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Wonder Woman
(1974 TV Movie)
Wonder Woman

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Cathy Lee Crosby

Wonder Woman (1974):  A failed pilot for what they were hoping would be a TV series.  This is a great show, and if it was called anything but "Wonder Woman" it would have made it, but this is NOT Wonder Woman.  It's got great filming, a great story, and great performances, but the writers/producers of the show took TOO many creative liberties.  The character is not at all like the Wonder Woman we knew from the comics.  True, in the 1970s they experimented a bit with "Diana Prince:  Wonder Woman" where our superheroine wears flashy clothes, but even at that she still had super powers or something to attach her to our beloved character.  This Wonder Woman doesn't have super powers or even dark hair.  Cathy Lee was blonde in this show!  Instead of naming the character something different like they should have, they went with the name of an already established character in hopes to have an immediate audience (which was a bad idea).

    Think of this show not as a superhero show, but as a cross between a James Bond spy thriller and the Bionic Woman TV show.  Or like "The Avengers" if it was just the woman.  This is certainly a spy show.  Wonder Woman breaks up an international spy ring.  She must rescue some important books in order to save the lives of secret agents who are being held captive.

Advantages to this show as compared to the later "Wonder Woman" TV series.
The Cast
Cathy Lee Crosby as Wonder Woman Gallery.
Disadvantages for this being a "Wonder Woman" show.
My problems with the show.
Things I liked about this show.

The Cast:

Wonder Woman/Diana Prince- Cathy Lee Crosby
Steve Trevor- Kaz Garas
George Calvin- Andrew Prine
Mr. Abner Smith- Ricardo Mantalban
Ahnjayla- Anitra Ford

Kaz Garas
Kaz Garas
Kaz Garas as Steve Trevor.  He was in another movie I like from 1984 called "The Devastator" which is a really macho action movie in the tradition of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Andrew Prine
Andrew Prine as George Calvin.  He's got that whole "I'm just too much of a man, baby!" kind of attitude down pat.

The henchwoman and henchman of Calvin.  I've been researching, but can't seem to find the names of these actors or their characters.  They're anonymous thugs, but so visually kooky...plus we see them all the time throughout the movie.  They really added the right touch of bizarre to the villainy.


Cathy Lee Crosby as Wonder Woman Gallery:  If you're like me, you've been looking all over the Net for years for pictures of Cathy Lee Crosby as Wonder Woman with limited success.  Check out what I've done for you.  Many selected screen captures, cropped and sized to my discretion, of the lovely Ms. Crosby as our heroine Wonder Woman!

Cathy Lee Crosby
Outfit #1:  As secretary Diana Prince.

Cathy Lee Crosby
Cathy Lee Crosby
Cathy Lee Crosby
Outfit #2:  As Wonder Woman, but not yet in her costume.

Outfit #3 was a red, sleeveless evening dress which we never get a very good look at.  Worn to dinner with George Calvin when they first meet.

Cathy Lee Crosby Cathy Lee Crosby
Outfit #4:  Funky red jumpsuit; fashionable...and it's good for karate!

Cathy Lee Crosby Cathy Lee Crosby
Cathy Lee Crosby Cathy Lee Crosby
Outfit #5:  A very clean, white outfit.  This is the first time since starting her mission that she hasn't worn red.

FINALLY...we get to see Wonder Woman in costume!  She remains in this outfit for the rest of the film except the closing scene.
Cathy Lee Crosby Cathy Lee Crosby
Cathy Lee Crosby Cathy Lee Crosby
Cathy Lee Crosby Cathy Lee Crosby
Cathy Lee Crosby
Cathy Lee Crosby
Outfit #6:  The Wonder Woman costume!  She's lookin' pretty good in this ensemble!  Here she is at the ghost town.



Advantages to this show as compared to the later "Wonder Woman" TV series:

I love the later "Wonder Woman" TV series and in my mind, that is always what Wonder Woman will be.  It was true to the character and Lynda Carter was just wonderful in appearance and personality.  But this earlier attempt at "Wonder Woman" does have some advantages.

1.  The music is better.  Just theme music, no corny lyrics.

2.  I like the fact that it's set in modern times.  This is an interesting point.  After this show bombed in ratings, the next Wonder Woman attempt was set in WWII times like the comics were back when the character was originally created.  The WWII setting never completely settled with me, but I think it's what the producers wanted to do to distance itself from Cathy Lee Crosby's movie.  That would be fine if it was still the 1940s, but the comics never stayed in the 1940s.  They changed with the times.  Wonder Woman should've always been set in present-day.  After the first season of "Wonder Woman", she was brought into present-day for her second and third seasons.  I guess Wonder Woman cannot be kept out of present-day for too long.

3.  I like the fact that Steve Trevor knows Wonder Woman's identity.  They did right by this feature.  No unnecessary messing around by keeping this secret from someone she knows too well.  Too often in the TV series it's hard to believe that Steve couldn't know Diana was Wonder Woman.  There was also a romance seen between Steve and Wonder Woman in this TV movie.  They were rarely together on-screen, though, so they didn't really play it out.  Plus they made it clear that they weren't lovers, so it left WW's options open.

4.  The brevity of Diana's departure from Paradise Island.  I like this because it allows the story to jump straight into something interesting.  The only bad thing about how they did it is that they made Paradise Island seem so unimportant.  They didn't even make Paradise Island look bright and happy.  The set for Paradise Island in this show was actually pretty dark and crappy; just one small area.  It's surprising because the rest of the show is filmed so open and bright.  In the "Wonder Woman" TV series with Lynda Carter, we get a much better idea of what Paradise Island looks like.

5.  The filming of this show is much more open and colorful than the TV series.  There was a lot of open filming in this TV movie and the adventure was as big as all outdoors.  It could've been released in theaters.  There was also a lot of color and flash in the clothes and the backgrounds.  The TV series was mostly filmed indoors with some smaller, outside sets.  Nothing as wide and elaborate as this show.  The color of the TV series is basically limited to Wonder Woman herself, the Amazons (when we see them), and other rare occasions.  The second and third seasons of the TV series improved greatly for color and filming.  Still, though, this TV movie is superior for it's filming quality.

6.  Much more realistic.  All of the actors gave very strong performances.  They act like real people would.  The TV series would not have this much realism, despite the fact that it had wonderful actors.  Some of the guest stars in the TV series would "hokey" it up considerably.  In this TV movie, all the performances mattered.


Disadvantages for this being a "Wonder Woman" show:

Although this is a great adventure show, it makes a pretty poor excuse for a "Wonder Woman" show.

1.  Wonder Woman doesn't look like Wonder Woman.  Diana Prince/Wonder Woman is a blonde.  Besides that, she just doesn't look like Wonder Woman from any interpretation in the comics, and it's hard to get in your mind that she is supposed to be Wonder Woman.  Cathy Lee Crosby looks good, but she doesn't have an Amazonian build.  She's tall and slender, but not chesty and veluptous.

2.  Wonder Woman doesn't have a secret identity.  At least not a well-kept one.  Everybody knows Diana Prince is Wonder Woman, except the other people that work at the agency besides Steve Trevor.  Helpful hint when becoming a superheroine:  just wear your hair up and "blammo"...instant secretary. 

3.  Wonder Woman's costume has no story to it or a purpose.  When she finally does get into costume halfway through the show, there is no reason for her to wear the costume.  It doesn't hide her identity because everybody knows who she is.  It's more like a working suit.

4.  People get killed on-screen.  "Wonder Woman" stories had never been so violent before!  As a matter of fact, the show starts out with several people getting shot to death.  There is even blood on the door before the beginning credits start!  Something like this would never fly in the later "Wonder Woman" TV series.  Towards the end of this show, George Calvin kills his henchman and henchwoman.  Mr. Smith burns Calvin's eyes with some sort of gas and leaves him to drown.  We are to assume that Calvin drowns and is never rescued.

5.  It's unclear what Diana Prince does for a living.  There is no explanation for why Diana joined the unnamed agency.  She could've joined any crimefighting agency.  Why would she pick this one?  What makes this so special?

6.  It's unclear exactly why Diana had to leave Paradise Island.  Because "the world was changing around them" and "they're just keeping up with the times" is not a good answer.  Paradise Island is supposed to be outside of time and as far removed from petty mortal problems as possible.

7.  This show is NOT FOR KIDS!  You have to be at least a teenager to understand what goes on or to appreciate the mature dialogue.  This "Wonder Woman" is basically for sophisticated adults who want a kinky thrill in a sexy heroine.

8.  Sexual references.  The sexual references kind of surprised me, too, when I first saw this show.  It's the George Calvin character that makes these.  One of them is directly to Wonder Woman where he says "Let me make love to you.".  Another instance is when he makes a crack about the rogue Amazon Angela to "set her price" as in paying her for sex.

9.  This is NOT a superhero show.  I talk about it here in "Super-Powered!" because it's an interpretation of Wonder Woman and that is it.  This show is a strong blend of James Bond and Bionic Woman.  Very serious.  The only light moments are the tender moments between the men and women characters.  It can also be thought of as "The Avengers" with only the woman half of the team.  In this show, Wonder Woman does not have super powers.

10.  Wonder Woman has no super powers.  Her talents are javelin-throwing, javelin-catching, pole-fighting with the javelin, and gymnastics.  She also knows martial arts.

11.  The bracelets are never used to deflect bullets.  Late in the show, we find out that one of the bracelets is an explosive device.  What the heck?  With all the gunplay I was expecting her to deflect some bullets.

12.  She has no magic lasso.  No golden lasso that makes people tell the truth in this show.  That was always a big part of the Wonder Woman character idea, and it's completely ignored.  That sucks.  We do find out, though, that Wonder Woman has rope hidden inside her belt buckle.  She attaches it to one bracelet and uses it as a grappling hook to climb over a wall.  That's cool.

13.  The invisible plane.  Unless one is familiar with the comics, a viewer would not know what was happening when she was flying her invisible plane.  You don't see the plane at all.  All you see is a top view of New York City and you hear an airplane noise.  The invisible plane is mentioned once to the villain Mr. Smith near the end of the show.  They could've done better with the invisible plane, or not have even done it at all.  If we can't see it or are not allowed to know what's going on, it's not even worth mentioning.

14.  Ahnjayla, the evil Amazon.  I think Ahnjayla and the actress who plays her is HOT, but I don't like the idea that an Amazon can just go bad like that.  Amazons are supposed to be much more highly advanced and in charge of their emotions than the rest of Earth's population.  Petty jealously because Diana gets to go to the outside world instead of her is what drives her to evil.  It's supposed to take a lot more than that for an Amazon to lose her way.  This just doesn't ring true.  I will admit, though, that Ahnjayla is an awesome character and she supplied the female nemesis every heroine should have in an adventure show.

15.  Paradise Island seems so unimportant.  We see Paradise Island very briefly at the beginning of the show for only a few minutes as Diana is leaving.  A bit later an Amazon visits Diana in the outside world to tell her of the fallen Ahnjayla (pronounced "Angela") and how she's not to be trusted.  This part and Ahnjayla are the only connections to Paradise Island in the whole show.

16.  Wonder Woman is too cocky.  Cathy Lee Crosby is a cool actress, but the Wonder Woman character is too cocky and defiant in this show.  WW is supposed to be kind of naive like a child, but still fiercely intelligent.  This Wonder Woman was not filled with much compassion or love.  Besides the fact that she doesn't kill people, she doesn't seem like that much of a sweetheart at all.  Sure she can be polite, but she's definitely a tough cookie when it comes right down to it.  She is never that trusting of people.


Things I liked about this show:

1.  Cathy Lee Crosby is a great actress.  True, she does not strike us as Wonder Woman, but she played an interesting heroine all her own.  She had a way with words, and the dialogue she was given was great to see.  I liked how she shut down George Calvin cold when he was trying to impress her with his masculinity.  And her sayings like "Let's stop dancing.".

2.  The villains are especially nasty, and it's clear that we want to hate them.  The Mr. Smith character, however, is a lot more decent and doesn't believe in unnecessary killing.

3.  Like I said before, the filming was fantastic.  It was really opened up and we see a lot of outside filming and plenty of color.

4.  It stinks that Wonder Woman didn't have super powers, but it didn't stop her from having a lot of action.  She's karate fighting, jumping around, riding a motorcycle, fighting with javelins, climbing walls, diving off a cliff into the river and all kinds of things.

5.  The entire cast was great, even the most minimal players like the henchman and the henchwoman.  There was nobody that sucked.  Kaz Garas was cool as Steve Trevor.  Ricardo Mantalban was a surprisingly likeable villain as Mr. Abner Smith.  Andrew Prine was well done as the absolutely intolerable George Calvin.  The gum-chewing provided the extra annoyance we needed to really hate that guy.  Anitra Ford was wonderful as the fallen Amazon Ahnjayla (pronounced "Angela").  She looked great and could act.  I actually wish they would've done more with her in this show.  They left the Ahnjayla thing really open-ended.


My problems with the show:

1.  I don't like seeing a "Wonder Woman" show where people get killed on-screen and you even see blood.  It takes away from the glamour and the sexiness of the character.  It also makes this not for small kids.  This show has a very definite Dirty Harry kind of violent edge to it.  Thank goodness Wonder Woman herself does not kill people.

2.  The whole Ahnjayla deal is left totally unresolved.  I'm assuming they were leaving this open for a prospective series.  I don't like it that after she's defeated, she and Wonder Woman just go their separate ways.

3.  Wonder Woman is only called "Wonder Woman" twice in this show.  Once when she checks into the New York City hotel, and once at the end by Mr. Smith when he says "I love you Wonder Woman.".  Most of the time she goes by Diana Prince or by an assumed name.  She's supposed to be Wonder Woman.  That's what the show is called.  For crying out loud, call her "Wonder Woman".  Give us some kind of connection to the character we knew.

4.  The agency Wonder Woman works for does not have a name.  At least we are not told what it's called.  They did so little in explaining how she started there in the first place or why she works there that they could've at least given us a name.

5.  Too much of the James Bond kind of "be nice to the bad guys when we know they're bad" kind of socialization.  It gets on my nerves after awhile to see people who know they hate each other acting so darn chummy.  Good grief, already, somebody throw a punch.  Do something!

6.  The invisible plane sequence was lackluster.  It might as well have not been included.  It didn't add that much to the allure of the character like it should have.

7.  No magic lasso, no super powers, the bracelets are not bulletproof, has a quasi-secret identity, is blonde, and her costume is not revealing.  Everything that was "Wonder Woman" is not here, yet they still had the nerve to call this show "Wonder Woman".

8.  Diana is not mentioned as being Princess of the Amazons.  We don't know if she is or not.  We don't really know much about her at all or where she comes from.