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Episode308.jpg
"Skateboard Wiz"
Season 3, Episode 8
Air date November 24, 1978
Written by Alan Brennert
Director Leslie H. Martinson
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Diana accepts an invitation from her friend Leslie to stay at her home in a sleepy beachfront California town and have a quiet vacation. Secretly, a ruthless businessman named Donalsen has been acquiring a variety of properties across town by using his thugs to force the owners to sell to him. Donalsen uses these legitimate businesses as fronts for a network of backroom gambling dens.

Donalsen's next target is the local country club. To help convince the owner to sell, he sets fire to a warehouse. Diana is walking nearby when she hears the initial explosion, and Wonder Woman is able to put out the fire. The incident causes Donalsen to suspect Diana might have been involved in stopping the attempted arson, while at the same time convincing Diana that something suspicious is going on in town. The country club owner is too scared to talk to Diana, and when Wonder Woman pays him a visit instead, one of Donalsen's thugs tells them that the club owner's family will be killed if he doesn't cooperate or if Wonder Woman interferes. Two thugs attempt to drown Diana in the ocean. She fights them off long enough to escape, and Wonder Woman gets one of them to tell her that Donalsen is their boss. Back at the IADC, Steve relays information that Donalsen has tried similar operations in smaller towns before. Diana, fearing that Donalsen will try to get to her through her friends, moves out of Leslie's house into a motel.

Duane, an indebted gambler from Texas, spots Leslie's daughter, Jamie, flawlessly playing a video game in the arcade which serves as a front for one of the casinos. He realizes she has a photographic memory and is a mathematical genius, and cons her into helping him at blackjack. When she realizes his sob story was a lie, she runs off, stumbling into Donalsen's office and a map of his operation before escaping the building.

Skye (secretly Donalsen's head of security) calls Diana in the middle of the night telling her he's got important information for her. But Jamie arrives first, telling Diana about the hidden casino. Skye comes just in time for Diana to tell him he'll have to come another time because she needs to get Jamie to the police so they can bust up the casino. Skye rushes to call his boss, so that by the time the police get a warrant and arrive at the arcade, the casino room has been rearranged into a storage room for old pinball machines.

When Skye calls Diana to set up another meeting, she belatedly realizes he was the only one who could have tipped Donalsen off in time. So when he shows up to Diana's hotel room to kill her, Wonder Woman is waiting in ambush. Bound by her lasso, he tells her that thugs are already on their way to kidnap Jamie.

Jamie wins the skateboard competition, and a thug posing as a newspaper photographer lures her away to the parking lot where his partner is waiting. She uses her skateboard skills to briefly elude them, but they catch her and force her into the car just before Wonder Woman arrives. Wonder Woman uses the skateboard Jamie dropped to chase after the getaway car. Distracted by Wonder Woman behind them, the thugs nearly run into a truck, and Wonder Woman is able to catch them, rescuing Jamie. Aided by Jamie's perfect recall of the map in Donalsen's office, the police are able to shut down the entire operation.

Cast

Notes

  • Jamie's skateboarding moves were performed by pioneering female professional skateboarder Ellen O'Neal (who also had a role that same year in the movie Skateboard). Ellen is not credited in the episode itself, but was mentioned in contemporary magazine articles. It is not clear why Ellen was not cast to play Jamie in the full episode.
  • This is the only episode in which Wonder Woman uses a skateboard (to catch up with the henchmen's car as they try to escape), and the only appearance of her skateboarding costume (which adds gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, and a helmet with her crest to her regular costume). The red skateboard helmet is much different from her gold motorcycle helmet. Lynda is initially shown wearing her usual high-heeled boots, but subsequent shots of her skateboarding stunt double all show her wearing flats.
  • Early in the episode, Skye convinces his boss, Donalsen, to hold off on sending henchmen to kill Diana until he can be sure that she's on the case, reasoning that an attack would convince her there was something worth investigating. He meets with Diana and incorrectly concludes that she is there on assignment to bring Donalsen's operation down, leading Donalsen to order the hit. Although this is one of many times in the series where the villain sending henchmen to kill Diana convinces her to take the case and/or gives her key information about the bad guys, it's the only time in the series where (at least for a while) a villain is advised not to do it.
  • Duane's plan to get high school girl Jamie into the casino is to get her makeup and a slinky cocktail dress, assuring her that this will make her look like she's in her early 20s. He visibly admires her and compliments her figure even though he is (as confirmed by his plausible lie about having a daughter her age) old enough to be her father. A moment later, one of the dress straps pointedly falls off her shoulder because the dress so poorly fits her slender adolescent frame. It's not clear how creepy this was intended to be at the time. No one inside the illicit casino questions her age, but they do assume she's there as his date.
  • As usual, the shot of Wonder Woman leaping to a great height (in this case, the upper floor warehouse window where the firebomb went off) is accomplished by having the stunt woman jump backwards off the ledge and then running the film in reverse. However, in this case there's a fire in the shot, so the trick is made slightly more obvious. If you watch the smoke as Wonder Woman jumps up to the window, instead of billowing up and out the window, it briefly appears as if it's being sucked back inside.
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