Have Lipstick/Will Save The Day!
Television’s Most Memorable Super Women
By Henry Branham Jr.
Super hero movies have been the rage for the past decade or more, but so far the female crime fighters we have all come to love are yet to be seen on the big screen. This guide is a trip down memory lane of the greatest women super heroes from television! Whether you are male or female, you know these feminist heroes are both inspiring and titillating at the same time!
1. WONDER WOMAN (as portrayed by Lynda Carter) – Any mention of female super heroes on TV instantly conjures up the image of Lynda Carter as “Wonder Woman”. From 1975 to 1979, Wonder Woman fought crime using her magic lasso, bullet proof bracelets, super strength, and most of all, her kind heart. And she did it in two different decades. The first season of “Wonder Woman” took place during World War II, in which the beautiful daughter from Paradise Island assisted Major Steve Trevor in his daring escapades. To bring the character into the 1970’s, the look-alike son of Trevor falls to Paradise Island and meets Diana Prince who returns to the United State with him, to once again help on his missions against the Communists and space aliens! By season three Diana Prince / Wonder Woman was on her own, doing investigative work for the government. It should be noted that prior to Lynda Carter donning the red, gold, and blue suit there were two pilots made. The first, in 1967, featured Ellie Wood Walker has a neurotic wallflower, and was a camp comedy in the tradition of “Batman” that would never have worked. In 1974 Cathy Lee Crosby wore a much more conservative costume to play the famous super hero. And as recent as 2011 a new version began filming but has already fizzled. There is only one person who can ever truly be Wonder Woman and that is the amazing Lynda Carter!
2. BATGIRL (as portrayed by Yvonne Craig) – Television’s first sexy super heroine appeared in the final season of the ultra-hip & swinging hit show “Batman” in 1967. Batgirl was actually Barbara Gordon, the daughter of the inept Commissioner Gordon. The beautiful librarian clearly had a crush on Batman and decided to slip into a slinky purple cat suit, complete with cowl, cape, and red wig to help him out. Although the caped crusader and his straight laced sidekick, Robin The Boy Wonder had always been able to get out of sticky jams on their own, once Batgirl showed up she had to rescue them quite a few times. Due to Yvonne Craig’s background as a dancer, Batgirl’s fight moves were on par with that of a ballerina! She was graceful, giggly, and girlie (her Batcycle even had lace fringe on it), but she was still one tough cookie when she had to be!
3. ISIS (as portrayed by JoAnna Cameron) – Debuting in 1975, “The Secrets of Isis” was the very first television series to star a female super hero. She may not be as famous as Wonder Woman or Batgirl, but she’s a very important part of 1970’s pop culture. Airing on Saturday mornings, “The Secrets of Isis” was done in the same vein as “Shazam!”, in which kids and teenagers would find themselves in moral predicaments that would lead them into dangerous situations. School teacher Andrea Thomas had discovered a magical amulet on an archeological dig which gives her mythical powers and a sexy white dress to save the day. While Isis may possess great physical strength, she mainly just stands around pointing at rocks and moving them with whatever magic she has. At the end of most shows, Isis / Andrea Thomas would break the fourth wall and deliver a message on morality to the kids watching at home.
4. BIRDS OF PREY (as portrayed by Dina Meyer, Ashely Scott, & Rachel Skarsten)- This short-lived, but brilliant 2002 series re-imagines the Batman mythology to create a team of super heroines like never before. Batgirl, now called Oracle, (after being paralyzed and bound to a wheel chair) operates a crime lab high above Gotham City where she works with Helena Kyle, the daughter of Catwoman and Batman. Kyle’s super hero alter ego is The Huntress. Also in the mix is teenage runaway Dinah Redmond, the daughter of The Black Canary. Both recruits are two meta-humans who possess super powers which are used to battle crime and protect the eternally doomed city! This is by far the most seriously done of all the female super hero television shows.
5. ELECTRA WOMAN & DYNA GIRL – (as portrayed by Deidre Hall & Judy Strangis) – 1976 was a big year for women on TV! “Wonder Woman”, “Charlie’s Angels”, and “The Bionic Woman” all hit the air and Saturday Morning producers, Sid & Marty Krofft were quick to jump on the bandwagon with a serial that was part of their “Krofft Super Show” line-up. The show was an obvious parody of the 1966 “Batman” series, but children bought the perils of the title characters hook, line, and sinker. Lori & Judy were reporters by day and thanks to their bulky Electra Com bracelets, they could turn into super heroes. Dyna Girl’s sole purpose was to make witty puns (a’la Robin The Boy Wonder) and be captured so that Electra Woman could save her. No matter how campy the show was, it was great to see two sexy super heroes fighting crime in contrast to the other mindless Krofft series like “Dr. Shrinker” and “Wonder Bug”. If nothing else, “Electra Woman & Dyna Girl” had the best Saturday morning theme song ever!
“The Bionic Woman” was not forgotten, but super hero fans always question whether or not Jamie Somers and Steve Austin (“The Six Million Dollar Man”) actually qualify as super heroes. They do and they don’t. Also, “The Huntress” and “The Black Canary” were also featured in two dreadful 1979 specials entitled “The Legend of the Super Heroes”. Neither left much of impression due to low budget restraints and a cast size too large to be noticed.
And those are some of Television’s Most Memorable Super Women!