Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: The Secret of Isis

The Secret of Isis aka Isis ran for two seasons (a total of 22 episodes) between 1975 and 1977. It starred JoAnna Cameron as Andrea Thomas, a science teacher at Larkspur High School who found an ancient mystical gold amulet, the “Isiac amulet,” on an archaeological dig in Egypt. The Isiac amulet, which resembled the headdress of Hathor, had originally belonged to Queen Hatshepsut, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. The amulet gave the wearer (specifically, Hatshepsut and her descendants, of which Andrea was one) “the powers of the animals and the elements,” which would be bestowed upon such wearer by the goddess Isis whenever it was exposed to the sun and her name invoked. Whenever Isis was needed, Andrea would reveal the Isiac amulet (which she wore as an everyday necklace) and recite an incantation – “Oh mighty Isis” – transforming her into the goddess/super-heroine.

The series co-starred Brian Cutler as fellow teacher Rick Mason, Joanna Pang as student Cindy Lee, and Albert Reed as Dr. Barnes, the school principal. In Season 2, Ronalda Douglas joined the cast as Rennie Carol, replacing the Cindy character. Guest stars on the show included Mike Lookinland, Debralee Scott, Leigh McCloskey, Phil Bruns, Mark Lambert, Steven Paul, Thomas Carter, Colleen Camp, Johnny Doran, William Engesser, Laurette Spang, Tommy Norden, Victor Sen Yung, Russ Marin and Christopher Norris.

Three episodes of the series featured crossover appearances by Captain Marvel of the show’s companion series, Shazam!). Likewise, Cameron appeared as Isis in three episodes of Shazam!

Most of the program’s storylines involved Isis coming to the rescue of high school students who found themselves in danger due to unwise choices. A notable exception was the two-part series finale, “Now You See It…”, and, “…Now You Don’t,” which had an espionage-related plotline revealing that Rick Mason has been working secretly for the U.S. government on a weather-making machine. This two-part episode introduced a trio of crime-fighting teens dubbed “The Super-Sleuths;” the double episode was intended as a backdoor pilot for a Super-Sleuths series, which never materialized.

The Secrets of Isis often “broke the fourth wall,” with Isis/Andrea winking at the camera or otherwise acknowledging the audience, at pertinent moments in a story.

isis 2

In signature Filmation fashion, each episode featured an epilogue with Isis directly addressing the camera and imparting a moral lesson derived from the preceding events of that episode. These moral-message segments were later deleted from syndication prints.

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