Friday, 9 December 2011

Remembering Oscar Goldman

Oscar Goldman was a character created by Martin Caidin and introduced in his 1972 novel Cyborg. In the 1970s, he was portrayed by Richard Anderson in both The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman TV series. which were based upon Cyborg. He served as the bionic heroes', Steve Austin and Jaime Somers, immediate superior.

When Cyborg was adapted for television in 1973, the character of Oscar Goldman was replaced by that of Oliver Spencer, played by Darren McGavin. When this television film, titled The Six Million Dollar Man, proved to be a hit, ABC commissioned a sequel, Wine, Women & War (an original story not based on a Caidin work) which aired on October 23, 1973. McGavin and Spencer were dropped and the agency was renamed the Office of Scientific Inteligence (OSI), a fictitious organization not to be confused with the real-life Office of Scientific Inteligence that operated under the Central Inteligence Agency. The character of Oscar Goldman was reinstated, with Richard Anderson cast in the role. (The opening credits to Wine, Women & War perform retconning, establishing that it was Goldman, not Spencer, who authorized the operation to turn Austin into a Cyborg.)

Anderson's portrayal of Goldman was that of a warm, fatherly figure—though he could also be a calculating bureaucrat when the need arose. (This differed from McGavin's portrayal of Oliver Spencer who was cold hearted and referred to as little more than a robot by Austin.) Following a third TV film, The Six Million Dollar Man became a weekly series in 1974 and Anderson remained with the show throughout its run. He also played the role in the subsequent Bionic Woman spin-off series. Richard Anderson is one of the few actors to portray the same character in two different television series running concurrently on two different networks, when Bionic Woman was moved to a rival network, NBC.

During the series, Goldman and Austin develop a close, if occasionally testy friendship, with Goldman frequently referring to Austin as "pal". Perhaps the ultimate illustration of the men's friendship occurred when Goldman agreed to his friend's request to have bionic surgery performed on Jaime Sommers in order to save her life, despite the cost involved (although this friendship was tested soon after when Austin resisted Goldman's orders that Sommers subsequently be recruited by the OSI). Despite sending Sommers on dangerous missions, Goldman was particularly protective of her, and bristled when a Senator repeatedly mispronounced her name. Goldman usually referred to Sommers as "babe". Goldman's position within the OSI was considered so important that Goldman arranged standing orders to be killed in the event he was captured to prevent him from being interrogated or converted into a double agent if he was released or rescued (these orders were revealed in the three-part Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman crossover arc, "Kill Oscar"). However when this situation arose, Steve Austin disobeyed the order and rescued Goldman, unaware that he actually extracted an android imposter. Eventually after the imposter was discovered and defeated, the real Goldman was rescued in defiance of his own orders.

Oscar Goldman was a snappy dresser, who had a propensity for loud patterns (which were in style at the time). His briefcase featured in many episodes, as he would often just open it to produce a solution to various problems. Goldman, who served as head of the OSI under six presidents, wielded considerable influence in the Federal government, and was able to get the Secretary of State on the telephone on short notice.

Although never explicitly stated during either series, it was implied that Oscar is Jewish. In one episode of The Bionic Woman, he used a pseudonym when travelling to a Middle Eastern country because he thought the “Goldman” name would not make him any friends. In another episode, the king of the fictional El Alamein told Sommers he would never deal with a man named “Goldman”.

Anderson reprised the role of Oscar Goldman in three highly rated two-hour TV movie sequels to the series that aired in the late 1980s and early 1990s: The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, Bionic Showdown, and Bionic Ever After, indicating that, in the Six Million Dollar Man universe, Goldman remained in a high-ranking position with the OSI well into the 1990s.

Kenner Toys (1962)

1962 Kenner Toys
This classic ad dates back to 1962 and features Kenner Toys: Kenner Products was a toy company founded in 1947 by three brothers, Albert, Phillip, and Joseph L. Steiner, in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, and was named after the street where the original corporate offices were located, which is just north of Cincinatti's Union Terminal.

Kenner introduced its popular Girder & Panel Beating sets construction toy in 1957, the Give-a-Show projector in 1959, the Easy-Bake Oven in 1963, the Spirograph drawing toy in 1966, and the Starting Lineup sports action figure collectible line in 1988. It was a pioneer in the use of television as a medium for advertising toys across the United States, beginning in 1958.

Peter Sellers: The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963)

The Wrong Arm of the Law was made in1963 and was directed by Cliff Owen. The Wrong Arm of the Law starred the late, great, Peter Sellers. Joining Peter Sellers were, Bernard Cribbins, Lionel Jeffries, John Le Mesurier and Bill Kerr. It was written in part by Steptoe & Son creators, Ray Galton & Alan Simpson and made by British Lion Films.
In London, a gang of criminals from Australia led by Jack Coombes (Bill Kerr) impersonate policemen to carry out robberies. Local gang leader "Pearly" Gates (Sellers), who operates from the cover of a French Couturier, finds his takings cut severely, and blames rival crook "Nervous" O'Toole (Bernard Cribbins). When it emerges that they are both being scammed by the same gang, they join forces, along with Lionel Jeffries' Police Inspector "Nosey" Parker, to bring the so-called "I.P.O. mob" (I.P.O. - Impersonation of a Police Officer) to justice. Nanette Newman provides the love interest, the ubiquitous John Le Mesurier plays a senior policeman, and a young Michael Caine has a small and uncredited role as a young PC. Other uncredited roles include John Junkin (Maurice), Dennis Price (Educated Ernest), Cardew Robinson (Mailman), Dick Emery (Man in Flat 307), Mario Fabrizi (Van Driver), John Harvey (Police Station Sergeant), Harold Siddons (PC in Basement Garage), Jack Silk (Police Station PC), Derek Guyler (non-speaking PC at Scotland Yard), Gerald Sim (Airfield Official) and Marianne Stone (Woman in Front Row at Gangsters' Meeting).
An excellent comedy caper with Peter Sellers at his best. Sadly, they no longer make 'em like this any more!....

Countdown: UFO (1971) Part Two - The Picture Strip: Part Three

Too Old At 32:
Part I: Issue 7: 03 April 1971.
Captain Frank Harris is going through Interceptor Simulation tests but at 32 he is the most experienced and oldest of the pilots and only just passes. Alec Freeman thinks Straker maybe on the verge of dismissing him but the Commander simply wants him watched. Returning to Moonbase, a real UFO is sighted and the Interceptors launched, but Harris is concerned he may slip up - ending his career.

UFO issue 6
Part 2: Issue 8: 10 April 1971.
Interceptors 1 & 2 fire but the mechanism of Harris' craft jams, for which he is sure he will be blamed. Trying again, Harris manages to cripple the UFO but it still carries out its mission - to cripple SID. Contact with Moonbase is lost briefly until emergency links are established. Meanwhile, Harris has spotted a second UFO landing on the moon and followed it down in the hope of making amends, but in the shadows an Alien spots him and opens fire!.....

Countdown issue 35
Part 3: Issue 9: 17 April 1971.
While repair crews tend to SID, Straker & Foster have taken a ferry to Moonbase to investigate and find Harris is missing, presumed dead. Foster leads a search in two Moon Mobiles to the area where a dazed Harris recovers consciousness. Seeing the abandoned UFO, Harris lifts off again but has to make a forced landing when the fuel runs out. Alone & injured, he struggles over the Lunar landscape to try and warn Moonbase. Elsewhere, on the surface, the Alien has placed homing beacons that will signal the position of Moonbase for an attack.....

Part 4: Issue 10: 24 April 1971.
Harris collapses but is found by Foster who returns him to Moonbase. The Pilot struggles to warn them of the Alien and taking no chances, Straker launches the Interceptors which destroy the departing UFO. But too late, an Alien missile is already in flight and strikes at Moonbase. With SID still out of action the Base is now a sitting duck!.....

UFO issue 10
Part 5: Issue 11: 01 May 1971.
Straker launches the Interceptors using manual radar in the hope of preventing further missiles getting through, but they fight a losing battle. At the last moment, SID is repaired and able to trace the Alien location devices, allowing Foster to destroy them. The last missiles veer off course and the danger is over. Recovering, Harris is told he will be returning to Earth. His reflexes may be slower but he kept his head. SHADO would be better served with his experience at HQ, where he will be promoted to Colonel.....

Happy 51st Birthday Corrie

It doesn't seem five minutes since the nation was celebrating Corrie's magnificent milestone of 50 years. Yet, here we are one year on celebrating its 51st!
I haven't followed Corrie for years, believing that the 1960s & 1970s were Corrie at its best and will never be bettered. I do however, still hold a special place inside for Corrie and today I salute this great & wonderful phenomena.