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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping

September 19, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #477: The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping

Cyborg September: Week 3

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never had to lead an international negotiation team (or, really, any kind of negotiation team. No one has ever asked me to do it, either), The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and seventy seven, Cyborg September continues with the third and final The Six Million Dollar Man TV pilot movie, The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping, which debuted on the ABC television network in November of 1973.

The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping


The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping, directed by Russ Mayberry, isn’t as good as the second movie, Wine, Women, and War. The Solid Gold Kidnapping actually plays a little bigger, is a little more elaborate in terms of its story and action scenes, but at the same time it’s not as involving as Wine, Women, and War. It does feature a pretty cool science fiction subplot involving injecting a dead person’s brain cells into a living person so that living person can remember the dead person’s memories, but I think I would have rather seen that as its own movie. In a The Six Million Dollar Man movie, I want to see The Six Million Dollar Man doing The Six Million Dollar Man stuff. He shouldn’t be playing second fiddle to anyone.

The Solid Gold Kidnapping once again has Lee Majors as Colonel Steve Austin, the badass bionic agent of the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI), and he’s in Mexico to rescue an American diplomat who has been kidnapped by Julian Peck (Dean Wormer/Mr. Big hisself John Vernon), a member of the nefarious organization known as the O.S.O (although, to me, the O.S.O. logo looks like O.S.I. to me. And I have no idea what O.S.O. stand for. No one in the movie says). After some explosions and getting trapped inside a cave that he easily gets himself out of (Austin uses his bionic legs and kicks the goddamn wall down), Austin rescues the diplomat, much to the chagrin of Peck and his O.S.O. partner Roger Ventriss (Craig Huebing). Peck is pissed that his big kidnapping scheme didn’t work out (the O.S.O was supposed to get serious money from the U.S. government for the return of the diplomat), and he’s a bit frazzled when he has to explain himself to his boss (the Chairman of the Board, played by Maurice Evans). His plan should have worked. Why didn’t he or the O.S.O. know about this guy that rescued the diplomat? Who the hell is he?

As Peck tries to figure that all out, Ventriss proposes a new kidnapping scheme that could bring the O.S.O. a billion dollars. The scheme involves kidnaping William Henry Cameron (Leif Erickson), a top negotiator and diplomat, who is set to arrive in Paris on his way to Peking to negotiate some big hooha thing with the Chinese government. No one outside of Cameron’s security detail is supposed to know about the Peking thing (the cover story for Cameron’s arrival in Paris is he’s there to get medical treatment), so it will be easy to get the billion dollars since no one will want it to get out that Cameron was set to negotiate with the Chinese.

So Cameron arrives in Paris, gets kidnapped, and in the ensuing chaos of the situation, Ventriss is shot dead by an even more pissed off now Peck. Ventriss made Peck look bad in front of the big boss and Ventriss will have to pay with his life (Peck is kind of an asshole that way). With Ventriss dead, Peck assumes command of the kidnapping scheme and the O.S.O takes Cameron to its headquarters to await the ransom. Now, Cameron’s security was handled by OSI’s Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson), who had no idea that Cameron was kidnapped until it was too late to stop it from happening. Goldman did announce that Cameron would be in the Paris hospital for two days, so he figures that he has two days to find Cameron and stop all of this bullshit. At the same time, Goldman does arrange for the delivery of the billion dollars in gold bricks. He has to keep this whole thing under wraps as much as possible. Goldman puts his right hand man Mel Bristo (Terry Carter) in charge of the gold brick transfer (it’s a pretty elaborate transportation plan that involves ships and trains). And then Goldman puts his top field agent on the case of finding Cameron and taking out the kidnappers. And that agent?

Colonel Steve Austin, of course. Who the hell else would it be? So Austin leaves a hot babe in Aspen, Colorado (he was this close to banging her when he gets the call from Goldman about the kidnapping) and heads to Paris to find out, in detail, what the hell is going on. It’s here that he meets with Dr. Erica Bergner (Elizabeth Ashley), an OSI scientist that is working on a procedure that will allow someone to, maybe, be able to experience the memories of a dead person. It’s all theoretical and experimental, at least in terms of doing it with a human brain (the procedure has worked a few times in rats), but Goldman wants to use the procedure on Ventriss, who the OSI recovered after Cameron’s kidnapping. If they can recover Ventriss’s memories, maybe they’ll be able to figure out where Cameron is being held. You’d think that Austin would be the test subject for this procedure, but instead Erica gets the honor. No one, including Erica, knows if it will work. No one knows what sort of side effects could develop from the procedure. Goldman knows, though, that if they don’t try this, the world order could be at risk. So Erica removes some of Ventriss’s brain cells and injects them into her brain and we’re off. Will it work?

Well, yes, it works. Sort of. At least at first. Erica is able to decipher some of Ventriss’s memories, but there’s such a rush of images and weirdness that she’ll have to figure out what is real and what isn’t. Time is running short, though, so she’ll have to work fast.

While all of that is going on, the O.S.O. Chairman of the Board is impressed with both Peck’s hostile takeover of Ventriss’s plan and Peck’s ability to figure out who it was that rescued the American diplomat in Mexico. It was American astronaut Steve Austin, who for reasons that befuddle him now can do extraordinary things, like kick down stone walls and hang by one arm from the bottom of a helicopter. Peck also knows that Austin is now on the case of trying to find Cameron and is set to arrive in Switzerland at some point. Peck’s next big kidnaping scheme is to take Austin out and hold him for some sort of ransom. That will show the Americans, the OSI, and whoever else that the O.S.O means business and is not to be fucked with. And if Peck can pull this scheme off, man, he could become an even higher ranking executive in the O.S.O. That will, no doubt, rock.

So Austin arrives in Switzerland with Erica by his side and is immediately attacked by Peck’s henchmen on the streets of whatever city they’re in in Switzerland (Lucerne? I can’t remember). Peck’s men do get the drop on Austin, but because Austin is the goddamn Six Million Dollar Man, he makes short work of that bullshit and continues on with his investigation into Cameron’s kidnaping. Where the hell is he?

The Chairman of the Board is now pissed at Peck for his new fuck up and demands that he take out Austin permanently. No one, including Peck, seems to know how to do that, but Peck will have to figure out something quick. The Chairman is one man you do not want pissed at you. Ever.

So Austin and Erica work the case and Erica’s “new” memories and find out that Cameron was involved with a woman named Contessa (Luciana Paluzzi), and that Contessa knows Peck. That’s the big connection they were looking for, and it will eventually lead Austin and Erica to rescuing Cameron.

And that’s pretty much what the rest of the movie is about, rescuing Cameron. They actually confront Peck in a casino, put him out of commission, and then figure out where the O.S.O. has Cameron stashed away. It’s quite the revelation. I know I didn’t see it coming.

Now, while all of that is going on, Bistro is watching over the gold, making sure that nothing happens to it. Something does happen to it, as you would expect it to, and Bistro and Goldman have to figure out what the hell happened.

And while all of that is happening, Dr. Rudy Wells (Alan Oppenheimer) makes a discovery regarding the experimental brain injection thing that Erica developed. In short, it isn’t going to end well for anyone involved. Maybe.

The Sold Gold Kidnapping, as I said, plays a little bigger than the previous movie, but it just doesn’t play as well as that one. The story probably needed more time to develop as director Mayberry and writer Larry Alexander manage to cram quite a bit into the plot, but some of it feels underdeveloped, like the whole O.S.O. thing. The section of the story where Bistro has to watch the gold bricks as they travel should have had more to it (why doesn’t Bistro have to fight anyone or anything?). I’m assuming that, had the eventual TV show continued on with the whole “Steve Austin is a spy like James Bond” thing we would have found out more about the O.S.O. at some point. I mean, the O.S.O. is meant to be like SPECTRE, right?

Oscar Goldman has quite a bit more to do in this movie. He’s actually a big part of the story, running Cameron’s security in Paris and concocting the plan to find him. Goldman is a little less dark and mysterious this time around, which makes him more of Austin’s friend than boss (they seem to have a slightly less confrontational relationship this time around). That’s an interesting way to go, especially after seeing Austin’s handler be an asshole in the first two movies. Why change it up, unless the intention is to give Austin more friends as the series moves forward. Outside of the women he’s banging, who exactly is Austin’s friend? Rudy was, sort of, in the first movie, but now he’s just some guy that works for the OSI. Can Austin have a friend? A real friend? Who else in the world can relate to him? He’s a goddamn cyborg.

The opening scene where Austin infiltrates the Aztec ruins in Mexico to rescue the American diplomat is well done and exciting. It’s the biggest single scene of the three movies and shows that Universal allowed the production to spend a little more money than it did before. I wish Universal would have allowed more money to be spent on the final sequence, too. That scene needed more stuff in it. More action, more fighting, more excitement. The movie just sort of ends. Granted, the movie isn’t meant to be more than 75 minutes long so things aren’t going to get too crazy, but the movie would have benefitted with a more elaborate ending.

Lee Majors, once again, kicks ass as Colonel Steve Austin. He seems more in tune with the idea of being a bionic government spy and doesn’t exhibit the same outward animosity that he did in the previous two movies. Perhaps he’s figured out that, with the cybernetic enhancements he has, what the hell else is he going to do? He’s going to have to be a big deal government spy. Majors does well with most of his action scenes, except for one street fight that he didn’t participate in as that’s clearly a stunt double (why the hell didn’t the double get a wig that actually matches Majors’ hair? I know that time is money on a movie set, but the production couldn’t have waited five minutes to get the right hairpiece? What the hell, man?). At least the “jumping through a windshield and kicking a guy in the face” scene is cool and looks like it was Majors doing it.

Richard Anderson, again, has way more to do this time around as Oscar Goldman. He isn’t the dark and mysterious asshole that he was in Wine, Women, and War; he’s just the head of an organization. It’s almost like he’s Steve Austin’s friend. Alan Oppenheimer doesn’t have much to do this time around as Dr. Rudy Wells. He makes an important discovery towards the end of the movie, but that’s about all he does. Still, he does a good job.

Elizabeth Ashley does a fine job as Dr. Erica Bergner, the scientist who creates the brain cell injection scheme. She’s smart and sexy and has terrific chemistry with Majors, and she manages to make you believe that she’s seeing memories in her head that are not hers. I still think her experiment should have been its own movie as there is enough “cool” there to make it work.

Terry Carter should have had more to do, too, as Mel Bristo, the OSI agent tasked with watching the gold ransom. Why doesn’t Carter get to fight bad guys and shit as he’s transporting the gold? The man does know how to rock a rotary portable phone, though, so he has that going for him. That’s col.

John Vernon is his usual smarmy, sleazy self as Julian Peck. It’s interesting to see him go from criminal organization underling to the personification of pure evil from scene to scene. Watching him gun down Craig Huebing’s Roger Ventriss will send shivers down your spine. Vernon deserved to have a better, more dramatic ending, but, as usual, what we get from him is great, great stuff.

Maurice Evans is also quite sleazy as the O.S.O. Chairman of the Board, although he’s a different kind of sleazy as compared to John Vernon. He’s a little more formal and classy, which, to me, makes him as much of a bastard as Peck. His best scenes are when he’s playing chess with the kidnapped Cameron. Evans acts like Cameron’s friend while playing chess, but, man, he openly talks about selling him to the highest bidder. Some fucking friend.

Leif Erickson gives William Henry Cameron a world weariness that makes you believe he’s a damn good diplomat and negotiator. That weariness also makes his scenes in O.S.O. custody sad as hell. You can tell that he knows that, odds are, he isn’t getting away from the O.S.O. unscathed.

The Sold Gold Kidnapping isn’t as involving as the last The Six Million Dollar Man movie. It’s a little bigger, it features a more elaborate story, but it doesn’t gel well enough. It’s very watchable, it’s entertaining, but you wish it was just better. I know I do.

Still, The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping is worth seeing. It has enough good stuff in it to make it worthwhile. And, hell, it’s only 73 minutes long. I think you can spare a little over an hour of your life to check it out.

See The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 10+

Explosions: Several, both big and small

Nudity?: None. It’s a 1970’s TV movie.

Doobage: The same James Bond style opening that started the last movie, a gold mine in Mexico, multiple time bombs, a belt of shotgun shells, multiple explosions followed by henchmen shooting wildly, a rock avalanche, wall kicking, another explosion, chopper hooey, jazz, a grim board meeting, scheming, kidnapping, a street shooting, skiing, a woman fucking around with mice, a brain cell experiment, a billion dollars’ worth of gold bricks, wine drinking on a plane, an attempted street kidnapping, door kicking, fruit stand hooey, checking in at a hotel, a big ass boat, multiple instances of someone using a portable rotary phone, gambling, public face slapping, kissing, a surprise police inspection, sniper hooey, a door used as a weapon, speed boat hooey, exploding boat, almost side boob, a nightmare, chess, a foot chase, crowbar hooey, rope climbing, big ass ship infiltration, a guy gets thrown overboard, anchor dropping, face punching, metal door to the face, door knob breaking, a major table slide, handgun crushing, and some serious running.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: John Vernon, John Vernon in “Mexico,” Lee Majors, Lee Majors blowing shit up, Lee Majors explaining Mayan cultural history, chloroform, Lee Majors skiing, people watching a rat in a maze, a brain cell experiment, Lee Majors drinking wine on a place, an obvious stunt double for Lee Majors, Lee Majors checking in to a hotel, 17-34-6, people playing chess, a big switch, Lee Majors throwing a guy overboard, and some serious running.

Best lines: “They sent one man? Well, things are kind of tight, sir, with inflation and budget cuts,” “One man?,” “How was I? Brilliant, Bill,” “Anything I can bring back for you? How about some autographed chopsticks?,” “One down and one to go,” “Are you following me? Just admiring your form,” “You’re a slave to modern technology. You’ll never know how much,” “Hello, Steve,” “I followed you to the moon, Colonel, on television. You probably saw more than I did,” “I didn’t even know you were on the team,” “What is he, a quick study?,” “Are you skeptical, Colonel, or just repulsed?,” “It’s like watching one hundred movies all at the same time,” “I’m sorry, but that’s the beauty of it,” “Why Switzerland?,” “I believe I have a reservation,” “What do you want to prove, Colonel? That I’m more than the sum of my parts,” “I want Colonel Austin out of the way! Permanently!,” “Non one should be afraid to pursue youth, Mr. Cameron. It’s what keeps you young,” “How did you figure it out? My checkered past,” “It looks like my evening is free,” “Rudy, we’re not going to pull the plug because some rat is afraid of its shadow. Keep me posted,” “I know what you’re going through. Even if it is successful it’s not much fun being an experiment,” “I care about my work. Passionately,” “Doctor, we’re talking about a rat,” “How much did they pay you to set me up?,” “She can see pieces. That doesn’t mean she can add them up!,” “Congratulations, Bristo, you’ve managed to turn gold into lead,” and “Naughty, naughty.”

Rating: 6.5/10.0


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Things to Watch Out For This Week


The Toybox: This is one of those exceptionally well made low budget horror flicks that, at the end, makes you hate life, mostly because the movie itself hates life. It’s grim as hell and incredibly messed up, with a top notch cast (Denise Richards and Mischa Barton star) and a villain that will make your goddamn skin crawl. I will have a full review of this flick soon. If you’re a full on horror nerd, be sure to pick this one up and check it out.


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: I missed this Jurassic World sequel, which I’m annoyed about still. I could just never get to the movies to see it. The reviews for it were, at best, lukewarm, but then no one seems to care all that much for any of the Jurassic Park sequels, which I think is a shame (I think The Lost World is excellent, way better than the first movie). The movie watching public showed up for it, though, all over the world, so the people involved must be doing something right. I wonder if the spectacle of the dinosaurs and whatnot will look good on TV. Who out there saw this? Was it any god?


Silencer: This low budget action flick, originally known as Your Move, has a badass cast, including Danny Trejo (Machete!), Johnny Messner, Chuck Lidell, Tito Ortiz, and the immortal Robert LaSardo (he’s always great). Yes, it’s low budget, but based solely on the trailer I think it looks pretty good. Definitely worth a rental, just to see if it’s as god as the trailer suggests. I’m hoping it rocks. The world doesn’t need any more lame action flicks with all-star casts.



Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead/Phantasm IV: Oblivion: The fine folks at Well Go USA are releasing both Lord of the Dead and Oblivion on Blu-ray all by themselves, although it doesn’t look like the special features that are on the boxed set that Well Go did, or the “5-film collection” DVD edition that you can still buy at Walmart, are part of either of these Blu-rays. That seems kind of weird to me (you’d think that with the boxed set now hard to come by that Well Go would want to get the extras it produced for the set out on the individual releases, but for whatever reason that doesn’t seem to be happening). Either way, these Blu-ray releases are no doubt going to be fantastic, and if you’re looking for these flicks because you haven’t seen them in a while, definitely get these. Both movies are fantastic in their own ways (check out my review of Lord of the Dead here and Oblivion here). Long live The Tall Man!


Do you like Cult TV?


The 1970’s TV thriller Kolchak: The Night Stalker is first up! Check out what I think about the show with the links below!

Issue #1
Issue #2
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Issue #4


B-Movie News


Victor Crowley will apparently be back. Again: According to this article over at Bloody Disgusting, Hatchet franchise creator Adam Green wants everyone to know that there will be more Hatchet movies in the future. I still haven’t seen the last one, Victor Crowley (it may show up in October in this column. Maybe. I’m still working out the schedule), so I have no idea if it’s any good or not. I didn’t really care for the third Hatchet movie, but I thought the first two were pretty good. Victor Crowley looked decent, based on the trailers that I saw, and it must have made money for someone if Green is going to get the chance to make more.

We don’t have many low budget horror franchises nowadays. It’s cool that we have this one, even if the movies are hit and miss. And even if I find Victor Crowley awful when I do see it, I still think that supporting more movies is a good idea. I’m sure that we can eventually get more low budget franchises if the scant few that we have now make money. Well, that’s the way I see it.

So who out there is a fan of Victor Crowley and wants to see more Kane Hodder ripping people apart?


The Marine 6: Close Quarters arriving this November!: The fifth sequel in The Marine franchise and the fourth starring The Miz is set to be released this coming November, and it looks like “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels and Smackdown Live! female star Becky Lynch are going to be joining him. After The Marine 3: Homecoming, The Miz’s first The Marine, I didn’t think he would last. He was awful in the movie (he was unable to overcome his natural douchebagness in that movie), but he somehow overcame that and kicked some as in part 4 and 5. And now, with part 6, we go from “The Miz Trilogy” to “The Miz Quadrilogy.” So the big question going into this next one is Michaels. Is he going to be able to hack it?

Michaels has done a few Christian movies but Close Quarters is his first full on action flick. How much action will he actually do in it? How many people are going to get some Sweet Chin Music? And it looks like Becky Lynch is either a bad or the main bad guy (the trailer seems to suggest that she’s the main one, but that could just be the way the trailer plays).

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is set to release The Marine 6: Close Quarters on November 13th. Check out the trailer below.

Any The Marine fans out there?


Who is the Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!


Next Issue: Cyborg September concludes with why I think Robocop 2 is awesome!



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Jino Kang
Vladimir Kulich
Paul Mormando
Shahin Sean Solimon
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Don “The Dragon” Wilson
Paul Kyriazi
Eric Jacobus
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Eric Miller
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James Mark
Casper Van Dien
Chris Mark
James E. Wilson
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Barry Hunt (2)
Lobsang Tenzin
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Eric Jacobus (2)
David William No
Nicholas Verdi
Luke LaFontaine (2)
Roger Yuan
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Tamas Nadas
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Robert McGinley
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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

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The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping

Lee Majors– Colonel Steve Austin
Richard Anderson– Oscar Goldman
Alan Oppenheimer– Dr. Rudy Wells
Elizabeth Ashley– Dr. Erica Bergner
Terry Carter– Mel Bristo
John Vernon– Julian Peck
Maurice Evans– Chairman of the Board
Leif Erickson– William Henry Cameron
Luciana Paluzzi– Contessa DeRojas
Craig Huebing– Roger Ventriss
David White– Ambassador Scott

Directed by Russ Mayberry
Screenplay by Larry Alexander, based on a story by Alan Caillou and Larry Alexander and based on a novel by Martin Cardin

Distributed by The American Broadcasting Company and Universal Television

Not Rated
Runtime– 73 minutes

Buy it here