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A friendly chat between two "boomers"

by David Hofstede and Kathy Kuhn

Originally appeared in Baby Boomer Collectibles, June 1996. Reprinted here by permission


David: So what's your feelings on Isis?

Kathy: You're kidding, right?

David: What?

Kathy: Come on - Isis? What's next, "Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space?"

David: What were you watching on Saturday mornings? Public television?

Kathy: No, no, I watched it. But it's a little obscure, don't you think? The show's been off the air for 20 years, and it's not even out on video.

David: So what? We're talking about a precious childhood memory here. I was 11 or 12 years old when it started, just starting to notice the fairer sex, and then all of a sudden, after two hours of The Superfriends and Scooby Doo, this babe in a white miniskirt and spiked heels flies across the screen ...

Kathy: ... and all your little adolescent hormones went into overdrive. But this one's coming back very slowly. Give me some background.

David: Okay. After a trumpet fanfare, this Don Pardo-like voice begins the narration over a shot of the pyramids. "Oh, my Queen, said the royal sorcerer to Hatshepsut..."

Kathy: You don't really remember the whole opening!

David: Sure I do. "... with this amulet, you and your descendents are endowed by the goddess Isis."

Kathy: Okay, okay, cut to the chase.

David: Isis was an Egyptian goddess with powers over time and space. Three thousand years after God slam-dunked Egypt, Andrea Thomas, an American science teacher, is visiting the Pyramids, and she digs up the amulet, which allows her to turn into Isis.

Kathy: Now I remember. I always thought it was interesting that Andrea was a science teacher; wouldn't it have made more sense for her to be a history teacher, or an archaeologist? I think they did that to tweak scientists.

David: What?

Kathy: She was probably one of those 'I won't believe in anything I can't see or prove the existence of scientifically' types, and then all of a sudden she's got this supposedly mythical deity living inside of her. Like the heavens are saying, 'Not so smart now, huh?'

David: Yeah, they used to delve into weighty theological puzzles like that every week.

Kathy: It's just a theory. But I think we agree that it was more a good-bad show than a good show, so what in your opinion was the dumbest aspect of Isis?

David: I've got one. Here's this woman with incredible, awesome powers. She can stop the flow of time on the entire planet. She tells rocks and trees to do something and they do it. And yet she spends all her time helping dopey high school kids who lock their keys in their car. She didn't fight crime, she didn't beat up bad guys, she didn't solve world hunger. No, she was too busy telling Tommy not to be upset over getting third prize in the science fair.

Kathy: They were really a whiny bunch.

David: "Hey, Isis! I can't get my locker open!"

Kathy: How about the fact that she could only generate her powers by saying these lame poems. "Oh Zephyr winds, which blow on high, lift me now so I can fly!" Who gave her her powers, Nipsey Russell?

David: What's a Zephyr wind, anyway?

Kathy: It's another name for the west wind.

David: Really? See, television can be educational. Now what I want to know is, since the wind always propelled her straight up off the ground, why didn't her skirt blow up?

Kathy: Cause the show was on Saturday morning, pervert!

David: Let's give Joanna some credit, though. She always played it straight, and was a lot better than the material. The way she calmly walked into a crisis situation, exuding self-confidence, hands folded behind her back. She had this unflappable air that was just right for someone who could do anything.

Kathy: I agree. She had a Diana Rigg type of cool. Never broke a sweat in two seasons, but she made Isis classy and smart.

David: Joanna, you were a credit to the uniform. Wherever you are, we salute you.

Kathy: It was a good-looking show, too, on what had to be a shoestring budget.

David: Except for the transformation scene. The same thing every time: they would zoom in to a close-up of Andrea digging the amulet out of her blouse, and she would say ...

BOTH: "Oh, mighty Isis-sis-sis-sis-sis-sis."

David: . . . and there she was. Favorite episodes?

Kathy: Now that you've jogged the cobwebs, I do remember one with Mike Lookinland, acting a lot snottier than he ever did on "The Brady Bunch." Isis taught him that it wasn't smart to steal his daddy's gun. ["How to Find a Friend," for anyone who is keeping score ­ editor]

David: Good thing he did that after he left the Brady house, or he'd have been grounded for life.

Kathy: Mom always said, don't shoot guns in the house.

David: Do you remember the Super Sleuths? Four of Andrea's students: an Asian, an African-American, a white guy and ­ get this ­ a singing Indian magician ... [this is the group of students from the final Isis story, "Now You See It, Now You Don't"­ editor]

Kathy: Very politically correct.

David: ... who the producers introduced as Isis's teen sidekicks, in a blatant attempt to spin them off into a series.

Kathy: Doesn't ring a bell.

David: The plots all run together in my mind now, but I do remember looking forward to the guest visits from Captain Marvel.

Kathy: Captain Marvel! (laughing) The only superhero who traveled by Winnebago!

David: She also got help from that talking bird of hers, Tut.

Kathy: Tut should have blown her secret identity, because her closest friends, Rick Mason and Cindy Lee, just couldn't figure out that Andrea Thomas was really Isis.

David: That's right, we forgot the supporting cast.

Kathy: What's there to say? Rick Mason was an engaging enough foil in a Lyle Waggoner sort of way, and he played the inevitable scenes well. . ."How come Andrea's never around when Isis drops in? You don't suppose she's... nah! Impossible!"

David: Well, the whole secret identity cliche, you just have to buy the premise. It's no different than Superman. Andrea puts on glasses and changes her hairstyle, and no one suspects she's Isis.

Kathy: Even though she wears an Egyptian amulet and has a bird named after King Tut.

David: Ever notice how when Andrea became Isis, her hair got longer and curly at the ends?

Kathy: That was ordained by the great Egyptian gods, so she could save money on perms.

David: Is that about it?

Kathy: No, one more question, that I'm sure all your little friends spent hours debating back then: Isis or ElectraWoman?

David: ElectraWoman, if she brings DynaGirl.