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It’s True! The Legends Are True!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on September 26, 2017

Yes, Virginia, there is a “Six Million Dollar Man Christmas Album.”

Now for anyone who never dropped the needle on this after sobbing through the “Puff the Magic Dragon” LP and before trying to determine the breed of an arrow-headed dog while listening to “The Point,” the “The Six Million Dollar Man” album is not uber-Gil Gerard Lee Majors as Steve Austin warbling “The 12 Days of Christmas” in dramatic slow motion as Oscar Goldman provides backup or at least occasionally shouts “He’s just talking about Santa!” Instead, these are stories that encompass such classic holiday tales as the one about a molecular toy duplicator, an ersatz Santa stealing fuel cells, a dying planet orbiting the Star of Bethlehem, and “Elves’ Revolt,” which is best left to The Bionic Wiki to describe:

Steve discovers that Santa’s elves are in a labor dispute with their boss. Complaining of low wages and bad working condiions, they go an strike. Their “picket line” is literally formed by a terrorist elf named Ramat, whose scheme to bring Santa to the bargaining table involves melting the polar ice cap.

Now upon seeing all this your first thought may be the very same one I had as a kid on a Sunday Night having just finished watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom (known to early Gen Xers as Marlin Perkins Once Again Sends Jim to Certain Death) and was getting ready to watch still one of the coolest opening credit sequences ever: “Shouldn’t this be called The Six-Million-Dollar Man? Aren’t the hyphens kinda necessary if the phrase ‘Six Million Dollar’ defines ‘Man’?”

That aside, I loved the show, even (okay, especially) when they introduced a robotic Bigfoot protecting cave-dwelling aliens and Maximillian, the bionic German Shepherd who, like Frankenstein and any company that has ever insured an Italian restaurant in New Jersey, is very leery of sudden fires. Of course, some may say this is just two of the many, many times the show jumped the shark, but if somehow they aired an episode featuring a bionic Great White protecting spelunking extraterrestrials when it’s not trying to kill them, I would have watched that show on first and summer-rerun airing.

To put it another way, I loved The Six Million Dollar Man/The Six-Million-Dollar Man, to the point that my friend Val and I would constantly play “The Six Million Dollar Man Board Game,” a time-killer best described by its own back copy: “Four bionic men each claim to have Steve Austin’s powers. Your job is to prove that you are the real Six Million Dollar Man. The computer spinner reads out your moves and gives you the power to handle assignments. You will take part in dangerous missions. Each assignment will make you stronger. The stronger you become the faster you will move around the board and back to the Bionic Research Lab where you will win the game.”
Then again, we also played the “Emergency! Board Game,” based on a show I remember almost entirely by the fact I played the board game based on it. There may even be the remote possibility I played board games based on Welcome Back, Kotter (in which one would imagine your goal would be to leave 70s-era New York, not re-enter it) or Good Times (in which every move belies the very title of the board game).

In other words, there was a considerable lag time before Atari finally showed up. But really, let’s finally get to the real reason we’re all here—those opening credits…

6 Responses

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  1. kupermanj said, on September 26, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Re; Jim of Wild Kingdom. About 16 years ago, i was at a craft show in Woodstock NY and we saw this woman who did fantastic drawings of wild animals. We commented on how life-like they were and she remarked, “Yeah well, I spent a lot of time around them.” When we asked her to explain, she said, “I’m Jim Fowler’s wife.” We told her that Jim always had our sympathies on that show.

    • cesco7 said, on September 27, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      Hahahaha. Wow. In elementary school it became a running gag, so that one of us would play “Jim” just so we could imagine the many, many ways he would be injured. We…we were troubled kids.

  2. Claude Call said, on September 27, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Shortly after it opened for the first time, my class took a field trip to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. They still didn’t have a lot of stuff available to display, so there were a bunch of kiosks in the main hall that had TVs installed in them, showing archival footage of different Air and Space events. And that’s how I learned that the crash we see at the start of the show wasn’t a special effect; it was real footage from May 1967 that they’d inserted into the opening credits. Can you imagine the PTSD on that poor pilot, seeing his own crash again, every single week, on national TV? His name was Bruce Peterson, and he DID, in fact, survive the crash, though coincidentally he lost his right eye.

    • cesco7 said, on September 27, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      This is my new favorite story. That is very odd and remarkable and I can’t imagine reliving one’s own near death experience every Sunday night.

  3. Marsupial said, on September 27, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Hey — I have that game! I got it for my birthday a few years ago. I don’t have Welcome Back Kotter, but I do have the Barney Miller board game, which seems…. odd. Did I mention I don’t actually play these? (Yes, Ted Forth is a hero.)

    • cesco7 said, on September 27, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Okay, I need to hear exactly what the game play is for the “Barney Miller” board game.

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