Wonder Woman - Season 1, Episode 2
Title: "Fausta, the Nazi Wonder Woman"
Air Date: April 28, 1976
Those crazy Nazis are at it again, and this time their plans to capture Wonder Woman are more ridiculous and confusing than ever. In this episode:
A car chase that ends with one automobile running out of gas
To blend in with Germans, Steve Trevor wears a ridiculous hat
Nazi henchmen who look like adjunct professors at a community college
Wonder Woman proves she's stronger than a Wookie
Steve Trevor summons German peasant women by whistling
So, what are you waiting for?
In the last episode we met femme fatal, Baroness Von Gunther. This time it's Fausta Grables, an Aryan bitch so cold blooded she makes Herman Goering look like Alan Alda. Think Ilsa, wicked warden of the SS, and you're on the right track.
Fausta is played by Lynda Day George, primarily known for her role on Mission Impossible. After she left the show, her and her husband, Christopher George, appeared together in a bunch of TV episodes and movies (including this one).
|The top secret Nazi case file on WW|
If there's one thing fictional Nazis are good at, it's concocting diabolical plans. "Vee vill use Steve Trevor as bait". Their plan to take out WW could've been so simple, but no. They have to formulate some convoluted series of impossibilities. But that's the beauty of these old stories - before viewing audiences and comic readers got cynical and "wise" to the absurdity. This trope is known as "complexity addiction":
Complexity Addiction: The villain does try to kill the hero, but employs some ridiculously elaborate (and thus easily-foiled) method, rather than just shooting them.
So, Fausta disguises herself as a cleaning woman and douses Steve with knock-out gas. She then ties him up inside a crate in a warehouse. The next day, she gives Diana an anonymous tip of Steve's location.
This is peculiar because Fausta doesn't know WW's secret identity. Yet, in an attempt to lure WW to the warehouse, she calls Diana's desk?
And who these bloodthirsty Nazis that plan to meet WW at the warehouse? Surely, they must be the most merciless killers of the SS. Let's take a look at these horrific henchmen of Hitler...
W-W-WHAT? English Lit professors or the Invoicing Department at Morgan Stanley, but not bloodthirsty Nazis! These guys aren't a match for WW.... they're barely a match for a normal woman. Not surprisingly, WW dispatches of all four in under a minute.
Those of you keeping score, this makes Steve rescue number 4
Recognize the fella on the right? You probably know Keene Curtis as Daddy Warbucks or as the snippy owner of the restaurant above Cheers.
Now that one plan has failed, it's time to move on to an even more absurdly complex scheme. Daddy Warbucks will pose as an MC at the annual war bonds rally held by the War Department (?). Fausta will disguise herself as a masked WW as part of the event.
Have you ever heard of anything so confusing? Since when does the "War Department" hold exclusive carnivals?
Just as the Fraulein expected, the real WW shows up to put this charade to rest. Elvis impersonations are all well and good, but don't be cashing in on the WW shtick (even if it is at a war bonds benefit rally).
If this whole escapade sounds a little silly, take note of the original comic....
"Wanted by Hitler, Dead or Alive" was the story in Comic Cavalcade (No. 2, March 1943) where the Fausta first appeared. The "Army Benefit Show" plot line with Fausta serving as a WW imposter is taken straight from the original comic.
But which is the real WW? The crowd watching this spectacle is maybe 10 strong (which makes why WW would give a flying shit about this shindig even more curious). All stand in hushed silence as the the mystery women battle feats of strength.
As the real WW begins to lift the weight one handed, a trap door opens beneath her. The crowd of 10 goes wild as the imposter is declared the winner.
Beneath the stage, an elderly Nazi ties WW in her own lasso and chloroforms her. Before she passes out, she reveals her weakness:
Nazi: Quick, tell me how do I make you helpless and take you prisoner?
WW: Remove... my magic belt.
Nazi: Is that the key to your strength?
WW: Yes... away from my home on Para- Paradise Island.
Nazi: Could this chloroform keep you unconscious?
Nazi: Sleep peacefully, Wonder Womans, you will wake in The Fatherland.
As I mentioned in the last WW post, the KO is a recurring theme throughout the series, as is Steve's role as damsel in distress. One wonders with such strength, she manages to be so easily subdued. It's a well known fact that the creator of WW, William Moulton Marston, had an interest in bondage and other fetishes.
Marston in an article from the August 14, 1942 issue of Family Circle magazine: "Tell me anybody's preference in story strips and I'll tell you his subconscious desires...Superman and the army of male comics characters who resemble him satisfy the simple desire to be stronger and more powerful than anybody else. Wonder Woman satisfies the subconscious, elaborately disguised desire of males to be mastered by a woman who loves them."
Another quote from Marston in a letter to his publisher: "The only hope for peace is to teach people who are full of pep and unbound force to enjoy being bound ... Only when the control of self by others is more pleasant than the unbound assertion of self in human relationships can we hope for a stable, peaceful human society ... Giving to others, being controlled by them, submitting to other people cannot possibly be enjoyable without a strong erotic element."
Did some of Marston's erotic predilections get transferred to the 1970s TV series? You can't help but think there's a vestige of it still around to keep things 'interesting'.
Steve Trevor and the lovable idiot, Etta Candy, are in attendance. Steve is suspicious of this WW, whereas Candy is woefully oblivious.
I should point out that Candy is played by Beatrice Colen. She's perhaps best remembered as the roller skating car hop on "Happy Days", but she was also the first person to sing "Plop Plop Fizz Fizz" on TV.
Meanwhile in the Fatherland, WW reveals her Amazonian origins to the SS under the influence of the Lasso of Truth. Without her belt, she is powerless to stop the interrogation. However, the head Nazi doesn't buy any of this nonsense - "I thought I told you to bring back Wonder Woman, not Dale Evans!" In a Nazi tantrum, he flings the belt and lasso at WW.... a big mistake.
In an effort to save WW, Steve Trevor goes against General Blankenship's orders and sneaks behind enemy lines with the help of his old buddy from college. "Steve, I haven't seen you since you threw me the touchdown pass at the Rose Bowl!"
Unfortunately, his ex-wide receiver just happens to be a Nazi operative named Rojak..... like Kojak with an "R". He's played by the Fausta's real life husband, Christopher George. George, in addition to starring in tons of films, is the uncle of Vanna White. He died in 1983 from a cardiac contusion he suffered on the set of Rat Patrol (1963) when he was pinned beneath a jeep.
George was also a model during the sixties, appearing in a number of Van Heusen advertisements. Interestingly, his ads were often featured in Playboy; a decade later George, himself, would be a centerfold (in Playgirl, of course).
Thinking he'll finally be the one to rescue WW (instead of the other way around), Steve falls back assward into trouble once again. WW has left for the US, not knowing Steve is captive by the same Nazi bastards that held her captive minutes earlier.
Notice Steve's disguise to blend in with the German locals. Worst disguise ever.
Back at the War Department, Diana Prince learns of Steve's capture. She changes into the WW costume in another slow motion spin, and for some reason doesn't have her bracelets.
As in episode 1, WW somehow uses General Blankenship's voice to gain information on Steve's whereabouts. A very peculiar (and somewhat disturbing) super power.
We get our first glimpse of the Invisible Jet as WW hauls ass to rescue Steve for the second time this episode. In the attempt, the two are locked in a room not unlike the Star Wars trash compactor. But WW is stronger than any Wookie or Jedi wannabe, and is able to push back the walls.
Fighting ensues, ultimately ending with the Nazi scum at the bottom of a well. Tired of being treated like shit by her Nazi compatriots, Fausta helps Steve and WW vanquish their enemies and escape to safety.
WW gushes with compliments for Fausta and is concerned about what will become of her. She offers to take her back with them to the US, but Fausta won't leave her home country. Steve says he has the answer and literally puts his fingers to his lips and whistles! Out comes a peasant girl from the shrubbery behind them who works with the German Underground who whisks Fausta away with her. Bizarre.
STEVE RESCUE COUNT = 2 (RUNNING TOTAL = 5)
WW KO = 1 (RUNNING TOTAL 2)
FAVORITE SCENE: Insane war bonds stage show with WW and Fausta in Victorian masquerade head wear.
- Steve calls on his old Rose Bowl wide receiver to get him to Berlin, which is odd enough. That he turns out to be working for the Germans is a stretch.
- Steve pursues the Fausta in a car chase following the war bonds rally. He's unable to catch up to them because he runs out of gas and is all out of gas coupons.
FANTASY FILM ADAPTATION CASTING
Sybil Danning as Fausta
Ronny Cox as Rojak