Population: Zero

The Six Million Dollar ManNorris, California, population: 23…at least until a California highway patrolman pulls into town and reports that everyone in Norris is dead. After just a few minutes of investigating the scene, he too keels over, clutching his head and screaming in pain. Oscar feels that Steve Austin is too valuable a resource to send into what may still be a dangerous situation, but Steve grew up near Norris and refuses to stay away. Despite the fact that no hazardous chemicals or radiation have been detected, Steve dons a spacesuit and walks into town, finding not just one survivor, but many – everyone in Norris is alive. The survivors’ stories lead Steve to believe that ultrasonic sound waves being used by a disgraced government scientist are the culprit; ransom notes dropped by helicopter demand millions of dollars, or the sonic weapon will be used against another town, this time leaving no survivors.

written by Elroy Schwartz
directed by Jeannot Swzarc
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells), Penny Fuller (Dr. Chris Forbes), Don Porter (Dr. Stanley Bacon), Paul Carr (Paul Cord), Paul Fix (Joe Taylor), Walter Brooke (General Harland Tate), Morgan Jones (Major Phillips), Colby Chester (Joe Hollister), John Elerick (Corporal Ed Presby), Virginia Gregg (Mrs. Nelson), Stuart Nisbet (Harry Johnson), Bob Delegall (1st Technician), David Valentine (Teletype Operator), Mike Santiago (Frank)

The Six Million Dollar ManNotes: Steve’s bionic limbs and implants are shown to be vulnerable to extreme cold. (Insert Stone Cold Steve Austin joke here.) The casting for this episode really went where no man has gone before: both Paul Carr and Paul Fix guest starred as, respectively, helmsman Lt. Kelso and Dr. Piper, in the second Star Trek pilot. (Their former captain, William Shatner, would be appearing alongside The Six Million Dollar Man later in the show’s first season.)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Survival Of The Fittest

The Six Million Dollar ManOscar is unusually tense about a routine flight to Washington with Steve Austin in tow. Their car has a blowout on the way to the airport, and he has to wait for another flight, one carrying military passengers and cargo. Once the plane’s in the air, Steve learns that, due to Oscar’s participation in top-secret negotiations with Russia, he may have assassins on his tail. The plane encounters a severe storm and is damaged, forcing the pilots to ditch the plane at sea near an isolated island; Steve quickly organizes the survivors into a camp that can hold its own until rescue arrives. But it quickly becomes apparent that Oscar’s would-be assassins are on the island with them, which means they were aboard the plane all along…and help may not arrive in time.

written by Mann Rubin
directed by Leslie H. Martinson
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells), James McEachin (Maj. Cromwell), Christine Belford (Lt. Colby), William Smith (Cmdr. Maxwell), Jo Anne Worley (Mona), Laurette Spang (Helen [Wave]), Randall Carver (PFC Barris), Reid Smith (Navy Lt.), W.T. Zacha (A.F. Sgt. Roberts), Dick Valentine (1st Pilot), Jim Raymond (1st Co-Pilot)

The Six Million Dollar ManNotes: Glen A. Larson’s “Battlestar Galactica rep” continues to take shape with the appearance of Laurette Spang in this episode, who would play the part of Cassiopeia in Larson’s later, Star Wars-inspired series. She would also go on to appear in Gemini Man, Man From Atlantis, and Project UFO.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Operation Firefly

The Six Million Dollar ManThe OSI calls Steve Austin into action when a weapons designer, who has access to top secret information, goes missing. No trace can be found of him anywhere, though there are records of the man having ESP contact with his daughter, so finding her becomes Steve’s top priority. Getting her to talk about either her father or her unique link with him is difficult, but eventually Steve convinces her that her father is in danger, and she tags along with him, providing what may be clues from “visions” she receives. These clues lead them to the Florida Everglades, where they find a small army guarding her father…and his kidnappers demand that he build them a powerful laser weapon.

written by Sy Salkowitz
directed by Reza Badiyi
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells), Pamela Franklin (Susan Abbott), Simon Scott (Dr. Abbott), Jack Hogan (John Belson), Joe Kapp (Frank), Vic Mohica (Eddie), Joseph Ruskin (Le Duc), Erik Holland (Ed Rawlins), Bill Conklin (Hobbs), Margarita Cordova (Desk Clerk)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Day Of The Robot

The Six Million Dollar ManSteve and his old friend and colleague Major Fred Sloane are tasked with the delivery of an activation device to a top-secret weapons test, something that cannot be allowed to fall into enemy hands.  But plans are already afoot to steal the activator, plans that involve replacing Sloane with a robot duplicate so perfect that even Austin can’t tell it from the real thing.  But when the robot Sloane demonstrates strength equal to Steve’s bionic limbs, it’s clear that this isn’t the real Sloane – and that, for once, Steve will be fighting an adversary with the same powers that he has.

teleplay by Del Reisman
story by Harold Livingston
directed by Leslie H. Martinson
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells), John Saxon (Fred Sloane), Henry Jones (Dr. Dolenz), Lloyd Bochner (Wilson), Charles W. Bateman (Master Sgt. Parnell), Noah Keen (General Tanhill), Robert Rothwell (Al), Martin Speer (Neil), Buster jones (Captain), Michael Alaimo (Bread Truck Driver)

The Six Million Dollar ManNotes: Ironically, this episode marks the debut of the “bionic sound” that would come to be heard frequently in later seasons of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman…but it isn’t used for Steve Austin here, but rather for the robot Sloane clone.  Writer Del Reisman was the showrunner of The Lieutenant, the first television series created by a young Gene Roddenberry (later of Star Trek fame), while Harold Livingston later locked horns with Roddenberry many times over the screenplay of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Livingston also wrote numerous episodes of the 1977 series Future Cop – somewhere between robo-Sloane, Future Cop, and V’Ger, his work history is jam-packed with robots.  Dr. Dolenz resurfaces to cause more trouble for Steve and the OSI in the first season’s finale.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Little Orphan Airplane

The Six Million Dollar ManA plane photographing contested weapons on the border between Africa and the Middle East goes down. The pilot sends a coded message before parachuting out, with the message informing western intelligence that he’s photographed an illegal arms buildup. Now the race is on to see who can reach the pilot (and his film) first: Steve Austin, or a government that would rather not tip its hand about an arms buildup. Steve finds his rescue mission under fire even before he gets off the ground, and has to parachute down behind enemy lines. Steve has to save the pilot and reveal his discovery to the world…or he’ll be as trapped as the man for whom he’s searching.

written by Elroy Schwartz
directed by Reza Badiyi
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells), Scoey Mitchell (Major Chooka), Marge Redmond (Sister Annett), Lincoln Kirkpatrick (Captain Braco), Greg Morris (Josh Perkins), Stack Pierce (Bajad), Tierre Turner (Jajamin), Dave Turner (Farmer), Ji-Tu Cumbuka (Soldier), Arnold Turner (Sergeant), Donald The Six Million Dollar ManMantooth (1st Radio Operator), Reb Brown (2nd Radio Operator), Susan Gay Powell (Sister Teresa)

Notes: Reb Brown, star of the two late ’70s Captain America movies, is seen here in a small role. Greg Morris was one of the stars of the original Mission: Impossible.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Doomsday And Counting

The Six Million Dollar ManSteve and Oscar are invited to view an energy project on Kamkov Island in the Soviet Union, headed up by Steve’s old friend, retired cosmonaut Vasily Zhukov. But a massive earthquake shakes the island before the OSI delegation even leaves the ground in the U.S., trapping Vasily’s research partner (who also happens to be his fiance) underground. Steve insists on going to Kamkov Island despite the danger, but when another quake strikes, he saves Zhukov by using his bionic strength, revealing his secret in the process. Other secrets are revealed as well: to prevent western sabotage, an automatic defense system was rigged to detonate a nuclear bomb at the heart of Zhukov’s project. Defusing the bomb may be beyond even Steve’s abilities.

teleplay by Larry Brody
story by Larry Brody and Jim Sangster
directed by Jerry Jameson
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells), Gary Collins (Colonel Vasily Zhukov), Jane Merrow (Irina Leonova), William Smithers (General Koslenko), Bruce Glover (Capt. Voda), William Boyett (Air Force General), Walker Edmiston (Russian Operator), Anne Newman (Female Technician), Rico Cattani (Male Technician)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Eyewitness To Murder

The Six Million Dollar ManWaiting for a taxi after dark, Steve is present when a shot rings out, killing a member of the legal team of a prosecutor who is mere hours away from seeking a grand jury indictment against a major criminal figure who no one has been able to prosecute. The OSI is brought in to help provide security for Sandusky, the prosecutor, and his surviving staff members. What Steve can’t divulge, however, is that he got a good look at the shooter with his bionic vision. When he spots the shooter again, Steve apprehends him, but under police interrogation the man seems to have an airtight alibi. How can the assassin have been in two places at the same time, and with his own credibility in question, how can Steve stop him from striking again?

written by William Driskill
directed by Alf Kjellin
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Gary Lockwood (Hopper), William Schallert (Lorin Sandusky), Ivor Barry (Mr. Hanley), Regis J. Cordic (Host), Leonard Stone (Lt. Tanner), Allen Joseph (Dorsey), Lew Palter (Cab Driver), Donna Mantoan (Hotel Clerk), Al Dunlap (Doorman), Marilyn J. Hassett (Car Rental Girl)

Notes: Guest star Gary Lockwood was one of the stars of 2001: a space odyssey, and prior to that, the star of The Lieutenant, the first television series created and The Six Million Dollar Manproduced by a rising young writer named Gene Roddenberry. Roddenberry cast Lockwood in the second Star Trek pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before, a few years later. William Schallert also appeared in Star Trek, guest starring in two different incarnations of the franchise (TOS: The Trouble With Tribbles, DS9: Sanctuary).

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Rescue Of Athena One

The Six Million Dollar ManAll eyes are on NASA’s next mission, Athena One, the first flight of a female astronaut. Steve Austin has been recruited to help train Major Kelly Wood for her flight, but their personalities clash on the ground. When her mission finally takes to the sky, an accident renders her co-pilot unconscious, necessitating a rescue mission involving the Skylab space station. Over Oscar’s objections, Steve himself volunteers to pilot the rescue vehicle, transporting a surgeon to Skylab to save the injured co-pilot while he and Major Wood conduct a risky spacewalk to repair a malfunctioning solar panel on Skylab itself. But exposure to the radiation of space may be causing Steve’s bionic implants to malfunction – and the lives of three people now depend on him flying a manual re-entry.

written by D.C. Fontana
directed by Lawrence Doheny
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Farrah Fawcett Majors (Maj. Kelly Wood), Paul Kent (Flight Surgeon Wolf), John S. Ragin (Flight Director), Quinn Redeker (Capcom), Dean Smith (Major Osterman), Jules Bergman (himself), Patsy Sabline (1st Secretary), Toni Jannotta (2nd Secretary)

Notes: Call it stunt casting or nepotism, but Farrah Fawcett Majors was married to series star Lee Majors at the time this episode was filmed; they’d star together again in the premiere episode of Majors’ post-bionic hit series The Fall Guy. She would reprise this episode’s role in a later Six Million Dollar Man episode, in addition to guest The Six Million Dollar Manstarring in two completely different roles, all within the show’s first four seasons. Her other genre credits include Logan’s Run and Saturn 3. Bringing significantly more genre cred to this episode is writer D.C. Fontana, who was the story editor and a frequent writer on the original Star Trek and its animated revival, as well as stints on later shows like The Fantastic Journey and Logan’s Run. In other “inside baseball” casting, Jules Bergman was the science editor in the news department of ABC (the network which aired Six Million Dillar Man); among other things, he was heavily involved in ABC’s coverage of real space missions, including Apollo 13 (whose story would seem to be an inspiration for this episode). Austin’s The Six Million Dollar Manmoonwalk is described as having happened in January 1972. Stock footage from Apollo 9 and Apollo 15 are used in the spacewalk sequence (despite a mismatch in the spacesuits and helmets used in those missions), but the model sequences of Skylab apparently pre-date the launch of the actual Skylab station, which lost an entire “solar wing” during launch. Some footage from actual Skylab spacewalks appears during the second spacewalk sequence, as well as a famous photo of the heavily damaged Apollo 13 command module take in 1970 after the service module had separated for re-entry.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Dr. Wells Is Missing

The Six Million Dollar ManDr. Rudy Wells hasn’t even checked into his hotel room in Austria and he’s already getting a phone call from Oscar Goldman. Nothing has happened to Steve – Oscar’s just paranoid about Wells (and his knowledge of the bionic replacement surgery) being out of the country with no bodyguard. Steve offers to travel to Austria himself to keep an eye on Dr. Wells at a discrete distance, just to assuage Oscar’s fears…which turn out to be well-founded. Wells has been abducted by the Tucelli brothers, crime kingpins who have heard rumors of Wells performing bionic replacement surgery and want him to do the same for them. Wells denies all knowledge, trying to stall just long enough for them to see a real bionic man in action.

written by Elroy Schwartz and Krishna Shah & William Keenan
directed by Virgil W. Vogel
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), John van Dreelen (Alfredo Tucelli), Alan Oppenheimer (Rudy Wells), Than Wyenn (Desk Clerk), Jim Shane (Yamo), Michael Dante (Julio Tucelli), Curt Lowens (Anton Brandt), Norbert Schiller (Porter), Cynthia Lynn (Fraulein Krueger), Ynes Van Holt (Switchboard Operator)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Last Of The Fourth Of Julys

The Six Million Dollar ManLong a surveillance target of the OSI, a man named Quail – who has the resources to hide out on his own well-equipped island complete with sensor systems, a 30-foot-tall electric fence, and a water filtration system – is now a top priority: a U.S. government agent relayed information that Quail is planning something massive, and lethal, in July. Infiltrating Quail’s base is beyond most agents, and even Austin has to undergo a rigorous training program that tests even the limits of his bionically enhanced endurance. Unfortunately, once inside Quail’s base, the nuclear power source in Austin’s bionic limbs gives him away to the base’s sensors. Austin is subjected to a series of interrogations, and one of his interrogators reveals that she is a deep-cover agent working on behalf of Interpol to topple Quail’s operation. With time running out before Quail hatches a plan to kill all the delegates at a critical world peace summit, does Austin go it alone, or does he believe her story?

written by Richard Landau
directed by Reza Badiyi
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Steve Forrest (Quail), Kevin Tighe (Root), Tom Reese (Joe Alabam), Arlene Martel (Violette), Barry Cahill (Submarine Captain), Hank Stohl (Balsam), Ben Wright (Ives), H. Alan Deglin (Hurst), Tom Hayden (Sonar)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Burning Bright

The Six Million Dollar ManTwo weeks after returning to Earth from a mission during which he conducted a spacewalk and began acting strangely, astronaut Josh Lang is on the verge of being grounded, which would end his space career. NASA contacts Lang’s old friend (and former fellow astronaut) Steve Austin to see if he can get through to Lang, understand what’s happened to him, or why Lang keeps talking to someone named Andy. Lang confesses to Austin that he came into contact with some kind of electrical field that boosted his mental abilities exponentially, and that he can even talk to dolphins telepathically. But when he’s sedated and confined for further study, Lang reveals another side to his new abilities, including the power to attack people with the power of his mind, knocking them unconscious without a physical blow. Lang goes on the run from NASA and military police, and Austin insists on trying to reach his old friend to convince him to stop fleeing. In the meantime, Lang’s powers are growing, at the cost of his survival.

written by Del Reisman
directed by Jerry London
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), William Shatner (Josh Lang), Warren Kemmerling (Ted), Quinn Redeker (Calvin Billings), Rodolfo Hoyos (Ernesto Arruza), Anne Schedeen (Tina Larsen), Joseph diReda (1st Deputy), Ron Stokes (2nd M.P.), Aaron Mitchell (2nd Deputy), Charles Floyd Johnson (3rd M.P.), Trent Dolan (Technician), Mary Rings (Millie)

Notes: Clips of Steve Austin running (from the pilot movie) and pole-vaulting (from last week’s episode) are reused, though the footage from The Last Of The Fourth Of Julys creates a bit of a jump-cut error, as Oscar is seen standing alongside the huddled NASA scientists watching Austin, and is then instantly seen standing away from them, near the crossbar Austin is trying to clear. The spacewalk footage from the opening teaser is instantly recognizable as footage of Ed White conducting the first American The Six Million Dollar Manspacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission in June 1965, even though much more recent spacewalk footage was available and had been used in previous episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man. Oscar protests Austin wanting to run “two whole” computer searches for him on the grounds that “it’ll cost a fortune”. Lang wants NASA to send dolphins up on “the next space shot, the Apollo-Soyuz“; as the third and final Skylab crew had returned to Earth in February 1974, this was technically correct, even if the notion of strapping a dolphin into an Apollo capsule is impractical at best. Guest star Anne Schedeen, here playing a NASA computer programmer, would have later brushes with suspicious space travelers as one of the stars of the 1980s sitcom ALF.

LogBook entry by Earl Green