Electra Woman 1.11 and 12 – The Pharaoh

There was a group in the ’80s called Animotion that had a big hit called “Obsession,” and the singers, among other costumes, wore some Egyptian garb. That song gets stuck in my head every time I’ve looked at this dry episode. It’s not bad, as Electra Woman and Dyna Girl goes, but it lacks that over-the-top ridiculousness that the other stories have.

As Mark Richman, this episode’s guest villain had appeared in dozens of dramas in the 1960s. He added Peter to his name in 1971, and, as Peter Mark Richman, continued a very long career in small roles in just about everything, briefly landing a starring part as Andrew Laird in Dynasty in the mid-80s. His moll, Cleopatra, is played by Jane Elliot, who’s been in more than 700 episodes of General Hospital as Tracy Quartermaine. She’s more entertaining in this story than he is; Richman plays it straight and narrow. King Tut he ain’t.

Daniel thought it was really exciting, but he did get briefly alarmed by an energy being that the Pharaoh summons from his little cosmic cube. It is a very odd-looking effect. They basically wrapped an actor in a sheet, dumped him on a blue screen set, shined a lot of colored lights on him and chromakeyed him into the action while he waggled around. It looks not unlike Omega’s blob/time bridge from the Doctor Who serial “The Three Doctors,” but just a shade more solid. Even in the comparatively restrained episodes of this show, you have to appreciate the directors’ willingness to attempt absolutely every conceivable special effect via blue screen and run with it. Things get very silly when Richman and Elliot remain still while the energy being, keyed in from one camera, moves around the room while Deidre Hall and Judy Strangis, keyed in from another camera, float slowly above them. It is the least frantic chase ever committed to tape.

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