Trivia / The Six Million Dollar Man

  • Affectionate Parody
    • Nick at Nite's marathon The Bob, Bob Newhart, Newhart Marathon presented 60-second parodies of Bob Newhart starring in various shows. One of these was The Six Million Dollar Bob.
    • MAD printed a parody of the show. The opening paragraph leading into the title talked of what a rip-off Steve Austin was to the US taxpayers, concluding with "Just wait 'till you see what we got for The Six Million Dollars, Man!
    • Goodness Gracious Me gave us the Six Million Rupee Man, about rebuilding an injured rickshaw test pilot. "We have the technology — we don't have the ideal exchange rate."
    • Uncle Croc's Block had the Six Dollar and Ninety-Five Cent Man.
    • The Electric Company (1971) featured a recurring "Six Dollar and Thirty-Nine Cent Man" sketch, with a shot-for-shot parody of the opening credits (from Steve Awesome being involved in a skateboarding accident, to rebuilding him to be "Better. Stronger. More fun at parties"). As a bonus, it was narrated by a young Morgan Freeman! Notable also for being a contemporary parody of the series.
    • An episode of The Venture Bros. featured Brock going on a camping trip and running into Col Steve Sommers, complete with red jumpsuit and Bigfoot.
    Steve Sommers: "The Government rebuilt me..made me bigger, stronger, faster. Spent Six million dollars to put me back together...and you know what? They put me to work! They expected me to pay it back! DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TAKES TO PAY BACK SIX MILLION DOLLARS ON A GOVERNMENT SALARY?!?!?"
  • The Board Game: Parker Brothers released no less than two: one named simply The Six Million Dollar Man and a more obscure sequel, Bionic Action. The former was a glorified CandyLand, where each player had "power cards" he could spend to have greater control over his piece's actions; when two players landed in the same square, they had a "bionic battle."
  • The Cast Showoff: For reasons known only to the producers, the decision was made to allow Lee Majors to sing not one, but two original songs (one built loosely around the melody of the SMDM theme) in the original "Bionic Woman" two-parter.
  • Market-Based Title:
    • In the French dub, the title became L'homme qui valait trois milliards ("The man who was worth three billions") as 6 million dollars was roughly 3 billion Old Francs.
    • In Latin America, the title became El hombre nuclear ("The Nuclear Man") and "El Hombre Bionico" ("The Bionic Man").
  • Name's the Same
  • The Other Darrin: No less than three actors play Dr. Rudy Wells during the series, with Martin Balsam playing the role in the original pilot TV movie, Alan Oppenheimer in the other two pre-series movies and then the first two regular seasons, and Martin E. Brooks for the remainder. However after Brooks had joined the series, Oppenheimer was brought back to play Rudy for a single Season 3 episode, "The Bionic Criminal". The reason for this is that it was a sequel to an earlier episode that the need to include flashbacks required that Oppenheimer be brought back for consistency. Balsam also reprised the role in order to provide narration for the reedited syndicated version of the original TV movie.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In the spring of 1975, the two-part episode "The Bionic Woman" introduced Jaime Sommers. Executive Meddling transpired: the network did not want Austin tied to an ongoing love interest, so the producers were forced to kill off Jaime in her first appearance. Adding insult to injury, the two-parter was originally to have ended the season, but was moved back as it was felt too much a Downer Ending for the year. Instead, the season ended with a run-of-the-mill episode that featured Austin romancing another woman. Where Real Life comes in is the network misjudged how popular the Steve-Jaime pairing was, and popular demand was so strong, the planned opening of the next season was changed to a two-parter in which Jaime was miraculously brought back to life (and a spin-off series was quickly commissioned too).
  • Referenced by...: When Quicksilver is talking to his mother in X-Men: Apocalypse, his T-shirt has a cartoon print of The Six Million Dollar Man.
  • What Could Have Been: In 1993, Will Meguniot (then on a break between seasons of Exosquad) helped make sketches for a proposed animated series called Bionic Squad, where Steve Austin would lead a new team, which ten was captured by aliens called "Rapacians", who then would've subjected them to unwilling transformations in their secret moon base, giving them superhuman abilities. The show never made it past the pitch (Monster Force ended up airing alongside Exosquad's second season; ironically, Meugniot had worked on Bionic Six a few years before, which MCA/Universal had distributed).

Misc. trivia

  • Probably the closest Real Life has come to the shocking discovery of a Wax Museum Morgue happened when a film crew for The Six Million Dollar Man started rearranging the props in a Long Beach funhouse for a scene they were shooting. Turns out that what the funhouse's owner had believed to be a mannequin was actually a real cadaver: that of Elmer McCurdy, an Oklahoma outlaw shot in 1911. McCurdy's corpse had been embalmed and put on display in sideshows, haunted houses and, yes, wax museums for decades, passing from one owner to the next. Its status as the genuine article was eventually forgotten, until its arm broke off in a crew member's hand. McCurdy was returned to Guthrie, Oklahoma and buried in a Boot Hill cemetery there, under two tons of concrete by order of the state medical examiner so that his remains would no longer be exploited.

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