The Six Million Dollar Man

The Six Million Dollar ManFormer lunar astronaut Steve Austin takes on the sometimes dangerous career of test piloting experimental aircraft after retiring from NASA. During one test flight, the experimental plane he’s flying crash-lands after a series of system failures. Austin loses both legs, his right arm, and his left eye in the resulting explosion. Dr. Rudy Wells, a former NASA doctor who followed Austin out of the space program, knows that bionic prosthetics could save Austin’s life and restore his mobility – and then some – but doesn’t have the budget for such an experimental procedure.

Enter Oliver Spencer, director of the secret Office of Special Operations, who has a six million dollar budget to create the perfect secret agent. He originally envisioned a robot that could pass for human, but the time and money to create such a machine exceeds what the OSO has available. He offers to finances Austin’s recovery and Dr. Well’s highly unusual prosthetic surgery, but at a price: Steve Austin will become a government agent with strength and abilities beyond those of most men. His first assignment is to free a kidnapped hostage being held in a remote area of Saudi Arabia. Austin has the ability to save the hostage, but what he doesn’t have is the knowledge that the entire operation is a trap.

teleplay by Henri Simoun
based on the novel “Cyborg” by Martin Caidin
directed by Richard Irving
music by Gil Melle

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Barbara Anderson (Jean Manners), Martin Balsam (Dr. Rudy Wells), Darren McGavin (Oliver Spencer), Dorothy Green (Mrs. McKay), Anne Whitfield (Young Woman), George Wallace (General), Robert Cornthwaite (Dr. AShburn), Olan Soule (Saltillo), Norma Storch (Woman), John Mark Robinson (Aide), Charles Knox Robinson (Prisoner), Ivor Barry (Geraldton), Maurice Sherbanee (Nudaylah)

The Six Million Dollar ManNotes: In syndicated rerun packages, this movie was split into two one-hour episodes titled The Moon And The Desert Part 1 and Part 2. Unlike the remainder of The Six Million Dollar Man on TV (and unlike the original 1972 novel “Cyborg”), Steve Austin is portrayed here as a civilian astronaut/test pilot with a disdain for the military; the next Six Million Dollar Man TV movie retcons him into an Air Force colonel. This is the only appearance of Darren McGavin as Oliver Spencer; the character was replaced with Oscar Goldman in the next movie, while Dr. Wells would be recast.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Wine, Women And War

The Six Million Dollar ManAustin has been working undercover for the OSI for some time since his original bionic implants were installed, but apparently America’s most reliable secret agent isn’t secret enough. He insists on taking a vacation, and just happens to run into a cosmonaut who he met during his NASA days, but his old “friend” is there to lure Austin in and capture him. But Austin isn’t being taken to the Soviet Union; instead, he’s being asked to help put an end to an international arms smuggling ring, dealing in nuclear weapons both American and Russian. Austin’s cosmonaut friend perishes in the fight, and if Austin wants to avoid death himself, he’ll have to outrun the shockwave of an atomic bomb.

written by Glen A. Larson
directed by Russ Mayberry
music by Stu Phillips

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Alan Oppenheimer (Dr. Rudy Wells), Britt Ekland (Katrina Volana), Eric Braeden (Arlen Findletter), Earl Holliman (Harry Donner), David McCallum (Alexi Kaslov), Michele Carey (Cynthia Holland), Lee Bergere (Masaha), Simon Scott (Captain Dawson), Dennis Rucker (First Officer Meade), George Keymas (Commander Patrol Boat), Joseph Hindy (Radar Man), Don Hanmer (Airline Passenger), Catherine Ferrar (Tamara), Bobbie Mitchell (Stewardess), John Elerick (1st Officer Briggs), Rozelle Gayle (1st Bodyguard), Bob Minor (2nd Bodyguard)

The Six Million Dollar ManNotes: So much for being set in the future: when raging against Oscar’s secrecy, Austin threatens to “kick [the OSI] so high you’ll need Skylab to get it down”…which sets The Six Million Dollar Man firmly in the present day of its production, since Skylab, the first American space station, was the focus of the American space program at the time this TV movie aired. As with the pilot, Wine, Women And War is divided into two one-hour episodes for syndication, and it is that version which appears on DVD as well.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Solid Gold Kidnapping

The Six Million Dollar ManSteve Austin is dispatched to Mexico to rescue an American ambassador kidnapped and held for ransom; now accustomed to his bionic powers, Steve hardly breaks a sweat in freeing the ambassador. But this kidnapping is followed up by another, this time a high-ranking American diplomat who is deep into peace negotiations with China – and this time the ransom is higher as well: one billion dollars. The only lead in the crime is the corpse of a man believed to have been one of the kidnappers, but this may still be useful to Dr. Erica Bergner, who believes that cells from his brain can be extracted and injected into another human being, allowing the recipient to access the dead man’s memories. She volunteers herself as the guinea pig for this unprecedented procedure, and is Steve’s only source for further information on the ambassador’s whereabouts.

teleplay by Larry Alexander
story by Alan Caillou and Larry Alexander
directed by Russ Mayberry
music by Oliver Nelson
“Six Million Dollar Man” words & music by Glen A. Larson / performed by Dusty Springfield

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oliver Goldman), Alan Oppenheimer (Dr. Rudy Wells), Elizabeth Ashley (Dr. Erica Bergner), Terry Carter (Mel Bristo), John Vernon (Julian Peck), Maurince Evans (Chairman of the Board), Luciana Paluzzi (Contessa DeRojas), Leif Erickson (William Henry Cameron), Craig Huebing (Roger Ventriss), David White (Ambassador Scott), Marcel Hilliare (Customs Inspector), Leigh Christian (Lady Skier), James Sikking (Second OSO Agent), Maurice Marsac (Derk Clerk), Vito Scotti (2nd Taxi Driver), Rudy Challenger (Executive), Karen Klein (Stewardess), Jan Arvan (Doctor), Danielle Aubry (Nurse), Jack Ragotzy (1st Taxi Driver)

The Six Million Dollar ManNotes: In syndicated rerun packages, this movie was split into two one-hour episodes of the same name. Terry Carter, later of Battlestar Galactica, appears as OSI agent Mel Bristo, while Maurice Evans appears without the ape makeup he wore as Dr. Zaius in the first two Planet Of The Apes movies. This movie seemed to represent an attempt to steer The Six Million Dollar Man firmly into James Bond territory, a direction which would be rethought in favor of more of a “superhero” feel going into the weekly series in January of the following year.

LogBook entry by Earl Green