“Day of the Robot”

S1 E4

Production 40012
Original Airdate: 8 February, 1974
Day of the robot stevevsrobot
Steve Confronts the Robot
Teleplay by
Del Reisman
Story by
Harold Livingston
Directed by
Leslie H. Martinson
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
John Saxon as Fred Sloan/Robot
Henry Jones as Chester Dolenz
Special Guest Star(s)
Lloyd Bochner as Gavern Wilson
Charles W. Bateman as Master Sgt Parnell
Noah Keen as General Tarhill
Robert Rothwell as Al
Martin Speer as Neil
Buster Jones as Captain
Michael Alaimo as Bread Truck Driver
Louie Elias as Roy
Broadcast Order
Season 1
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"Operation Firefly" "Little Orphan Airplane"
Related episodes
Run, Steve, Run
Return of the Robot Maker


Steve Austin is assigned the task of escorting his friend Major Frederick Sloan to the important final test of a secret new anti-missile missile defense system. Major Sloan has developed a microwave circuit card which is the activator for the ignition unit on the defense system. However, both they and the OSI are unaware that a criminal gang has made plans to steal the activator by abducting Major Sloan and replacing him with an identical robot, developed and built by Dr. Jeffrey Dolenz. During the drive to the test site, Major Sloan is kidnapped at a gas station and the robot takes his place without Steve noticing. The robot is controlled by a remote from Dr. Dolenz's laboratory and images and sounds of everything it sees and hears are relayed back. Steve slowly becomes suspicious of the robot’s erratic behavior and the fact he has shown bionic level strength. But before he can take any action criminals force his car off the road. The robot then knocks Steve out and steals the activator from him. At the missile test site, the robot places the activator in the ignition unit and the test initially goes as planned. However, the robot then suddenly steals both the activator and ignition unit and forces an escape. Correctly guessing that the robot will have headed to the test facility Steve intercepts it and, following a violent struggle, destroys the robot.

Back in Washington D.C., Oscar Goldman informs Steve that most of the criminal gang have been captured but that Dr. Dolenz is still at large. There is no sign of Major Sloan, and he is presumed dead. Later when Steve is out walking by the tennis courts where they played together, Steve finds Major Sloan who is suffering from amnesia but is otherwise well.



Fred: (Steve has beaten Fred at tennis) I never thought I'd see the day you'd beat me three straight sets.
Steve: Well, you've still got your memories, Fred.

Wilson: When was the last time you saw Mr. Austin?
Robot: (imprinted with Fred Sloan's memories) Mister? You mean Colonel Austin, don't ya? Steve would cringe if anybody would call him Mister. He's all Air Force, there's not a drop of Mister in him. The last time I saw my buddy Steve Austin was on the tennis court this morning.

Wilson: (watching on monitors of what the Robot picks up) The reception's quite good, considering the distance.
Dolenz: Naturally, we're bouncing off the satellite I leased.

Steve: Let's let that car pass.
Robot: What car?
Steve: There's been one behind us ever since we left the station.
Robot: You weren't so nervous in the old days, Steve. It's just a coincidence.

Steve: (the robot posting as Fred Sloan has just crashed a car) Well, that was fun.
Robot: I'm sorry Steve, I got a cramp in my foot.

Steve: You know, between your foot cramp and this flat tire, we're never gonna make it.


  • Previous information here references a scene in which Steve hears the robot squeaking which is not in the final episode. It possibly was in the script though and the squeaking is referenced in the later episodes Run, Steve, Run and again in Return of the Robot Maker.
  • This was the first of a number of episodes in the bionic franchise dealing with robot duplicates. Dolenz' creations return in "Run, Steve, Run" and "Return of the Robot Maker", while a similar, though apparently unrelated series of robots, the Fembot, would be introduced in The Bionic Woman.
  • This episode has no female credited cast members whatsoever, a first for the series which up till now has usually given Steve a female co-star or two in each episode.
Sound Effects
  • The "bionic" sound effect is heard for the first time in this episode, but is used for the Sloan robot instead of Steve Austin.
  • When the Sloan robot inserts the activator into the ignition unit and presses the button, the ignition unit begins making a sound similar to Steve's bionic eye.
  • The sound effects used when the robot becomes "angry" and battles Austin, come from the 1971 Universal Studios film How to Frame a Figg.
  • During the slow-motion fight we hear the robot making sounds that are, appropriately, also slowed down. This is one of the only times this is done with voices, given the potential for it to have comic effect (see, for example, the fight between Inspector Clouseau and Cato in The Pink Panther Strikes Again).
Visual effects
  • Clocking in at close to eight minutes, the final fight between Austin and the robot is possibly the longest sustained slow-motion sequence ever presented on the show.
Recycled Art
  • A painting hung in Oscar's office can also be spotted in a 1973 Columbo episode entitled "Candidate for Crime."

familiar painting

  • The Maskatron action figure is based upon the "Mr. X" robot, with one of its false faces being that of Sloan.



  • When Gavern Wilson shows the robot a photograph of Steve Austin, the close up shot of Steve is a different picture of the one he is seen holding immediately beforehand.
  • When Fred is in the car with Steve when he mentions his stomach is turning, notice the door lock on Fred's door, it is unlocked, then, after Steve mentions to pull over, and the closeup shot of Fred's reply, notice that the door is locked.


  • During the scene where hooded Mr.X doesn't yet have a face you can catch his reflection on a pane of glass which does show a face.
  • During the final battle between Austin and the Sloan robot: the back of the robot's jacket is torn and visibly loose, in the same area where the robot's back will explode when Austin later impales him with the I-beam steel girder.
  • When Austin kicks the car over on to the henchman about to shoot him, heavy duty chains can easily be detected by their shadows on the car as it rolls.
  • The steel girder bends visibly in the scene where Steve confronts the robot and is clearly not made of metal.
  • The scene where the helicopter chases Steve and forces him into the ground, in the following scene, its the same scene, only from a different camera angle.
  • At the end, when Steve leaves Oscar's office to go for a walk, when he arrives in the park where the tennis court is, the camera shot is a reverse mirror shot, notice the part in Steve's hair, and the car on the right. Then the following scene when Steve first spots Sloan at the park table, his hair is parted different, and the car is on the left, this is the true camera shot.
  • When Mr. X is caused to be sick in the car after the accident, during the scene when Mr. X mentions to get a motel, Steve is steering with his right hand, but, he is just sliding his hand across the steering wheel, back and forth, not grasping it.
  • Just before the tires are blown on Steve's car, a helicopter flies right over and in front of the vehicle, yet Steve appears not to notice this at all as his initial comment is about having a flat tire.
  • Steve and Sloan are supposedly driving from Washington, DC to their destination, yet all the vehicles seen have California license plates.


  • One consequence of using slow-motion, especially during a lengthy scene such as the final fight, is that the viewer forgets that events are supposed to be happening at a rapid speed. As such, it appears odd that the robot doesn't make his final leap towards Austin until "long after" (from our perspective) Austin has lifted the girder.
  • During the final fight, why would the robot be heard grunting from exertion and/or pain?
  • Helicopters don't use police sirens like the military choppers do here.