The Six Million Dollar Man was an American television series about a cyborg working for a U.S. secret service called OSI. The show was based on the novel Cyborg from Martin Caidin, and aired on the ABC network from 1973 to 1978. The title role of Steve Austin
was played by Lee Majors, who subsequently became a pop culture icon of the 1970s.
The background story of the original novel and the later series is the crash of former astronaut Steve Austin in an M2-F2 "lifting body", shown in the opening credits of the show (utilizing NASA footage of Bruce Peterson's 1967 real-life accident). The opening credits actually used footage of two different lifting bodies; the HL-10, shown dropping away from its carry plane, and the M2-F2 shown in the unstable flight/crash sequence. (The aircraft was actually referred to as being an "HL-10" in the series, and the real HL-10 was used in a later episode.) Austin is severely injured in the crash and is "rebuilt" in a title-giving operation that costs six million dollars. His right arm, both legs and the left eye are replaced by bionic (cybernetic) implants that enhance his strength, speed and vision far above human norm. He uses his enhanced abilities to work for the OSI (Office of Scientific Intelligence) as a secret agent (and as a guinea pig for bionics).
Caidin's novel was a best-seller when it was released in 1972 and was followed by several sequels. In the spring of 1973, Cyborg was loosely adapted as a made-for-TV movie starring Majors as Austin (although usually referred to by the title The Six Million Dollar Man, this film is often cited by the longer title Cyborg: Six Million Dollar Man). The film abandoned much of the plotline of the original novel in favor of a more TV-friendly script, and did not include many of the standard features of the later series; absent were the electronic sound effects, the slow motion running, and different actors playing Oscar Goldman
and Dr. Rudy Wells
. The OSI had been the OSO. Austin also does not use his bionic eye at any time during the film.
The first film was a major ratings success and was followed by two more made-for-TV films that fall -- Wine, Women and War and Solid Gold Kidnapping (which were original stories not based upon Caidin's writings), followed by the debut, in January 1974, of The Six Million Dollar Man as a weekly hour-long series.
The show was very popular during its run and introduced many pop culture elements of the 1970s, such as the show's opening catch phrase and the slow motion action sequences and the accompanying "electronic" sound effects.
For many years, attempts have been made to bring the story of Steve Austin to the movie screen. In the mid-1990s, noted director Kevin Smith wrote a screenplay, and there were reports later that comedian Chris Rock was being considered for the role. Most recently, plans were made to film the story as a full-out comedy starring Jim Carrey, much to the dismay of longtime fans of the show; as of March 2005 reports differ as to whether this film will actually be made.
- From Wikipedia