Broken Pilot Saturday: TV's First Attempt At 'Wonder Woman'

Wonder Woman

In 1966, producer William Dozier and his Greenway Productions were one of the hottest names in network television. His campy take on BATMAN premiered in January 1966 and had quickly become a hit. ABC then picked up two more shows from his production company for the 1966-1967 schedule: GREEN HORNET and THE TAMMY GRIMES SHOW. By the fall, he was already working on a show for the following season, a campy take on the comic book heroine Wonder Woman.

There isn't a clear history of the proposed show and the small amount of press coverage from the time doesn't give any hint of what went wrong with the project. But for whatever reason, Dozier and Greenway didn't produce a complete pilot, but instead filmed a five minute-long presentation reel for ABC and the advertisers. The show wasn't picked up and this video seems to be all that remains from the project. But I'd be interested in reading the completed 41-page script, written by Mad Magazine writers Larry Siegel and Stan Hart.

Even by the standards of BATMAN, this WONDER WOMAN project is an odd one. In the clip, Ellie Wood Walker plays Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, who lives with her mother in a small apartment (played by TV veteran Maudie Prickett). Prince is a shy, almost beaten down woman who changes character completely when she becomes Wonder Woman. The strange thing is that she just doesn't become a superhero. She becomes a better looking, sexier woman. At least, that's the way it appears to her.

So what happened to everyone after the project collapsed? Ellie Wood Walker had a couple of very small appearances in feature films (i.e. "Mime #3" in "Easy Rider"), but seems to have retired not long after this was shot. Producer William Dozier also hit a rough stretch. THE TAMMY GRIMES SHOW was canceled after only airing four episodes and THE GREEN HORNET only lasted one season. When BATMAN was canceled in 1968, he went on to produce the 1969 film "The Big Bounce." based on an Elmore Leonard story. It starred Ryan O'Neal and was such a box office disaster that Dozier decided to retire from producing. Although he did find a bit of a career in the 1980s as a bit actor.

So take a look at this presentation and embrace the weirdness that is "Whatever Happened To Diana Prince?"