Kenner Six Million Dollar Man action figures
The Kenner Six Million Dollar Man action figures were toys based on the popular U.S television shows ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ and its spin-off ‘The Bionic Woman’.
The Six Million Dollar Man was a highly successful television series starring Lee Majors as Steve Austin, an astronaut given bionic body parts after an accident. The show followed the adventures of Austin as he worked for a government agency known as the OSI, which involved enemy agents, robots, aliens, organized crime and occasionally Bigfoot.
The show ran for five seasons and 99 episodes from 1974 until 1978, and created a wave of merchandise. It also spawned the spin-off show ‘The Bionic Woman’, which saw Steve’s ex-girlfriend and tennis pro Jaime Sommers given bionic implants to save her life after a skydiving accident with Austin.
This show ran for three seasons and 58 episodes, but was cancelled along with The Six Million Dollar Man in the summer of 1978 (despite the shows being on different networks).
The Kenner Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman action figures
The line of figures was first produced by Kenner in 1975, and was an instant success. The 12” tall Steve Austin figure was released in three versions, each with a different ‘bionic’ power such as a bionic grip. It was also accompanied by a number of accessories including a Bionic Transport and Repair station and replaceable bionic limbs.
In 1975 the retailer Montgomery Ward contacted the manufacturer Mego and asked the company to produce a figure that could be marketed as an adversary to Steve Austin and sold in their stores over the Christmas period.
Kenner were yet to produce one, so Mego designed and manufactured the Dr Kromodome figure, labelling it as the “Bionic Villain” so that Montgomery ward could market it alongside the hugely popular Six Million Dollar Man range.
Kenner introduced their own villain in 1976, in the form of the series character Maskatron, along with a figure based on Bigfoot (as seen in the Season 3 two-part episode ‘The Secret of Bigfoot’ and later episodes from seasons four and five).
1976 also saw the introduction of the Bionic Woman figure, which offered a bionic action figure along with outfits and accessories like those of a fashion doll. It also produced the Fembot figure as a female version of Maskatron.
The line of figures was the industry’s first real successful television license, and helped Kenner break $100 million in sales in 1975 along with being one of the top five best-selling toys in the U.S.
List of action figures and accessories
- Steve Austin – The Six Million Dollar Man
- Jaime Sommers – The Bionic Woman
- Oscar Goldman
- Bionic Adventure sets
- Venus Space Probe
- Bionic Transport and Repair Station
- Bionic Mission Vehicle
- Critical Assignment Arms and Legs
- Mission Control Centre
- Bionic Woman Dome House
- Bionic Beauty Salon
- Bionic Woman Sports Car
- Porta-Communicator and Back-Pack Radio
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