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tv   Up to the Minute  CBS  January 30, 2013 3:35am-4:30am EST

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that you're going to hear forever. you're the most interesting and central person in the world and then later you develop another set of ideas based on these which is those you love will never part from you, you know. and those ideas we all feel every day that this sort of falseness. you have a friction of those ideas and it makes living painful. so the separation comes out of that. separation from self, self from others and reading is a way of temporarily bridging that gap and saying we are separate but for these brief moments we're going to be together for one entity. >> rose: what i struck by you is this notion which i also believed that some of us and i count us among them have happened it easiest. we don't appreciate this i hate this idea that somebody is poor because they're lazy or
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somebody's there because they didn't care enough. if only they had some moral quality, they would be somewhere else. i hate that. >> yes. >> rose: and you seem to have captured that idea or own that idea. >> well i know a part of it was in my 20's -- no, thank you that's wonderful. i wint through a period in my 20's where i got that lesson from the other side. i had an engineering degree worked in asia for a couple years and did a jack kerouac. just in a small way you get the feeling of being on the receiving end of sharp blades of capitalism. and it wasment in my situation it wasn't the gulag but just the taste of that and just to see, it's not actually that
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interested in your feelings you know. so i think just a little bit of that, yes. >> rose: david who as you know is a guest on this program tell me about the friendship. >> well we've you know we melt probably five or six seven times and each time was just a really deep deep communication. i just lover the guy and was kind of off in his energy and his work. i think we had kind of a professional friendship in that we didn't we weren't e-mailing every day. when we got together it was sort of an occasion. and he always made me kind of, i have a bit of kind of a cheerful, a tendency to sort of make everything optimistic sort of ramp it up but he was very honest and so one thing he did for me was make me look a little closer at that tendency and say well if dave were here he would honestly say this food is terrible or he would say i don't like that book. in that way he was a wonderful
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influence. >> rose: when you read of his suicide, what did you think. >> actually somebody e-mail me what do you think about this and i thought it was a joke because i couldn't, his energy, it was so beautiful and vibrant and so all inclusive. you could be somewhere and if he was nervous that became part of the story, if he was happy, if there was some i remember enter viewing him on stage in a public theatre in new york and we were both of kind of nervous and we had a graded talk and he went out with a plastic fork in his hand and kept that the whole time and several times he would look down and kind of refer to it. >> rose: did he appreciate the talent, do you think. >> that he had? i think he did, yes. i mean, it was so interesting to watch a at that time like that. saw they the talent and the man are the same. to see him talk in person, to see him relate with other people you really felt the book coming alive.
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let's very little divide between the artist and the man and that was something i really learned. that kind of honesty that he had in person translated into the page and that beautiful mental convolution. that's can cat foreally being hit by a truck. >> rose: couldn't handle it and they too couldn't negotiate. >> right. i think that i had the feeling if he tweaked something in any brain of our brains, you could just get to a place where you couldn't go on. >> rose: what we don't appreciate is the pain. they all say to me it's the pain, physical pain. >> yes, because to go from the
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man that i knew who was so alive and so vibrant so incredibly generous and then you see just taking his own life, that's not a logical progression. so therefore something illogical and terrible intervene and that's it. >> rose: we talk about writing and then about fiction. you said i think there was a moment a pivotal moment where you realized that absurdism was actually real. >> well, it was some time i worked for a company in rochester, an engineering company and i was a tech writer and it was kind of the feeling, there were meetings that we had that were quite crazy and you thought well if i represent this realistically, i would have to go over into what we call a post mud everyone mode. it's to crazy. if you look honestly at your emotional range the things that have moved you, and them you try to translate that into fiction you realize that you sometimes
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have to use extraordinary means to represent quote/unquote ordinary circumstances, you know. so it's something about when i try to get the language to overload, and try to do justice to the actual emotional trajectory that i experienced, it was necessary to go off into quote/unquote non-realistic turf but they are one and the same thing. >> rose: power of observation is that part of the talent. >> i think it is but i've done some non-fiction pieces that really helped achieve my world view but i think if it is it's actually the power to observe language i think, to see when a paragraph is being sloughful. that kind of observation isn't unrelated to the observation of the real. if you get a sense it isn't doing its job.
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if you say jim wore a red sweater. jim wore a dirty red sweater. that's a little truncated. jim wore a dirty red sweeter with a torn yellow pocket. that's a better sounding sentence and jim's a little bit of a slob. he's coming into focus. >> rose: there is about you two things. you take on big subjects like mortality like capitalism, like morality and you do it without sin seizal -- cynicism and you see it in the small focus of every day life and that's how it defines yourself. that's a question. >> rose: i think actually y ou -- >> i think in the course of your life -- >> rose: i don't want you to agree with me. >> how do you encounterbig
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ideas. in that wivmentd story the guy wants to tell someone his son has died. no one listens so he tell his horse. the way to get to the big ideas is through the tiny moments of disrespect or pain or the crumpled piece of paper. the small details are the gateway to big ideas or if you say i'm going to write about patriarchy that's a recipe. >> rose: also there's this. do you think art's essentially a moral function. >> i do but i think while you're doing it you better not think that. after the fact -- >> rose: we're all doing something that nobody else has ever thought of or that is so profound people will be -- >> that's right. don't be too sure about the effect it's going to have because my motto there's this thing a story that's kind of a black box. you lead the reader and he gets
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put out on the other end. on the creative side you don't want to be too sure what kind of state he's in. you want to do something it's like a carnival ride. but the minute you start stage managing him you want to improve him. i think you become a comment a little bit so better you could just energize the person in some way. after you read you know the way you're lit up for a few days afterwards, that's true but when you're doing it you better -- >> rose: but you also everybody says this. everybody says this. you can get at truth through fiction more than you can through non-fiction. do you believe that. >> i do believe that, yes. >> rose: because? >> i think it's because it's, well for one thing you're not inhibited by what actually happened. so the excesses of your aesthetic term by whatever it's
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bound it can present. fiction offers a unique chance for the reader and writer to construct the world together. so if i say a man walked off a dusty road towards a whitehouse. well you just supplied a man that worked toward a house. there's a third thing we're creating together. that makes intimacy and as a writer you can try not to ever condescend, make the participatory and then 80 pages down the road we've got a man we made together who is going through something hopefully major and who is making it. not me, not you but the two of us together. now that kind of happens in know fiction but the fact the fiction writer, for example, i don't -- >> rose: let me just understand. non-fiction the other person's not a part of making the character because the character's already been created. >> i suppose he is actually because even writing a non-fiction meese but it's my projection. but i think somehow in fiction
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because you're free to invent you're free to exaggerate and compress that whole process is more vigorous. so for example i love writing non-fiction but i don't like writing about someone's feelings. if i had a dark truce to tell about a certain group of people even if i didn't know them i would say i just can't do that. in fiction you make up the person, tell the dark truth and in a certain way the defects of your personality are excused because invented it anyway. >> rose: do you write some non-fiction. >> i did six pieces for gq, the editor andy ward i lived in homeless camp in fresno for a week, i went to dubai and traveled with president clinton. being in situations and kind of going with an idea in mind and having a real world just watch over you and take your idea out, so refreshing especially for somebody in the middle of their
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live, it was really eye opening and i think a lot of of the kind of more positive qualities here are a effect of those getting out in the world and writing those stories. >> rose: you also stated at some point you started about the idea i was talking about earlier you said the absence of wealth was the erosion of grace. meaning? >> i'll tell you the exaggerated version. i worked at a slaughterhouse in my 20's, young guy pretty healthy kind of a positive thinker. and just worked eight or ten hours as a knuckle it was called. and so there in the prime of my life i had come home, couldn't open my hands because there was a hook and a knife and i was 26 year old running them under hot water. i noticed with a little bit of shock at night i didn't want to do anything. i didn't want to go out, i didn't want to watch tv. if i could work up the nerve i had a beer meeting but the whole thing was bracing yourself for 6:00 the next morning going into the freeding cold room and
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starting again. i worked maybe a week and-a-half. this was the first time i mean it's child of an obvious thing but the way what you do in the later hours affects who you are when you come home. and if you have a wife you have a kid, your ability to respond generously and loving to them is going to be affected by work. that was maybe the hardest job but even in the other ones you could sort of see that that eight hires ten hours you spent has got a moral charge because it spits you out a different person than you want in. so that's always been on my mind and somebody whose worked my whole life and everybody i know whose worked i noticed that in fiction that stuff is often off stage. the characters are talk or out fishing or something and my life with them has always been eight hours of work and whatever crises was going on outside, you know, you've had to suppress it when you went to work. i think that's maybe a deep part
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of the american story. >> rose: absolutely. there are those of us and i assume you are and certainly i am even more so maybe so many people have the separation between work and the rest of their life. i don't have a separation. it's not because i'm crazied by work it is because what my work is about is something that is my ultimate curiosity. >> what a privilege. i remember when our kids were little and being in that first glow of fatherhood all you want to do is be with them. i got cept to a job at water town and we were doing some environmental sampling in the swamp. so we're staying at the hotel and i remember thinking i'm feeling a pain here that i know is not very manly but i just want to get home and so that thing you're going to work eight or ten hours doing something that is not at all related to your heart's desire. that's okay. it happens but i just think it's sort of maybe an under narrated
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poker of life. >> rose: how do you write now. >> you know just kind of it's almost, i think i train myself to be able to do it any time. i have a little writing shed at our house and i kind of go out there in the morning and just walk the dogs and get in there and sit for six or seven hours and see. sometimes sit sometimes type frantically. >> rose: just sit and think and write and read. >> it's the first time, maybe the first time where i've had kind of those big blocks of time. >> rose: i was looking for something i wanted to read i thought i marked it but i didn't. there is also this. your dad. i love this story. wanted you to be a reader. >> yes yes. my dad was when i was a kid first he sold coal for peterson coal south side chicago and he was great
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♪ you always love superheroes. you always love villains and heroes. you put on that costume, black, tight. you lose 20 pounds right away, you look great. meow. we used to say "we put on our tights to put on the world." [ "batman theme" playing ] he liked the walls to pop out. he'd come in and they would pop. the generation of women my age that had mothers that were saying "you can do whatever you set your mind to." that tells you something about our culture and what people really enjoy what people are more fixated on, what grabs them.
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explore new worlds and new ideas through programs like this made available for everyone through contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. seacrest: they put on a costume to entertain a nation. west: it was easy to play batman. the moment i pulled on that cowl it was like, in my head, it was like, "hey, you want to go out and play batman? let's go, come on!" it's a clue, all right. but what does it mean? to the batcave. we'll analyze it. i used to call them my "python pants" because they nearly strangled you to death. and, i mean, man was not built for tights, let me tell you. under this garb, we're perfectly ordinary americans. sometimes if a costume is right... [ sighs ] you don't have to act. au revoir, batman. running around in spandex and a cape, you know. that's going
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to be my hero. who are you?! i'm looking for the case file you're working on. [ bullet ricocheting ] i wore less on the beach. it was more than a bikini. it was the american flag in a one-piece suit. seacrest: they played the characters that sparked our imaginations. i got beat up a lot as a kid. so i wanted to be like the hulk -- i wanted to be so strong so invincible. [ grunts ] the creator of "wonder woman" really felt that girls needed a hero, too -- and developed wonder woman. women are the wave of the future. and sisterhood is... stronger than anything. seacrest: they had fun and brought us along for the ride. i thought, "yeah that's the kind of comedy
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i'd like to try, something absurd." oh, i loved doing "batman." it was huge fun. "holy strawberries, batman! are we in a jam!" see, that one, i thought, was a little on the corny side. holy popcorn! man-eating lilacs. holy purple cannibals! but they started giving jimmy a chance to be funny and do comedy and do comic bits. well, i'll be a side-winding gopher! whatever that is. you feel like a winner because no matter what the hulk always succeeds. he never fails. in our dreams, we can be anything we want to be. seacrest: together they gave new life to an established genre... entertaining millions of every age. they are the "pioneers of television." it may the most famous scene in the batman franchise. adam west, as batman
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tries to get rid of a bomb that's about to explode. that long sequence with the bomb on the pier in santa barbara -- in which i couldn't get rid of the bomb. batman discovers this bomb, okay. of course, you know, it's going to go off so he's gotta get rid of it. he runs over to this pier, and on one side, he starts to throw it, and there's a mother duck with her little ducklings down in the water. he can't throw it there. he runs in another direction here's the salvation army band playing. [ band playing "bringing in the sheaves" ] so the last line he's totally winded and frustrated and he says, what -- looking down at the water, "some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb!" some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb.
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seacrest: the scene epitomized what made the "batman" tv series succeed... [ explosion ] the perfect combination of action and comedy. to make it funny and ludicrous absurd in a sense, but always kind of believable. seacrest: "batman" didn't start out as a comedy. the original comic books were darker, more serious. when the show came to television the producers wanted a lighter touch, but they couldn't find an actor who could pull it off until they saw this commercial for nestle quik. man: oh, captain q! join me in a glass of delicious chocolate quik won't you? thank you, doctor. i could use some energy. incidentally one of those torpedoes you fired at me was circling and... [ explosion ] you're sunk. toodle-oo, captain q! some people will do anything to get rich quik.
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toodle-oo. they saw them, and they said, "kid, i think you can play batman," and they called me in. seacrest: the next step was casting robin. despite looking at more than a thousand actors for the role no one seemed right. then burt ward wandered in for his very first acting audition ever. go for broke, you know. and that's what i did, all the way, right for the character. and they loved it. [ sighs ] listen, bruce, i've got an idea. yes? remember what the riddler said when he slipped you that summons? "what is it that no one wants to have yet no one wants to lose?" and you answered "a lawsuit." seacrest: from the first day of production, almost nothing went right. explosions misfired with regularity... sending burt ward to the hospital four times in a week. these guys that are setting dynamite charges you do not want to smell liquor on their breath
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at 8:00 in the morning -- bad sign! the signal! i climb up, and as i get to the top -- just to get into position... the car unexpectedly blows up. just excruciating pain. they said, "look, burt we will get you right over to the emergency hospital as soon as we finish the shot." i said, "what do you mean, i'm not going now?" "no, no, you've got to go back and shoot the shot. we got the whole crew, we got 80 guys in the crew here." well, it was kind of chaos the first week or so of shooting in that burt kept getting in the way of bombs and speeding cars. seacrest: the chemistry between adam west and burt ward worked from the very beginning... although the two did have a friendly sense of competition. if you noticed when he said his lines, adam spoke very slowly. robin's right.
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he has a strange artistic compulsion to -- artistic. that's it. the meaning of the first clue -- the peel art gallery. why did he do that? well, he understood that if he spoke slowly -- and they had to be on him for the entire line -- it would take longer for him to say his lines. the camera would be, therefore on him longer, and less on the other actors -- he was very smart about that. the real crime? precisely, inspector bash. the riddler contrives his plots like artichokes -- you have to strip off spiny leaves to reach the heart. we're talking, and then all of a sudden, he opens up his cape and walks right up to the camera and stands there blocking me out. and the director said, "wait a minute burt's in the shot, adam!" he said, "i had to do it." i said, "why did you have to do that, adam?" he says, "because i felt the moment. i felt it was necessary." i did occasionally kid burt, tease him a bit by holding
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up a cape in front of his face and in front of a take but only if he misunderstood something... if he was doing something he shouldn't do as my sidekick. "okay, take two," and it would come down. seacrest: in the first few weeks of production, adam west faced a more serious challenge from producer bill dozier over how to play the batman character. they wanted it very straight and "lone ranger" kind of thing and nothing behind the mask. i couldn't do that. i felt that batman is a very interesting character, but even comedically -- as the bright knight and not the dark knight -- you had to have fun with it. seacrest: adam west won the argument and his batman character became one of the biggest breakout hits of the decade. in the '60s,
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the three "bs" -- bond, beatles, and batman. and i thought, "my god i'm a part of that trio?!" seacrest: but behind the scenes, producer bill dozier was actively working to keep control of his stars on his show. west: when i was on the cover of life magazine he called me into the office. he threw the magazine down on his desk in front of me. i just stood there and looked at him with a little grin. and he said, "oh, wait a minute don't forget there have been 12 tarzans, adam." "oh, okay. we'll see." seacrest: batman's influence on american television was larger than almost any other show of the period. gleebs! it's batman! seacrest: it was the first series to tap into the colorful pop art movement, personified by artists like andy warhol. west: look what
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was happening in society, look at the world of art and all of those kind of wondrous, splashy primary, comic-book colors that people were painting in. anything i can do for you, sir? check your cape? seacrest: the distinctive look the tongue-in-cheek humor... just looking, thanks. i'll stand at the bar. i shouldn't wish to attract attention. seacrest: and the huge ratings meant "batman" wasn't just popular, it was hip. everyone wanted to be a guest star on the show as the villain of the week. you shake a pretty mean cape, batman. oh, i loved doing "batman." it was huge fun. no man can resist the stunning note of my voice -- two octaves above high "c." i want you to call batman, hmm? and have him meet you in some neutral place. [ gasps ] if you desire. doing that whistle or that
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voice... [ piercing tone plays ] that she does and everybody turns to stone -- yeah, it was a riot. seacrest: fan favorites included cesar romero's joker, burgess meredith's penguin and frank gorshin's riddler. he was always on the manic, dangerous edge which i loved, and i could relate to that. and they all seemed to just thrive on this opportunity to not be limited in what they were doing. in other words, they could make their characters bigger than life. the whole world almost literally in our grasp and batman and robin still alive to block us. [ laughing ] everything pip-pip with the prisoner, comrades. he hasn't a clue. no, but i bet the dynamic duo has. what? a clue in how we made the ship disappear. seacrest: batman's most vexing nemesis
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was catwoman -- played by eartha kitt, lee meriwether and, most famously julie newmar. i mean, you put on that costume -- black, tight, you lose 20 pounds right away, you look great. you've got high heels, you've got great dialogue, you have fun. it would be one of the choice roles for women of all time. [ screams ] batman: it's all over, catwoman. i'll do everything i can to rehabilitate you. marry me. everything except that. a wife, no matter how beauteous or affectionate, would severely impair my crime-fighting. but i can help you in your work. as a former criminal i'd be invaluable. what about robin? robin? oh, i've got it -- we'll kill him. she was... naughty, yes delicious, yes. she was a tease, but she wasn't
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basically... psychopath evil. you might think so but she wasn't really. and she promised to date me when she gets out of jail. yeah, for good behavior. that would be good. well, i got better as it went along because playing an animal character, you've got to feel that way, look that way, sound that way behave that way. so it takes some learning. it's... i did get better by the third show and the fourth show. i was much more cat-like mm-hmm. [ humming "three blind mice" ] you feline devil! what have you done with robin?! aw, is that any way to greet an old friend, batman? not even a "hello, how are you"?
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[ hisses ] meow. when you know where the jokes are, you know, you got to... you gotta sort of warm them up and make them bigger and kind of -- and then... and then say the lines. mmm. seacrest: julie newmar's distinctive interpretation of catwoman made her famous almost overnight. of course, the skin-tight costume didn't hurt either. newmar: i moved the belt from the waistline down to the hips because it was bright gold and that way it would accentuate the hips more. may i? meow! au revoir, batman. newmar: sometimes if a costume is right, you don't have to act. seacrest: the outfit
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may have helped julie newmar get into character... but the batman and robin costumes had the opposite effect on adam west and burt ward from the very first day. i'm there, and these two guys were saying, "here, take off your clothes." "well, why i'm taking off my clothes?" "well, we have this to put on you." "oh, well, i can't put it on by myself?" "well, you're going to need help to get into this." the most uncomfortable thing i think i've ever been in in my entire life -- most uncomfortable. it's like every step i took, it pulled the hair on my leg. i mean, just really not a great costume. west: being near-sighted and being behind those holes in the cowl, it made it doubly hard to see. it's an obstacle, and yet it's very helpful. for example, if i couldn't move my head easily in that cowl and the way the cape was attached, then i'd use that. remember how cary grant moved, kind of...
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in other words i couldn't turn my head like this. so i used that. seacrest: every actor playing a superhero faces a moment of truth the first time they put on the costume -- will the people on-set react with a chuckle or will they believe? west: i was a little timorous about that, a little... taken aback with what might occur in that costume when i walked on the set for the first time. and i decided i'd walk through pools of light to get to that spot -- in the costume -- as much like batman as i could. and you know what the hell happened? i got over there and there wasn't a sound. everyone believed that i was batman. [ cheering ] seacrest: the series became so popular so fast that adam west could fill stadiums just by showing up. but by the time
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the second season premiered, problems were already brewing behind the scenes. story lines became repetitive, jokes turned stale. by the third season, production budgets were slashed and ratings declined even further. the producers' solution was to add a new character -- batgirl, played by yvonne craig. announcer: holy femininity! batgirl! batgirl? batgirl. batgirl. seacrest: batgirl couldn't save the "batman" series. but the character marked an important milestone as tv's first female superhero. a spinoff series of "batgirl" was considered... but by then, the bat-phenomenon had played out. it wasn't until seven years later that a female superhero finally took center stage with a show of her own. man: wonder woman says she is not afraid.
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fire at will. [ drum roll ] [ fanfare plays ] did you see that ladies and gentlemen?! seacrest: launched in the mid-1970s at the height of the women's movement, "wonder woman" had a message of empowerment. we'll send more agents! no, the nazis don't care about their women. they let you fend for yourself and any civilization that does not recognize the female is doomed to destruction. women are the wave of the future, and sisterhood is... stronger than anything. seacrest: but the more overt feminine messages didn't last long. the reason why in subsequent episodes you didn't hear those kinds of things much anymore was because
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of the network. the network said "we've got to get... you know, this fem-- you're going to turn off a lot of people with this feminist talk," because, you know, feminism was so dangerous. seacrest: even with the toned-down scripts lynda carter pressed to ensure the series portrayed positive role models. wonder woman was intelligent resourceful, and in control... often rescuing the show's male lead played by lyle waggoner. wonder woman! steve, are you all right? wonder woman am i glad to see you! thanks! [ explosion ] i think he got a little sick of it to tell you the truth. [ laughs ] i'll have you free in a few seconds. i don't blame him! you know we've been in that role for years. are
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you all right? yeah, i'm fine. my pride's hurt a little bit. and once again, i'm in your debt, wonder woman. seacrest: when guest star bubba smith bristled at the notion of his character losing a fight to wonder woman, lynda carter found a subtle way to make her point. we devised this little plan, and they taught me how to -- it's really leverage. we were just going to try to set it up, but the camera was really rolling. and so the stunt coordinator goes... i said, "okay, i bet you don't think i could this but let's just try it, let me just see. we won't film it." i went -- boomp. and... and i -- so bubba smith -- i tossed bubba smith -- the football player. he was a big guy. not too happy. seacrest: the "wonder woman" tv series was based on a comic created by william moulton marston, a man who was already well known as the inventor
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of the first lie detector test. a version of moulton's invention made its way into the "wonder woman" comic book and tv show as the lasso of truth that compelled villains to speak honestly. [ whip cracks ] what is this?! only a little dinky rope but i can't move! no one can resist the golden lasso. it binds all who it encircles and compels them to tell the truth. seacrest: when moulton's comic first came to television in a 1974 tv movie cathy lee crosby played wonder woman. but her blond hair, small frame, and track-suit uniform strayed far from the original comic book character. for the tv series, the producers wanted the embodiment of the "wonder woman" comic but finding an actress who could pull it off was proving difficult, until they came upon lynda carter. her earnest attitude
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and statuesque looks made her uniquely suited to the role. carter: i will never have another character that is that memorable. very few actors ever have a character that is that, you know seared into people's minds. and i have to say that doing a comic book character is almost impossible. and there is a kind of a secret to it. people want to believe and you have to make it real. seacrest: from the beginning lynda carter faced challenges. first came the costume which some thought was too revealing. i wore less on the beach. it was the american flag in a one-piece suit. people thought that i pulled in my waist, i actually didn't. because my waist is really small -- or it was back then. and the truth is i had them take it out because i didn't want it to look too, like, hour-glassy.
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i know, it's a ridiculous problem to have. i thought it looked too small. seacrest: acting was also a challenge because lynda carter was so inexperienced when she landed the role. there are a couple of real stinkers in "wonder woman" where i had some -- they'd gotten me some acting coach who thought i should really be playing up wonder woman. so i did that, and it was... they're really awful. what makes you so strong? on paradise island there are only women. because of this pure environment, we are able to develop our minds and our physical skills, unhampered by masculine destructiveness. stop! such information is utter rubbish! seacrest: because superhero shows rely so heavily on a single central character, production can be taxing on the lead actor... especially a newcomer like lynda carter. that's why the guest stars were so important.
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i've never worked in anything where i didn't give everything i have. i named this island paradise for an excellent reason -- there are no men on it. thus, it is free of their wars their greed, their hostilities... their barbaric masculine behavior. leachman: but that to me was funny even though nobody knew it. [ chuckles ] i remember being in love with lynda carter. you stay and talk, i'll get the car and bring it around. butter him up, try to make him tell you his technique. uh, harold? i drove. i had bashed my head on the hatchback of my car really bad -- i had cut it open, like, right here like a third eye. because you can see, the make-up man tried to fix it, but it's like i have a head wound in the whole show. and they should have just fired me, but they didn't. i wonder what kind of surgery
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marcus welby would call this? i should have worn a hat or something. i'd love to see it because i remember looking at it in the mirror when we shot it. i went, "this is not even remotely gone." the make-up man, "no, let me put a little more yellow to take the red out, put some more powder on." no, there's a wound on my head. i loved being with lynda carter working on the show and meeting ted shackelford. i set the coordinates for the demonstration run-through for washington, d.c. 1978. are there any objections? no, you're the historian. it was kind of a rubber outfit. he looked ridiculous, i thought. they allowed individuals to accumulate a massive fortune back then. it will be fascinating to watch a capitalistic society at work. uh-huh. lots of technical jargon and we're working in, you know things that blondie here doesn't have a clue what those are. ted had to operate all the knobs and the buttons and the things and we're trying to spit out dialogue like this and that. this day is going to make history. i can hardly wait to see their faces. and it's all because of you. after all, thanks
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to your genius the time portal practically runs itself. seacrest: because female action stars were so rare in the 1970s when lynda carter needed a stunt double, the producers dressed up a man in her costume. we couldn't have a hairy guy doubling me, you know. there was just -- [ laughs ] there was one guy... they had a russian chair i think it's called -- and it's a big swing. and it's got... and it launches a person into the air. he had, like, a hairy chest and everything and a wig on. "oh, it's gonna be from the back, you'll never see it." i said, "i can't have... i can't have" -- it's like he's got this, like, a guy's square shape, you know. it's like...
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seacrest: in one scene wonder woman was supposed to hang on to a helicopter, but the shot would have clearly revealed the stunt double. lynda carter decided to do the stunt herself. i said, "okay, okay, just roll it. just roll it!" and i got up on the thing, and i got on the struts, but i didn't use the little... i didn't use the little safety thing. i didn't know you're supposed to. and i -- "just take it up, just go, go, go, before the sun -- the sun's going down, sun's going down! go, go, go, go!" so they went... and the helicopter went up. puts me back down. i said, "good, we got the shot." seacrest: one slip would have been deadly. studio executives, infuriated that their star might have been injured, made sure lynda carter got a stunt double -- a female stunt double.
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seacrest: "wonder woman" lasted just three seasons, but it was an important launching pad for women in television. it was among the first tv dramas with a female lead and gave invaluable experience to a wide range of female writers, producers, and production people. and the series launched one other career -- wonder girl, played by debra winger. there were plans for a "wonder girl" spinoff series but debra winger wasn't interested. and by 1979, the "wonder woman" franchise had left the air. by then, another superhero was hitting its stride.


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