It's time for a history lesson. But in a fun way.
Agent Carter is so much fun because it ties in the very modern superhero stories Marvel is telling back to the roots of our favorite heroes. Peggy is fighting crime and taking names in 1946, and she's making U.S. history not just fun but fabulous. And after last week's episode Hedy Lamarr came up. Let's look at the parallels:
Hedy Lamarr was an actress active between 1930-1958.
Much like the antagonist of Agent Carter (Whitney Frost), Hedy Lamarr changed her name from Hedwig Kiesler (partly to honor silent film star Barbara La Marr, who died in 1926). In 1933 she married Friedrich Mandl, an incredibly wealthy Austrian businessman. Despite the fact that both he and his wife were half-Jewish, he had strong ties fascist government of Italy and Nazi government of Germany. Lamarr reported that both Hitler and Mussolini attended parties hosted by Mandl.
On the show, it seems pretty likely that Frost's husband is up to no good. No good at all.
But the comparisons don't end there!
The show runners took a lot of inspiration from Hedy Lamarr's career not just as an actress, but an incredible scientist (via).
"I think we’ve changed the look of her a bit obviously," she said. "We’ve made her an actress, which is very Hedy Lamarr. She was a ‘40s siren actress who was also a scientific genius, so that’s part of what we’re mining with this character."
Genius doesn't even BEGIN to describe Hedy Lamarr. She invented an improved traffic stoplight, and a tablet that dissolved in water to make it carbonated. She contributed to the war effort by designing a jam-proof radio guidance system for torpedoes. And if that's not cool enough consider this: Her design is behind a lot of the technology used today including Bluetooth, wireless cell phones, GPS, and Wi-Fi. You're welcome.
She faced more difficulty later in life.
She got fewer and fewer offers for film roles, which she sadly attributed to her appearance (that bias against women who have the audacity to age, ugh). If you're interested in seeing her film work, I recommend Samson and Delilah, White Cargo, and Ziegfeld Girl. Truth be told, she was brilliant. An incredibly charismatic actress whose scientific genius went under-appreciated for years.
Don't forget Peggy!
And of course, you can see her homage on Agent Carter. You know, if brilliant, badass women are your kind of thing! ;)