As a girl in the 1970s, Wonder Woman was my hero. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to twirl in circles and turn into a super hero? On top of that, she had the invisible plane, magic belt, bullet-stopping bracelets, the lasso of truth, and that awesome tiara. So when I found out Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden was going to interview Wonder Woman portrayer Lynda Carter at the Library of Congress, where the U.S. Copyright Office is located, I had to hear her story.
I started researching Carter before the event, and I found she has a music career. According to her website, she made her musical debut at age five in a talent show in Phoenix. In high school, she performed in a band called Just Us, then in the late 1960s, she joined a band with two of her cousins called The Relatives. Gary Burghoff—Radar from the television show M*A*S*H—was in the band as well. Carter also sang in a band called The Garfin Gathering in the early 1970s.
In 1978, Carter released her album Portrait. CBS, Inc. registered the copyright for the sound recording of the album, but Carter registered copyrights for the words and music to two of the album’s songs, “Fantasy Man” and “Toto (Don’t It Feel Like Paradise).” She performed the latter and a song she co-wrote, “Want To Get Beside You,” in the 1979 Wonder Woman episode “Amazon Hot Wax,” where Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman) went undercover as singer Kathy Meadows to investigate a record extortion ring.
Carter released her second album, At Last, in 2009 and her third album, Crazy Little Things, in 2011. That album contained “Jessie’s Song,” which Carter co-wrote, but transferred the copyright to her daughter. In searching Copyright Office’s online catalog, I also found “Jamie’s Song (You’ll Change Just A Little),” co-written by Carter and copyright transferred to her son.
Carter’s most recent creative works are included in the video game Fallout 4. Carter voices the character Magnolia, and the game’s award-nominated soundtrack features songs performed by Magnolia and co-written by Carter. She continues to sing (she has a new album coming out with songs she wrote) and act, and appears at events like the Library of Awesome.
Awesome really is the accurate word to describe the Librarian’s interview with Carter. Carter proclaimed she will “never stop fighting for the idea of Wonder Woman—the idea of intellect and strength, the idea of intellect and courage.”
Carter also said that there’s no other library like the Library of Congress in the world and pointed out that there have only been fourteen Librarians of Congress. Dr. Hayden added “and only one woman,” which got a standing ovation. The Copyright Office saw its own first woman Register, Barbara Ringer, work wonders to rise to the helm of the Office, paving the way for others to follow, including the current Acting Register, Karyn Temple Claggett—the first African American woman to lead the office. To me, that’s what Wonder Woman stands for. That’s what can motivate anyone, no matter what gender, to go for it, to create that work that can be registered with the Copyright Office, and as Carter said, “to put one foot in front of the other, because the first step helps train your brain on how to do the next step.”