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.

The Ghost Busters 1.5 – The Flying Dutchman

Another big win for the family this evening. Daniel roared with laughter all through the slapstick and silliness. Of principal interest this week is Tracy’s newfound interest in cooking, including cartons, wrappers, dinosaur eggs, whatever can be dumped in a big bowl, and a recurring gag about a whale.

The ghosts this week are Cap’n Beane and Scroggs from the Flying Dutchman, and they’ve brought an offscreen whale called Moby along. Moby repeatedly blasts the cap’n with a blast of water, via the special effects magic of a seltzer bottle right beside the cameraman.

I didn’t recognize either of the guests. Scroggs was played by Philip Bruns, who was a familiar one-shot guest star in lots of 1970s TV before landing his best-known role, George Shumway in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Stanley Adams is very well-known to cult TV fans: he was Cyrano in the famous Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” and Tybo the Talking Carrot in that Lost in Space where Jonathan Harris gets turned into asparagus. Looking at their credits at IMDB, I see that we’ll be seeing both actors again in a few months…