About Christmas TV History

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Six Million Dollar Man holiday episode

How did I spend my birthday? Watching A Bionic Christmas Carol of course.

In this fourth season episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, Col. Steve Austin is asked to cut his Christmas vacation in order to check on a company developing a life support system for a landing on Mars that is plagued with problems. Austin meets the company’s owner Mr. Budge (played by Ray Walston) and learns that the equipment testing problems are not sabotage but a greedy company owner who is going by the lowest equipment specification recommendations--the equipment fails because it’s too cheap. Steve also meets Crandall (played by Dick Sargent), Budge’s nephew and chauffer that Budge had demoted from his accountant when Crandall desperately stole company money to pay his wife’s medical bills. Steve spends the holiday with Crandall’s impoverished family--even getting them a Christmas tree and promising gifts from Santa Claus that they weren’t expecting. Conveniently, Mr. Budge over-medicates himself on Christmas Eve, going in and out of consciousness with hallucinations. Under doctor’s orders, Steve Austin is instructed to keep Mr. Budge from falling asleep until the medication wears off--so Steve gives Budge the Dickens’ treatment! Disguised in a Santa Claus suit and without speaking a word, Steve spends Christmas Eve showing the groggy Budge the consequences of his greedy actions.

This adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol may play fast and loose with the spirit of Christmas but is fun none the less. Two of Crandall’s young children are played by child actors Adam Rich and Quinn Cummings. Who doesn't love seeing actor Ray Walston--that's Mr. Hand to some, and Uncle Martin to others--getting scared straight at Christmas? My favorite scenes are Steve Austin jumping to the top of a fir tree in the Crandall’s back yard in order to rip the top off for the family’s Christmas tree. And, the scene where Steve uses his bionic hand to chisel a tombstone to help scare Budge into reconsidering his life!

If you need more Lee Majors in your Christmas diet, don't hesitate to watch him in 1965's The Big Valley Christmas episode "Judgment in Heaven" and on The Fall Guy's holiday episodes, 1984's "The Winner" and 1985's "Escape Claus."

I'm also spending my birthday eating as much cake as I can without getting sick. Time for another piece!


  1. I think Lee Majors is also in A Smokey Mountain Christmas with Dolly Parton, which I own! I love him!

    I have not seen this episode of the Six Million Dollar Man, but it sounds like I need to!

    Happy Birthday!

  2. Haven't seen this, but SO want to! Love Lee Majors, just saw him in the Human Target season finale!

    And yeah, he is great in the Parton flick, which is a cheesy, holiday blast.

    Fun stuff - And a very happy birthday to you!

  3. YESSS!! He's in 'A Smoky Mountain Christmas' the 1986 made-for-TV movie as well. Thanks.