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Wonder Woman (TV Series 1975–1979) Poster

(1975–1979)

Trivia

When the son of Wonder Woman stunt double Jeannie Epper told his classmates that his mother performed on the Wonder Woman television series they did not believe him, even after showing them a photo of his mother in costume. When series star Lynda Carter was told of the situation, she took it upon herself to invite his entire class to visit the Wonder Woman set to see Jeannie perform.
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Lynda Carter had $25 left in her bank account when she got the call that she had landed the part of Wonder Woman. She beat 2000 other actresses to the part.
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In the episode "Anschluss 77" (episode 2.2) the script called for Wonder Woman to grab on to a bar under a helicopter and hold on to it as the helicopter lifted 50 feet into the air. Actress Lynda Carter's stunt double shot the scene but as the camera was so close to the stand-in it became obvious that it wasn't Lynda. As the production crew was beginning to lose their lighting, Lynda felt she could perform the stunt on her own and told her stunt double to let her go instead. She filmed the scene herself, which angered the unaware producers of the series as Carter not only didn't inform anyone ahead of time, but did not use protective wrist guards what could have held her to the helicopter should she not have the strength to hold on.
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Although Debra Winger made a sizable amount of money for her appearances as Wonder Woman's little sister, she actually spent most of it on buying herself out of her Warner Bros. contract as she had second thoughts on continuing to perform her contracted character of Wonder Girl.
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Tensions between series stars Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner grew to the point that as the series went on the two stars appeared in fewer and fewer scenes together. So that Waggoner's character would have more activity on the show, producers brought in S. Pearl Sharp to play fellow IADC agent Eve. Waggoner was to be completely written out of the show as in the last episode of the series Diana is relocated to the Los Angeles bureau of IADC. In recent interviews, Lynda Carter has denied any tension existed. But she does say in interviews she regrets not getting to know him better.
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Costume designer Donfeld had originally created a red, white and blue two-piece bikini for actress Lynda Carter when she was to perform as Wonder Woman in the water. When the finished bikini did not seem to stay on the actress during the required scenes, production opted to go with the full body wetsuit instead.
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Lynda Carter unsuccessfully tested for the first Wonder Woman TV movie, Wonder Woman (1974), that starred Cathy Lee Crosby.
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The dog Tiger used in the episode "The Girl From Islandia" is the same dog named Tiger from The Brady Bunch (1969) and from Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (1973) where he appeared as Fluffy.
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Lynda Carter controlled the flashes flying from her bullet-deflecting bracelets herself. She was holding a remote control device in her clasped hands.
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In the pilot and the first 2 episodes Diana's transformation into Wonder Woman was accomplished by spinning her clothes off in slow motion. This proved to be too expensive and time consuming, to do on a weekly basis. Finally, from the third episode they used a cheaper concept, for the transformation is the ball of light and, it was used through out the remainder of the three year run.
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The first season of the series was set during World War II. When the series moved from ABC to CBS the next year, the entire format of the show was changed with the immortal Wonder Woman returning to civilization in the late 1970s and teaming up with the son of Steve Trevor from the first season (of course played by the same actor). Lynda Carter's costume also underwent some minor modifications with the changeover.
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The first two actual episodes of the first season (the pilot was originally shown as a made for TV movie) were broadcast as TV "specials". The executives at ABC were still unsure if they wanted to commit to a full season of the series and decided to produce 2 episodes and show them as specials. When these specials generated high ratings, ABC gave the green light for the series and the remaining 11 episodes to be shown in the fall.
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Near the end of the second season, the series introduced "Rover", a small robot that became comic relief. Rover occasionally would go "Meep-meep!" to get people out of the way. The sound effect for this is the same as that used for the Road Runner in Warner Brother's Looney Tunes cartoons.
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Some of the sound effects from Star Trek (1966) (most notably the background soundtrack used on the Enterprise bridge) were used for various electronic and computer sound effects on this show.
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Lyle Waggoner was elected mayor of Encino, California and served in this capacity during production of the series.
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The Super Loop roller coaster shown in the episode "The Phantom of the Rollercoaster" is actually called The Revolution, which had debuted in 1976 at the California amusement park Magic Mountain. The amusement park would later be owned by Warner Bros., the studio that produced the Wonder Woman television series. The park was eventually incorporated into the Six Flags company and sold to Premier Parks. Nevertheless, Gotham, the comic book area of the park, remains based on Warners' DC Comics. Rare Wonder Woman merchandise continues to be sold in Magic Mountain stores.
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There were never any Wonder Woman/Superman crossover episodes because Warner Brothers was filming Superman (1978) and this television series at the same time. In addition, neither Christopher Reeve or Lynda were available for NBC's television special Legends of the Superheroes (1979) which was a live action version of Challenge of the Superfriends (1978).
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Lyle Waggoner is quoted as saying "If Wonder Woman had been allowed to keep fighting the Nazis, she would have been on for a very long time". Waggoner is referring to the fact that " Wonder Woman" was more successful and got better ratings when it was on ABC and took place in the 1940s. When the producers updated the series to the 1970s after CBS picked it up, the ratings sank.
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According to Lynda Carter, the three women who would become the original Charlie's Angels - Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, and Kate Jackson - all auditioned for the part of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman.
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Although the show was successful on ABC, the network was reluctant to renew the series for a second season. Wonder Woman was set in the 1940s and was therefore more expensive to produce than a series set in the present day. CBS picked up the show in 1977 and retooled it, setting it in the present day. The show continued an additional two seasons on CBS. CBS ultimately cancel this series in 1979 due to low ratings and a lack of new cast members. The 2017 theatrical film was a box-office success.
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The metal from which Wonder Woman's bullet-deflecting bracelets is made is called Feminum (in the original comics it was called Amazonium).
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An episode entitled "The Velvet Touch," involving toxic makeup, was unfilmed because star Lynda Carter was a spokeswoman for Maybelline.
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The following women all played the Queen Mother: Cloris Leachman, Carolyn Jones, and Beatrice Straight. All were Oscar nominees.
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The character of Wonder Girl, played by Debra Winger during the first season, first appeared in comic books in 1965, though the nature of the character is quite different in the TV series version. Today, the superhero is known by the name Troia. A new Wonder Girl was introduced in the mid-1990s.
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Technically, this series was never formally canceled; CBS allowed their option to renew the show expire without a decision.
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Warner Bros. attempted several spin-offs from characters in the Wonder Woman series. Actress Debra Winger was offered her own "Wonder Girl" series, but opted out as she wanted to perform in more serious roles. A similar series was proposed for actress Julie Anne Haddock for her role as the also super powered girl from the episode "The Girl From Islandia", actress Sheryl Lee Ralph who appeared in the episode "The Starships Are Coming" was approached to play another super hero, as was Bob Seagren for his role in the episode "The Man Who Could Not Die". Alas, the last three proposals never made it past the approval stage.
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In the comics, Etta Candy was a college student who met Diana Prince while in the hospital for an appendectomy. She became Wonder Woman's friend after she got well. In the series, of course, she was a WAC working in the War Department. Also in the comics, Diana Prince was a US Army 2nd lieutenant working as the secretary to Colonel Darnell, the head of Military Intelligence. This was changed to a US Navy WAVE and Steve Trevor's secretary in the series. The character of General Blankenship was created specifically for the series. In the comics, Steve Trevor and Diana Prince reported to Colonel Darnell, who became General Darnell after World War II. Colonel Darnell made his first live action appearance in the 2017 theatrical film adaptation.
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The series was the first adaptation of a DC Comics character produced by Warner Brothers, as the two companies had come under the same ownership a few years before.
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The TV Wonder Woman bears only a superficial resemblance to the comic book Wonder Woman. On the show, Wonder Woman's Amazonian powers were maintained by her belt while she was away from Paradise island. In the comics, her powers were alternately the result of an Amazon training program (1941-59) or gifts from the Greek gods (1959 on). Also, in the comics, if Wonder Woman removed her bracelets, she'd lose control of her Amazon strength and go berserk. On the show, she frequently removed the bracelets without incident, yet lost her strength when the magic belt was removed.
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The episode of "Amazon Hot Wax" was removed from the American syndication package due to a discrepancy over the music rights (coincidentally involving the songs recorded by series star Lynda Carter). It was restored to this series for the 2005 DVD release and when it aired on Memorable Entertainment Television, however.
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The only villains that appeared both in the comic books and the TV series were Fausta Grabels played by actress 'Lynda Day George', Morgana played by Brenda Benet (who appeared in WW#186)and the Baronness Paula Von Gunther played by actress Christine Belford. Cheetah, Circes, Doctor Poison, Ares, and Doctor Psycho never had any appearances in this TV series.
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The Wartime set episodes featured Wonder Woman facing enemies only from Nazi Germany, and never against any enemies from the other Axis countries (Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy). Producers felt there was no greater evil than the Nazis, though passing references were made to the threats from Japan and Italy. One modern era episode featured flashbacks to Wonder Woman's appearance at a Japanese Internment Camp during the War.
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A decade earlier, Lyle Waggoner screen tested for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman for Batman (1966), but ultimately lost it to Adam West.
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Debra Winger has complained about her experiences working with Lynda Carter on Wonder Woman. Allegedly, Lyle Waggoner didn't get along with her either.
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Series Developer Stanley Ralph Ross had earlier written episodes of the Batman TV series. Ross also voiced characters in the Super Friends (1973) franchise, which featured Wonder Woman as a regular character. Wonder Woman's enemy Cheetah only appeared in Challenge of the Superfriends (1978). She never had any appearances in the live action television series.
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Wonder Woman was marketed as a female version of Batman, since it had some of the same creators as that campy 60s TV show.
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You see the insignia change on Diana's costume from a Eagle bra in the first season to a series of interlocking stripes in the second season. This is emblematic of an overall costume design change with the character in during that period; where the eagle breast plate was turned into a pair of W's on her chest which resembled an Eagle; and this is what the character costume design is today.
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Joanna Cassidy was considered for the lead role.
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On the series, Wonder Girl was the alter ego of Diana's younger sister Drusilla. In the comics at the time, Wonder Girl was Donna Troy, an orphaned girl who Wonder Woman saved from a house fire, and subsequently took to Paradise Island to be raised as an Amazon and develop super powers. In addition, the Wonder Girl of the comics was portrayed more as a member of the Teen Titans, rather than a regular sidekick to Wonder Woman. In the time since the TV series ended, the Wonder Girl character of the comics has gone through several reiterations and reboots.
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Wonder Woman is one of the only DC Comic hero that takes place in a real city; Washington DC; as opposed to Batman which takes place in mythical places like Gotham or Londinium, or Superman which takes place in Metropolis or Smallville.
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Wonder Woman's trademark spin around transformation was originally going to be done on a electronic platform; until Ms. Carter volunteered to just do a pirouette herself : utilizing her ballet training.
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Cathy Lee Crosby, who starred in ABC's original Wonder Woman TV Movie in 1974 has said she was offered to be the lead in this show but she declined.
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Diana's sister Drusilla, AKA Wonder Girl, is referred to in the 1940s version of the show, but not the modernized version. This is because Debra Winger decided not to come back the next season.
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At one point, in 1978, there were three superhero shows on the CBS prime time line up at the same time (and none on any of the other networks, ironically). Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and The Amazing Spider Man were all on the prime time lineup in the Fall of 1977 on CBS. Add to this The Six Million Dollar Man, and the Bionic Woman which both aired on ABC in the fall of 1977, and you have a record period for network airing of superhero programming.
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Part of the reason Show Producers chose Lyle Waggoner is that he had proven comedy chops after appearing on "The Carol Burnett Show" for several years; and "Wonder Woman" was originally intended to be a satire; or at least partially tongue in cheek; by the show producer Douglas Kramer who was also the producer on the satiric "Batman".
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Lynda Carter became very good friends with the family of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator.
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Debra Winger says the ABC/ WONDER WOMAN producers offered her a "Wonder Girl" spin-off but she declined.
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Diana changes her costume in "The Bushwackers". This episode's co-star Roy Rogers insisted that her star-spangled costume was too provocative and inappropriate for a Western-themed episode. For this reason, she donned a conservative outfit of a red long sleeve shirt and white long pants while temporarily staying at Hadley's ranch.
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Wonder Girl, on the TV series, was the younger sister of Wonder Woman. In the comics at the same time, Wonder Girl was the adopted sister, an orphan rescued by Wonder Woman and raised by Amazons. But Wonder Girl originally was Wonder Woman's adventures as a teen, much like the original Superboy. This was changed by DC, once the Teen Titans comic had mistakenly assumed Wonder Girl was the sidekick of Wonder Woman, and cast her alongside teen sidekicks.
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Wonder Woman was Produced by ABC television to be on rotation with their top ten ratings hit "The Bionic Woman"; and to fill in for Bionic Woman when Lindsay Wagner or the show producers themselves wanted a break from the schedule.
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In the television show Diana mother is simply referred to as "the queen". They never actually say her name, "Hypolitta".
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Lynda Carter has said in interviews that she liked the modernized version of the show better. "I didn't think she should be tongue in cheek," she said, referring to the campy nature of the first season episodes.
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Debra Winger who played Wonder Girl, Wonder Woman's sister, has said in interviews that Lynda Carter would not allow her to have the same elaborate costume she did, or the same level of make-up either; so she had to have a special costume made.
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In the comics wonder woman has mental telepathy and can communicate with other people through her ESP skills; this power was eliminated for the TV version (although most of the others were explored.)
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Lynda believes moving the show from the 1940s led to its permanent cancellation. Her character's most popular archive is undoubtedly set in the 1940s and this rings true for the TV series as well. She believes that the series would have not gotten removed from television if it stayed in the 1940s rather than jumping eras. Lyle Waggoner stated that same report in interviews.
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Lynda Carter eventually made $1 million a year on CBS appearing in Wonder Woman. ABC, still not knowing what to do with the series, had dropped the series and Ron Samuels, Carter's boyfriend and manager at the time brokered a deal with the CBS network for a full 22-episode season with a contemporary and renewed setting and an impressive contract for Lynda of $1 million dollars a year. This was one of the most lucrative contracts for a woman in Hollywood ever, at that point.
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On Thursday, May 10, 1979 Lynda received the first "CAPPY Award 1978-79" awarded by the "Stunts Unlimited" organization for doing many of her stunts on her "Wonder Woman" series.
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The second season episode "I do, I do" was the final episode to feature the animated opening. It is also the final episode to have the jumping sound effects held over from the first season's episodes and the background singers who sing the titular female character's name when she goes into action.
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This is the only Action and Adventure series in the history of television to have a historical setting and a female star.
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When ABC was rebooting it's Saturday morning Cartoon serial "Superfriends" (which in 1985 was to be retitled the "Legendary Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians") they sought out high profile actors to play some of the parts of the superheroes. They reached out to Lynda Carter to voice the character of Wonder Woman at this point. Adam West, who played Batman in the live action TV series; had agreed to play Batman this season; and show producers hoped they could strike gold again by having another iconic actor associated with a DC hero take part in the series. But Lynda Carter said no; she had other commitments. (In interviews she has said she has been approached several times since Wonder Woman was cancelled to do a reboot or a reunion special; like they did several times with Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman reunion movies. Carter said these reunion movies often turn out "pathetic"; so she always turns them down).
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Show Producer Douglas Cramer was aware of Lyle Waggoner not just from his work on the Carol Burnett show, but also from Batman. Cramer was also a producer on ABC's Batman show in the 1960s, and Waggoner had auditioned for him and his production team for the title character, and had lost out to Adam West circa 1966 and 1967 when they were casting the show.
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The Feminum Mystique was not the first time Wonder Girl was featured on a TV Show. Back in the sixties there was Saturday morning cartoon on CBS called The Superman Aquaman Hour of Adventure which was produced by Filmation and aired from 1967 to 1968. Premiering on September 9, 1967, this 60-minute program included a series of six-minute adventures featuring various DC Comics superheroes. One of these Six Minute segments was called "Teen Titans" and featured Wonder Girl.
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Many outdoor scenes taking place in Washington were clearly filmed in the Los Angeles area, which bears little resemblance to DC. Writers at times would get around that by having Diana taking assignments in or around Southern California. At the very end of the series, Diana was transferred to the IADC's Office in Los Angeles, which likely would have been the show's permanent setting had the series continued.
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The Wonder Woman in Hollywood episode contains many star cameos; including Barry VanDyke; Dick Van Dyke's son who bullies Robert Hayes in the malt shop; Robert Hays (from the Airplane movies) who plays Corporal Jim Ames, who is the star of the episode; Debra Winger who plays Drusilla, Diana's sister; Carolyn Jones who plays Hypolitta, Diana's mother Hypolitta, Queen of the Amazons, and Christopher Norris, of "Trapper John MD" fame, who plays Beverly.
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Angie Bowie auditioned for the title character.
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Roddy McDowall made appearances on Wonder Woman on two different episodes as two different parts; he appeared on The Man Who Made Volcanoes and The Deadly Art of Crime; both as villains.
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The villainess Baroness Von Gunther and Diana's mother, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, appear as characters in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
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In the comics Wonder Woman usually battled women with supernatural powers (Circe, Morgan Le Fay, Nubia, Giganta, Artemis, the Silver Swan, Cheetah, etc. ). In the TV show there were no women like this, and actually her villains were usually male. The one notable exception to this was Formicida , a woman who could manipulate the ants and insects to attack and destroy whole buildings, in the "Formicida" episode
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When Lynda started the "Wonder Woman" series she earned $3,500 per episode, then as the series became a success, it was $6,000 per episode. This was even more than the more experienced Lyle Waggoner. And while Waggoner was not the lead, Lynda Carter was, it is well known that male stars tend to make about ten times what the women make; so this was remarkable.
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Dack Rambo, Jared Martin, Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackleford all had recurring roles on Dallas after they starred on Wonder Woman.
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Unlike The Incredible Hulk (1978) which lasted for five seasons, there were no television film reunions due to receiving low ratings toward the end of the third season.
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Although there is a "Morgana" who appears in the magic-themed "Diana's Disappearing Act" episode from Season 2, this is not Morgana (AKA Morgan Le Fay) from Wonder Woman Comics' Rogue Gallery. This is just Morgana, a random woman with no magical powers who is an assistant to the main magician in the episode, Count Cagliostro.
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The character of Hypolitta was introduced to the world in the ancient Greek Myth of the Labors of Hercules. One of his labors was to get the girdle from Hypolitta; Queen of the Amazons. In the original story Hercules steals the girdle from Hypolitta which causes her to attack him; and then he kills her. The DC and Wonder Woman mythology both touch upon this incident but in their version he does not kill her; he just tricks her and takes her girdle from her.
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Sound effects from Star Trek appear throughout Wonder Woman. Perhaps there wasn't much of a library to sift through for sound effects back then. Wonder Woman notably ripped sound effects straight from Star Trek including the background sounds from the deck of the Enterprise. The sound effects for "Rover"; the miniature mobile droid at the IADC; also used sound effects from Warner Brother's old Road Runner cartoons.
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Lynda Carter appeared on a Muppets Episode in January of 1980. Although she does not turn into Wonder Woman, in honor of the superhero , Scooter buys a mail-order course on how to be a superhero. Soon a crowd of Muppets are wearing silly costumes and reading Invincibility Made Easy. Meanwhile, Miss Piggy appears as "Wonder Pig", and battles a giant chicken.
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Lynda Carter (AKA Wonder Woman) said in an interview recently when they were two up and coming actors in Hollywood, and she was dealing with Hollywood's sexism, fellow Super hero Christopher Reeve was always very nice to her: "Christopher Reeve was always amazing. He was amazing before he was amazing."
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Shortly after Sam Raimi's Spider-Man (2002) came out, MTV hosted it's annual movie awards with co-hosts Sara Michelle Gellar and Jack Black, playing Wonder Woman and Spider-Man respectively. As boyfriend and girlfriend no doubt! And with Mary Jane Watson being Wonder Woman's secret identity! This is the only time in any media, albeit in a comic sketch, that a DC character would have a marvel secret identity, also the only time Spider-Man would ever interact with Wonder Woman; let alone being her boyfriend.
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Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, is one of the title characters in Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream; she is also the betrothed of Theseus in this depiction.
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