Jan 12, 2013

Mighty Isis

In the fall of 1975, I was in high school, too old for Saturday morning tv.  I still watched, but sneakily, with an algebra textbook open on my lap, pretending to be just sharing space in the living room with my brother and sister: Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (a gay couple adopts a sea monster), Land of the Lost (a gay boy trapped far from home), Westwind (about Van Williams taking his shirt off).

But what was the point of The Mighty Isis (1975-77), about a mild-mannered science teacher, Andrea Thomas  (JoAnna Cameron), who recites "Oh, Mighty Isis!" and turns into the ancient Egyptian goddess?  And then uses her superpowers to get teenagers out of jams?  And then preaches to them: "See, you shouldn't use tobacco!  See, you shouldn't hang out with kids who drive motorcycles!  See, you should always carry a jacket!"

1. Andrea had a buddy, fellow science teacher Rick Mason (Brian Cutler), who was cute and had no romantic interest in her. (Photo is from Catalina Caper a few years before, where he got to buddy-bond with gay actor Tommy Kirk).

2. But Rick did get a boyfriend (Gregory Elliot) in "Seeing Eye Horse." (about a boy who was blinded in a riding accident, and therefore afraid to "get back on the horse again.")

3. Every teen hunk in the business guest starred: Leigh McCloskey (Dallas), Johnny Doran (Captains Courageous), Buddy Foster (Mayberry RFD), Thomas Carter (The White Shadow).  They rarely took their shirts off, but in the 1970s exceptionally tight pants were in style.

4. There was little heterosexual romance, but a lot of homoromantic entanglement.

For instance, the episode "How to Find a Friend" has the teenage Tom (Mike Lookinland  of The Brady Bunch) gazing wistfully at cool motorcyclist Joe (Tommy Norden of Flipper).  He tries to win Joe's heart by offering him a loaded gun.  It doesn't work.

But Isis assures him  that someday he'll meet a boy who likes him for himself, not for the size of his. . .um. . .gun.

5. There were crossovers with Captain Marvel from Shazam!