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!


  1. It seems like for some reason this show had a big gay following, but I was primarily only interested in the teen/tween boys who guest starred. I remember the episode that featured Tommy as the "bad boy" on the motorcycle in the tight Levis and leather jacket (very nice) and I also remember Johnny Doran as the boy whose dog dies at sea (very sad)..

    Johnny Doran was one of the teen boys of the late 70s (and rerun well into the mid-80s) that I was fascinated with.. I'm not really sure what it was about him (he was adorable, but there was something else about him that I fixated on). I remember him guest-starring in an episode of 'The Fantastic Journey' (one of the many low-budget sci-fi kids show of the time). He had hit puberty at that point and I thought he was beautiful; tall, slim, long blonde feathered hair and wearing a skin-tight gold lamé jumpsuit. I guess that was what it was, I recognized the power a boy like him could have over men and "idolized" him as something I wanted to BECOME rather than as an object of my own personal desire (in the way a little sister "worships" a beautiful older sister).

    That same year he also did the television film
    'Captains Courageous', which, as an 8 or 9yo kid, I read a lot of gay subtext into (a spoiled "sissy" boy gets rescued at sea by a fishing boat and Johnny is the cabin boy). I'm not sure if it's on YouTube but I know there are fairly cheap used VHS copies on Amazon.

  2. "Captains Courageous" has been filmed several times, always with a strong homoromantic subtext.

  3. One of my favorite 1960's shows was "FLIPPER", because Luke Halpin and Tommy Norden did their own underwater stunts.. No body doubles for these teenage merboys! Also liked to pretend that I was scuba diving with them! There was one episode- "City Boy"- when Luke Halpin wore a pair of snug-fitting gold colored swim trunks instead of his usual cut-off bluejean shorts!

  4. In light of recent Supreme Court rulings, we should bring tight jeans back.


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