December 25, 2013

SIX-MILLION DOLLAR PRESENTS

Happy Holidays from Spy Vibe! Curl up by the fire and spin these classic Christmas records featuring Cold War hero, the Six-Million Dollar Man. The Six-Million Dollar Man (Lee Majors/1974-1978) was a hit series about an astronaut, who was re-built with secret technology after a crash and then put to work as an agent. The concept was so popular it spawned The Bionic Woman series (1976-1978). Spy Vibers will remember seeing book-and-record sets based on popular TV shows and comics in the 1970s. They were pressed by Power Records, an offshoot of Peter Pan Records, and offered audio adventures and original comics featuring Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, Space 1999, and other properties. Even James Bond was licensed for read-along sets based on Dr No, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker. Power Records discography here. Power Records Blog. Click image to see record cover art. Audio clips and toys below.



It wouldn't be Christmas without toys and these Bionic characters were favorite gifts among young Spy Vibers for Christmas and birthdays. Fans still reminisce about a doll that allowed you to actually peer through Steve Austin's Bionic eye! Check out the vintage toy commercial below to get the full effect. I love how they presented their product so seriously- appropriate considering the commercial shows kids pretending that the Six-Million Dollar Man has to save New York from an atomic bomb. I've also added a fun video of Lee Majors looking back at the show and the toys.


There were also cool dolls based on the Fembots- robotic baddies that first appeared in a three-part cross-over story (Kill Oscar) with The Bionic Woman. Below you can see the original Austin doll with magnifying-glass eye socket and a 2012 re-issue Fembot (the original was packaged with Bionic Woman graphics). More retro commercials 1, 2, 3, and full Youtube playlist here.

Many Six-Million Dollar Man playlets were released ("Mission Control", "Repair Center", "Mission Vehicle", and others), but the show also spawned some surreal toys- like accessory packs of extra arms and legs for various critical missions... and a Bigfoot doll. Yes, the Six-Million Dollar Man faced Sasquatch in the cross-over episodes Secret of Bigfoot (played by Andre the Giant) and Return of Bigfoot (played by Ted "Lurch" Cassidy) in 1976. The plot had something to do with aliens sending a mechanical monster to steal precious jewels from the US government -way more stealthy than, say, a ninja. Hopefully the government offices were decorated in thick blown shag carpeting. Kenner produced a huge doll that was over a foot tall. The "Bionic" Bigfoot was so marketable, another figure was released with his own car so he and Austin could compete at the drag races (see link #3 above)! I know, that's just how things used to roll back then. Not quite the Aston Martin DB5, but campy Cold War fun nonetheless. See an overview of related toys at the ToysYouHad blog here. Bigfoot doll below from the Gozillavengers blog. Happy Holidays! What were your favorite toys?



Recent Spy Vibe posts: Striped Light Nude, Buckminster FullerDylan at NewportJane and SergeThe Goldfinger VariationsMod Tales InterviewPete Seeger nominated for Grammy,Kraftwerk returns to US, Beatles BBC on Fresh Air, Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist Editions, David Tennant's Ian Fleming audio books, Atomic ArtModern Architecture LPJulius ShulmanShane Glines Batman, The Prisoner and Captain ScarletDiego Fortunato and Verner Panton, Saturday Morning CartoonsAssassination Bureau on DVD, new Young Bond series, new Hercule Poirot novel, Early Beatles image archive, Julie NewmarErno GoldfingerHitchcock tribute.


Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming LettersErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive

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