Pioneers of Television: Superheroes

Holy strawberries, Batman, we’re in a jam!

Burt Ward (aka Robin) may have thought this proclamation was cheesy… but let me tell ya, if I was a screenwriter and I came up with comedy gold like that, I would laugh until my sides split. I love that line and I loved this episode of Pioneers of Television! I’m not really a superhero kind of girl because none of it appealed to me, but now I want to watch the original Batman series and Wonder Woman.

The most intriguing comparison from this episode is Catwoman and Wonder Woman. Catwoman is depicted as a sensual and deliriously alluring fiend. The actress, Julie Newmar, even spoke of drawing attention to her hips by placing her belt at her hips rather than her waist. And… Julie Newmar… she was… uh… quite the character. I’m not sure if she was acting or actually aroused by her memories of being Catwoman, but there was some discomfort on my end. The television depiction of a female villain versus a female superhero only differs in personality. Lynda Carter was required to wear an outfit that suited the original comic book design, but it was just as scantily clad as Catwoman — drawing even more attention her body.

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Wonder Woman was a hero (or heroine) in every sense of the word and Lynda Carter is just as charming. After the episode ended, I went on an extended search of her career. Who knew this woman had pipes? I guess if you watched the show, you may have seen her singing performances a handful of times… but she can sing. In recent years, she has released two albums that include a mix of standards, jazz standards, and even songs from The Eagles (“Desperado”) and John Denver (“Leaving on a Jet Plane”). Lynda should be proud of her progressive move for women. Although she was forced to dress a certain way and become a “pin-up” girl in many respects, her attitude and position as someone who could save the day is just as encouraging as mothers who tell their children that they can do just the same.

Every single episode of Pioneers has been informative and enjoyable. I can’t wait to watch it and learn more about the origins of our television programming. You’d think knowing that Adam West landed his role on Batman from a NesQuik commercial isn’t an important piece of information, but I’m happy to know it! If you missed it, don’t worry, you can find it online here and join me next week on KACV for another episode of Pioneers of Television!

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