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Douglas S. Cramer , Peter J. Elkington , Leonard Horn , William Moulton Marston [Charles Moulton] , Stanley Ralph Ross

The New Original Wonder Woman (Series, S01 E01: Pilot)

YEAR: 1975

COUNTRY: United States of America

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Title of the work

The New Original Wonder Woman (Series, S01 E01: Pilot)

Studio / Production Company

Douglas S. Cramer Company, Warner Bros. Television, ABC Television

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United States

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

1975

First Edition Details

The New Original Wonder Woman (Pilot). Directed by Leonard Horn, created by Stanley Ralph Ross, based on characters by William Moulton Marston, producted by Douglas S. Cramer and Associate Producer: Peter J. Elkington (Associate Producer), November 7, 1975.

Running time

74 min

Date of the First DVD or VHS

The Complete First Season DVD was released on August 15, 2005. Complete Season Box set released July 18, 2016.

Available Onllne

Available on Amazon online (pay to view)

Genre

Action and adventure fiction
Fantasy fiction
Superhero films
Television series

Target Audience

Crossover (Families including children (the DVD was given a PG rating))

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com  

Male portrait

Douglas S. Cramer , b. 1931
(Producer)

Cramer is an American television producer who worked for ABC Television, 20th Century Fox, Paramount television and Spelling Television, as well as his own production company. He produced a number of television series and soap operas from the 1970s to the 1990s including The Love Boat, Mission Impossible, The Brady Bunch, Dynasty, The Colbys and television film versions of Danielle Steele novels, as well as Wonder Woman. He is also well-known as an art collector.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Peter J. Elkington , 1926 - 2001
(Producer)

Elkington is a British-born producer and actor who worked in Canada and America as associate producer for the documentary series Telescope and the Wonder Woman pilot.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Leonard Horn , 1926 - 1975
(Director)

Horn was an American television director and producer. He worked on a number of action, fantasy, police and hospital series in the 1960s and 1970s up until his death in 1975 including Dr Kildare, The Doctors and the Nurses, The Outer Limits, Mission Impossible, Mannix, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Rookies. He directed the pilot only for Wonder Woman


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

William Moulton Marston [Charles Moulton] , 1893 - 1947
(Author)

American psychologist Marston is best known as developer of the systolic blood pressure test, and for creating the character of Wonder Woman. Marston wrote the first Wonder Woman story for Sensation comics in 1941, with artist Harry G. Peter. Marston continued to write Wonder Woman comics until his death in 1947.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Stanley Ralph Ross (Author, Screenwriter)

After an early career in advertising, American television writer, actor and voice artist Ross started writing for television in the 1960s, working on Batman, The Monkees and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Ross was co-writer of a short pilot for Wonder Woman filmed in 1967, but never broadcast, titled Wonder Woman: Who’s Afraid of Diana Prince. Ross developed the 1970’s Wonder Woman series for television with Douglas S. Cramer, but only wrote the pilot episode. In 1979 he was writer on the television film Gold of the Amazon Women, writing as Sue Donem, a film placing the Amazons in the South American jungle rather than ancient Greek setting. He also developed television series Monster Squad and That’s My Mama.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University,amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Casting

Lynda Carter - Princess Diana/Diana Prince/Wonder Woman

Lyle Waggoner - Major Steve Trevor

John Randolph - General Phil Blankenship

Stella Stevens - Marcia

Ashley Norman - Red Buttons

Eric Braeden - Captain Drangel

Henry Gibson - Nikolas

Kenneth Mars - Colonel Von Blasko

Cloris Leachman - Queen Hippolyta

Summary

During World War 2, American pilot Major Steve Trevor crash lands on Paradise Island, an island inhabited by Amazons, who have lived there at peace away from men since the times of ancient Greece. Found on the beach by Princess Diana and a fellow Amazon, Steve is nursed back to health. Diana wins an Olympic Games/schools sports day contest in disguise, including avoiding her opponent’s bullets by deflecting them with her bracelets, in order to be able to take Steve home to America. The Amazon Queen, Hippolyta, is at first reluctant for Diana to go, but when she wins the contests she awards her daughter with the lasso of truth, and is proud of her daughter for her bravery and skill. In an interesting twist Hippolyta, who is distrustful of men, tells Diana that "our civilisation is perfection" and "young Amazon minds are best occupied with athletic discipline and higher learning". These are areas that modern viewers would associate with the Ancient Greek male-centric society, which brought us the Olympic Games and Philosophy.

In America Diana, calling herself Wonder Woman, uses her speed and strength first to stop a bank robbery, where she comes to the notice of Ashley Norman, a showman who wants to put her on the stage with her "bullets and bracelets routine"; Diana makes one appearance, and avoids the bullets from the machine gun of an old lady in the audience, who has accompanied Steve’s attractive secretary and Nazi spy, Marcia. Steve is abducted by Marcia and her accomplices, including Norman, but Diana as Wonder Woman saves Steve and also stops a Nazi pilot from dropping bombs on America. At the end of the episode Diana is given the job as Steve’s new secretary, disguised as the plain Diana Prince, with hair scraped back, glasses, and a military uniform.

Analysis

The Wonder Woman series was highly influential with young people in the 1970s, and the character of Diana/Wonder Woman particularly inspired a generation of young girls, as the first female action heroine on television (the pilot was broadcast a year earlier than The Bionic Woman and Charlies Angels were first aired). This would be the first exposure many young viewers had to the concept of the Amazons from Greek mythology. The pilot episode is closely based on Marston’s comics, which are set in WW2, including the crash landing, the games, and Steve Trevor’s return. Some slight changes are made, including the addition of the character of Marcia. Any use of Greek mythology can be tied directly back to Marston, for example the use of the name Queen Hippolyta, and the Amazons as a society of women who lived apart from men. There is no evidence that any specific ancient sources are used by either Marston or the creators of the television episode. The story being told is that of how the Amazon Princess Diana becomes Wonder Woman, rather than a story from Greek mythology 

The Wonder Woman pilot provides viewers with a specifically 1970s version of the Amazons, dressed in babydoll nightdresses, rather than wearing costumes based on ancient images in sculpture or vase painting (or from archaeological evidence from the Scythian "warrior women" graves, which was not available in the 1970s.) Neither are Marston’s own Amazons portrayed in costumes based on ancient visual culture, instead they wear halter-neck tops and gym skirts. The warrior status of both Marston’s Amazons and the Amazons from the pilot episode is indicated by superhuman strength and speed, and in the ability to stop the Nazis and other wrongdoers. They are not portrayed on the battlefield, as the Amazons in Wonder Woman (2017) are.

The Amazons on Paradise Island in both Marston’s comic and in the pilot episode are a community of women apart from men led by a queen with an Amazonian name, Hippolyta. Also, in both texts their society is a utopian one, supported by technology, such as the invisible plane, and with an education programme and pastimes based on those of ancient Greece, including the athletics in the Olympic games style contest to decide who will return Steve Trevor to America. In the pilot, Queen Hippolyta is a character who can be seen as a man-hating feminist, espousing separatism from men. However, the authority of her views are undermined through her portrayal as a frivolous and comic character, wearing many jewels. The character of Diana, who sees the value of "sisterhood," and the possibility for men and women to live together as equals, offers an alternative feminism that is more palatable for 1970s viewers. Viewers with knowledge of the stories of Heracles and Hippolyta and Theseus and Hippolyta may understand why Hippolyta has no time for men, but these male characters are not mentioned by name in the pilot episode. And whereas the Amazons in ancient sources are all ultimately defeated by male heroes, in the pilot episode Amazons are superior to men (only women, we are told by Hippolyta, have the necessary ability to attempt "bullets and bracelets" and survive).


Further Reading

Bergstrom, Signe. Wonder Woman: Ambassador of Truth. New York: HarperCollins, 2017.

Daniels, Lee. Wonder Woman the Complete History: The Life and Times of the Amazon Princess. London: Titan, 2000.

Gietzen, Andreas and Marion Gindhart. "Project(ion) Wonder Woman: Metamorphoses of a Superheroine" in Filippo Carla and Irene Beri (eds.), Ancient Magic and the Supernatural in the Modern Visual and Performing Arts. London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2015, pp. 134-150.

Inness, Sherrie. Tough Girls: Women Warriors and Wonder Women in Popular Culture. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

O’Reilly, Julie. "The Wonder Woman Precedent: Female (Super)Heroism on Trial", The Journal of American Culture, 28.3, 2006,  273-283.

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Title of the work

The New Original Wonder Woman (Series, S01 E01: Pilot)

Studio / Production Company

Douglas S. Cramer Company, Warner Bros. Television, ABC Television

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United States

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

1975

First Edition Details

The New Original Wonder Woman (Pilot). Directed by Leonard Horn, created by Stanley Ralph Ross, based on characters by William Moulton Marston, producted by Douglas S. Cramer and Associate Producer: Peter J. Elkington (Associate Producer), November 7, 1975.

Running time

74 min

Date of the First DVD or VHS

The Complete First Season DVD was released on August 15, 2005. Complete Season Box set released July 18, 2016.

Available Onllne

Available on Amazon online (pay to view)

Genre

Action and adventure fiction
Fantasy fiction
Superhero films
Television series

Target Audience

Crossover (Families including children (the DVD was given a PG rating))

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com  

Male portrait

Douglas S. Cramer (Producer)

Cramer is an American television producer who worked for ABC Television, 20th Century Fox, Paramount television and Spelling Television, as well as his own production company. He produced a number of television series and soap operas from the 1970s to the 1990s including The Love Boat, Mission Impossible, The Brady Bunch, Dynasty, The Colbys and television film versions of Danielle Steele novels, as well as Wonder Woman. He is also well-known as an art collector.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Peter J. Elkington (Producer)

Elkington is a British-born producer and actor who worked in Canada and America as associate producer for the documentary series Telescope and the Wonder Woman pilot.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Leonard Horn (Director)

Horn was an American television director and producer. He worked on a number of action, fantasy, police and hospital series in the 1960s and 1970s up until his death in 1975 including Dr Kildare, The Doctors and the Nurses, The Outer Limits, Mission Impossible, Mannix, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Rookies. He directed the pilot only for Wonder Woman


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

William Moulton Marston [Charles Moulton] (Author)

American psychologist Marston is best known as developer of the systolic blood pressure test, and for creating the character of Wonder Woman. Marston wrote the first Wonder Woman story for Sensation comics in 1941, with artist Harry G. Peter. Marston continued to write Wonder Woman comics until his death in 1947.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Stanley Ralph Ross (Author, Screenwriter)

After an early career in advertising, American television writer, actor and voice artist Ross started writing for television in the 1960s, working on Batman, The Monkees and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Ross was co-writer of a short pilot for Wonder Woman filmed in 1967, but never broadcast, titled Wonder Woman: Who’s Afraid of Diana Prince. Ross developed the 1970’s Wonder Woman series for television with Douglas S. Cramer, but only wrote the pilot episode. In 1979 he was writer on the television film Gold of the Amazon Women, writing as Sue Donem, a film placing the Amazons in the South American jungle rather than ancient Greek setting. He also developed television series Monster Squad and That’s My Mama.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University,amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Casting

Lynda Carter - Princess Diana/Diana Prince/Wonder Woman

Lyle Waggoner - Major Steve Trevor

John Randolph - General Phil Blankenship

Stella Stevens - Marcia

Ashley Norman - Red Buttons

Eric Braeden - Captain Drangel

Henry Gibson - Nikolas

Kenneth Mars - Colonel Von Blasko

Cloris Leachman - Queen Hippolyta

Summary

During World War 2, American pilot Major Steve Trevor crash lands on Paradise Island, an island inhabited by Amazons, who have lived there at peace away from men since the times of ancient Greece. Found on the beach by Princess Diana and a fellow Amazon, Steve is nursed back to health. Diana wins an Olympic Games/schools sports day contest in disguise, including avoiding her opponent’s bullets by deflecting them with her bracelets, in order to be able to take Steve home to America. The Amazon Queen, Hippolyta, is at first reluctant for Diana to go, but when she wins the contests she awards her daughter with the lasso of truth, and is proud of her daughter for her bravery and skill. In an interesting twist Hippolyta, who is distrustful of men, tells Diana that "our civilisation is perfection" and "young Amazon minds are best occupied with athletic discipline and higher learning". These are areas that modern viewers would associate with the Ancient Greek male-centric society, which brought us the Olympic Games and Philosophy.

In America Diana, calling herself Wonder Woman, uses her speed and strength first to stop a bank robbery, where she comes to the notice of Ashley Norman, a showman who wants to put her on the stage with her "bullets and bracelets routine"; Diana makes one appearance, and avoids the bullets from the machine gun of an old lady in the audience, who has accompanied Steve’s attractive secretary and Nazi spy, Marcia. Steve is abducted by Marcia and her accomplices, including Norman, but Diana as Wonder Woman saves Steve and also stops a Nazi pilot from dropping bombs on America. At the end of the episode Diana is given the job as Steve’s new secretary, disguised as the plain Diana Prince, with hair scraped back, glasses, and a military uniform.

Analysis

The Wonder Woman series was highly influential with young people in the 1970s, and the character of Diana/Wonder Woman particularly inspired a generation of young girls, as the first female action heroine on television (the pilot was broadcast a year earlier than The Bionic Woman and Charlies Angels were first aired). This would be the first exposure many young viewers had to the concept of the Amazons from Greek mythology. The pilot episode is closely based on Marston’s comics, which are set in WW2, including the crash landing, the games, and Steve Trevor’s return. Some slight changes are made, including the addition of the character of Marcia. Any use of Greek mythology can be tied directly back to Marston, for example the use of the name Queen Hippolyta, and the Amazons as a society of women who lived apart from men. There is no evidence that any specific ancient sources are used by either Marston or the creators of the television episode. The story being told is that of how the Amazon Princess Diana becomes Wonder Woman, rather than a story from Greek mythology 

The Wonder Woman pilot provides viewers with a specifically 1970s version of the Amazons, dressed in babydoll nightdresses, rather than wearing costumes based on ancient images in sculpture or vase painting (or from archaeological evidence from the Scythian "warrior women" graves, which was not available in the 1970s.) Neither are Marston’s own Amazons portrayed in costumes based on ancient visual culture, instead they wear halter-neck tops and gym skirts. The warrior status of both Marston’s Amazons and the Amazons from the pilot episode is indicated by superhuman strength and speed, and in the ability to stop the Nazis and other wrongdoers. They are not portrayed on the battlefield, as the Amazons in Wonder Woman (2017) are.

The Amazons on Paradise Island in both Marston’s comic and in the pilot episode are a community of women apart from men led by a queen with an Amazonian name, Hippolyta. Also, in both texts their society is a utopian one, supported by technology, such as the invisible plane, and with an education programme and pastimes based on those of ancient Greece, including the athletics in the Olympic games style contest to decide who will return Steve Trevor to America. In the pilot, Queen Hippolyta is a character who can be seen as a man-hating feminist, espousing separatism from men. However, the authority of her views are undermined through her portrayal as a frivolous and comic character, wearing many jewels. The character of Diana, who sees the value of "sisterhood," and the possibility for men and women to live together as equals, offers an alternative feminism that is more palatable for 1970s viewers. Viewers with knowledge of the stories of Heracles and Hippolyta and Theseus and Hippolyta may understand why Hippolyta has no time for men, but these male characters are not mentioned by name in the pilot episode. And whereas the Amazons in ancient sources are all ultimately defeated by male heroes, in the pilot episode Amazons are superior to men (only women, we are told by Hippolyta, have the necessary ability to attempt "bullets and bracelets" and survive).


Further Reading

Bergstrom, Signe. Wonder Woman: Ambassador of Truth. New York: HarperCollins, 2017.

Daniels, Lee. Wonder Woman the Complete History: The Life and Times of the Amazon Princess. London: Titan, 2000.

Gietzen, Andreas and Marion Gindhart. "Project(ion) Wonder Woman: Metamorphoses of a Superheroine" in Filippo Carla and Irene Beri (eds.), Ancient Magic and the Supernatural in the Modern Visual and Performing Arts. London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2015, pp. 134-150.

Inness, Sherrie. Tough Girls: Women Warriors and Wonder Women in Popular Culture. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

O’Reilly, Julie. "The Wonder Woman Precedent: Female (Super)Heroism on Trial", The Journal of American Culture, 28.3, 2006,  273-283.

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