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The Six Million Dollar Man 5.5 – Bigfoot V

This was an odd little hour. It’s almost entirely on location, filmed in summer but pretending to be the chilly high mountain elevations with patches of fake snow on the ground and the actors dressed in jackets and parkas. Apparently, Steve’s alien buddies have gone home but left the sasquatch behind for a very lengthy regeneration process that will remove all of his bionic circuitry and eventually leave him a simple Earth animal again. But this gets interrupted by some humans, some of whom, like a character played by Geoffrey Lewis, are up to no good. This leaves Bigfoot maddened and confused, and Steve only has a short time to return his old sparring partner to hibernation before he short-circuits and dies.

Ted Cassidy’s back as Bigfoot in this one, which would prove to be the last outing for the character. I think the producers must have realized that there’s not a lot you can do with this character without the secret space aliens, and everything you can do with him gets done in this episode. It’s perfectly entertaining, and pleased our son greatly. He said that the first part was very surprising, and then it gets very exciting, and it finished up both surprising and exciting.

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The Bionic Woman 2.1 – The Return of Bigfoot (part two)

Happily, our son wasn’t horrified by tonight’s conclusion to this epic two-parter. How could he be? Jaime plays defense against Bigfoot in her two fights much more effectively than Steve does, and doesn’t get thrown like a rag doll against any power converters with exploding sparks everywhere. From the evidence provided by this show, the main strategy one should employ when fighting cyborg sasquatches is to fight them outside. Indoors, you get clobbered.

I tease, but this silly story is a downright masterpiece in writing for under-tens. It has Bigfoot and it has an erupting volcano. Our son was a little leery when we got started, and was really worried about Jaime at first, but then he realized that the villains had moved their headquarters underneath an inactive volcano. He’s savvy enough to realize that in adventure fiction, volcanoes rarely remain inactive for long.

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The Six Million Dollar Man 4.1 – The Return of Bigfoot (part one)

The pre-credits scene revealed that Bigfoot was back, and things looked good. Our son glowed. “He caused so much destruction last time! Don’t you remember all that destruction that he caused?!” But before the hour was up, things would fall apart.

So, famously, the 1976-77 season of the Bionic series opened with a very celebrated crossover, the seventies ABC equivalent of the annual Arrowverse get-together on the CW. The aliens who control Bigfoot have had an uprising, and a gang of them have stolen both the Sasquatch and their wonder drug, and are now pilfering top secret facilities to get the parts they need to build a force field. One of the aliens restores Steve’s memory, he tries to stop Bigfoot alone, fails, finally tells his co-stars, including Jaime, what’s going on, nobody believes him, and he makes another attempt as they go for the last isotope they need.

And Steve Austin gets his ass handed to him. It is a beatdown to remember.

But first, let’s look at just how forward-looking Kenneth Johnson’s story is. This episode is more than just simply crossing over the two shows with the extremely popular Bigfoot. It’s done with some really impressive guest casting. Severn Darden and Stefanie Powers are back from the first Bigfoot story, and they’ve brought Sandy Duncan along as a newly-introduced alien, and the leader of the villains is that omnipresent baddie of seventies teevee, John Saxon. That’s a great cast, and everybody is working hard to sell this silliness. I love the way that the plot of the story is simplicity itself, but explaining all this stuff about hidden aliens and time-dilation devices and Bigfoot is so convoluted and ridiculous that Steve looks completely crazy telling his friends about it. I really like Lindsay Wagner’s acting in this scene; her life is already unbelievable, but this tall tale is pushing it.

Our son was enjoying it even more than I was until that second fight. Again, you have to consider the time and the audience. Television superheroes suffer a lot worse these days with all sorts of blood and bruising, but for a seventies show, in the eyes of a six year old, this is horrifying. Bigfoot’s been amped up by John Saxon, and Steve doesn’t have a prayer. Andre the Giant did not return to the role; Ted Cassidy plays Bigfoot this time out, and he just makes mincemeat of our hero. It finally ends with Steve’s bionic legs being crushed underneath some huge thing or other, which made even me gasp, and that’s with me knowing the grievous injury that we’re going to see Jaime suffer in a few days’ time.

Our son couldn’t bear to watch. He left the room completely with his security blanket, and came back shaking. He was a mess. He curled up on the couch as Dr. Wells gave Steve less than 24 hours to live, and Steve whispered instructions to Jaime, to get help from the aliens. We did our best to assure him that Jaime will save the day. Man, I hope so…

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Batman 2.27 – The Penguin’s Nest

We have to say that Daniel didn’t like this episode much, apparently because the Penguin successfully escapes from jail. Perhaps when he’s older, he’ll appreciate how completely hilarious it is, because Penguin wants to go to the big, proper state prison with all the supercriminals. Batman, knowing that he’s up to something, deliberately ignores some of Penguin’s more egregious criminal acts, which include popping Commissioner Gordon in the face with a pie, and busts him for a violation of the local sanitation code, sending him to the city jail with the rest of the petty crooks.

This episode features the second appearance of one of the Addams Family cast in the show, this one in character! Ted Cassidy, as the Addamses’ butler Lurch, interrupts a little performance of that program’s theme song on a harpsichord (unseen, of course) to stick his head out the window. The Addams Family had been canceled by ABC a few months earlier; had that black-and-white show continued into the 1966-67 season, it would have been made in color. I adore that series, but as the lousy TV movie Halloween With the New Addams Family would show us a decade later, nobody would have wanted that.

There’s another tiny Addams connection this week; Vito Scotti, who played the recurring role of Sam Picasso on that show, is one of the Penguin’s henchmen, Matey Dee. He’s joined by Lane Bradford and Grace Gaynor, and they’re all present at one of the most memorable of the show’s cliffhangers, one of the handful in which the Dynamic Duo do not appear.

The gang got away with O’Hara as their hostage, and they have him stuffed in a trunk on a slide above a swimming pool. They have a machine gun battery to mow down our heroes when they arrive, and they’ve also got leads dropped into the water to electrocute O’Hara, and any superheroes who swim in to save him, with 100,000 volts, just in case they avoid the bullets. But oddly, we don’t actually see Batman and Robin in danger. The episode ends with the villains waiting for them. A usual Batman cliffhanger leaves you wondering what ridiculous and goofball way our heroes will get out of their latest deathtrap. This one’s more like spotting the dozens of ways they can avoid the problem entirely!

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