Tag Archive | Jaws

The Bionic Woman

May 15, 2018

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

6MDM and BW.pngCurrent popular fantasy stories such as Harry Potter and Twilight really have nothing on the ultimate fantasy experience for kids in the 1970’s. Yes, we are talking about the Six Million Dollar Man (T6MDM) and The Bionic Woman (TBW).

Sadly, it was in the spring of 1978 when both TV series were cancelled (Six Million Dollar Man on March 6 and The Bionic Woman on May 15) sending Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers into the dustbin of TV history.

The premise of the T6MDM, according to the Infallible Wikipedia, was this:

“When NASA astronaut Steve Austin is severely injured in the crash of an experimental lifting body aircraft, he is ‘rebuilt’ in an operation that costs six million dollars (just over 34 million in 2017 dollars. His right arm, both legs and the left eye are replaced with “bionic” implants that enhance his strength, speed and vision far above human norms: he can run at speeds of over 60 mph (97 km/h), and his eye has a 20:1 zoom lens and infrared capabilities, while his bionic limbs all have the equivalent power of a bulldozer. He uses his enhanced abilities to work for the OSI (Office of Scientific Intelligence) as a secret agent.”

Not to be outdone, the character of Jaime Sommers was first created as a love interest for Steve Austin. Theirs was a wonderful romance… right up to the point where she parachuted from a plane and was so badly injured that she, too, needed to be rebuilt:

Bionic Woman“Jaime’s body is reconstructed with parts similar to Steve’s, but the actual cost of rebuilding her is not revealed. It is said humorously in dialogue to be less than the $6 million it cost to rebuild Austin because the replacement parts for her were ‘smaller’ (though in Germany the show was called Die Sieben Millionen Dollar Frau, which translates as The Seven Million Dollar Woman). Like Steve before her, Jaime is given two bionic legs, capable of propelling her at speeds exceeding 60 mph (having been clocked at more than 62 mph in ‘Doomsday Is Tomorrow’ and outpacing a race car going 100 mph in ‘Winning is Everything’) and jumping to and from great heights, and her right arm is replaced by a lifelike prosthetic capable of bending steel or throwing objects great distances. Whereas Austin received a bionic eye, the inner mechanism of Jaime’s right ear is replaced by a bionic device that gives her amplified hearing such that she can detect most sounds regardless of volume or frequency. ”

Both TV series were wildly popular with T6MDM running for five seasons from 1974 until 1978 and TBW for 3 seasons 1976 to 1978. This clip shows some of Jaime’s bionic skills AND the cheesy sound effects that occured with being Bionic:

In both shows Steve and Jaime get into all sorts of challenging situations that, if it were not for their bionic powers, both would have been doomed. And the kids of the 1970’s loved it.

I had my own Bionic Man encounter in July 1976 at the height of Bionic Fever. While on a trip with the Rainbow Girls we had the opportunity to visit Universal Studios. A few years earlier they had reconfigured the tours and, instead of going to sound stages, visitors were herded onto trams and driven around the back lots to ‘experience’ a variety of special effects.

The day our entourage, of about 60 teenage girls, visited we got to go through the newly opened ‘Jaw’s’ exhibit as well as a variety of other attractions. But the most exciting moment of all (for us girls) was when we drove past a dry, scrubby hillside and our tour guide intoned that Lee Majors was on set that day filming T6MDM on the slopes just above us. Of course, all our heads snapped around because we wanted to see the dreamy Lee Majors. All I saw were a few random cameramen looking bored with no sign of the mega star.

But that was not the highlight of that day. It was when, as we were approaching the Jaw’s attraction, that our tour guide (a young woman) became quite animated and (I paraphrase) “Oh my God, it’s him! It’s …”

Was it Lee Majors at last? We all craned our necks as we passed a man strolling along the street next to the tram. He waved at us. Whatever, I thought.

“It’s Erik Estrada!”

Chips poster boys.jpgI swear she was practically screaming his name. Not a single girl on that tram had any idea ‘who’ Erik Estrada was. At the time he had been cast in minor roles in a number of movies but it was the very popular series CHiPs, which premiered a year later, that catapulted Estrada to heartthrob status.

“Later in 1979,” also according to the Infallible Wikipedia, “Estrada was voted one of “The 10 Sexiest Bachelors in the World” by People magazine and was featured on the cover of the November issue.”erik_estrada_people

I’ve always wondered if our tour guide ever got to meet Estrada. I like to think that she did since she was so clearly a groupie despite the non-reaction of 60 clueless teenage girls.

A few links for those who want to know more:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bionic_Woman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Six_Million_Dollar_Man

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Estrada

p.s. – go watch the video clip again. Notice anything? Looks to me like her double jumped in sneakers not heels!

Jaws

June 20, 2017

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back in the water…

“We started the film without a script, without a cast, and without a shark.”Jaws spielberg

As quipped by Richard Dreyfuss on the filming of the classic film, Jaws, which premiered on June 20, 1975. Despite its rocky start, technical problems throughout filming, and costing more than double its budget, Jaws, is regarded as one of the best films of all times. From the Infallible Wikipedia:

“In the years since its release, Jaws has frequently been cited by film critics and industry professionals as one of the greatest movies of all time. It was number 48 on American Film Institute’s 100 Years… 100 Movies, a list of the greatest American films of all time compiled in 1998; it dropped to number 56 on the 10 Year Anniversary list. AFI also ranked the shark at number 18 on its list of the 50 Best Villains, Roy Scheider’s line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” 35th on a list of top 100 movie quotes, Williams’ score at sixth on a list of 100 Years of Film Scores, and the film as second on a list of 100 most thrilling films, behind only Psycho. In 2003, The New York Times included the film on its list of the best 1,000 movies ever made.”

It took only two weeks for the film to recoup production costs and it is recognized as the first ‘summer blockbuster’ film, setting a template for future filmmakers.

Of course the long term effect was the impact on people’s psyches, preying on our fear of an unknown, unseen killer, lurking in the ocean’s depths. In reality the average number of people killed by great white sharks annually is six. Not exactly an Amity Island level of vicious attacks.

So should we be afraid to go back in the water?

In December 2005 my family and I were about to go snorkeling at a benign looking bay called Kanahena Cove on Maui. It was just after sunrise and we were the only four people there: myself, my husband and our son, age 15, and our daughter, age 12. Because we had to share snorkel sets we decided that my husband and son would go first. So my daughter and I were on the lava rocks near where the guys had, a moment earlier, climbed into the water.

Just then, a car drives past on the road (about 20 yards away) and screeches to a halt. A woman gets out and erupts into a tirade:

“You know, there are sharks in the water,” she yells at us, “and one could take her in a single bite (pointing to my daughter).”

Dumfounded, I stare at the woman, unable to utter a word. She continues her rant:

“The sharks are angry at George Bush for the war in Iraq, which is why there have been increased shark attacks.”

The screed went on for another minute although I don’t recall all she said. What I do know is that my 12 year old daughter WAS afraid to get in the water and all of us retain a rather vivid memory of that day.

Personally, I’m skeptical that politics motivate sharks. I would speculate that other factors such as increased human presence, the El Nino and La Nina changes in ocean water temperatures and food sources, are more likely to influence attacks.

For the record? In 2015 there were 98 shark attacks, six of them fatal. Which is 40 more than the number of attacks in 2005. So much for that woman’s theory. I wonder who the sharks were mad at that year?

For more information about Jaws: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaws_(film)

And about the record setting 2015 year: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/02/09/a-record-number-of-people-were-attacked-by-sharks-last-year/?utm_term=.edad50a5906e

And just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…