The original Greek legend of the Amazons differs greatly from the concept in the movie and comic book. According to the original story, the Amazons were a tribe of fierce women warriors who lived along the Black Sea in Asia Minor, or modern day Turkey. What made them so noteworthy was that the women archers would cut off one of their breasts so as to not interfere with their use of the bow. The word Amazon in Greek means "without a breast".
When Wonder Woman is first seen in costume, she is wearing a skirt which she quickly removes when her mother suggests it might be cumbersome. This is an homage to the original costume worn by the comic book character, which also featured a skirt that was eventually discarded for the same reason.
The opening sequence of the pilot was originally slightly different than that later used on the series. For many years the pilot movie and the series were under separate syndication contracts, and the pilot movie retained its original opening sequence whenever it was rebroadcast. When these contracts expired and the pilot was made part of the series its original opening sequence was replaced with the one used by the series. When the series was released on home video and later on DVD, neither of them contained the original opening sequence. In the original pilot, the black and white sequence ends with a bomb blowing up and an explosion sound effect. In the current pilot this black and white bomb footage is replaced with the animated exploding star used in the series opening sequence. The animated opening and theme song were also slightly different. In the original pilot when the words "Wonder Woman" appeared at the beginning of the sequence, the words "The New Original" appeared just above it. There are also some minor differences in the comic-book style animation sequence that follows. The title theme was also replaced with a re-recorded/mixed version as the producers felt the vocals on the original recording used in the pilot were too muffled and difficult to understand.
The memorable cat fight sequence between Lynda Carter and villainess Stella Stevens in the pilot was considered a milestone in TV action, and was later used as a reference between the similar fights that took place between Krystle and Alexis in Dynasty (1981).
Both of the royal Amazon actresses have ties to the Miss USA Pageant. Cloris Leachman entered in 1964 as Miss Chicago and won the runner-up position. Lynda Carter entered in 1973 as Miss Arizona and won first place, moving her on to compete for the title of Miss World.
Cloris Leachman played Wonder Woman's mother, the Queen of the Amazons, in the pilot episode only and was paid $25,000 for one day's shooting. Carolyn Jones took over the role for the rest of the first season, with Beatrice Straight for the second.
The pilot episode was originally presented as a one-shot 90 minute movie. It was entitled "The New Original Wonder Woman" because the producers wanted to make a clear distinction between this very true-to-the-comics adaptation and a previous "Wonder Woman" pilot movie that aired the year before starring Cathy Lee Crosby, which was very loosely based upon the comic book character.
The series started just as the infamous 1968-1974 story arc ended which had appeared in the comics where Wonder Woman loses her super-powers and starts becoming a secret agent for I-Ching; an asian CIA operative who specialized in martial arts. After a huge fan outrage Wonder Woman was restored back to her super-powered Amazonian state. The Series also started after Wonder Woman; in her original star spangled glory; appeared on the cover of the debut Issue of Ms. Magazine in 1942; forever linking her with the feminist movement.