Thursday, May 27, 2010

Six Million Dollar memories

When I was a kid my favorite television show was The Six Million Dollar Man. I loved that show with a white hot intensity that can only be explained by my love of comic book super heroes. The character of Col. Steve Austin was the closest TV had to a super hero with his super strength, super speed and telescopic vision. He was like a more human version of Superman or the Flash and as I got a little older and saw some of the James Bond movies he seemed a bit like 007 as well. I was a major fan to say the least. In fact, I was such a fanatic I joined the official Fan Club. I can still remember the morning that the big white envelope arrived in the mail with all the Six Million Dollar Man Fan Club material stuffed inside. It was a moment of true magic that beat even the stunned giddiness of Christmas morning or an unexpected birthday surprise. It was a hard thing to go to school that day instead of sitting at home and marveling at the geeky bounty. I’m sure the clock crawled.

I wish I still had that stuff or any of my toys from the show. I think I had most of the action figures including the Oscar Goldman figure, the board game, the snap-tite model and even the Power Records story albums.

One of the off shoots of my love of this show was a willingness to watch Lee Majors in anything. This rarely panned out for me as a kid as most of the movies a TV star could get in the 1970s and 80s were far from the caliber that is offered these days. Anyone who has suffered through the painfully funny/bad THE NORSEMAN will tell you that Majors was not getting scripts with much gravitas or quality. But there is one of his movies from this sad period (before he landed his next TV role in The Fall Guy) that I remember fondly. THE LAST CHASE (1981) played on HBO in the early 80s on an almost endless loop. A Canadian motion picture it had that slightly 'off' feel that Canada seemed to exude at the time which worked really well for this futuristic tale. If I remember the story correctly it takes place in a near post-apocalyptic future in which cars are outlawed after all the oil has dried up. The only way to get around is by public transportation and the government keeps a firm hand on the population through various totalitarian methods. Majors plays a guy who has kept a beautiful sports car hidden and as an act of rebellion decides to go on one last cross country run. Along the way he picks up a kid companion played by Chris Makepeace and is eventually hunted down by aging fighter pilot Burgess Meredith. Yeah- the Six Million Dollar Man is chased by The Penguin!

Its been nearly 30 years since I've seen this movie and I've recently gotten the itch to rewatch it to see if it can live up to my recollection of being a pretty good little film. I suspect it may suck but I've gotten my hands on a copy and I'll check it out in the next few days. And even if it turns out to stink it has to be better than THE NORSEMEN!

But when are we going to see The Six Million Dollar Man on DVD? Talk about leaving money on the table!


Brandon said...

I loved the "Six Million Dollar Man" Series. I had the figures and rocket that became an Operating table. I had the backpack that was a crystal radio that really worked.
I will have to look for "The Last Chase". I would like to see that.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Personally I have see that LAST CHASE movie so many times that it is on a loop in my head. It was ALWAYS on when pay tv first came to Canada in the early 80s.

I loved the Six Million Dollar Man even when he fought the Bionic Sasquatch (which seems like a real waste of technology on a mythical creature) but my favorite figure from that line was the Oscar Goldman figure. That exploding briefcase acessory was the greatest thing ever.