Anyone who watched television in the 1970s probably spent some time following “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
The show was so popular in my elementary school that one boy used his show-and-tell spot to demonstrate Steve Austin’s bionic strength from the past night’s episode.
He kicked and punched in the air, putting on quite a show until our teacher made a new rule that students could no longer act out TV shows during show-and-tell.
My 9-year-old son is a big superhero fan himself.
One night, when I tuned in to an episode of “The Six Million Dollar Man” on one of those flashback networks, Steve Austin was in the middle of a battle with an evil robot clone of his boss, Oscar.
His slow-motion running and that bionic sound accompanied the fight scene, all a part of the campy style that marked many ‘70s television shows.
“Why is he so slow?” my son asked.
I explained that the slow-motion bionic moves added drama to the show.
My son frowned.
His favorite superheroes (Superman, Spider-Man) move at bullet speed.
I told him to continue watching the program. He appeared puzzled as the two men threw, in slow motion, machinery at one another.
His verdict: “That’s just weird.”
I had to straighten him out. “It was not considered weird back in the day.”
I rewound the DVR to the show’s opening theme. “Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. We can rebuild him. We can make him better. We have the technology.”
My son appeared more clued in and even a bit more interested once he understood the idea of an astronaut being saved and then turned into a superhuman.
Most families, including mine, had three or four channels to choose from during the broadcast of that series. To keep the channels from becoming fuzzy, we had a set of rabbit ears on top of the television set. We changed the television station dials manually.
“The Six Million Dollar Man” and later, “The Bionic Woman,” were by far some of my favorite television shows of the ‘70s and the Steve Austin action figure doll, complete with bionic eye, was among the decade’s hot sellers.
And because there were few channels to choose from, it wasn’t unusual to hear people talking about and watching those same programs each day.
But with today’s satellite and cable broadcasts, there are hundreds of networks to flip through.
My son can’t even imagine turning on the television set without flipping through about a dozen kids’ channels.
That is the beauty of 70s television, however. The shows were often campy and overdramatic, but my, weren’t they fun?
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.