Wonder Woman: S2E9

Season 2 Episode 9: "The Man Who Made Volcanos"
Original air date: November 18, 1977

In which we get to see Roddy McDowall play Dr. Evil, a mega-cool dune buggy, and a Star Wars trash compactor scene.  Director Alan Crosland Jr. is obviously a big fan of the down blouse shot, so it's got that going for it as well.  Enjoy.

A big change to the show's intro which I don't particularly care for.  They got rid of the cartoon intro in favor of a live action highlight reel.  Also, they abandoned much of the theme song lyrics.  The lyrics sung by the male vocalist are gone, with only an instrumental with female backup singers doing the refrain.  Not much of an improvement.

What is an improvement is that Joe Atkinson has been "promoted" - i.e. he's been fired from the show.  That guy was a major league dud.

So, Diana meets Steve at the airport and learns that volcanoes are sprouting up across the globe.  But I had a hard time concentrating on the dialog because Linda Carter's boobs are jiggling like crazy as she walks.  I can see she's wearing a bra, but Holy Weak Braziers, Batman!

I'm sad to report that, although Diana no longer feels the need to wear glasses to conceal her identity, she still is inclined to wear sunglasses - of the most enormous kind.

In preparation for her flight to Mexico, Diana purchases traveler's insurance from a vending machine..... let that sink in a moment.

Little does she realize, she's being watched by the a Slinky fondling spy from the People's Republic of China.

Also on the racks are some books on roulette and slots (?) and something called a "Mail Pooch".  Anyone know what this is?

Diana drives to a hotel in Baja, Mexico driving a killer dune buggy.  She gets a room and is introduced to Jack Corbin, manager of the establishment...

Corbin is played by Roger Davis who you may know from Alias Smith & Jones (as Peter Duel's replacement).  In addition to a lot of TV guest appearances, Corbin founded Lonetree Production Company, and eventually became successful in real estate.

Oh, and he was married to Jaclyn Smith.

Anyway,  Corbin is talking to the mastermind behind all these volcanoes, Professor Arthur Chapman, played by the one and only Roddy McDowall.

McDowall always amazes me - he pops up everywhere, from low-grade B-movies to guest spots on just about every television program on air.. and he always gives it his all.  He never just phones it in, no matter how minor and "beneath him" the role may be.

While Professor Chapman instructs Corbin to "get rid of her", Diana inspects her hotel room for bugs. Indeed, we spend a ridiculously lengthy amount of time watching her inspection.  My personal theory: this is just to allow the pervy male audience (of which I am a proud member) to catch glimpses down Linda Carter's unbuttoned shirt.

A trap door appears beneath Diana's feet and she is dropped to the bottom of a deep cell.  The walls begin closing in (shades of the Star Wars trash compactor). A full 15 minutes into the show, Wonder Woman finally appears - the longest we've ever had to wait... and it's only for less than a minute!  This was always my gripe with The Incredible Hulk - too much Banner, not enough Hulk.

Diana drives to the site of the laser that's causing these volcanic eruptions and is confronted by a couple of Chinese agents.  A wildly erotic catfight ensues.

It seems the Chinese believe the United States is behind these crazy volcanoes.  Diana assures them that they are mistaken.

Professor Chapman, Corbin and captured U.S. agent Pruitt (James R. Parkes) watch the monitor to observe the next volcano eruption.. in Maryland!

Perhaps now the Chi-Coms will believe America isn't behind this mess.

At the top of the mountain (where the volcano-inducing laser is located) there is a stand-off of Tarantino proportions.  The Chinese, The Soviets, The United States (via WW) and Professor Chapman's militia all draw their weapons.

WW advises the Chinese and USSR reps to submit to Chapman's forces, and then she flees.  (I'm sure they instantly regretted taking advice from an American, but too late.)

WW changes back to Diana and allows herself to be captured by Corbin.  As he secures her handcuffs, the viewer keeps getting glimpses of Linda Carter's bra..... and, I kid you not, the handcuff application goes on for several minutes!  This is the longest handcuffing moment in TV history - the director obviously milking Carter's unbuttoned shirt for all it's worth.

Inside his Secret Underground Lair, Dr. Chapman declares to the world's super powers that, unless they stop building nuclear weapons, he will turn the planet into a giant volcano.

You see, he's actually a man of peace.

WW arrives and tries to reason with Professor Chapman, and Corbin joins her side, pleading for him to stop the insanity.

But it's to no avail.  Chapman pulls the Armageddon switch.

Of course, WW won't stand idly by while the earth is blown to bits.  She jumps in front of the volcano laser and absorbs its mighty blast.

With the bad guy defeated, the Chinese agents notify their leader that they are resigning.  We also learn that the two have have fallen in love and a little one is on the way (I guess they had sex when they were hostages? When did this happen?).

Anyway, it all ends the usual way - with an awkward joke and forced laughter.  This is the first time, however, we don't depart with Steve and Joe Atkinson.  The show has become a lot more about Linda Carter than her lame male colleagues.

Overall, it isn't one of the better episodes.  No heavy duty T&A, no over-the-top camp, no unintentional hilarity. But have no fear - next up is the two parter: "Mind Stealers from Outer Space".  I can hardly wait!


  1. Yes, those hideous giant glasses in the first picture were one of the ugliest creations known to man. And I still see women wearing them! NO MAN LIKES THESE GLASSES ON ANY WOMAN!!!!!! And they were even worse when they had those weird frames that looked "upside-down".

    1. You are arousing the ire of one of the most powerful, far flung power flinging flungers, the Society for the Appreciation of 70s Chicks With Big Glasses. I sir am a full flung member.

    2. They are most definitely "birth control glasses". Speaking of birth control. It's such reckless sexual behavior as exhibited by the Chinese agents that would lead to China's infamous One Child Policy just three years later.

    3. Speak for yourself, I grew up in that era and the big glasses weren't such a big deal then,only usually, understandably, by some millenial kid. However, I 'll take the big glasses over tattoos and silly piercings ANYDAY as the glasses can be easily removed. "Birth control glasses"? For me it's girls who look like macho truck drivers.

  2. I've seen the GIF of WW stopping the walls from closing in and it is mesmerizing.

    1. Big time yes. The director seems to focus on her breasts, but I could watch her wriggle her hips all day long.

  3. the "mail pooch" appears to be a horizontal coil spring, that letters could be placed in between the coils. with legs so it looks like a dog?

    1. Yes! You, sir, have solved the mystery. Now I can live in peace once more.

  4. I don't fully understand how this '70s Captain Nemo went instantly from demanding that world powers stop building nuclear weapons to pulling the plug on humanity nor do I understand why WW just didn't stop him. I'm not ashamed to say that when it comes to Wonder Woman a plot that makes sense takes second place to the star's charismatic attributes.

  5. For my money best Roddy McDowell ever is his Fantasy Island guest appearance and his turn as a regular on Tales of the Gold Monkey (ABC 1982).

    1. You TOTALLY went right where I was going...I 100% agree that Roddy McDowall gave it his all whenever he appeared, and the best example of that was when he was the devil on Fantasy Island. In a (fun) series of very forgettable scripts and stories, Roddy McDowall's turn as the devil made for one of the best vignettes.

      It didn't click until watching it recently that the episode had a subtle anti-abortion theme...I don't know if that was done on purpose or not.

      Regardless, here's a little bit of it. Unfortunately, I can't find a clip of the moment that the devil knows he's been beaten by Roarke...it's great stuff.


  6. Well, at least they having him using a transmitter in the picture rather than a receiver like in the movie "Frequency"!

  7. 1977 was just after Roddy McDowell's "Entitled, Arrogant, Hipster/Hippie" phase of roles he seemed to play all the time in the late '60s/early '70s.