A happy 60th birthday to Joanna Cameron, who from 1975-77 enchanted a generation of children my age as the superheroine Isis on Saturday morning TV!
Joanna had earlier been in the Rock Hudson movie "Pretty Maids All In A Row" and later was a frequent regular on the TV guest show circuit in shows like "Marcus Welby, MD"; "Switch"; "Columbo" and in one of my favorite guest shots of hers, the Nicholas Hammond "Amazing Spiderman" series.
But she also kept busy throughout the 70s by appearing in TV commercials, like this one for the hair coloring product "For Brunettes Only" in 1971. (She's "Midnight Brown")
In fact, Joanna did so many commercials that she ended up making the Guinness Book Of World Records for most appearances by anyone in commercials. And this, in addition to her ongoing "Isis" fame got her booked as a guest on the late night talk shows. When Merv Griffin mentioned her as a guest on one of his upcoming shows, Clint Eastwood right away knew it was Isis, and when asked if he actually watched that Saturday morning kids show, Clint's answer no doubt spoke for all the adult males at that time who watched. "Have you seen her legs?"
Joanna later directed a documentary on the Blue Angels flyers, and then retired from the entertainment business at age 30 in the early 80s. She became a registered nurse and then was successful in hotel management. In recent years as the children who loved her on Isis became adults, she's re-emerged in the Convention circuit (though unfortunately, efforts to include her in the bonus material of the DVD release of "Isis" failed to come off).
Even though "Isis" was cheaply produced Saturday morning entertainment for the under ten set with overly simplistic stories that emphasized lessons in life to be learned by impressionable kids, Joanna's ability to treat her role seriously and with dignity helped pave the way for audience acceptance of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman on TV the following year and earned her a place in TV superheroine history.
She also guest-starred in an episode of SEARCH. Joanna was a real looker, but that ISIS show hasn't aged well at all, imo. I purchased the dvd set a couple of years ago, watched (suffered) through the whole series, and quickly sold it. Cameron was nice to look at, but I couldn't handle the poorly written scripts and high school production values and downright embarrasing acting. 'Twas good for a laugh after not having seen it for over 30 years.
Beautiful woman. ISIS was probably one of my first crushes when I was a kid...
I tried to watch the first episode recently on Netflix. It was horrible... It was like a live-action episode of SCOOBY DOO. It's amazing that she was able to maintain her dignity in the face of such awful writing and poor production values.
As a show, "Isis" can only be appreciated in the context of when it was made, which was when Saturday morning TV was a "special occasion" time for kids in the age before 24 hour cable channels devoted to that kind of programming. That was the morning we got to see the cartoons that were different from the kind we might have seen every day of the week after school, and when the only live action stuff we watched was the older sitcom rerurns. Whether the stuff was low-key morality lessons like "Isis" or its counterpart show "Shazam", or the wackier antics of the Krofft live action shows it was at least the "event" stuff for kids in those days and that was also the time just before we started to become more tech savvy about FX and stuff since the big budget FX movies had yet to burst on the scene or were just about to, expectations were much lower.
Filmation, which produced Shazam and Isis then responded to the changes in 1977 by cashing in on the Star Wars phenomenon with their final live action Saturday morning shows, "Space Academy" and then "Jason Of Star Command" which in their time was great for a kid audience that wanted to see that kind of stuff that back then we didn't pay attention to how cheap the production values for those shows were compared to big-screen fare that was changing the face of everything. Then by the early 80s the days of the live action Saturday morning shows were basically over and done for good, a product of a vanished era and changed expectations.
..."Space Academy" and then "Jason Of Star Command" which in their time was great for a kid audience that wanted to see that kind of stuff that back then we didn't pay attention to how cheap the production values for those shows were compared to big-screen fare that was changing the face of everything.
Whoah, time travel! I had forgotten about those 2 shows, but I watched them as well every Saturday morn! What a time. A few weeks ago I flipped through channels on an early Saturday morning. Blah. I don't know what I was looking at, but it wasn't entertainment as I remember it.