The Boob Tube #2: Isis

Isis first appeared on TV in 1975 as part of the Shazam/Isis Hour and garnered a pretty positive reaction from the Saturday morning elementary school crowd. It resulted in not only her own show, The Secrets of Isis, but also a comic book and animated series.

Unfortunately, time has not been kind to Isis. I recently rented the DVD and had a multitude of problems with the series. I'm not expecting it to be high quality entertainment. I fully realize it was meant for 1970's kids, and not meant for the eyes of a cynical adult in 2008. However, certain things on the show bothered me to no end. Let me walk you through some of my problems.

1. Andrea Thomas (played by JoAnna Cameron) discovers a mythical amulet which gives her the powers of Isis while on an archaeological dig in Egypt. An archaeological dig? She's a high school science teacher, not an Egyptologist! I can buy into the Indiana Jones scenario since he's a college professor. It's another thing entirely to have a high school teacher unearthing the secrets of ancient Egypt.

As if that weren't bad enough, Andrea is obviously a scientific genius rivalling the likes of Hawking and Einstein. In one episode she unveils her new invention to the high school principal... a force field generator!

2. Hey, where's Andrea? She's always gone when Isis is around! How peculiar...

How is it possible that Rick and Cindy cannot catch onto the fact that Andrea is actually Isis? They look EXACTLY alike and Andrea is always strangely missing when Isis comes around. I know this is just like the Clark Kent thing where a pair of glasses somehow completely conceals his identity, but for some reason this seemed even more extreme.

Notice a similarity? Same face, same hair, same voice, same height, they are never seen together. Hmmmm...

3. Rick Mason is a sexist asshole. He is constantly saying demeaning comments to Andrea, whom he obviously views as a fragile and weak sub-species.

Here's some incredibly awful dialogue from the last scene of the first episode. The scene: Isis, the chauvinist Rick and the young Cindy Lee have seen the criminals brought to justice, Isis disappears, and Rick and Cindy find Andrea mysteriously relaxing under a tree...

Cindy: You know something? How come you're never around when Isis is there?

Andrea: Beats me. Seems like you and Rick are always having all the fun.

Rick: It's probably just as well. There was a lot going on and the excitement might have gotten to you.

Andrea: You're right, Rick. At times like that, it's well that a woman isn't there to get in the way.

At this point, Andrea gives a knowing smile to the audience.

Gilligan: Excuse me while I go vomit.

[Related post: JoAnna Cameron's earlier work in the controversial Pretty Maids All in a Row]


  1. I still have the hots for Isis. I hated the show but dang I loved tha star of it.

  2. Unlike I Dream of Jeannie, The Bionic Woman, and Wonder Woman which all had their share of incongruities, none exhibited such overall badness as Isis. The only thing redeeming about The Secrets of Isis is JoAnna Cameron, and frankly even she can't overcome the lameness... and that's saying a lot!

  3. Gil

    I guess you know I am in blog tweak land right now. Behind on posting and research, but am about to watch Star 80 and do a post on that one at the Cafe.

    I wonder if I can trouble you. I updated my widget. It shows blurbs now and a better image. I finally figured it out, how to change it. Maybe if you have a minute yu can get the new code and update it. You're the only guy who promotes it, but widgets can slow down your page when it is loading anyway.

    Also, you know Blogger does not have a really good comment or recent post widget. There are some but they are not stable. You may know thins but if not I found a solution and have it going at my Necrotic Cinema blog if you wanna see how it looks on the left sidebar.

    Just select a gadget and choose RSS feed and enter these in separate gadgets:


    Replace the asterik * with the URL of your blog and it should work right away.

    Thanks and see ya


  4. P.S. I was not really happy with the recent post thing, and took it off. It keep bringing up posts I had even deleted from Feed hell or someplace and so I just made a new widget for the Necrotic site at my normal widgetsite through Feedburner.

    But the recent comment thing is working good! (so far)

  5. I never saw this one. Not sure how I missed it. It definitely sounds like it's got its share of flaws. She's really hot though. Wow!

  6. Several ISIS episodes were written by Nebula award winning writer Michael Reaves, who endeared himself to the producers by figuring out Isis could make things NOT happen: i.e, "Dam, don't burst!" "Bridge, don't collapse!" There's no end to the epic scope and scale when you can prevent disasters from happening on screen!

  7. Bill- I'll update your widget as soon as I get the chance... things are busy right now and don't have time to post eve. No problem, though.

    Keith- You probably watched Isis, but the show was so utterly forgetable that you have no recollection of it. Not the sort of show that leaves a lasting impression.

    Buzz- The show just seemed so poorly thought out overall. Making things NOT happen may rival even the powers of Jeannie and Samantha.

  8. No hurry at all. And I have to admit that thins post is out of my field of expertise as i saw an episode of Isis once when it was on TV and never had the courage to see another one.

  9. My little sister and I used to make fun of her little chant that turned her into Isis:
    "Oh zephyr winds that blow on high,
    Kill me now so I can die!" (s/b "Lift me now so I can fly!" which is really almost as bad)

    Of course, we also watched every episode.

  10. Sorry for the double comment--do you happen to remember a kids' show called Dusty's Treehouse?

  11. dguzman- Yes I do. I remember really liking the part where (much like Mr. Rogers) he'd show us how things were made. I could take or leave the puppets, trollies, and hot air balloons... just show me how they make crayons!

  12. I wish I had Dusty's Treehouse on video. I loved Stanley the Spider and Maxine the Crow.

  13. Is not fair, I Dream of Jeannie, The Bionic Woman, and Wonder Woman, is other league, Prime time tv Shows.
    Isis, was made it with almost Zero Money.

    Anyway, Long live Joanna and ISIS

  14. You know, I TRIED that glasses thing the other day and did not have the same luck as Isis.

    I went into a drug store, went back to the prescription glasses counter, grabbed a pair of tortoise shell glasses and robbed the place. When I stepped outside, and took off the glasses, the sales clerk could STILL identify me.

    Don't try this at home kids. Isis IS a professional.

  15. I didn't care about anything but my crush on Andrea/Isis!! I have seen recent pictures of JoAnna Cameron, she's still pretty!!

  16. Isis was made on the proverbial " shoestring budget " AND for Saturday Morning in the mid 1970's . The scripts were written to reflect the times , i.e. pollution , the way women were viewed , and how to become a caring adult . Shazam! did the same type of thing . But , for its time era , its nostalgia factor , and for the fact that I still enjoy the show as a man of almost fifty , Isis will always have a permanent place in my video library !!