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we can revive him It's hard to quantify the influence that the Bionic Man had on my growth and development. Why as an eight-year-old I thought I could catch up to people on the playground by running slower is beyond me. Wasn't that the most ingenious part of the show? The producers knew kids would be trying to run faster than cars and smashing into sign posts and getting hurt. So they made him run super slow while running super fast! And how about those sound effects! You really felt strong when you made that metallic daderdaderdader with your tongue.
The Bionic ManI stayed up late to watch the episode where Jaime Sommers had a parachute accident and she and Steve had been in love but then she didn't remember their love! But she did get to be bionic. I cried myself to sleep, longing for something I did not understand. I was also too young to wonder if Steve had a bionic penis. It was only years later that I realized that I wouldn't have known what to do with the girls I chased on the playground in slow-motion, had they let me catch them.
Steve Mandich, editor of the zine Heinous, told me about a girl he dated once who was so enamored of bionics that she had circuitry tattooed on her right bicep. That's what this couple meant to American kids of the Seventies. They taught us to strive for more. Watching Jaime and Steve run and jump, we knew we could be bionic too — in everything we do! It didn't matter that sometimes our heroes used the wrong arm to lift a boulder, or that the shows were often so corny as to be unwatchable, at least now, when I catch them on the Sci Fi Channel. Steve and Jaime were machines who never lost their humanity.
The Bionic WomanThe Six Million Dollar Man began with a series of three TV movies on ABC in 1973. They starred Lee Majors (a.k.a. Harvey Lee Yeary II) as Colonel Steve Austin. The weekly program premiered in January 1974 as a mid-season Friday night replacement, then switched to Sundays, and finally, Mondays. It switched from ABC to NBC for its fifth (and final) season before being canceled in March 1978. One episode introduced the Bionic Woman, who then spun off her own show on Wednesday nights beginning in 1976. The program switched to Saturdays during its third and final season.
In 1987, NBC aired Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, followed in 1989 by Bionic Show-down. In 1994, CBS put together Bionic Ever After. They were awful, but I was also a lot older and running full speed.
Those are the basics. I asked Rod Rehn, who compiled an extensive site devoted to both shows and is North America's foremost authority on bionics in pop culture, to fill in the details. Here is his top secret report.

This article originally appeared in Chip's Closet Cleaner, Issue 13.

Guest articles by Rod Rehn, former curator, The Bionic Site:
(1) Top secret intro, (2) Show intro; (3) Inside bionics
(4) Best & worst episodes; (5) Bionic toys

Feedback from visitors

Links: Bionic Woman pilot (VHS); Bionic Fan Network (site)

U.S. products: Six Million Dollar Man T-shirt
Six Million Dollar Man: Complete DVD Collection

U.K. products: Six Million Dollar Man: Season 1 Box Set (DVD)
The Bionic Woman: Season 1 Box Set (DVD)

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