The Six Million Dollar man- A Bionic Christmas Carol

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1976

I know that I promised a Bewitched Christmas episode, but I changed my mind and went with this one instead. For you Bewitched fanatics this one does have the second Darrin playing a major role.

Steve Austin gives Oscar a present and then screws up because he gets an assignment right before Christmas. What a Bionic hothead. Steve goes to inspect the operations at a contractor named Budge (Ray Walston-My favorite Martian, Fast times at Ridgemont high). He’s a real grumpy pants and all around not so nice guy. He looks like he lives off skunk cabbage and old pickles. After an accident at the plant Steve starts looking at records to see what is going on here. Although Budge is not dishonest he is very cheap to the extreme and gets his standards for his company just above passing. Steve uses his powers to crush Budge to dust…just kidding. Budge also treats his employees like dirt including Bob Crandall ( Dick Sargent-Bewitched). After seeing how stubborn and nasty Budge is Steve decides to use his powers to try and manipulate influence the nasty old guy. Budge gets sick from taking too  much of his medicine-serves you right, Mr. Awful. Steve uses a ten buck Santa suit and his Bionic powers to show the tightwad the error of his ways and what could be if he keeps on being a butthole. Budge ends the nastiness and starts being nice. Steve fixes Oscars present when he gets back to the office. Hooray! Roll the holly jolly credits.

The negatives- There’s no menacing robots, super spies or bigfoot in this one so some fans may not be thrilled by it. Given the plot you know there is less action here than in a normal episode.

The positives-In addition to Walston and Sargent other familiar faces include Antoinette Bower as Mrs. Crandall. You know her from Prom Night and lots of episodes of shows including Star Trek and the Twilight Zone. Two of the three Crandall kids weren’t far off from being on shows they would be known for. Little Adam Rich would be Eight is enough in less than a year and Quinn Cummings would end up on Family for two seasons. Other 70’s shows like Sanford and son and The Odd Couple would do Christmas Carol episodes, but they comedies so it was a little more unusual for an action show to try it. It’s kind of corny, but decent. Ray Walston helps the role greatly. I also liked the scene where Steve is buying toys in a makeshift store. We see Lincoln Logs, a Jaws game and right behind Steve is a Six Million Dollar Man action figure. Also at least the try to make it look like Winter with appropriate trees and all. I watching a Christmas episode of Dennis the menace recently and they acting like it was cold as they went past trees filled with leaves. Come on, at least try and make it look cold. Overall a decent episode of the Six Million Dollar Man.

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Growing up in the 1970’s part 2-Science fiction or what the frack was I thinking?

Since I shared a little about how my fascination with monsters the other day I should probably tell a little about how I first got into sci-fi as well so you know where I’m coming from once I get into some reviews and more stories. My brother is six years older and me and was a huge comic book fan and to far lesser extent liked some sci-fi growing up. So I have probably have him to than for some of my early influences. I have the slightest of memories of seeing the oh too short lived 1974 Planet of the apes TV series. After that I definely remember my brother was a fairly regular watcher of the Six Million Dollar man and the Bionic Woman as well as the super hero TV adaption of the Hulk and Wonder Woman. I know that I watched all of those with him and enjoyed them well enough. There also some Saturday morning memories of the live action shows Space Academy, Jason of Star Command, Shazam and Isis. Somehow I missed out on Ark II back then. I liked those shows but about as much as I liked all the other cartoons and shows I took in. As I said in my previous post we didn’t go the movies back then. So in 1977 when a lot of other kids my ages were exposed to sci-fi via Star Wars the best I could do was look at the Star Wars trading cards the other kids in second grade had. I wouldn’t see Star Wars until it came on TV some six years later and by that point I was in full-on Trekkie mode. However it still had impact on me in 77-78 by other routes. My brother bought the comic book adaption and have memories of a day in the winter when school was closed where made a tend out of blanets in our room, got potato chips and hot chocolate into the tent and my brother read the comic book adaption of Star Wars to me. While he’d already instilled a love of super hero comics into me these comics had me even more excited. I never had any toys of Star Wars back then because I think my parents thought they were too expensive and maybe they were. However I remember on my birthday in the Spring of 1978 my neighbor ( a co-worker of my dad’s) bought me a Star Wars shirt with R2-D2 and C-3PO on it. Even though I only knew them from comics and brief glimpses on commercials I was still in awe of that shirt and probably wore it until it fell apart or I could no longer squeeze into it. Those were probably the early sparks that had me revved up to eb a sci-fi/space fan, but my interest would grow even stronger during the the 1978-1979. If you are guessing that the Star Wars Holiday special from 1978 was a factor then you are right. Forget about the fact that almost no one thinks this was any good and that everyone involved with it wants to forget about it. I was 8 and didn’t get to Star Wars in the theater, but here were these characters coming to the small screen. I’ m sure I loved it back then despite it’s problems. I remember very little about it now and have not seen it since, but I know I was thrilled to see it then. However the show that would make an even greater impact that television season was Battlestar Gallactica. Yes, I know some Staw Wars fans sneer and dismiss it as a copy. To me that year Gallactica was the show that opened my mind to sci-fi. Later I would know it to be a flawed show, but a show with real potential that really deserved another year on the air. Back then it was the ships, the uniforms and the characters that had me glued to the screen every week. I am sure that I had to beg my dad to let me see it because he was no fan of space shows, but he let me watch it. I have memories of begging for Battlestar toys, but they were too expensive. I do remember my parents giving in and letting me get a Battlestar photostory book from one of those Scholastic order forms through school. I remember looking at it feverishly on the bus with any other kids who were interested. Battlestar still holds a special to me even now because it sparked that interest that I have had ever since. I’ll stop rattling on for now because other tales of my early interests and more involved thoughts and views on Battlestar may pop up in other upcoming posts.