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A Bionic Christmas Carol

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"A Bionic Christmas Carol" is the Christmas-themed episode of the television series The Six Million Dollar Man, originally aired on December 12, 1976. As the title suggests, it is a loose adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel A Christmas Carol.

Synopsis

Special bionic Agent Steve Austin ends up involved in the lessons of a modern Scrooge. Horton Budge (Ray Walston) has little Christmas spirit, and none for his nephew Bob Crandall (Dick Sargent) and his family. Bob at one time embezzled money from his uncle and must now work it off piecemeal, a virtual gofer/slave to his tyrannical uncle. Since Budge's attitude is also causing some problems for the vital services he provides the government, Steve dresses as a silent Santa Claus and uses bionic trickery to make Budge think he might be seeing the real thing. Among the things he shows Budge is that Bob had good reason to embezzle the money. Turns out he had asked his uncle for a loan to pay the medical bills to save the life of his desperately ill wife, but had been turned down. To the surprise of no one, Budge learns his lesson and begins to spend Christmas with his estranged family.

Trivia

  • This adaptation of A Christmas Carol is notable for bypassing the three spirits and for combining the characters of Scrooge's nephew Fred and Bob Cratchit. Adam Rich, best known for his later role as Nicholas Bradford on Eight Is Enough, played Bob Crandall's son, who is not the ill one in this version.
  • Lee Majors later parodied his Steve Austin character in a fictitious TV Christmas special shown at the beginning of Scrooged, where he is shown joining Santa Claus in defense of the North Pole when it is under siege by terrorists.
  • When Steve enters a small toy store while doing some shopping, an action figure of The Six Million Dollar Man can be plainly seen behind the sales clerk he speaks to. It is not part of the plot, nor is it ever commented on. At the time this episode was broadcast, the toy line based on the show was a brisk seller.

Availability

"A Bionic Christmas Carol" was made available on The Six Million Dollar Man: Season 4 DVD set, released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment on October 8, 2013.

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