I’ve been watching a mid-1970s Saturday morning show called “The Secrets of Isis”. I’ve been a fan of the show since it’s first run when I was in elementary school. Paired up with “Shazam!” as the latter half of an hour long presentation, I must admit I was always more interested in Joanna Cameron’s “Isis” than I was for Jackson Bostwick’s, and later John Davey’s “Captain Marvel”. I never had a thing for Billy Batson or Jackson’s portrayal of the superhero, but as a bumbling young gay I thought John Davey was kind of cute in a math teacher sort of way.
I really enjoyed Joanna Cameron in the role of teacher Andrea Thomas who could turn into Isis. To this day I find her speaking voice spellbinding and her kind-hearted ways in the show always made me feel comfortable. As both Andrea and Isis she would occasionally break the fourth wall and wink at the viewer, knowing we were in on her secret as everyone on the screen couldn’t recognize that this chemistry teacher was a superhero.
It’s amazing to see how many familiar faces guest starred on the program, and the “teenagers” always seemed like they were finishing college instead of navigating high school.
In one episode, Miss Thomas takes the science fair winners to explore a ghost town, where the bad guys are hiding stolen goods. They are kidnapped.
While they’re getting moved around by the bad guys, Andrea loses her magic amulet and is unable to turn into Isis. What to do? She gets the students to run distraction and then she runs in the other direction, looking for her amulet, which was lost when she fell down some stairs.
To not upset the young viewing audience, she finds it less than 10 minutes later in the episode.
Finally, she is able to turn into Isis and save the day!
But the young man, who earlier in the episode, beat himself up for coming in second place with his amateur radio presentation saves the day by reaching the police while Isis catches the bad guys.
Rick and Cindy Lee hear the calls on the radio and able to pick Andrea and the students up in the ghost town. Isis is still running around when Rick and Cindy Lee arrive and mentions something about keeping gas in the car.
After Isis leaves and the cops and bad guys are gone, Andrea nonchalantly appears and joins the others. Rick is confused and asks what happens. The students fill him in and then Andrea says the exact same line as Isis, mentioning Rick should keep gas in his car. Rick is stunned but doesn’t figure out that Andrea and Isis are the same person.
But the viewers know and in typical fashion, Joanna Cameron breaks the fourth wall and winks to the audience, bringing us in with a smile as we eat our way through a box of Lucky Charms on a sunny Saturday morning in 1976.
Back in 1976 I may have made headbands with the Isis amulet to wear while “flying” around the front lawn. But I don’t have them 45 years later.
And I didn’t lose them when I fell down the stairs.