The Man Who Was Worth Three Billion: TV Movies

By Emmanuel Francq


TV movie 1/3 : The return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman / Mission bionique ou Le retour de l’homme qui valait trois billion et de Super Jaimie
Broadcast on: May 17, 1987 on NBC / Broadcast France on: December 30, 1989 (La Cinq)
Screenplay: Michael Sloan – Story of Michael Sloan and Bruce Lansbury / Director:
Ray Austin
Starring: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Lindsay Wagner (Jaimie Sommers), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells), Martin Landau (Lyle Stenning), Lee Majors II (Jim Castillian), Gary Lockwood (John Praiser), Tom Schanley (Michael Austin), Bryan Cranston (A Surgeon)
Steve Austin has not worked for the OSI for 10 years. He now lives on a boat. Oscar Goldman came to offer him a return to work. The mission: to put an end to the activities of a terrorist group led by a man named Stenning. Austin reunites with Jaimie Sommers, for whom he still has romantic feelings. On the other hand, relations are more strained with his son Michael. He is a pilot in the army. When the latter has a serious plane crash, he begs Oscar Goldman to make him a new bionic being.
– Originally, comedian Richard Anderson proposed to his on-screen co-stars to relaunch the two bionic series in the form of reunion TV movies. The screenplay is written by Michael Sloan, creator of the series “The Equalizer” (1985/89). Also behind the revival of the series “Kung Fu, the legend continues” (1993/97).
– Ray Austin began his career as a stuntman. He then directed many famous English series (“Bowler Hat and Leather Boots”, “Department S”, “Cosmos 1999“). Ray Austin then continued his career in the United States. In particular, he directed many popular series from the 70s and 80s (“Quincy”, “Magnum“, “Supercopter“, “Simon & Simon”, “For the Love of Risk“, etc.). To this must be added the two series by Lee Majors (“The Man Who Was Worth Three Billion” and “The Man Who Fell at the Right Time”).
– He is the real son of Lee Majors, born in 1962, who plays here with his father and in the two following TV movies. In 1990 and 1992, he played with his famous father in two series. It will be “Hell of Duty” and “Raven”. However, without continuing into an acting career afterwards.
– Known worldwide for portraying Dr. Frank Poole in Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), Gary Lockwood had already starred twice in the 70s series, in the episodes “Eyewitness” (Season 1, Episode 7) and “Vengeance” (Season 2, Episode 22).
– As the villain of the TV movie, we find Martin Landau. He was the unforgettable Commander John Koenig in the sci-fi series “Cosmos 1999″ (1975/77). But he was already famous a few years before playing Rollin Hand, the spy with 1000 faces in the series “Mission: Impossible” (1965/73).
– In the role of the surgeon who saves Steve Austin’s son, a trained eye will have recognized Bryan Cranston. Future drug dealer Walter White in the cult classic “Breaking Bad” (2005/13).

Martin Landau / Photo credit: ABC Television

TV movie 2/3 : Bionic Showdown : The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman / L’espion bionique
Broadcast on: April 30, 1989 on ABC / Broadcast France on: December 21, 1991 (La Cinq)
Screenplay: Michael Sloan and Robert De Laurentiis – Adapted for television by Michael Sloan and Brock Choy / Director:
Alan J. Levi
Starring: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Lindsay Wagner (Jaimie Sommers), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells), Lee Majors II (Jim Castillian), Sandra Bullock (Kate Mason), Jeff Yagher (Jim Goldman), Robert Lansing (General McAllister), Jozef Sommer (Charles Estiman)
Steve Austin is set to fill at Oscar Goldman’s request. Steve will team up with Jaimie Sommers. To support them, they can count on the help of Jim, Oscar’s nephew, and Kate. Following an accident, she was paralyzed and then operated on to become bionic. Their mission: to put an end to the actions of a spy who has the particularity of being bionic as well.
Comments:– There is a great composer behind the music of this second TV movie: Bill Conti, famous for the movie “Rocky” and the series “Dynasty
– Co-produced by Richard Anderson and Lee Majors, this second TV movie was supposed to lead to a new weekly series starring Sandra Bullock. There was no response from ABC.
– Actress Sandra Bullock went on to become a big movie star: “Demolition Man” (1993) with Sylvester Stallone, “Speed” (1994) with Keanu Reeves, “The Right to Kill” (1996), “Miss Detective” (2000), etc.
– For the second time, Lee Majors II, son of Lee Majors in real life, reprises the same role as in the first TV movie. Like his father in season 4, he wears a thin mustache this time around.
– Fans of the sci-fi series “V” (1984/85) recognized Jeff Yagher (Kyle Bates in the latter series). Well on his way to becoming a TV star, he saw all his hopes crumble when Johnny Depp snatched the lead from him in the crime series “21 Jump Street” (1986/90). In real life, the actor is the older brother of Kevin Yagher, master of special effects on many horror and action films: “Friday the 13th – Final Chapter”, “Claws of Night 2”, “About-face”, etc.

TV movie 3/3 : Bionic Ever After ? / Bionic
Wedding Broadcast on: November 29, 1994 on CBS / Broadcast France on: date not known (Canal Jimmy in vo French subtitles)
Screenplay: Michael Sloan – Adapted for television by Michael Sloan and Norman Morrill / Director:
Steven Stafford
Starring Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Lindsay Wagner (Jaimie Sommers), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), Martin E. Brooks (Dr. Rudy Wells), Farrah Forke (Kimberly Haviland/Harmon), Anne Lockhart (Carolyn MacNamara), Lee Majors II (Jim Castillian)
The big day has arrived, the two bionic agents of the OSI. Steve Austin and Jaimie Sommers, are getting married. Unfortunately, it is running into problems. They are related to its bionic implants. All this as a result of a virus implanted by a bionics specialist other than Dr. Wells. While Wells is trying to restore Jaimie, Steve Austin learns that one of his friends has been taken hostage by a commando in Nassau, Bahamas. Steve flies to her rescue.
– This is the last time with this TV movie that Lindsay Wagner will play “Super Jaimie”. Previously, she had reunited with Lee Majors in 1983, in an episode of the series “The Man Who Fell in Time”, in a “non-bionic” role. In 2017, almost 40 years after the end of their bionic series, but again not in these roles, Majors and Wagner starred together in the romantic TV movie “A Refuge for Love” (“Eat, Play, Love”), broadcast on M6. Once again, Dominique Paturel lent his vocal talent to dub the American star.
– Once again, actor Richard Anderson is one of the associate executive producers for this 3rd and final TV movie, considered the best by fans.
– While the action of this latest TV movie of “The Man Who Was Worth Three Billion” takes place in the Bahamas, filming took place in Charleston, South Carolina. At the end, you can see wooden houses typical of this part of the USA.

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