That Amazing Amazon

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I saw the new Wonder Woman movie Tuesday night and left the theater very happy. There were applause from the crowd when the credits began to roll—certainly a good sign for this film’s fortunes. Women, particularly, are getting really excited about the movie. This tweet pretty much sums it up (in fact I’d like to nominate it for immediate induction into the Twitter Hall of Fame):

Director Patty Jenkins clearly gets it. (Can’t we just have her direct all the DC movies going forward?) Without spoiling too much, let me say a few things here.

It was revealed a while ago that this movie would be set in World War I, which perplexed me a bit. Why not set it in World War II, where the character has always begun, both traditionally and historically? But I can see how the decision makes sense when I take a step back. After all, why would the Amazons refrain from acting during the original “Great War” and wait until World War II to get involved in the larger affairs of the outside world? Now that they’ve done this, of course, I can’t help but wonder/hope that the next movie is set in WWII. The character just feels so right in that era, plus the flashback format would keep her away from the stink of the other present-day heroes on the cinematic DCU. (Maybe we’d even get some JSA appearances in the WWII era.)

I also have to praise the rehabilitation of the Steve Trevor character. Trevor was always kind of a dink in the comics, but he’s gold here, and well played by Chris Pine.

Finally, the film hewed more closely to the George Pérez, post-Crisis version of Wonder Woman, with a smattering of the “New 52” version thrown in. I would have preferred a more pre-Crisis Wonder Woman direction, naturally, but this isn’t a dealbreaker. As I’m a mythology geek in addition to being a comics geek, I also wish they stuck to the classic Greek mythology more religiously—but to be fair, every version of Wonder Woman seems to have struggled with this issue to some extent or other.

So by all means, go see this in the theaters asap if you haven’t already.

Making the Rounds

Naturally, Wonder Woman is all over the web at the moment. 13th Dimension has a sweet cover gallery up. Then there’s this blogpost on a classic, Bronze Age issue of Wonder Woman (#246) by a writer with a love for the era that’s similar to my own. DC has also added some classic, Golden Age Wonder Woman to its digital offerings (specifically Wonder Woman #8-15, Comic Cavalcade #1-13, and Sensation Comics #10-40), seemingly in honor of the film’s release.

Did you hear about the grumbling from some quarters regarding the women-only screenings of the film? The Mayor of Austin, Texas, had a funny response to one of those grumblers.

AV Club had an all-woman round table review of the film that was an interesting read. One quick note to Gwen Ihnat: I certainly appreciate your comic-geek bona fides, but Dr. Poison was not a nod to Dr. Cyber; she’s actually one of Wonder Woman’s oldest foes, having first appeared in Sensation Comics #2 (Feb. 1942).

WW’s Non-Comics History

Last time I opened the blogpost with a Youtube link to the opening theme of the classic Wonder Woman TV show. Recalling that show and seeing how much attention the new film is getting, I thought it would be fun to look back at Wonder Woman’s history in other media outside comics.

Wonder Woman is, of course, the most famous female superhero (or “superheroine,” if you prefer) in the world, standing shoulder to shoulder with Superman and Batman as part of the “holy trinity” of DC superheroes (if not all superheroes). Unlike Supes and Bats however—who almost immediately made the leap from the comics into movie serials, radio shows, and animated shorts—it took Wonder Woman a while to launch into alternate media.

It wasn’t until the height of the TV Batman craze of the latter 60s, when ABC tried to cash in with another superhero show, that Wonder Woman got her first shot. From the same producers that gave us that Batman show, we got this screen-test-type short, “Who’s Afraid of Diana Prince?”

…So yeah, that was weird. It was likely for the best that nothing more ever came of it.

Wonder Woman would ultimately make her debut on broadcast television with an appearance on (of all places) the animated Saturday morning show, The Brady Kids. The episode, titled “It’s All Greek to Me,” first aired on December 2, 1972.

The story takes Wonder Woman and the kids back to ancient Greece, where WW was a natural fit, given her origins were so steeped in Greek myth.

A little less than a year later, she was one of the superheroic big guns of the Super Friends show, which premiered on ABC in September of 1973.

Just a short time after this, in early ’74, she got her own live-action TV movie (also on ABC), but wasn’t very recognizable. Cathy Lee Crosby played the lead.

…Don’t ask me why she’s following a donkey there; I have no clue. Ditto the multi-colored mud coming down the wall.

An ABC spokesman would later confess to The Washington Post that modernizing Wonder Woman was a mistake. This was rectified with a rebooted TV movie that aired in November of 1975, starring the brilliantly-cast Lynda Carter in the lead. This time she looked like the Wonder Woman we all know and adore. They followed this up with two more hour-length episodes that same television season (airing in April of ‘76).

Three more full, proper seasons ran after that (1976-77, 1977-78, and 1978-79). The show remained on ABC through that first season before getting picked up by CBS for the second and third seasons. With the jump to CBS, the setting also changed from World War II to the then-present-day 70s, with the title slightly tinkered to “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman” to mark the transition.

That original opening theme to the show was a true toe tapper. The lyrics to that theme were as follows:

Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman
All the world’s waiting for you,
And the power you possess
In your satin tights,
Fighting for your rights
And the old Red, White, and Blue

Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman
Now the world is ready for you,
And the wonders you can do
Make a hawk a dove,
Stop a war with love,
Make a liar tell the truth

Wonder Woman,
Get us out from under, Wonder Woman
All our hopes are pinned upon you
And the magic that you do
Stop a bullet cold,
Make the Axis fold,
Change their minds,
And change the world

Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman
You’re a wonder, Wonder Woman

There were some lyrical changes when the show moved to the present day:

Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman
All the world is waiting for you,
And the wonders that you do
In your satin tights,
Fighting for our rights
And the old Red, White and Blue

Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman
All of us are counting on you,
And the power you possess
Putting all your might
On the side of right
And our courage to the test

Wonder Woman
Get us out from under, Wonder Woman

Here to fight the force of evil
And your chance won’t be denied
Woman of the hour,
With your superpower
We’re so glad you’re on our side

Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman
You’re a wonder, Wonder Woman

Naturally, they took out the World War II references, along with a few other tweaks. There were a few more changes later in the third season.

Same music and lyrics, but the comic-style panels are gone,  giving us just TV scenes. Then it was changed one last time.

Now all the lyrics are gone except “Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman!” And there’s some synth added, aimed (I’m guessing) to make it sound more modern (and possibly more disco).

A pilot for a new Wonder Woman show was made in 2011 but wasn’t picked up. Just for giggles, here’s an intro that a fan put together for that show, using the classic Wonder Woman theme music:

And finally—because I can never get enough of these classic TV themes in any form—here are some Wonder Woman remixes courtesy of Youtube. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

 

 

 

 

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