The Bionic Woman: Once A Thief

The Bionic WomanThe 36th episode of The Bionic Woman, starring Lindsay Wagner and Richard Anderson, airs on ABC. Elisha Cook Jr. (Rosemary’s Baby, Star Trek, Batman) guest stars in the final episode of season two, and the final episode to air on ABC. (NBC will pick the series up for a third season.)

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Quark premieres

QuarkNBC airs the pilot of Quark, a new series from Get Smart creator Buck Henry which marks an unlikely combination of science fiction and sitcom. The pilot broadcast gets enough attention to merit a series pickup, but within weeks, Henry’s writing staff is presented with a much meatier target for satire than Star Trek, which Quark originally sets out to parody.

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First Star Trek movie… cancelled?

Star TrekAfter spending months in development, the much-publicized big-screen relaunch of Star Trek is cancelled by Paramount. Unable to find a satisfactory script, and having great difficulty negotiating with the stars of the TV series, Star Trek: Planet Of The Titans is dumped by the studio, with no other plans to revive Star Trek in the works. Mere weeks later, a record-breaking movie not originating from Paramount convinces the studio to get back into the big-budget science fiction space race.

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Space Cooperation Agreement renewed

Apollo-SoyuzWith the 1972 agreement having resulted in the successful Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the United States and the Soviet Union formally renew the Space Cooperation Agreement. As an immediate goal to build on Apollo-Soyuz, both countries hold tentative discussions about docking the American Space Shuttle (which, it is still assumed, will be in space before the 1970s are out) and a Soviet Salyut space station. Though the shuttle’s first flight is still being delayed, the biggest hurdle will prove to be international relations, specifically a renewed chilling of the Cold War thanks to the Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.

Star Wars

Star WarsBoasting a story and characters with universal appeal, a magnificent soundtrack, and special effects unlike anything that had been seen before, George Lucas’ Star Wars arrives, changing the movie industry and geekdom forever. Word-of-mouth – to say nothing of lines of moviegoers winding around the block, eager to immediately see the movie again – spreads like wildfire, and suddenly it’s okay to be a science fiction fan.

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Apple II

Apple IIApple Computer introduces the Apple II home computer system, an already-built 4K computer (with an optional upgrade to 48K) capable of displaying color graphics on a TV or monitor, and storing programs on either cassette or floppy disk. The computer ships with an implementation of BASIC written by Steve Wozniak, with an optional pair of paddle controllers for games. The system also has an open architecture, with space for expansion cards (and no restriction on what cards can be developed, or by whom).

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Alan Parsons Project: I Robot

PyramidThe Alan Parsons Project releases its second album, I Robot, including the singles “I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You”, “Breakdown” and “Don’t Let It Show” (the latter of which is covered latered by Pat Benatar). The album is loosely themed around fear of the future and technology, a far cry from the original plan for a concept album built around Isaac Asimov’s story “I, Robot” (though Asimov allows the album’s title since it lacks the comma). This is the Project’s first album on Arista Records.

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Kenner signs on for Star Wars madness

Star WarsThe unexpected runaway success of a dark horse in the summer movie race makes for a mad dash for the toy rights. The winner of that race is Kenner Products, the toy division of cereal maker General Mills, and the prize is the exclusive license to market toys and other products based on Star Wars. Prior to the movie’s release, however, George Lucas has convinced 20th Century Fox to allow him to keep all toy licensing rights, meaning that ongoing licensing payments are made directly to Lucas, providing him with the lion’s share of his future wealth. Kenner executive Bernard Loomis finds himself fighting to convince his own sales team that this movie will attract more than a momentary audience. With the late start and the long lead time on design, tooling and manufacture, Loomis concocts an audacious marketing scheme involving an “empty box” available by Christmas.

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