Automan: Season 1, Episode 1

Automan (15 Dec. 1983)

TV Episode  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 90 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic

A computer nerd creates a holographic "man" called "Automan" (AutomaticMan) and uses him (and his holographic car and a talking cursor) to help solve crimes.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Heather McNair ...
Roxanne Caldwell
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ...
Cursor ...
Lydell Hamilton
Steven Keats ...
Peterson (as Robert J. Hogan)
Cramer (as James Antonio Jr.)
Robert Dunlap ...
Chuck Wilson
Don Galloway ...
Martin Wills
Det. Ted Smithers
1st Gang Member


A computer nerd creates a holographic "man" called "Automan" (AutomaticMan) and uses him (and his holographic car and a talking cursor) to help solve crimes.

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Release Date:

15 December 1983 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Lydell Hamilton's company is named Global Guard. Writer/producer Glen A. Larson would use this name again in the first episode of his series The Highwayman (1987). See more »


The series takes place in Los Angeles but the building pictured as the Interpol office is actually the Jacob Javits Federal Building in Manhattan, New York City. Later, Tanya arranges to meet Walter at Mott and Elizabeth in Chinatown, which is a real intersection in the Chinatown in Manhattan. See more »


Automan: On a scale of one to ten, think of me as an eleven.
See more »


References Donkey Kong (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

Very short run
29 April 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Although very formulaic like most action shows of the 70's and 80's, I remember seeing the show a number of times (and liking it) but I think it never even made it through a full season if I remember right, because I think it bombed in the ratings department. I actually still have a recording of the main theme music (along with sound effects) from the opening credits! The Automan Character was supposed to be a computer generated "Automatic Man" (hence the name Automan)zapped into the real world in the same but opposite way that Jeff Bridges was zapped into the computer world of Disney's "Tron" made the previous year.

Despite the fact that it was meant to copy the kind of computer generated imagery seen in "Tron", the visual effects were actually done optically using more traditional means, as CGI was still very much in it's infancy and very expensive back then. The costume that the Automan character wore was made to scintillate by substituting an optical effect into matted out portions of the suit, likely covered with bluescreen material which allowed for the VFX department to replace it with a blueish purple glitter and an optically enhanced glow. This was also very similar to how the costumes for "Tron" were also able to glow.

I remember that the "computer generated" car was a real black Lamborghini Countach which had reflective pin striping applied to give the effect of a blue vector-line style glow, again an homage to "Tron". Also, the car, driven by Automan would make exact 90 degree turns (again, exactly like the Lightcycles in "Tron") which resulted in passenger Desi Arnaz Jr's face being splashed against the side window! Of course, the 90 degree turning effect was simply done by two cuts of the car going in the different directions and editing the film together to suit.

Having seen so few episodes I'm surprised that I remember so much about it. Back then, I absolutely ate this stuff up, even though a lot of these things were so unoriginal and made in a very assembly-line type of format. Despite it's apparent bombing in the ratings I hope nevertheless that it someday appears on DVD. I'll buy it for sure! Nostalgia is a lot of fun, even when the subject is so poorly done.

Did I mention that it has a lot of things in it that bear a striking resemblance to "Tron"?


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