Friday, November 07, 2008


Lavinia over at The Birdbath Chronicles has given me an award. Or, I should say, she's cheekily presented it to Ed & Lynda, in honor of my supposed ongoing obsession with Lynda Carter.

There's nothing going on there, honest. Oh, sure, I watched the pilot movie for Wonder Woman when it first aired but that was only because it guest starred Stella Stevens. You want to talk about an obsession, there it is.

In fact, I can pinpoint exactly where that obsession began--in 1973, when I went with my family to see the heavily-advertised horror comedy Arnold. Not a very good movie, and as you can see from this clip, not very well shot; Stevens, who was only in her mid-thirties at the time, is so poorly photographed that she looks much older. Like the movie, she might not have made much of an impression on me, until the sequence beginning at 38 seconds into this clip montage.

That was it for me. This opened in the spring, so I would have been seven, an age when little boys still consider girls the enemy, if they consider them at all. One look at that and I wanted to...well, I was seven, so I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. But it gave me longings, shall we say, stirrings in places that had never stirred before.

After that, I saw Stella everywhere. Her movies played on TV all the time, I just hadn't noticed before. But I sure did now--in The Nutty Professor, wearing a bikini in The Silencers, and the full page ad in TV Guide for her made-for-television starring vehicle Linda, the ad consisting of Stella in a low-cut gown, smiling at the camera. I kept that issue for months after, hidden away where I could stare at it in secret.

Because I couldn't share my infatuation with anyone. I didn't understand it myself, so how could I explain it to others? Subtlety was the key: If it was Saturday night and Mom and Dad didn't know what to watch, I'd casually suggest the Fess Parker TV movie Climb An Angry Mountain, just because it happened to co-star my beloved Stella. She was also the reason I sat through the lame Glenn Ford vehicle Rage and the godawful Elvis epic Girls! Girls! Girls! and various episodes of old shows in syndication and, yes, the pilot movie for Wonder Woman.

Eventually, my obsession widened enough to include other women. Or other woman--specifically Madeline Kahn, who took Stella's place when I saw Blazing Saddles for the first time. I was ten, and didn't understand what this song was about, or get the whole Marlene Dietrich parody, but Kahn was funny, and I realized that in itself was sexy. Well, she was funny and had large breasts, but we try not to objectify.

After that, nature eventually took its course and...whatever. The point is, Lynda Carter was never more than a footnote, not fit to be mentioned in the same breath as my true pre-teen obsessions. But hey, she sure could sing!