Nobody could quite come out as victorious as Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man, when it came to saving the day. He once served as an astronaut but he was given the opportunity of a lifetime when he was hired on as a secret government agent with the role of taking on evil armed enemies of the state equipped with an assortment of bionic alterations that upgraded him from a mere man into something akin to a superhero.
With these augmentations, he was stronger, smarter, faster, and more capable of taking on the bad guys than anyone else. Steve Austin conquered villainous scum for 5 action-packed seasons.
Alongside the mysterious government intelligence OSI, he would help defend the world from the scourge of grievous foes and thus make the world a better place. Not only would the show span five seasons, but it would give birth to 3 fantastic movies and even a spin-off series.
There was no mistaking it. Audiences everywhere loved the wonder that is the Six Million Dollar Man.
Let’s see how well you remember the classic TV show that carried his moniker.
Facts Verse Presents: Action-Packed Facts About the Six Million Dollar Man
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It Was Based Upon A Book
Every good idea is based upon somebody else’s it seems. Six Million Dollar Man is no different. In fact, the series was based upon a book called Cyborg by Martin Caldin that was published in 1972,
The book follows an astronaut that is severely injured following a test flight. Through a marriage of modern science and technology, that same astronaut is rebuilt into a kind of superhuman. With his newfound, bionically powered abilities, he takes on evil by becoming a spy for the government – albeit reluctantly.
The series of books spanned 3 novels over the next few years and served as the primary inspiration for our featured show.
It Spawned Three Movies Right Off the Bat
Before the show even made it to the airwaves, Lee Majors starred in three films based upon the Cyborg books. The first film was Aired in 1974 and served as a pilot for the series to come. The made-for-tv movie had such high ratings that the network commissioned two more that were aired later that year; The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War, and The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping.
Steve Austin Never Wanted To Be A Hero
Drawing from the themes laid out in the books, Harve Bennet – the shows lead producer – insisted that Steve Austin remained relatable and down-to-earth. Unlike James Bond, who embraced the role of secret agent man very willingly and with much ego, Steve Austin was the very embodiment of the “reluctant hero”.
What About Those Sound Effects?
If you’ve ever seen the show, then you are very familiar with the iconic sound effects that accompany the action sequences. Every time a character is running in slow motion to take down some bad guy or to otherwise save the day you would hear the all-too-familiar ‘duh nuh nuh nuh nuh’ or whenever Steve would perform some kind of bionically assisted super-feat we’d all get an ear-full of ‘Ch ch ch ch’
As memorable as these sound effects may be to viewers – and as parodied as they would later become – Lee Majors can’t stand hearing them to this day. Can you blame him though? They were incredibly cheesy even for the 70s – and that’s saying something.
Speaking of Slow-Mo Action Sequences…
We briefly touched upon those slow-motion scenes and the accompanying sound effects, but those sequences would become synonymous with the show. The technique employed was modeled after David Carradine’s classic flick Kung Fu which made major use of the cinematic styling. In fact, those slow-motion fight scenes would ever earn themselves the nickname “Kung Fu Slow Motion”
The Opening Credits Crash Was Real
Steve Austin was severely injured in an accidental crash that served as the catalyst for him becoming the bionic man. In the opening credits sequence, we get a glimpse of this disastrous accident.
You might think that the scene was made with special effects and scale models but in fact, the crash is actual footage of what happened when pilot Bruce Peterson crashed the plane her was piloting straight into the ground at speeds near 250 miles per hour.
In case you’re wondering, Bruce was a lucky man. He walked away from that crash with minimal injuries.
Remember Big Foot?
Oh yes, the 70s were the golden era of television cheese-fests. Nothing was goofier – or as endearingly entertaining – as the bigfoot subplot in Six Million Dollar Man.
The big fur bag himself was played by Andre the Giant – a professional wrestler who was well known to be a gentle giant when he wasn’t in the ring.
It’s said that Andre would eat a dozen eggs every morning for breakfast followed up by a full chicken and a steak for lunch. He’d polish all of that off by drinking a whole case of beer in under an hour – and not even catch a buzz.
We bet the caterers loved it when he showed up on set.
Later on, the big foot character would be played by Ted Cassidy – or Lurch as Addams Family fans might remember him by.
A Real Corpse Was Used For The ‘Carnival of Spies’ Episode
Can you imagine the shock everyone on set must have felt when Lee Majors accidentally broke off the finger of what they thought was a prop to reveal the fact that what they were working with was no doll at all but in fact the embalmed remains of a real human being?
Elmer Mccurdy was a thief who tried to rob a train of fewer than 50 dollars back in 1911. When he was shot and killed in the act, his corpse was embalmed and sold to a traveling carnival side-show. Over the years, the mummified remains passed between quite a few hands before they ended up being used as a prop on TV shows.
People had forgotten the history of the remains until that fateful day on the set of Six Million Dollar Man.
The Set Was Full Of Horse Play
You know what they say about ‘all work and no play’, right?
Well, the cast and crew of the Six Million Dollar Man, certainly knew how to entertain themselves between takes. Not only did they enjoy playing board games, eating all the delicious catered food, and chatting amongst themselves, but they also had a knack for playing practical jokes on each other.
One time in particular, Lee Majors stunt-double stepped into a pair of shoes that had been nailed into the floor for the sake of the episode’s plot. But as soon as he was laced in, he was drenched with buckets of ice-cold water straight to the dome.
How Much Would 6 Million Dollars Be Today?
The price tag for Steve Austin’s bionic rebuild probably sounded like a lot of money back in those days but adjusted for inflation to today, that comes out to be $39,865,515.46.
That might sound like a hefty chunk of change, but when you compare other military technologies that are produced today, it’s actually pretty cheap.
To put it into perspective, a brand new F-35 fighter jet costs 148 million bucks right off the line.
A Re-Boot Film Might Be On The Horizon
Mark Wahlberg has signed on to create a remake of the classic action-packed TV series for the big screen. It’s unclear what stage of development the film is in as it keeps getting delayed and passed around to different studios.
Travis Knight is set to be the director of the upcoming film and Bill Dubuque has been tasked with being the screenplay writer.
It also remains unclear if the film will have any major box office appeal. It seems that most people that have been involved with the project thus far have abandoned ship. Kevin Smith once developed a screenplay for the hypothetical film but it never got off the ground. Even Jim Carey once set his sights on turning the concept into a comedy film at one point but decided against it. The fate of the film is still up in the air.
Caitlyn Jenner Was Almost The Six Million Dollar – Man?
In the late 70s, Lee Majors was putting up quite a fight regarding some contractual disputes. He wasn’t going to just give up on his demands so the studio started looking for a replacement just in case they couldn’t come to some kind of agreement.
First up for consideration was Harrison Ford – but they didn’t think he was qualified or had what it takes to be in an action role. Funny right?
Then it was Gil Gerard – best known for playing Buck Rogers.
Finally, they even considered signing on Bruce Jenner or as we know her now, Caitlyn Jenner. What a curveball that would have been.
Lee Did Most Of His Own Stunts
He wasn’t afraid to get dirty and take a few risks for the sake of the show. In fact, he estimates that he probably did about 85 percent of his own stunts while filming the show. He’d tap back into this rough and tumble experience for his later show The Fall Guy.
Now that he’s in his 80s, Lee Majors says that all that stunt work back in the day has taken a major toll on his body.
He never gave up acting, however. In 2019 he appeared on the Magnum P.I. Reboot and before that, he has seen consistent screen time since his glory years as the Six Million Dollar Man.
Unfortunately, we’ve come to the end of another insightful video about one of Televisions most entertaining science fiction shows.
Now it’s time for you to give us a little feedback. Do you think that the Six Million Dollar Film that Mark Wahlberg is trying to produce will ever see the light of day or will it continue to be stuck in development hell until it’s finally scrapped? Let us know what you think in the comments sections.
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