Electra Woman 1.15 and 16 – Return of the Pharaoh

The Pharaoh and Cleopatra returned for another go-round in the final installment of this series. It’s much better than the first one, since it’s just a little less like the usual formula. This one does have an exceptionally bugnuts premise, though. The villain, played by Peter Mark Richman, wishes that he could get to Egypt to search the pyramid of King Tut for a hypnotic ring called the Coptic Eye, but fortunately some eccentric billionaire has actually moved the entire thing to Los Angeles, brick by brick. Apparently he didn’t uncover the ring in all that moving, nor any of the secret and hidden traps. Almost the entire action is set inside the pyramid’s labyrinth, and the heroes and villains have to briefly work together to escape it.

This and the other Pharaoh episode were written by Judy Strangis’s nephew Greg Strangis, who also wrote that Land of the Lost we watched last night. Kind of weird how we watched all of his work for the Kroffts across about seven days. He later developed that War of the Worlds show in the late ’80s that was shown in first-run syndication.

Also, for those of you keeping track, this time we’ve got snakes in the narrative, and, just like the spiders in the last story, they don’t appear onscreen at the same time as the actors, either. Daniel really liked this one, and said it was “totally exciting.” He could barely keep still tonight.

This was it for Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. ABC did renew their host program, The Krofft Supershow, for a second season that began in the fall of 1977, but by then, Deidre Hall was starring in Days of Our Lives and may not have been available. The action component of the Supershow was taken in that season by Bigfoot and Wildboy, which sadly has never been officially released on home video outside of five episodes on those Embassy VHS tapes about thirty years ago.

The Kroffts attempted to revive Electra Woman and Dyna Girl as a comedy for the WB Network in 2001, starring Markie Post as a retired Electra Woman. The pilot didn’t sell. Earlier this month, after an eternity of advance hype, a direct-to-download film starring Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart was released. Haven’t quite got around to downloading it myself, though I’m assured that Helbig and Hart make very funny sketches on their YouTube channel. (Don’t they make DVDs anymore?)

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.