The Bionic Man - Air Force pilot fitted with
bionic parts on the action adventure THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR
Amidst the wreckage of an experimental NASA aircraft (M3F5)
which crashed at a Southwestern desert airfield (Edwards Air Force Base),
military investigators found the battered near-dead remains of astronaut Colonel
Steve Austin (Lee Majors), who piloted the vehicle before its malfunction.
||Steve Austin. Astronaut. A man barely alive.
||Gentlemen...we can rebuild him. We have the technology.
We have the capability to make the world's first Bionic Man.
||Steve Austin.....will be that man. Better than he was
before. Better. Stronger. Faster.
Coming to his aid was a special government project headed by Dr. Rudy Wells
(Martin Balsam/Alan Oppenheimer/Martin E. Brooks) who had perfected a series of
artificial limbs/organs that could reconstruct Steve Austin's body into a Cyborg...part
machine, part human.
The operation replaced Steve's right arm, both his legs, and a left eye. After
adjusting to his new body, Steve's new legs enabled him to run at incredible
speeds; his new arm with his nuclear power source gave him the strength of a
bulldozer; and his new eye not only approximated but transcended normal vision.
The price tag for this operation was six million dollars.
Schematics for the Bionic
With his new special abilities, Steve (a.k.a. "The Bionic Man") worked for the
government Office of Scientific Information headed by
Oscar Goldman (Richard
Anderson) and battled the enemies of America.
Month's later Steve's girlfriend
Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) was injured in a
sky diving accident. With Steve's intervention, OSI equipped her with artificial
legs, a right arm and right electronic ear.
Unfortunately, Jaime died after her body rejected her bionic parts but she was
brought back to life via cryogenic suspension methods as THE BIONIC
WOMAN/ABC/NBC/1976-78 (The Bionic Woman's catalog number was 87312.) The
resulting trauma to her body left her with no memory of having known her fiancé
Steve. Jaime, too, eventually worked for the OSI in between teaching school in
Others to benefit from bionic technology included:
- Andy Sheffield, The Bionic Boy (Vincent Van Patten), a paralyzed teenager who
had both legs replaced.
- Maximillian "Max" the Bionic Dog, a German shepherd injured in a laboratory fire
equipped with a bionic jaw and four bionic legs at a cost of $1 million (Max
became Jaime's pet)
- Barney Miller (Monte Markham), a bionically rebuilt race driver. Barney Miller
was given nuclear-powered parts in a 1974 episode. He was the only living man
stronger than Steve Austin.
The SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and THE BIONIC WOMAN were inspired by the novel
"Cyborg" (1972) written by Martin Caiden.
In 1987, the NBC network aired the TV
movie THE RETURN OF THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN AND THE BIONIC WOMAN (5/17/87)
with Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner reprising their roles to save America from a
group of mercenaries.
The movie introduced Steve's son, Michael Austin (Tom Schanley) from an earlier marriage who sustained major injuries when his Air
Force jet malfunctioned/crashed during his solo flight. Again, at the insistence
of Steve, the OSI reconstructed his son and fitted him with a microchip computer
in his chest, a new bionic right arm, 10 artificial ribs, reinforced spine, a
laser equipped right eye and two new bionic legs. Due to the advances in
technology, Michael was even faster than Jamie and Steve.
The movie also featured
a happy ending with Jamie regaining her memory of her love for Steve. At the end
of the movie they walked arm-in-arm toward a happier future.
The TV movie THE
BIONIC SHOWDOWN (4/30/89) again teamed Steve and Jaime with a new bionic woman
named Kate Mason (Sandra Bullock) to battle a renegade cyborg.
TRIVIA NOTE: Other TV shows have featured bionic
- The espionage adventure A MAN CALLED SLOANE/NBC/1979-80 costarred.
Torque (Ji-Tu Cumbuka), a 6-foot 5-inch black secret agent with a bone-crushing
stainless steel (in reality aluminum) bionic hand equipped with drills, saws,
lock pick, laser beam and even a radio transmitter whose antenna doubled as a
- The low-budget sci-fi movie
Cyborg (1966) written by Arthur C. Pierce starred Michael Rennie as Garth, a cyborg
who came from the future to destroy a mind controlling device that would in
years to come reign supreme as a tool of a vicious totalitarian government.
- The animated CYBORG-BIG "X" told the story of Cyborg Big X, (aka "Akira"), a
robot body with the brain of a human which battled criminals. The cartoon was
adapted from a Japanese comic strip Big X created by Osamu Tezuka. The program
debuted in Japan in 1964-65 and was syndicated in 1967.
- In 1987, an animated
sci-fi program called THE BIONIC SIX featured the adventures of two bionic
parents and their four multi-racial adopted children who fought crime. See also
"The Borg" and "Robocop"
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