The King Of The Suspension Of Disbelief
Back when I was a kid in the days when they didn't teach you about sex until you were at least 14 because you honestly got all the information you were ever likely to need on that subject from watching James Bond, kids like me had heroes.
This man right here was my hero and man, did I ever want to be him:
If you are smiling, welcome to The Club because you know exactly who this is.
If you are not smiling, my heart is genuinely bleeding all over the floor for you because you missed TV gold.
This my friends, is Lee Majors in his role as Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man. Steve was an astronaut who lost control of his craft on return to earth and busted himself up pretty bad. So badly in fact, that the government had to fix him up with bionics (natch) that cost (no surprises here) $6m. There's no such thing as advanced robotics for nothing though and Steve spent the rest of his life working for the government, fixing things that nobody else could because now he had a bionic eye, a bionic arm and two bionic legs.
Here's the opening sequence:
It's a genius idea right? This is because back in the seventies, we all practiced an art called The Suspension Of Disbelief or: If a writer can infuse 'human interest and a semblance of truth' into a fantastic tale, the reader will suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative.
Which is exactly what happened but nobody seems to do this anymore, much preferring, hyper-realism to just rolling with the punches and seeing how drunk you can get on the implausible.
Anyway, Steve, along with his boss, Oscar Goldman...
...played by Richard Anderson though I really shouldn't be carrying such detail around in my head about this, spent many seasons fighting crime and other 'bad stuff. They usually did this in one hour and on a Thursday evening - which was highly convenient because that's exactly the time I wanted to watch it.
See, I was good at The Suspension Of Disbelief before it had even begun.
Like I said, I wanted to be Steve Austin really badly when I grew up, but at the time the closest I was going to get was with this action figure I got for Chrismas one year - and very pleased with it I was too.
No. It's not a fucking doll:
...and to get just that little bit closer, I also got Steve's rocket, which looked like this:
Not sure how he could operate any controls in there - it's a bit of a tight squeeze - so it's no wonder he crashed when he tried to come back home. Luckily, when you opened it out, you could fix Steve up like magic:
Times were good and life was fine, but time can play tricks on a boy...
As ratings began to fall, the team in charge began to panic. Something had changed. They were losing us and something had to be done. There were many things I'm sure they could have tried - such as writing better episodes - but what they came up rocked The King Of The Suspension Of Disbelief to the core.
They released an episode called The Secret of Bigfoot. Here's what the internet has to say about this episode:
Steve Austin and Oscar Goldman are in a remote region of the California mountains as part of a team working with high tech earthquake sensors. When two geologists - Ivan and Marlene Bekey - disappear in mysterious circumstances tracks of the legendary wild beast called Sasquatch or Bigfoot are found nearby. Ivan is soon found safe but in a state of shock. However, there is no sign of Marlene. When Bigfoot later attacks the team's base camp Steve pursues and fights with the beast unaware that he is being monitored by aliens who are living in a nearby mountain. During the fight one of Bigfoot's arms becomes detached revealing that it is not an animal but some form of robot. Bigfoot flees (complete with the removed arm!) and Steve follows it into a cave. This turns out to be inside the mountain occupied by the aliens and Steve is soon rendered unconscious, captured and analysed by them.
When he awakes, Steve learns from Shalon - a female alien - that Bigfoot was built and controlled by the aliens to protect them. The earthquake sensor team had been attacked as they had identified a volcanic vent that powered the alien colony. Meanwhile Oscar learns that a major earthquake is predicted along the main San Medrian fault line within the next few hours which jeopardises all the Californian west coast cities. Only a controlled underground nuclear explosion to trigger a smaller man made earthquake along a smaller tributary fault line will prevent the main earthquake from happening. Oscar authorises this knowing that Steve and Marlene are still missing in the area concerned and will be at serious risk from the explosion and subsequent earthquake.
What the fuck? I might have been a kid but I'm not stupid. Well, not that stupid anyway. Here's a shot of Steve and Bigfoot (as played by Andre the Giant who I met once and he could hardly walk never mind much else. I didn't even have the heart to ask him for an autograph):
The King Of The Suspension Of Disbelief was willing to run with this. It was probably even a pretty good episode because I know I kept watching. The Secret Of Bigfoot was a two parter but somebody in TV-land thought he could make some easy money by over the years, unleashing on us a grand total of five - FIVE! - Bigfoot stories.
But worse was to come. Shortly after this first Bigfoot story, they made Steve grow a moustache so that he looked like Burt Reynolds:
But there is only one Lee Majors and there is certainly only one Burt Reynolds. They made him shave it off again pretty soon after this. My nights with Steve were wonderful and endless. Ladies loved him, men wanted to be him (or at least I did, so that's good enough), Oscar was loyal to him and he could run really fast, smash and crush shit with his arm and if something was very far away or somebody was escaping, he could simply see where they were by kicking in his bionic eye.
Here's a clip showing Steve doing what he does best against um... a dupe bionic/robotic Oscar Goldman though I can't decide if this episode is from The Golden Days or The Gold Plated Days
There is no point to this piece other than I hadn't posted anything for a while, however, there are three things we can learn from it.
1. When the chips are down, don't try and fix things by piling on extra junk and hoping nobody will notice because they do. Apparently when the writing crew came in with the idea of a bionic dog and a bionic boy to enhance ratings, Lee Majors told them they could put it in Lindsay Wagner's show (The Bionic Woman - natch) but it wasn't going in his or he was out of here. Sometimes heroes work behind the scenes to make everything as best they can.
2. Unless you really are Burt Reynolds, a moustache fixes nothing at all.
3. Under the right circumstances, it's OK to wear double denim.
So, Mr Majors... thanks for making me the man I am today.
Parts of me anyway.