linda Carter was Miss World 1972(-73), not USA. It surprised me to learn she was Miss Anything so I looked it up.

    http://www.wonderland-site.com/html/photos/personal/f00050b.htm

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  3. That's the Schrödinger equation on the blackboard, one of the workhorses of quantum mechanics.

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  4. who's looking at equations?????

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  5. Oh wow, this ep aired on Christmas day! you mean there was no lame reruns amid the hoilday shows? thoese were the days.

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  6. I think your field of marihuana is oleander (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerium), which puts this scene somewhere warmer than Washington, DC.

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  7. I guess this episode didn't score any Steve Trevor knock-outs or WW being tied up.

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  8. I was never a fan of this episode. It is IMHO one of the few lemons in an otherwise great season.

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  9. What's more 1940's than over-the-ears feathered hair and sideburns? Great job, production team.

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