can revive him It's
hard to quantify the influence that the Bionic Man had on my
growth and development. Why as an eight-year-old I thought I
could catch up to people on the playground by running slower
is beyond me. Wasn't that the most ingenious part of the show?
The producers knew kids would be trying to run faster than cars
and smashing into sign posts and getting hurt. So they made him
run super slow while running super fast! And how about those
sound effects! You really felt strong when you made that metallic
daderdaderdader with your tongue.
I stayed up late
to watch the episode where Jaime Sommers had a parachute accident
and she and Steve had been in love but then she didn't remember
their love! But she did get to be bionic. I cried myself to sleep,
longing for something I did not understand. I was also too young
to wonder if Steve had a bionic penis. It was only years later
that I realized that I wouldn't have known what to do with the
girls I chased on the playground in slow-motion, had they let
me catch them.
Steve Mandich, editor of the
zine Heinous, told me about a girl he dated once who was so enamored
of bionics that she had circuitry tattooed on her right bicep.
That's what this couple meant to American kids of the Seventies.
They taught us to strive for more. Watching Jaime and Steve run
and jump, we knew we could be bionic too in everything
we do! It didn't matter that sometimes our heroes used the wrong
arm to lift a boulder, or that the shows were often so corny
as to be unwatchable, at least now, when I catch them on the
Sci Fi Channel. Steve and Jaime were machines who never lost
Six Million Dollar Man began with a series of three TV movies
on ABC in 1973. They starred Lee Majors (a.k.a. Harvey Lee Yeary
II) as Colonel Steve Austin. The weekly program premiered in
January 1974 as a mid-season Friday night replacement, then switched
to Sundays, and finally, Mondays. It switched from ABC to NBC
for its fifth (and final) season before being canceled in March
1978. One episode introduced the Bionic Woman, who then spun
off her own show on Wednesday nights beginning in 1976. The program
switched to Saturdays during its third and final season.
In 1987, NBC aired Return
of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, followed
in 1989 by Bionic Show-down. In 1994, CBS put together Bionic
Ever After. They were awful, but I was also a lot older and running
Those are the basics. I asked
Rod Rehn, who compiled an extensive site devoted to both shows
and is North America's foremost authority on bionics in pop culture,
to fill in the details. Here is his top
article originally appeared in Chip's Closet Cleaner, Issue 13.
articles by Rod Rehn, former curator, The Bionic Site:
(1) Top secret intro, (2)
Show intro; (3) Inside
(4) Best & worst episodes;
(5) Bionic toys
Bionic Woman pilot
Bionic Fan Network
products: Six Million Dollar
Six Million Dollar
Man: Complete DVD Collection
products: Six Million Dollar
Man: Season 1 Box Set (DVD)
The Bionic Woman:
Season 1 Box Set (DVD)
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