Wonder Woman - S2E2
Season 2, Episode 2 - "Anschluss '77" (original air date, September 23, 1977)
Probably one of the lamer Wonder Woman episodes. Still, it has an amazing stunt (which we'll talk about in detail), Audrey Hepburn's ex, the Batcave, and Hitler cloning. Not too shabby.
After jettisoning the WWII setting from season one, I'm a little surprised they chose a Nazi plotline so quickly. I was also surprised to see Steve actually doing something constructive in this episode - an abysmally rare occurrence. Usually, he's too busy looking handsome and getting captured to help the mission. He's also sporting a dynamite outfit....
There's rumors that the Third Reich is rising on the quaint island of Cordova. Naturally, the thing to do is send Steve Trevor in lemon yellow and his associate, Diana, in bigass glasses. No Nazi uprising stands a chance against these two Sears catalog models.
Steve's not in Cordova five minutes before he's having his ass handed to him.. A band of thugs has stolen his wallet - and worse, they've soiled his pretty yellow jacket.
Steve and Diana break into the home of a certain doctor who's suspected of being behind this Nazi revival. Diana reads the German books lying around while Steve sits useless playing pocket pool. Apparently, these Nazis are into.... CLONING! (insert dramatic music)
While Diana continues to read the German texts, useless Steve wanders off (maybe he had to use the men's room), and Diana is abducted and taken to an abandoned mine shaft (a location used as the Batcave on the Batman series years before).
Turns out the man behind this new Fourth Reich is a guy named Gerlich, a former Nazi with a gimp leg. Gerlich is the guy in blue - notice his awesome tube socks. Why would they have him be the only Nazi in shorts? Obviously it's to show his gimp leg is now a normal leg.... some cloning and diabolical cellular experimentation is surely at work here.
Gerlich lights the fuse to a stick of dynamite which will detonate in precisely two minutes. Why they don't just shoot Diana is beyond me - a two minute dynamite explosion seems a lot of effort just to off an anonymous government worker caught rummaging through his house.
Gerlich is played by Mel Ferrer - former husband of Audrey Hepburn. Mel (short for Melchior) has quite the resume; everything from directing an episode of Falcon Crest to producing the Audrey Hepburn film Wait Until Dark to starring in War and Peace. Now he's wearing striped tube socks on Wonder Woman.
Worst death trap ever. Dr. Evil's pool of sharks with lasers on their heads was so much better. All Diana has to do is quench the fuse with her foot. In the end, however, she just elects to turn into WW, escape and let Gerlich think she's dead.
The next scene is kind of a big deal. WW grabs a hold of the landing skid of Gerlich's escape helicopter and stows a ride all the way to the Nazi headquarters.
But here's the big deal - Linda Carter did the stunt herself. The show couldn't find a female stunt double, and the scene absolutely required one. When you see how dangerous this stunt is, it's absolutely amazing that Linda agreed to do this...
This ain't CGI, folks. Linda Carter is clearly far above the ground, and the helicopter actually ascends even higher than shown in the picture... with ol' Linda hanging on for dear life.
I'm sure precautions were made, and Linda is no doubt harnessed securely to the landing skid.. but still! The network executives were reportedly furious with the director when they got wind of this. They immediately assigned a female stunt double to the show, and I'm sure had some choice words for director Alan Crosland, Jr.
Steve Lemoncloak is there at the mine shaft looking for bits of exploded Diana when she appears, hair disheveled. An exploding mine shaft has a tendency to muss up a nice hairdo.
Anyway, after all the effort of hanging on the helicopter, it seems to come back just to relieve a worried Steve. The trip wasn't a total waste, I suppose - she did learn where the Nazi base of operations is located... but then, Cordova is ta tiny island, and it wouldn't have been too hard to find in the first place.
Steve Lemoncloak and Diana Prince infiltrate the Nazi base. Steve muscles his way into the headquarters facility, while Diana cruses around in a military jeep, seemingly forever. Finally, she gets shot at by a tank.
As WW, we see an impressive demonstration of her strength as she puts a stop to the tank. Let's see Isis do that!
Steve trades his lemon for brown, becoming one of the New Reich's brownshirts. A small group, really, I counted less than 30 - shocking that they aren't alarmed at the presence of a new face.
And did I mention they cloned Hitler? Oh, yeah. A Nazi doctor managed to utilize cloning technology to bring Hitler back. And, no, he doesn't start as an infant - he goes from 0 to full-grown Hitler in 30 seconds.
Seeing her old nemesis back, naturally, causes WW to experience some nasty flashbacks.
Note that the actor playing Hitler (Barry Dennen) is best known for playing Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar. The man obviously had a flair for playing hated historical figures.
WW poses as a nurse and Hitler comes to the lab for some additional tests. Steve has the doctor at gunpoint, and with the help of WW's Lasso of Truth, they send Hitler back to, presumably, hell.
The facilities are destroyed, Gerlich captured by the Cordova military (?), and Hitler back to ruling his Dark Tower in the fiery Underworld - everything's worked out great.
Back in the States, Steve and Diana give boss, Atkinson, the lowdown on what happened - the cloning and uncloning of Hitler.
Atkinson says, "Too bad you weren't there to witness this magical transformation, Diana."
"No," she says. "But Wonder Woman was."