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      Six Million Dollar Man action figure

Six Million Dollar Man action figure on Ebay
Six Million Dollar Man action figure Beginning in 1975, Kenner produced an action figure based on the cyborg star of the Six Million Dollar Man TV show, starring Lee Majors. Col. Steve Austin was an astronaut who was badly injured in the crash of a test vehicle; the government replaced parts of his body with electronic ('bionic') parts, giving him certain enhanced abilities, at a cost of six million dollars. Col. Austin then went to work for the top-secret government agency OSI (Office of Scientific Intelligence) as an agent.

The action figure stood about 12 inches in height, which was unusual for figures of the time other than the G I Joe line; the increased size allowed a greater articulation, however. This figure could be posed at the elbows, wrists, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles, and its head would turn. Despite its size, however, the figure was composed of relatively softer plastic, and was often prone to breaking along the joints.

The figure's left eye was a miniature viewscope, allowing kids to use it as a 'peephole': one could look through the tiny hole in the back of the figure's head to see with a fish-eye lens effect. This was to reflect the fact that the TV character had a bionic eye which would allow him to see over long distances.

Austin's bionic powers were further reflected in a mechanism activated by turning the figure's head to the right and repeatedly pressing a button on its back, which cranked up the figure's right arm; this simulated the character's enhanced strength with that arm, which had been replaced with a bionic counterpart. Early versions of the figure came with a plastic automobile engine mock-up, which the arm was meant to lift using a convenient handle.

Further, the figure's right arm was largely covered by a thin flexible 'skin' that could be peeled off, to reveal a small section which looked electronic and could be removed. (Over the years this skin would turn rigid and unusable, as many collectors have discovered; newly tooled 'replacement' skins can be purchased from online sellers.)

Later versions of the figure would feature a 'bionic grip' and would come packaged with a steel girder, which the figure could hold in its right hand, instead of an engine.

A variety of vehicles, playsets, and additional character figures were issued to correspond with the success of this action figure and the Six Million Dollar Man TV show.

The Bionic Woman was a successful spinoff from the show, featuring a bionic female agent. There is a range of Bionic Woman collectibles as well.