This week: Diana Prince infiltrates a beauty pageant run by…Nazi spies!
Title In: Security Entrance – Fort Russell, Maryland, May 1942 – Dawn. A saboteur blows up a truck at the most secure base in America.
At the War Department in Washington D.C., General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) puzzles over how saboteurs keep blowing up key places in the radar assembly supply chain.
There must be…a spy.
To the best of my knowledge, there wasn’t a Fort Russell in Maryland during World War II, so that saves us a lot of thinking about whether they could drive back and forth from the War Department so quickly.
The Miss G.I. Dreamgirl Beauty Contest finalists arrive. The pageant is the next night in the officers club and its being hosted by America’s favorite radio comic, Jack Wood (Dick Van Patton).
Suspiciously, every incident of sabotage has occurred on a base the day it hosted a pageant. What could it mean? It’s so suspicious that even Steve Trevor has noticed the connection, calling it “the sabotage circuit.”
Base commander Colonel Flint assures Steve and Diana that everything is cool with the pageant, because Jack Wood is an National institution, like Bob Hope.
Diana wants to infiltrate the pageant but she’s an ugly glasses-wearing girl so Steve sends her home. Diana tells him she’s going to do some shopping and take the bus back to D.C. Luckily, Diana apparently finds a terrible strawberry blond wig at the Fort Russell PX.
Diana shows off her dance moves.
Jack Wood takes one pervy look at “Diana Paradise” and lets her into the pageant. The girls are there for the G.I.’s to ogle, after all!
After he leaves Fort Russell, Steve is attacked by the saboteurs. Wonder Woman just happens to be in the neighborhood to save his bacon.
She captures and questions the bad guys in a lasso two-fer.
When Wonder Woman uses her super-strength to lift Steve’s ditched car back onto the road, he exclaims “I wonder if you can cook!” while she beams at him and/or swallows her rage.
Meanwhile, Lola and Monty discover there’s no Diana Paradise working at Fort Russell, but since Lola is old and washed up, she understands why a hot babe like Diana would lie her way into a beauty pageant.
Monty isn’t so sure.
Back at the War Department in Washington, D.C. Diana models her new look for Etta Candy (Beatrice Colon) as she practices walking with a book on her head, which is something we did a lot in the 1970s.
Steve and Etta marvel at how beautiful she is with that wig on, because of course her real mane is hideous and unattractive.
In the pageant barracks at Fort Russell, Creeper Jack Wood barges in to “tuck the girls in” and decides Diana should replace Rita as his assistant in his magic act.
Rita is furious. I can’t remember what she said because I was too busy being furious remembering Donald Trump’s whole thing about being a beauty pageant owner and barging into the dressing rooms while contestants were naked.
Luckily, Diana has more important things to do after lights-out than sleep. At Steve’s behest, she sneaks out to help Steve guard the electrical substation, which they believe is the next target. Wisely, she does so as Wonder Woman, leaving her wig tucked into her bed so her absence won’t be noticed.
FINALLY, THE WONDER WOMAN SPIN WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!
Diana spins around and transforms into Wonder Woman in a flash of red, white and blue light, accompanied by a dramatic explosion sound.
Wonder Woman gets to the electrical substation in time to shield it from a bomb. She uses the tailgate of a truck to contain the explosion, which probably doesn’t make sense if you’re reading this and trying to picture it. Trust me, it doesn’t make any more sense if you watch it.
The important part is: the explosion knocks Steve Trevor out.
The explosion wakes the girls! Rita (Christa Helm) finds Diana’s wig in her empty bed and raises a fuss about Diana sneaking out.
Luckily, Wonder Woman scaled the side of the building and snuck in the bathroom window, so Diana can emerge from the shower and alleviates suspicion about where she was. But without her wig, everyone sees her terrible hideous hair! Lola cuts her some slack and doesn’t disqualify her from competing because ugh, who can blame her!
Last year I ran into Lynda Carter at a coffee shop. She walked up to me and told me I have great hair. That has nothing to do with this post, but I just like to mention it every now and again.
Monty tells Lola that Wonder Woman stopped the sabotage. Darn her! But then Monty tells Lola the sabotage is a cover for their real mission: to assassinate General Eisenhower!
The stakes have been raised! Why doesn’t Monty like Ike? Could it be…that Monty is a Nazi spy?
Randolph Field, Texas – 1400 hours – the following day: Eisenhower is preparing to make a surprise visit to Fort Russell to unveil the new radar installation.
At the War Department, Steve is suspicious. Once he hears Ike is headed to Fort Russell, Steve worries about Ike’s safety.
The road past Point Lobo is the only way into Fort Russell right now due to a series of unfortunate events that have closed all the other roads. This sabotage thing might be even more wide-spread than they thought? And crazier still: it looks like Steve is the one who’s gonna bust this thing wide open!
Then, Steve utters Point Lobo’s least successful tourism slogan: “Point Lobo: a perfect place for an ambush!”
While Etta tries to call Fort Russell to warn Diana, Steve dashes off to save Ike.
Monty intercepts her call. Etta is not easily deterred. She dashes to Fort Russell in person.
Monty is even more suspicious of Diana, and decides to sabotage the dangerously heavy PA hanging over the stage so it will fall on Diana during the magic act.
Monty tells Lola that she’s got a fat wrinkly neck. Lola does not have a fat wrinkly neck. Now I want that PA to fall on Monty’s head.
Meanwhile, at Point Lobo, the saboteurs lie in wait for Ike.
Meanwhile, at Fort Russell, the Miss G.I. Dreamgirl show begins with the bathing suit competition, followed by the talent competition.
Interestingly, the G.I.’s in the center of the stock footage audience are rather conspicuously women. This is either an unintentionally strange choice of stock footage, or a brilliantly subversive one.
Etta’s efforts to get backstage fail.
Diana discovers that her costume for the magic act is missing! Rita, who was Jack’s assistant before Diana horned in, has reclaimed her role.
Diana ducks behind the curtains, spins into Wonder Woman, and saves Rita from Monty’s deviously dropping PA trap. Which isn’t so much a trap as it is Monty cutting the ropes that hold up the PA, but let’s not get bogged down in details.
Etta tells Wonder Woman about the plot against Ike!
Wonder Woman races to Point Lobo to assist Steve and the General, who are racing to intercept Ike.
Steve is smart enough to beep out his name in Morse code to signal to Ike’s driver that he’s a friendly! Alas, while they all stand in the middle of the road and chat the saboteurs attack. Pinned down by gunfire, the four men are trapped! Only a stroke of luck will save the day!
“There’s our luck, General!” Steve proclaims as Wonder Woman saves the four mansels in distress. “And it never came in a more beautiful package.”
Oh, but Steve isn’t done being weird. Next he tells Wonder Woman: “If they gave merit badges for being fantastic, you’d be an Eagle Scout.”
Before things can get too hilarious, Monty launches another attack, firing a rocket from a handheld rocket launcher. Luckily, Wonder Woman catches the rocket and throws it into a canyon.
Returning to the base, Wonder Woman wins the pageant and gracefully shares her bouquet of roses with all the other girls.
Steve tells Etta that Diana probably dropped out because who’d want to share a stage with Wonder Woman? Then Etta punches him in the balls and tells him Diana is beautiful.
No she doesn’t. But I’d like to think she wanted to.
Back at the War Department, Steve tells Diana that the General nominated Wonder Woman for a special commendation, so that’s nice.
Lola will probably be treated with leniency because Jack Wood is lobbying for a light sentence and everyone knows that radio comics are the best people to make decisions involving national security.
You know, that kind of decision-making could explain why Washington, D.C. is filthy with Nazi spies. Jack Wood vouching for Monty and Lola and the girls is what got Fort Russell into this mess in the first place.
The pageant girls don’t get many lines, but some of them stand out for historical reasons:
The unsolved murder of Christa Helm, who played bitchy Rita, continues to be a sources of salacious gossip and intrigue.
In addition to being an actual Playboy Playmate, Linda Carpenter was one of the iconic Playmates from the film Apocalypse Now.