Steve Austin's good buddy Major Fred Sloan has invented a microwave circuit card he calls the 'activator' and a separate ignition unit that when combined, power an anti-missile missile ... See full summary »


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Episode cast overview:
Gavern Wilson
MSgt. Parnell (as Charles W. Bateman)
Gen. Tanhill
Buster Jones ...
Michael Alaimo ...
Bread Truck Driver


Steve Austin's good buddy Major Fred Sloan has invented a microwave circuit card he calls the 'activator' and a separate ignition unit that when combined, power an anti-missile missile device. Steve is assigned to protect his friend during the final testing phase. A criminal organization intend on getting their hands on the device kidnap Sloan and replace him with an identical robot build by professor Jeffrey Dolenz. Written by The TV Archaeologist

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Release Date:

8 February 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Features the first use of the iconic "na-na-na-na" sound, usually associated with bionic Steve Austin, during his tennis game. See more »


After Steve drops the steel girder, it bounces and wiggles as if made of rubber. See more »


Gavern 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 airforce, 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.
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Edited into The Six Million Dollar Man: Run, Steve, Run (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

TV's Finest Hour, Maybe Ever
31 October 2006 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

First off, I was exactly 8 years old when I first saw this episode and to say it changed or effected or influenced my entire life is absurd but true. This was the episode that probably first got into my imagination as far as the Bionic Man goes, and I still have a vague memory of our entire family (well, maybe not mom) being riveted to our chairs by every second of this in 1974. It was always a welcome repeat episode when the show entered syndication and utter "must-have" viewing for fans of the show once it entered cult status. It is the quintessential Six Million Dollar Man episode, directly asking the question, is Steve better than a robot? The robot was also a work of pure inspiration: Character actor and cult movie legend John Saxon was brilliantly cast as Steve's Army Major buddy, inventor of a secret missile defense system who is kidnapped and replaced by a look-alike robot who squawks backwards like those voices at the end of "I Am The Walrus" when his face plate is bitch-slapped off. Underneath the face he is just an eyeless mass of electrodes, computer chips, circuit boards and loose wires, and the effect of seeing it for the first time probably sent us diving under the seat cushions.

The reason why it works is Saxon, an infinitely better actor than anyone else in the entire episode who manages to keep an utterly straight poker face once in robot mode: He reflects no emotion, sees nothing, and is a great example of the "Uncanny Divide" that demands our robotic friends not look too human. Quite the contrary, Saxon looks robotic and plays the role with a certain amount of droll relish that is still fresh & genre-defining thirty three years later. He WAS the robot, and whenever I or anyone from my generation encounters him in another movie or show all we can do is remark, "Holy Jesus, it's the backwards squawking robot from the Bionic Man!"

Steve's showdown against the robot is also probably the series' finest battle, edging out the fight against Bigfoot from Season Three only because here we know it is a fight to the death -- The Bigfoot episode plays out more as a cartoon, where this has more the feel of a grim, violent, deadly graphic novel; Steve even has to dispatch one of the goons of Henry Jones' Robot Maker by killing the guy, something you simply did not see after the 2nd Season when the show became a mainstream hit. This 1st Season episode was very much still an experimental form of the show and really was one of the episodes that helped to cement the look, feel, tone and objectives of the series. It is a shame that the series reversed on itself by the 4th Season and descended into ditzville, but this very special episode remains a triumph of the form, and certainly humanity's finest hour as far as brain-dead television goes. Even with all of the hilarious continuity errors, looped in filler footage, and implausible plotting.

10/10; My favorite is the red 'KILL!' switch they have on the robot's control panel, and look for the great character actor Lloyd Bochner in a supporting role.

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