Isis began its second season with the most boring half hour of television ever produced. It’s notable only for introducing Ronalda Douglas, on the right above, as Rennie Carol. She took over from Joanna Pang, as we can assume that her character of Cindy Lee graduated between seasons. The episode also stars Gregory Elliot in his first credited Hollywood part, per IMDB. He’d later have a recurring role on Tales of the Gold Monkey.
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Huh. You get so used to Isis using magic that it was actually a little surprise to have her stop a runaway truck by just climbing in the cab and hitting the brakes.
Anyway, this was the last episode of the show’s first season, and the last one for Joanna Pang, who didn’t return when the show went back into production for the 1976 season. The guest villain – another misguided kid – was played by Paul Hinckley. Two seasons later, he would star opposite Lennie Weinrib in 1977’s Magic Mongo for Sid and Marty Krofft. These are his only credits on IMDB.
This episode of Isis guest stars Brian Byers, who was frequently seen in small roles in the 1970s as a hunky, good-looking young fellow. First he impulsively almost falls off a mountain because he didn’t check his rope, and a couple of days later he nearly drowns because he didn’t wait for a partner and didn’t check his scuba tank.
Daniel was really worried about the guy! He’s never liked innocents being put into serious danger in shows and tonight, he hid under his blanket for a couple of minutes. He has only just begun learning to swim and takes all our safety warnings very, very seriously. Seeing this clod ignore the rules might have hit home a little for him, which is good. So the moral-of-the-week does work, but I do wish we’d have a few more villains in this show.
The previous season, they did a Shazam! where Butch Patrick is all whiny because some icky girl is trying to play sports. This season on Isis, the prospective auto club president is equally whiny because another icky girl can drive real well and work on engines. She’s played by Susan Lawrence, who would play B.J. in Dr. Shrinker the following season. Lawrence had a very short career in Hollywood, lasting only about six years, but she had several high-profile TV appearances before she retired.
My son was pretty sure that the girl would win the rally to prove she can be auto club president because the boy cheats. He watches a Nick Jr. cartoon called Blaze and the Monster Machines and that’s the plot of pretty much every single episode: one of the whiny, naughty cars cheats and loses, as he explained to me at hilarious length after we finished. I appreciate these shows trying to have a moral or two, but my son’s breathless, amusing recaps of Blaze’s last few adventures were a lot more entertaining than the original cartoons!.
“I didn’t know Captain Marvel spoke bird,” said Daniel, who was, again, thrilled to see the two superheroes crossing over.
This time out, Isis sends her pet raven, Tut, to find Marvel because she’s not able to stop a big storm over the ocean while also getting a stranded ship to shore. One of the students, an eccentric girl named Carrie, has taken out Rick’s fishing boat as a very odd publicity stunt for her class election campaign. So Isis works her magic while Marvel tows the boat home, and maybe later the two superheroes got a cat out of a tree or helped an old lady across the street.
But seriously, the lesson of the week is that you should always care for yourself and not put yourself down. Carrie compensates for thinking herself fat and ugly by dressing outlandishly, acting melodramatically, and driving a rusted, junkheap 1950s car around while lamenting that pretty girls get all the luck. Then, in the way of television, the producers cast a perfectly attractive young actress named Sandra Vacey, who was certainly neither fat nor ugly.
Last time, we saw an episode that dealt with some high schooler’s problem and ran out of plot with six minutes to go. This time, the first six minutes deal with a kid at Larkspur High throwing a complete tantrum because his ham radio didn’t take first prize in the science fair and almost driving off a cliff in a rage. That settled, the remaining fifteen minutes deal with some bad guys who’ve holed up in a ghost town, and, Scooby Doo-like, try to drive off any curious people with guh-guh-guh-ghosts.
The transition between plots was handled very clumsily, with a brief “we interrupt this broadcast for a special news bulletin about something that’s going to impact the plot in a moment” scene, but the importance of a message to “be on the lookout for some bad guys” was instantly lost on Daniel as soon as carts started moving and doors started opening by themselves in the ghost town. When the non-threatening villains (a kids’ show in ’75, remember) tell Andrea and the two teens to wait patiently while they load up their van and get away, Daniel had absolutely no idea who they were.
One of the teens is played by the actress Christopher Norris, who would later co-star as Gloria in Trapper John MD for several years, and later joined the cast of Santa Barbara for a couple of hundred episodes. The non-threatening bad guy with a speaking part is played by Michael Greene, who was the Riddler’s tall henchman in “The Ring of Wax.”
This episode is downright odd. It starts off being a story about a kid who won’t accept anybody’s help and keeps showing off. Andrea talks him out of being ridiculous and then the show realizes that there’s still a good six minutes of episode left. So Rick and Cindy get trapped in a cave with an escaped gorilla. Seriously. Neither the landslide nor the gorilla have anything to do with the show-off kid.
Why a gorilla? I guess because they did a bear in episode six.
Isis demonstrates even more superpowers in this episode. She can roll back time to get a look at a kid who stole an antique pistol from guest star Mike Lookinland from The Brady Bunch, but oddly she cannot see where the young thief, whose criminal aspirations don’t extend beyond shooting rabbits, went next. Her time power can only recreate the scene that a witness provided.
Pondering the limitations of Isis’s magical powers may be a silly thing to do, but that’s more interesting than anything that happens in the episode. The show started with four weeks of actual criminals – petty ones, mind, but bad guys – but it’s just been dullsville since. Nice to see a former Brady kid getting work from Filmation, though, about three weeks after we saw a Partridge on Shazam!, in fact. Who’s next, one of the children from Apple’s Way?