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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

So I've been watching a LOT of 'The Six Million Dollar Man' lately...

The Greatest Moment of Sean Daly's Life: Steve Austin vs. Bigfoot (WATCH THE VIDEO!!)

ABC

The Greatest Moment of Sean Daly's Life: Steve Austin vs. Bigfoot (WATCH THE VIDEO!!)

17

January

The most formative television show of my life? Easy: The Six Million Dollar Man (followed closely by Magnum P.I., but that's another blog entry, one mainly about my brief insistence on wearing teeny white tennis shorts). As I've mentioned before, my parents used the hourlong Six Million Dollar Man to teach me the concept of time; on road trips, instead of "Are we there yet?" I'd ask "How many Six's until we get to Aunt Shirley's house?" Adorable, I know. I had all the toys (the bionic transport!); I had all the action figures (even Oscar Goldman and his exploding briefcase!) And now, four decades after it first premiered, in the greatest news ever for 43-year-old geeks, Netflix has the first two seasons of former astronaut Steve Austin's 1970s wide-collar, khaki-suited bionic adventures on DVD, and I've been gobbling up the eps at a super-speed cyborgian rate.

Before the influential ABC series officially launched on Jan. 18, 1974, there were three made-for-TV "Six Million" movies, the first airing on March 7, 1973 (which had none of the famous nanana-nanana sound effects, which is a total bummer). At first, Lee Majors was a conflicted, forlorn man with severe distrust of the U.S. government (it was the touchy-feely, Nixon-shady '70s after all). "Dr. Frankenstein, I presume," he first says to Rudy Wells, the man who "can rebuild him." But soon enough, Steve was winking and wisecracking and routinely saving the world, not to mention OSI boss Goldman's cold, bureaucratic tuchus. How lasting and widespread was the show's influence? Brand-new CBS drama Intelligence, with Lost star Josh Holloway, is basically a reboot of the show: a Delta Force soldier given a six-billion dollar brain. Sure, the Six Million storytelling is more formulaic than I remember, and you can set your watch (quarter after, quarter til) when Steve Austin uses his bionic arms or bionic legs or bionic eyeball. But man, is it fun. And I refuse to stop watching until I get to one of the great pop-culture touchstones of America in the 1970s: Feb. 1, 1976 -- when Steve Austin battled Bigfoot (played by the 7-foot-plus Andre the Giant!!) for the first time in a two-part episode that was a ratings bonanza. Bigfoot wasn't exactly Bigfoot, aliens were afoot, and how about that rotating ice tunnel?! Not sure I've ever been happier. From me to you, boys and girls, here's a clip from the Greatest Television Moment Ever:

[Last modified: Friday, January 17, 2014 11:37am]

    

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