Isis 1.4 – The Sound of Silence

Two crimes were committed in this episode of Isis: first, Andrea has built a uranium-powered force field generator – man, California high schools were way ahead of mine – and a desperate student, played by Leigh McCloskey, has stolen it. Second, that sport coat that Brian Cutler is wearing in the picture above.

In the fall of 1975, the success of Shazam! in the previous year prompted CBS to add to their live-action lineup in a big way. True, Shazam! had originally been accompanied by two other live-action programs, but these were kid-friendly variety shows: The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine and The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show. In 1975, apart from ordering more Shazam! and giving that program Isis as a companion, they also ordered The Ghost Busters from Filmation (we watched that show last year) and Far Out Space Nuts from Sid & Marty Krofft, so there was clearly a desire for adventure, even if two of them are more comedy than drama.

I wonder what it must have been like at Filmation that year, to suddenly have 37 live-action programs to produce, apart from whatever animation that they needed to get made, with a last-minute, high-profile change of actor to deal with when they dismissed Jackson Bostwick. It must have been very hectic, and their casting director far busier than anytime previously. I had wondered whether they might have made things a little easier for themselves by bringing in any guest stars who worked well on one show to appear on another, and here’s one. Philip Bruns, who plays the crime boss in this installment, would be back onscreen the following week as the second banana in the fifth episode of The Ghost Busters.

Daniel really enjoyed this one, and we enjoyed the chance to explain what uranium is. I like the disparity between the shows; in Shazam!, it is almost always people in trouble who see Captain Marvel and are relieved. In Isis, it’s villains, who instantly know that they are screwed and are not happy at all, because Isis’s power is “any and everything.” This week, she imprisons the two baddies by creating a tight ring of fully-grown trees around them, which I don’t believe I’ve ever seen done before.

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