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18 Wonderful Facts You Never Knew About the Wonder Woman 70s Series


Find out some amazing facts you probably didn't know about the 1970's superhero show Wonder Woman. In the history of television, only a handful of series have focused on a female superhero. The recent success of Supergirl owes a lot to a pioneering television show starring Lynda Carter. She broke new ground on and off the screen and paved the way for successful genre shows for men and women.

Find out more about this amazing show and marvel at the trials and tribulations that led to television history.

 1. Lynda Carter Was Broke When She Got the Part

Lynda Carter was a struggling actress when the show was cast and had $25 left in her bank account. Then she got the call that she had been cast in the lead role. The 24-year-old actress even needed to borrow money to make the rent because production didn't start for a few weeks.

2. Lynda Carter Was Paid More Than the Guys

When Lynda started the "Wonder Woman" series she earned $3,500 per episode, as the series went on she was paid $6,000 per episode. This was more than her more experienced costar Lyle Waggoner. It’s especially remarkable since, even today, usually male stars are paid more than female stars.


3. Lynda Carter Almost Played Wonder Woman the Year Before


She had tried out for and lost the part for the 1974 TV movie based on Wonder Woman. The role went to Cathy Lee Crosby. Crosby was approached to reprise the role for the TV series but she declined.


4. 2000 Actresses Tried Out For Wonder Woman

Lynda Carter said she beat out a veritable amazon army of actresses for the part. For example, all three women who would become Charlie’s Angels - Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, and Kate Jackson - auditioned. Even David Bowie’s wife, Angela also tried out.


5. Carter Did Some of Her Own Stunts

In one episode Wonder Woman is supposed to grabs onto the bar under a helicopter and be lifted 50 feet into the air. Actress Lynda Carter's stunt double shot the scene it was obviously not Lynda Carter and it ruined the shot. Carter volunteered to perform the stunt on her own without telling the producers. Not only was she hanging precariously from a helicopter with little training she didn’t use the protective wrist guards. Those guards are designed to keep her from losing her grip. Carter later said she "got into big trouble".


6. Wonder Woman’s Swimsuit Kept Coming Off

An episode called for Wonder Woman to go swimming so Costume designer Donfeld had created a red, white and blue two-piece bikini. Lynda Carter was supposed to wear it when Wonder Woman was in the water. They soon needed him to design a new swimsuit. Why? The studio cited “technical difficulties” with the finished costume. That’s Hollywood jargon for the suit kept coming off. A topless Wonder Woman would have been great for ratings but the wardrobe malfunction would never have made it on air. So Donfeld went back and designed a full body wetsuit for her to wear instead.

7. Wonder Woman Was Supposed to be the New Batman

Wonder Woman was originally intended to be campy and funny like the popular Adam West Batman series. Several crew members and the producer also worked on Batman. Lyle Waggoner, who played Steve Trevor, had even unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of Batman in the 1960s series but lost to West.


8. The Steve Trevor Role Was Literally Made for Lyle Waggoner


In the new movie, Chris Pine plays Wonder Woman's love interest, Steve Trevor. In the series, Lyle Waggoner was cast as the romantic lead Steve Trevor. Part of the reason was his handsome good looks and his comedic talent from  "The Carol Burnett Show".

The other reason was that he was friends with the pilot scriptwriter Stanley Ralph Ross. Ross was so impressed with Waggoner that he described Trevor as a man "jut of jaw and strong of mien, a Lyle Waggoner type. (Better yet, get Lyle Waggoner)" So they did.


9. The Spinning Change Was Lynda Carter’s Idea

In the comics, Superman would reveal his costume under his clothes. But Wonder Woman didn’t show how she changed. In the pilot and early episodes of the show she slowly spun her clothes off and awkwardly put her civilian clothes away. It was expensive for a weekly show.

They tried to come up with other ways to do it including an expensive mechanical platform. In a 2005 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Carter revealed that she volunteered to do it herself. “I was a dancer, so I said, ‘I can do a pirouette or a spin.’ They put in the explosion later”


10. Lynda Carter Controlled Her Bracelets


Whenever Wonder Woman deflected bullets off bracelets there were sparks. Lynda Carter controlled the explosions from controls in her hands. "[The property master] wired, almost like matchsticks, these little loads in the front where the stars were," explained Carter in the TV movie commentary. "And within those stars, there were some wires. Those wires went up the back of my wrist and into the palm of my hand ... I would fire them depending on which arm was taking the shot. It was pretty ingenious."


11. Stars From Brady Bunch and MASH Made an Appearance 

The TV series had many notable guest stars from the 1970s. Julie Ann Haddock, famous for her role as a tomboy Cindy Webster on "The Facts of Life's" plays Amadonna a girl with superpowers in "The Girl From Islandia". Eve Plumb, best known for playing Jan on "The Brady Bunch" appears in  "The Pied Piper" episode as Elena a woman who gets hypnotized by the villain. Gary Burghoff, best known for playing Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly on MASH  makes an appearance in "The Man Who Wouldn't Tell".


12. Wonder Woman Was Never Cancelled

When the series premiered on ABC it was a huge success. But the period setting in World War II made it expensive. Because of that, the network was reluctant to renew the series for a second season. ABC insists they never canceled the show but after the first season they didn’t pick it up for the second.

CBS picked up the show the next year and reset it in the present day. The show did go on an additional two seasons. But after three seasons CBS didn’t pick it up for a fourth season in 1979 due to low ratings. They also say they never canceled the show.


13. Wonder Woman Completely Changed in Season Two

When CBS picked up the series they decided to do a soft reboot. Instead of Diana Prince playing a secretary for the military she returns from Paradise Island 35 years later to join the Inter-Agency Defense Command (IADC). The new setting had the benefit of being less international, so less period and foreign sets and costumes. Plus the procedural police drama was a popular format at the time.


14. Wonder Woman Was the Only Character to Return in Season Two

When the show jumped from ABC to CBS only two cast members returned: Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner. But while Diana Prince returned in the 1970s, her lack of aging was explained by her being an Amazon.

Meanwhile, Waggoner returned as Steve Trevor Jr. the son of the original. They look almost exactly the same and no one ever bothers to ask why. She also admits he’d never mentioned a son despite being incredibly close to his father.

They also had to jump through hoops to explain why no one thought it strange that Diana Prince would return without an explanation. The romantic subplot was dropped with Junior since it would be super-creepy. Plus, executive producer Douglas S. Cramer said it’s hard to keep long-term romantic tension between leads and when it gets resolved the show usually gets canceled.

15. One Episode Was Scrapped Because of Advertisers

There was an episode called "The Velvet Touch" that involving toxic makeup. But it wasn't filmed because star Lynda Carter was a spokeswoman for Maybelline. They didn't want to mess up her image with the episode.

16. Lyle Waggoner and Lynda Carter Didn't Get Along

As the show became more popular tensions between series stars Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner grew. It got so bad that the two stars appeared in fewer and fewer scenes together. Carter said the animosity was exaggerated but Waggoner said it was due to Carter's ambition. "Just say," he told TV Guide with a slight smile, "the spotlight is not willing to be shared."

So that Waggoner's character would have more activity on the show, producers brought in S. Pearl Sharp to play fellow IADC agent Eve. There were plans to completely write Waggoner out of the show with Diana's move to Los Angeles. But the show was canceled before that happened.

17. Wonder Woman Never Had a Reunion Show Because Carter Says They’re “Pathetic”

Other 70s shows like The Incredible Hulk and Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman have reunion specials and movies. But Wonder Woman has never had one. Lynda Carter said in interviews she was approached several times to do a reboot or a reunion special. Carter said these types of movies often turn out "pathetic"; so she always turns them down.

18. Wonder Woman May Be in the Next Movie

Carter made a special appearance at the "Wonder Woman" film premiere in 2017, but she wasn’t cast in the film due to her scheduling conflict singing for cabarets. There are reportedly negotiations between Lynda Carter and Patty Jenkins for her to make an appearance in the next Wonder Woman movie: Wonder Woman 1984. “That is up to Patty Jenkins,” said Carter. “I’ve been talking to her about it. She’s given me some hints about it and I guess it’s up to Warner Bros if they want to spend the money … It really is up to Patty, and if it works in an organic way it’ll be great fun and it’ll be wonderful to do.” So we'll see.


Which is your favorite trivia fact about Wonder Woman? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!

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