Thursday, April 15, 2010

THIS PRANK IS ON YOU


My friend Dave wondered, last week, about Prank from the FLASH series starring John Wesley Shipp. She was a character we both vaguely remembered from one or two of the episodes of that series. It seems she was said to be the basis or inspriation for the character who would become HARLEY QUINN in the BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES. But we had our doubts about how similar the two characters truly were and exactly who created PRANK in the episode(s) in question.

Well I've done some looking and it appears that it was Howard Chaykin (writer/artist of many various comics) and John Francis Moore (who would become a comic book writer at some point) who wrote the episode in which the one true Prank appears.

It's a strange story, as the Trickster (played identically by Mark Hamill to how he would come to play the Joker's voice in BATMAN: TAS) kind of creates Prank as his own sidekick out of Barry Allen's girlfriend at the time (played by Joyce Hyser)--basically, he threw a costume similar to his own onto the unwilling gal and tried to convince her to be his partner. She didn't go for it and just pretty much became his hostage.

In the follow-up to this episode, however, is where the REAL Prank shows up! "Trial of the Trickster" is the final episode of THE FLASH and the Trickster is being put on trial for his many, many crimes. His secret benefactor, Zoe Clark, an insane millionaire who inherited her father's toy company and has a strange love in her heart for the Trickster. She is played nicely by Corinne Bohrer, a very good character actress.

He likes her well enough as she's breaking him out of jail and providing him with his toys, but clearly he does not return the obsessive love she feels for him. He treats her like an annoying little sister. Sounds just like the relationship between Joker and Harley, eh? But the real kicker comes when she says to the Trickster the following four words: "I LOVE you MADLY!" That pretty much tells the story. Love madly = MAD LOVE. Later, as the Trickster says to Prank "How can I miss you when you won't go away!" we see it all spelled out. An almost perfect mold for the characters of Harley and the Joker as they would appear in The Animated Series.

Anyway, here's the few pics I could find of the gals who played Prank (both the unwilling and the one true Prank):


Above: Joyce Hyser played Barry Allen's girlfriend, a District Attorney, IIRC. An actress known mostly for an '80s movie entitled JUST ONE OF THE GUYS, where she played a young woman going "undercover" as a guy in a high school or college.

Here is Corinne Bohrer, the one true PRANK! Not known for any one role to my knowledge, but for a long career of mostly comedic roles of all kinds. Definitely a memorable face and talented actress.



Below: Here she is as Prank, a nifty costume, but one that doesn't come close to Harley's look. She could've been an interesting Harley, as she was kind of goofy and fun, but she didn't play the role as ditzy and girlie as Arleen Sorkin did in The Animated Series.


BTW, if you want to check out any of the episodes of THE FLASH series here online, they are on the WB webiste! And here's a link to "The Trial of the Trickster" episode itself over at the WB website:
http://www.thewb.com/shows/the-flash/the-trial-of-the-trickster/6f20d3ba-5b90-4fe6-b994-24fd388b070b

2 comments:

phear said...

I think Prank is the best sidekick ever. Even better than Harley Quinn because Prank's got the money, the equipment, the attitude, the costume and the passion for the Trickster. She has my vote.

I really love the character but it's a shame that the creators didn't treat her well. She got shoved away too quickly and got arrested too soon (Damn you, Trickster! How could you waste such a fine sidekick?!) Prank's an interesting character and I wanted to see more of her but alas that didn't happen. :(

Gary S. Lee said...

Yep, a real shame that the last episode of the FLASH series featured these two together--which was such a great combination. Thanks for your take on Prank!