Monday, May 18, 2009

Kenner The Six Million Dollar Man: Bionic Bigfoot

Bigfoot was a star in the 1970's. He's fallen on hard times, more recently, but was a full-fledged phenomenon back then. These days, I imagine he's hanging out with other stars of the 70s like Burt Reynolds and Tony Orlando jonesing for the good ol' days when a killer "stache" meant something. He was in movies, books, comics, magazines, television documentaries, and even Saturday morning kids' shows. He was EVERYWHERE. America had a fascination with Bigfoot in the 70s like never before or since.

The Six Million Dollar Man TV show capitalized on the big fuzzy guy's popularity and added him as a recurring nemesis to Col. Steve Austin. We enjoyed all of Steve's exploits but none so much as the ones that featured the fearsome Bigfoot.

I remember being genuinely frightened by the creature on the show and felt sorry for Steve for being so powerful that he, alone, had the job of facing the terrible creature in hand-to-hand combat. I felt that Steve was never in greater peril than when he was trading blows with this terrible, mythical beast.

In the end, Bigfoot's origins turned out to be "otherworldly" and it was discovered that he was, at least, partially bionic... like Steve.

Kenner gave us the Bionic Bigfoot figure later in the life of the 12" scale Six Million Dollar Man toy line (1977, I believe). We were excited to finally be getting the furry nightmare immortalized in plastic but the figure didn't quite live up to the amazing figures that had come before in the line. In a line full of action features and cool accessories, Bigfoot is somewhat lacking. His sole action feature involved a chest panel that popped off when he was hit in the belly button (square button seen in photos). Under the panel was a look at what made Bigfoot tick. He was exposed for being at least partially robotic. A rectangular hole in the upper portion of the exposed robotics allowed the Steve Austin figure to grasp Bigfoot and lift him with his ratchet-action bionic lifting feature. Bigfoot's articulation is also lacking. He has ball-jointed shoulders and cut hip joints. That's it. This compromise, I'm pretty sure, was implemented to not interfere with the "hairy" sculpt too much. Toy companies, to this day, have trouble with furry characters and adequate articulation (Chewbacca, anyone?).

Bigfoot included no accessories unless you count the removable panel. It can be tough to find a Bigfoot with the panel included. So, in a sense, it can be a somewhat expensive "accessory" when viewed as an item to complete the toy.

The Bigfoot figure also includes an odd "speaker" panel sculpted under his right ear. This is purely cosmetic and doesn't function in any way. I guess Kenner was trying to drive home the point that Bigfoot was bionic (Question: If I duct tape a speaker to the side of my neck, will people think I'm a robot?).



No Six Million Dollar Man collection is complete without this guy. Despite his flaws, you gotta love 'im.

Go, Big Guy.

9 comments:

  1. You have a speaker coming out of the side of your neck?

    Cool! I would say you are a robot dude.

    Outside of your freakish appendages I LOVE Bigfoot.

    I remember those episodes and would be beside myself with joy when he was in an episode.

    This toy was huge too. You had to be careful and not grab this toy to waylay your brother with or the authorities might be called in.

    Great long, long, awaited for post.

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  2. Thanks! Yep, the Bigfoot episodes were the best. While I was writing this the other night, my kids were watching one of those teeny Disney show things on tv in the other room. It had a Bigfoot creature approaching cars at a Drive-in movie. No kidding. One of the kids attacks the Bigfoot and screams "I'll tear your arms off and beat you with them!" That HAD to be a reference to SMDM. I remember Steve pulling off an arm but I can't remember if he uses it for a club or not.

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    1. The speaker on the side of Bigfoot's head was featured in the episode. This action figure was based on the Ted Cassidy Bigfoot rather than the Andre the Giant version. A new 9 inch Andre the Giant Bigfoot in a new Six Million Dollar Man figure line is coming out summer 2012.

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    2. Can you tell me where I can find more info on this new line? Thanks!

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  3. See? There's a feature that should have been on they toy right there. A removable arm that had bionics in the stump!

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  4. Well not everything could be perfect and you are right, Chewie's toy lines have always lacked good movement... I wonder why?

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  5. does anyone know where i canm find a chest plate for kenner big foot

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    1. Try eBay. I saw a Bigfoot chest plate there.

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  6. I was woundering how much these Bigfoot's go for? I have one from when I was a kid. It's in great shape, but I don't have the box.

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