Condorman (1981)

The last time I saw this movie, I was 7 years old and watching it under the stars at the Spotlight 88 drive-in theater in Beaver Falls, PA. Sadly, that theater was destroyed by a freak tornado that tore through the Pittsburgh/Southwestern PA area on May 31, 1985. This was a seminal location for my childhood, a place where I saw tons of double features and built memories that would provide the foundation for the movie love that I still hold dear today.

Woodrow “Woody” Wilkins (future Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom Michael Crawford) is a comic book artist whose devotion to realism extends to creating his own Condorman suit and attempting to fly off the Eiffel Tower. Instead of arresting him, his friend Harry (James Hampton, Uncle Harry the werewolf from the Teen Wolf movies), a CIA file clerk, asks him to exchange papers with someone in Istanbul.

Woody finds KGB spy Natalia Rambova (Barbara Carrera, Wicked Stepmother), who he tells that he is really Condorman. Impressed by how he protects her and how poorly she’s treated by her KGB boss Krokov (Oliver Reed!), she defects to the U.S., but only if Condorman helps her.

Woody’s already in love — he’s added Natalia to his comic as Laser Lady. When he’s asked to help her defect, he only agrees if the CIA designs him gear like his comic. Amazingly, they agree and the adventure is on.

Imagine James Bond crossed over with the Adam West-era Batman and you have an idea of how Condorman plays. For a Disney movie, Carrera is really sultry, which probably had an effect on my nine-year-old mind.

Before the days of licensing, Condorman had two cool tie-ins. A daily strip by Russ Heath and an ice cream flavor at Baskin-Robbins!

 

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