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 MayberryV
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

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

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