The Six Million Dollar Man was a tv series in the late 1970s which never failed to disappoint. Those in the know knew that there was no point bothering watching the programme – this followed Steve Austin’s bionic lifestyle which basically entailed being able to jump any height (in slow motion), look at distant objects close-up (using the zoom lens in his bionic eye), and run as fast as he liked (again in slow motion).
We used to play at being Steve Austin in the school playground, which coincidentally involved running (in slow motion), using our bionic eye (which entailed staring hard at somebody and making an “eh-eh eh-eh-eh” sound) and to give things a bit of a twist, fighting (yes, you guessed it, in slow motion). I don’t remember any story lines in the Six Million Dollar Man. I do remember the introduction of a Bionic Dog (an Alsatian which ran and jumped, in slow motion), and a Bionic Woman. I can’t remember if the bionic man and woman were a bionic item or whether Lindsay Wagner was the star of a bionic spin-off
The programme was never as good as the opening credits which showed Lee Majors trapped in a space rocket, crashing, and then being rebuilt as a bionic man, presumably for something close to $6 million. This was the only part of the show where we saw Steve Austin show us what he was really capable of. In the clip, at about 1:15 you can see Steve running very fast indeed in a nice, red, old-school track suit.
Some people at my school thought that the programme’s director had simply sped up the film for dramatic effect but since having taken up running I know different. I am now convinced that they’d taken Steve to a race and filmed his last minute sprint when he’d noticed that someone on the finishing line had a camera. I know this because I like to think I look just like the Six Million Dollar Man when I turn up the pace and almost catch up with a nine year old in the last 100 metres of my local Parkrun.
Next time I’m lying on the grass, head spinning, “a man barely alive” after yet another failed attempt at finish line glory, hopefully a passing scientist will offer to rebuild me.