Voice #1: It looks good at NASA One
Voice #2: Roger
Voice #1: B.C.S. Arm switch is on
Steve Austin: Okay, Victor
Voice #2: Lighting rods are armed. Switch is on. Here comes the throttle
Circuit breakers in
Steve Austin: We have separation
Voice #2: Roger
Voice #1: Inboard and outboards are on. I’m comin’ forward with the side stick
Voice #2: Looks good
Voice #1: Uh, Roger
Steve Austin: I’ve got a blow-out in Damper Three!
Voice #2: Get your pitch to zero
Steve Austin: Pitch is out! I can’t hold altitude!
Voice #1: Correction, Alpha Hold is off. Turn selectors–Emergency!
Steve Austin: Flight Com, I can’t hold it! She’s breaking up! She’s break–
Rudy Wells: Steve Austin, astronaut–a man barely alive
Oscar Goldman: 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
Rudy Wells and Steve Austin: Will be that man
Oscar Goldman: Better than he was before: better, stronger, faster
So began one of the biggest television shows of the mid-seventies. Steve Austin, astronaut (Lee Majors) was in a terrible accident in an experimental aircraft. He was near death and operated on and he had parts replaced such as two bionic legs, bionic eye, and a bionic arm. Steve Austin was essentially a superhero. He could lift and toss around almost anything, he had an eye with super focus and night vision and he could run up to 60 mph and jump 2-3 stories. He worked for the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) with Oscar Goldman as his boss. The Oscar character was popular also.
The series was on for 5 seasons (99 episodes) 1974-1978 with 6 TV movies…with the last one coming in 1994.
The show had a huge impact on kids. We would imitate him at school and with kids in the neighborhood. We would also imitate the noise that was made when he did some terrific stunt (da da da da da da da). Back in the seventies, some of us kids thought this would really work.
Merchandising was huge for the show. Everything from lunch boxes and running shoes to children’s eyeglasses through to jigsaws, coloring books, comic books, trash cans, slide viewers, board games and bedsheets. I don’t have the statistics on the most merchandised tv show in the 1970s but this show has to be near the top. A little later on Star Wars would take merchandising it to another level.
The merchandising didn’t stop with Steve Austin either. Lindsey Wagner (Jamie Sommers) stared as the Bionic Woman and out came the merchandise again. Jamie was Steve’s girlfriend and they went skydiving and Jamie’s parachute malfunctioned and Steve asked Oscar Goldman to use bionic parts on her to save her. Her body rejected them but she pulled through and ended up and working for the OSI also.
The Bionic Woman lasted three seasons with 58 episodes airing from 1976 – 1978. In the final season, a bionic dog was introduced named Maximillian. There was a thought of another spinoff show with Maximillian but it did not happen. The dog could run 90 mph and bite through steel…Maybe it was good they drew the line.
In the 1994 TV Movie, “Bionic Ever After” Steve and Jame ties the knot.