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This Day in Pop Culture for January 18

The Six Million Dollar Man

1974: ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ Cashes In

Unlike superhero movies today, The Six Million Dollar Man TV series was not based on a comic book title. Instead, the science fiction, fantasy, adventure series was based Martin Caidin’s 1972 novel Cyborg and its three sequels. The series starred Lee Majors as an astronaut whose life is forever changed after a NASA test flight accident. Colonel Steve Austin awoke after the accident to find that his body had been rebuilt with bionic parts including two legs, one arm and one eye. The cost of the operation ran roughly $6 million. Now a super-human, Austin could run over 60 mph and had incredible strength. He found work as a secret agent for the Office of Scientific Intelligence. Before the show debuted on this day in 1974, three movie pilots had already been shown on ABC the year before. In 1975, a two-part episode featured Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner), a professional tennis player who experienced a parachuting accident and was given bionic parts as well. However, her body rejected these parts and died. Then again, he character was so popular, Sommers’ character came back to life to star in her own series, The Bionic Woman. Both series were hugely popular and ran through 1978. Then, three new made-for-TV movies starring the couple aired in 1987, 1989 and 1994 and all three also starred Lee Majors II as OSI agent Jim Castillian. (Image: Wikimedia)

2000: Michael J. Fox Leaves ‘Spin City’

Back on this day in 2000, Michael J. Fox (Family Ties, Back to the Future) announced that he would be leaving the hit sitcom, Spin City to help raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease which he had been personally battling with since 1991, but kept quiet about it until 1999. In May of 2000, Fox launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. He returned to television in 2004 for guest spots on Scrubs, Rescue Me, Boston Legal and others before starring in his own Golden Globe nominated sitcom, The Michael J. Fox Show for NBC in which he played version of himself dealing with Parkinsons. In his most recent role, Fox played Ethan West on ABC’s Designated Survivor.

Birthdays

  • 1882: A.A. Milne (author)
  • 1892: Oliver Hardy (actor)
  • 1904: Cary Grant (actor)
  • 1911: Danny Kaye (actor)
  • 1933: Ray Dolby (founder of Dolby Laboratories)
  • 1980: Jason Segel (actor)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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