You know, it's funny how the memory plays tricks on you after almost 35 years. Even when it's the "group memory" of the too-many-to-count fans of The Six Million Dollar Man
and The Bionic Woman
. Before the upcoming DVDs were ever announced (or even possible), passionate fans often talked about what the ultimate fan-friendly releases OUGHT to include. One of the most-wanted items was in regard to the cross-over episodes where Steve visited Jaime's program, and Jaime would visit Steve's. For The Bionic Woman
, the biggest key cross-overs have always been the ones involving her spin-off show's creation as part of The Six Million Dollar Man
. One of the main memories fans have had in those discussions was that the 2-part episode which kicked off Lindsay Wagner's series, "Welcome Home, Jaimie," was split between the two programs. The recollection was that Part 1 aired as a Six Million Dollar Man
episode, and Part 2 aired as the first-ever regular episode of The Bionic Woman
. And indeed, that was the plan...at least for a while.
However, as part of the research and investigation for the upcoming DVD release of Time-Life's The Six Million Dollar Man - The Complete Series
(as well as Universal's The Bionic Woman - Season 1
), Time-Life's team of consultants have uncovered evidence that perhaps we've all misremembered how that original plan changed at the last minute. And that it wasn't even the original plan, either! The SMDM
DVD's Chief Creative Consultant, Matt Hankinson with Consultants Brendan Slattery and Rod De Luca were doing research, and De Luca discovered a "TV Review" in the January 14, 1976 issue of the L.A. Times
which nicely sums up the results of what they found. This review of "Welcome Home, Jaime - Part 1" was written by Times
staff writer Aleene MacMinn, and appeared on a page that also included an ABC TV ad for the "New Show" which would begin airing that night, as well as a prime time TV schedule which highlighted the new series. But MacMinn's write-up, "The Leap Year of Bionic Lib," specifically states in the second paragraph that "It's a two-part story (originally scheduled to kick off last Sunday on
Six Million Dollar Man, but delayed until tonight...
." The write-up continues later by saying "Tonight's opening half of 'Welcome Home, Jaime' is devoted to restoring the memory of the Bionic Woman (she was once given up for dead, but was revived only to suffer amnesia)...
"; this is VERY clear as to what occurred with the show's airing schedule. A bit later, MacMinn speaks about "...the conclusion (to be seen next Wednesday
...," pointing out that "Welcome Home, Jaimie - Part 2" would air on January 21, 1976.
And, indeed, that's what happened, according to the man who is by all means the expert on The Bionic Woman
: show creator Kenneth Johnson. Hankinson spoke with Johnson about this issue, and Kenny confirms that each part of "Welcome Home, Jaime" were written and produced with every intention of airing them both as episodes of The Bionic Woman
, and that "Part 1" was produced with on-screen credits for The Bionic Woman
. Kenny recalls that the executives, recalling how huge the ratings were for ABC when Sommers appeared on Austin's show, had decided to do the "split-series" introduction for the spin-off. They even went so far as to issue press releases and ads about it, and they had Six Million Dollar Man
on-screen credits created for "Welcome Home, Jaime - Part 1." And we surmise that footage of those credits may possibly have leaked out over the years, reinforcing the belief that the new series did indeed get broadcast that way. But no, Johnson says it didn't happen. In a last-minute reversal, the original plan to air both parts of "Welcome Home, Jaime" strictly as episodes of The Bionic Woman
was instead executed, and that's what did indeed make it to the airwaves. In fact, Hankinson and his team ran across documentation which demonstrates how the third-ever hour of The Bionic Woman
, an episode titled "Angel of Mercy," had to be bumped from 1/21 to 1/28 in order to accommodate the premiere's change-up. If you would like to, you'll be able to ask Kenny Johnson about this for yourself at Kenny's online HTF chat
this coming Monday night.
The reason we bring all of this history up here is simple: because the official Time-Life press release announcing The Six Million Dollar Man - The Complete Series
had a note from the producers, which said this: "Despite best efforts, Time Life was unable to locate the original master for 'Welcome Home, Jaime - Part 1,' therefore, the syndicated version appears on these DVDs
." In effect, that they were providing the "wrong" version of the episode, with The Bionic Woman
credits before and after, instead of the Six Million Dollar Man
credits which everyone was thinking it ought to have. That was the belief at the time that press release was assembled, a bit over a month ago. We even mentioned in one report
about Time-Life's extensive efforts to locate the "correct" version of "WH,J - P1" to no avail (the reason they were unsuccessful is pretty obvious at this point!). Now, since the team behind these Time-Life DVDs have discovered that this "syndicated version" thing truly isn't the case, and that the episode will be on the DVDs EXACTLY as broadcast, Time-Life is adjusting their liner notes on the upcoming DVD set. The key will be this line:
Although many believed that "Welcome Home Jamie - Part I" was originally intended to air as an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man on January 11, 1976, research for the DVD release revealed that the episode most likely aired as the premiere episode of The Bionic Woman instead, on January 14, 1976.
This wording has been shared with (and agreed upon, we understand) with Universal Studios Home Entertainment, but unfortunately it's too late in the production process for Universal's The Bionic Woman - Season 1
DVDs to undergo any changes, since they are already moving in the direction of the stores for a street date of October 19th. However, Time-Life has a little more time on their hands, and will be able to include this liner notes change on their November 23rd
release of The Six Million Dollar Man - The Complete Series
In the grand scheme of things, this fact is probably more important to the history of the show, than it truly is to the DVD release. And we thank Matt, Rod and Brandon for their extensive (nay, heroic!) efforts in uncovering this info; for simply setting the record straight. Some out there might think that this isn't truly "DVD news," and might wonder why we're reporting on it here. But we felt that it was appropriate for us to clear up any discrepancies or contradictions between the press release WE relayed to the fans of these shows on our website, and what Time-Life ends up putting on the DVD release's liner notes. Because the very last thing we want is for our readers to be confused, after all. So we decided that if this confusion could, even the slightest bit, get in the way of fans enjoying these long-sought-after DVDs, then we owed it to our readers to clear up the mystery in advance. So we hope this helps!
One final bit of possible help for you: we have confirmed from Time-Life that we've been correct in passing on that there will be NO release of The Six Million Dollar Man
on DVD to retail stores, either in season sets or as The Complete Series
, until at least a year from now: October 2011. Until then, it's only available from Time-Life's USA website
or Canadian website
. Don't be late to the Bionic party, OR possibly miss out on 5 DVDs worth of bonus material - including interviews with Lee Majors - which are not in any way guaranteed to be available at retail later on. They might be, but again there is no guarantee. We don't want any Major(s) fans to miss out!