Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Lynda Carter!

I just love 70's TV shows, and lately I've been watching the DVD first season of Wonder Woman that debuted back in 1975. So I thought I'd try doing a caricature of lovely Lynda Carter who played the title role, in honour of her birthday today. Like many fellows of a similar age who grew up with 70's TV shows, I must admit I had a big crush on Ms. Carter!

Lynda had only had a handful of small parts on TV and in film before being chosen to play Wonder Woman, but she turned out to be just perfect for the role. Having won Miss World USA pageant in 1972, Lynda was a statuesque beauty with a swanlike neck and big blue eyes. However, it was more than just her good looks that she brought to the role of Wonder Woman. Lynda was smart enough to know that the key to the character was in playing her with absolute sincerity (just like Christopher Reeve would do with Superman three years later). Despite there being an element of humour to the show, it was not what I would consider to be high camp, however. It tried to remain pretty true to its original comic book roots, including having an animated title sequence and text boxes to indicate where a new scene was taking place.

The character was an ageless Amazon, born and raised on the uncharted Paradise Island (set somewhere within the Bermuda Triangle, according to the pilot episode), and populated solely by females. So having made the journey from Paradise Island to America, Lynda Carter played the role as a wide-eyed innocent, not completely naive mind you, but initially unfamiliar with the ways of modern man in the outside world during World War II. Since the series was created in the 70's when the Women's Liberation movement was in full swing, there was some feminist leanings to the show. However, the feminism of Wonder Woman was of a gentle variety, as the character would often be aghast at the cruelty and warmongering of mankind, while extolling the virtues of her own female populated society that preached kindness and lived a harmonious and peaceful existence. It should be noted that Wonder Woman uses her powers only in the role of a peacekeeper, never becoming a fierce aggressor. Her desire to protect mankind is not unlike that of a mother doing all she can to protect her children. This is the aspect I appreciate about the show's particular brand of feminism - that compassion for others shows a greater strength of character than to wield force over them. How refreshingly different this is from today's female superheroes and forensic detectives etc, who all sneer cynically and aspire to be every bit as bad-ass as their male counterparts.

Incidentally, I'm happy to hear that Lynda Carter is still enjoying great success today in her other career as a singer, which is what she started out doing prior to pursuing acting. In fact, my caricaturist colleague, Sam Gorrie, who also does cosplay as Wonder Woman in Las Vegas, just recently got to see her idol in concert at the Suncoast Hotel, seen here. Pretty neat, huh?

So, once again, a very Happy Birthday to lovely Lynda Carter. I hope this classy and elegant woman continues to enjoy success while keeping her legion of fans entertained!


Anonymous said...

Great stuff! Love what you did with her facial features...you really nailed it.

Man, she was really something else in that suit.

Emily said...

NIce job Pete! And indeed, Sam G. is a sweeeeet impersonator.
Good ol' Cloris Leachman is in that clip!!!!