Saturday, August 01, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: ElectraWoman and DynaGirl: "Return of the Sorcerer" (November 6 and 13, 1976)

In “Return of the Sorcerer,” the super-villain Sorcerer (Michael Constantine) and his side-kick Miss Dazzle (Susan Lanier) steal Merlin’s Magic Mirror from an exhibit in the Municipal Records Building.

Crime Scope detects a “space-time disturbance of unknown origin,” and before long the Sorcerer has also stolen a priceless clock from Lori (Deidre Hall) and Judy (Judy Strangis). 

The villains contact Electra-Base and tell ElectraWoman and DynaGirl of their next target: The Crown Jewels of England.

When the heroes intervene, the Sorcerer traps the duo in another dimension inside Merlin’s Mirror. 

ElectraWoman and DynaGirl attempt to escape this bizarre nether realm, but only manage to follow their nemesis through time, where the Sorcerer plans to steal the Mona Lisa from Leonardo Da Vinci.

“Return of the Sorcerer” is a particularly strange episode of this Sid and Marty Krofft Saturday morning series. The Sorcerer traps the heroes in an alternate dimension, and travels through time.  

Then, Crime Scope and Frank (Norman Alden) “rip a hole” in space time to retrieve the heroes.  It’s kind of crazy, though inventive.  Suddenly, these villains and heroes have the capacity to affect all of creation, all of time and space.

Not every aspect of “Return of the Sorcerer” works well. 

For example, the alternate dimension looks more like a relatively cramped sound-stage, with the mirror exit to “reality” plainly visible in certain shots. 

And one scene just doesn’t make any sense at all.  ElectraWoman and DynaGirl are menaced by giant “clapping hands,” (really an illusion projected by the Sorcerer).  But they are deafened instantly by the sound of the clapping.  Frank tells the heroes they won’t be deafened if they don’t believe the illusion.  But ElectraWoman and DynaGirl reacted instantly to the sound, before the illusion of the hands’ presence was even seen.  Why would an illusion make them recoil in pain?  They had no chance to believe or not, their ears ‘heard’ the clapping.

The Sorcerer, meanwhile, continues to come up with alliterative names for the heroes in a turn that seems right out of the original Batman (1966 – 1968).  He calls ElectraWoman and Dynagirl “Kilowatt Cuties,” the “Clumsy, Computerized Combo” and “Diode Dollies.”

This episode marks the second and final appearance of Constantine’s the Sorcerer and Lanier’s Miss Dazzle.  It also features an appearance by a cult-TV staple, Leonardo DaVinci, who has also appeared on Star Trek: Voyager (1995 – 2001).  His famous painting, the Mona Lisa, appeared in Doctor Who’s 1978 serial, “City of Death.”

Next week: “The Pharaoh.”

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