Hi, I'm Mark and live in the UK.
I was nine years old when I first started watching The Six Million Dollar Man. Like many of my friends at the time the programme made a big impression on me and Lee Majors\Steve Austin was a great boyhood hero of mine. Every generation has its TV heroes and the 1970s was no exception. However, whilst I could never really take seriously the superheroes who dressed in bizarre costumes such as Batman and Superman, The Six Million Dollar Man was to me far more believable and lifelike.
The Six Million Dollar Man was a very positive influence on myself and many of my friends if only that it greatly encouraged us all to try and excel at athletics. Certainly there was always a tremendous amount of competition to try and win the 100 metres title on school sports day! Steve Austin seemed to personify many of the qualities that we aspired to: integrity, bravery, good looks, fit & strong and a fine sense of humour. If at times he was also a little sensitive well then that was all right with us too.
Today’s Bionic fans fall into three categories:
- Those who watched the original series back in the 1970s and have never stopped being fans.
- Those who are too young to remember the programmes originally but have come to appreciate them since.
- Those who were avid fans when the shows were first shown and during the intervening years had moved on but have recently, through the advent of video\DVD and multi-channel TV, become re-acquainted with the shows again.
I fall into the latter group and seeing the programme again after an absence of over 30 years has been a hugely nostalgic experience. Many people are quick to dismiss some of the rather primitive (by 21st Century standards) special effects that the episodes included but it is the appeal of the characters involved that endears the series to me. In short it’s been great to be able to relive a happy part of my childhood once again.
I hope to make a positive contribution to The Bionic Wiki going forward.
All the best,
Steve and Jaime - a personal view
I used to tune in with great interest every week to watch The Six Million Dollar Man (SMDM) on TV and by the time the second season was being shown in the UK in early 1975 I was totally hooked. Looking back at that season's listing I remember a few episodes very well but my favourite ones of all are without doubt The Bionic Woman parts one and two. When one day a friend at school told me in advance that The Bionic Woman (BW) episodes were coming up I clearly remember thinking that we would be presented with a brash character - say the female equivalent of Barney Miller (The Seven Million Dollar Man). At that time I hadn’t seen the two earlier episodes of The Rockford Files that featured Lindsay Wagner as Sara Butler so had no idea what to expect. Of course the reality was something entirely different from my expectations and Jaime Sommers was absolutely gorgeous.
If we’re honest, the SMDM episodes up until this point had been a bit varied in terms of quality but when I watched The Bionic Woman for the first time in nearly thirty years (where did all that time go?) I knew from the opening notes of ‘Gotta Get Loose’ that I was going to really enjoy watching the two episodes again. Lindsay Wagner was marvellous as Jaime and it’s little surprise that so many people took her into their hearts. Steve Austin had been involved with other woman in the past – most notably Barbara Thatcher in the SMDM episode Lost Love - but this time he was really in love. The two characters of Steve and Jaime ‘clicked’ and really were a perfect match for each other. Lee Majors acting in the episodes had never been better – take for example the scene where he begs Oscar Goldman to help Jaime. In addition Martha Scott and Ford Rainey added a wonderful sense of warmth to the shows as Helen and Jim Elgin. All in all marvellous viewing.
And then Jaime died! I can still vividly recall how my dear mother and I cried as we watched the second part of ‘The Bionic Woman’. At school the following morning the SMDM fans were also really shocked by what had happened. Usually we used to talk about the previous night’s shows with great enthusiasm but following Jaime’s death were simply too stunned to do so and none of us could bring ourselves to raise the subject. I could barely watch the following week’s SMDM episode and couldn’t understand how Steve was able to continue his duties as if nothing had happened when I was still in mourning!
Hindsight is always 20:20 but I find it hard to understand what Universal thought they were up to when they killed off Jaime. I wasn’t ones of those that wrote a letter of complaint but thankfully thousands did and I was delighted when The Return Of The Bionic Woman episodes hit our screens a few months later. The launch of The Bionic Woman as a TV series in its own right in 1976 was even more welcomed. However, I yearned for Steve and Jaime to get together and, whilst I should be grateful that they finally tied the knot in Bionic Ever After eighteen years later in 1994, I found Jaime’s loss of memory really frustrating as the chemistry between the two characters had previously worked really well. Jaime’s changed approach to Steve in The Return Of The Bionic Woman and her flirtation with Dr Michael Marchetti (what about medical ethics?) was little short of torture for me and things only slightly improved in Welcome Home Jaime - although only the hardest of SMDM fans could fail to appreciate Jaime’s return to Ojai and her finding her feet once again. During 1976 Steve and Jaime appeared together in a total of ten episodes (five SMDM and five BW) but often only fleetingly (was it Universal’s policy to tease us?) and only the combined SMDM\BW stories of The Return Of Bigfoot and Kill Oscar were true Steve and Jaime joint missions. The latter – a three part story – was the last time that Steve and Jaime appeared together – reunion films aside – and with the BW moving to NBC for it’s final season in 1977/78 I was left to wonder what could have been.
I for one don’t feel that the popularity of either the SMDM or BW series would have in any way been adversely affected by them being an ‘item’. In fact, when one takes into account the uproar at Jaime’s earlier demise, I’ve always believed that interest in the series would have been strengthened. Whilst the character of Chris Williams did add a positive element to the later episodes he was no substitute for Steve Austin and Steve’s absence – particularly in the final episode of the BW series, On The Run, when Jaime was feeling so vulnerable and unhappy - was a terrible shame. Steve’s empathy with and support for Jaime had been so significant in the beginning following her accident and a Bionic wedding would have ensured that the series ended in real style - or maybe I’m just an incurable romantic?!