"Day of the Robot" is the fourth episode of season one of the sci-fi/action television series The Six Million Dollar Man and the seventh episode of the series overall (if one includes the three original television movies). It was directed by Leslie H. Martinson with a script written by Del Reisman based on a story treatment by Harold Livingston. It first aired on ABC on Friday, February 8th, 1974. In this episode, Steve Austin has to escort his old Air Force buddy Frederick Sloan to a missile testing site. Along the way, Sloan is secretly replaced with a robot duplicate programmed to steal a top-secret anti-missile defense circuit.

Synopsis Edit

The Scheme Edit

Smdm 1x04 007

Mister X struts his stuff.

A man named Gavern Wilson and a team of scientists are looking to steal a top-secret anti-missile missile defense system from the United States government. The system was developed by United States Air Force Major Frederick Sloan and is comprised of two key elements: an activation chip and an ignition unit. The system will not function without both components. As part of his plot to steal this technology, Wilson has hired a scientist named Doctor Chester Dolenz to create a robotic duplicate of Major Sloan. Using comprehensive data collected on the man, as well as voice samples, their robot, dubbed Mister X, is an exact replica of Sloan, and even has his personality and memories. Doctor Dolenz demonstrates Mister X's physical hardiness by comparing his strength levels to that of a body builder.

In Washington, D.C., the real Frederick Sloan is playing a game of tennis with Steve Austin. The two are old friends from Steve's NASA days, but this is the first time that they have played tennis together since Steve came to work of OSI. Austin uses his bionic eyesight to improve the accuracy of his game, frustrating Sloan to no end after he beats him in three straight sets. The two take a break and tell each other that they are both scheduled to meet with someone very shortly. That someone is Oscar Goldman, who then walks up to the two men. Steve and Fred are surprised to discover that they are both in Goldman's employ.

They go back to the OSI office where Goldman reveals that the United States Air Force wants to test the new anti-missile missile system. Sloan has the prototype activator chip and it must be safely protected. He wants Steve to accompany Sloan to the Red Canyon Missile Test Site to make sure that it is delivered safely. After Sloan leaves the room, Goldman confesses that there have already been several attempts to steal the technology, but he did not wish for Sloan to know about this.

The Journey Edit

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On the road with Steve and Fred.

Steve and Fred take a car and embark upon the long drive to the test site. As Steve is driving, Fred begins to feel ill. They pull over at a gas station so Sloan can use the restroom. Gavern Wilson's cronies are present and expecting him. They ambush Fred in the restroom while Steve is gassing up the car (distracted by a pretty blonde that begins chatting him up), and replace him with the Mister X duplicate.

Steve and the robot continue on their journey with the robot Sloane preferring to drive this time. He assures Steve that he feels much better now and begins making references to their shared history, in order to help cement his cover identity. Wilson and Dolenz' team monitor the robot's functions and conversation. Almost immediately however, things begins to go awry for them. A pressure pad in the robot's right leg is malfunctioning, preventing him from increasing the speed of the car. Steve tells Fred that they need to pick up their pace if they are ever going to get to the meeting on time. Dolenz' crew correct the malfunction, but now the robot's right foot is working too well, and he presses the car up to 90 miles per hour. Steve begins to grow concerned, as he is now taking note of how strangely Fred is acting.

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He gets knocked down. But he gets up again.

The car veers off the road and crashes into a ditch. Both men emerge unscathed. Steve has little choice but to reveal his bionic nature in order to pull the car out of the ditch. The Sloan robot, believing that this reflects normal human strength, elects to help and picks up the rear end of the car and helps Austin pull it back onto the road. Steve keeps silent, but he now knows that something is definitely wrong. The robot begins feigning illness and asks if they can stop at a motel for the night. Steve finds a nearby pay phone and telephones Oscar Goldman. He asks if there is any possibility that Fred Sloan may have received bionic enhancements like him. Goldman assures him that such a thing is impossible, but promises that he will look into it.

The following morning, Steve and Fred get on the road again. Steve grows increasingly suspicious, which is accentuated when he takes note that both a car and a helicopter have begun following them. Fred pulls the car off the side of the road. Both men get out and the robot clobbers Steve across the back of head, stunning him. He finds the activator circuit, which Steve kept taped around his sock and steals it. He then runs to the car where Wilson's men pick him up. Wilson radios the other cronies with instructions to take Austin out. A hitman approaches his body just as Steve is coming to. He fires a shot, but Steve rolls out of the way and then bionically kicks the car, so that it knocks into the man, sending him falling down a ditch. The pilot of the helicopter, Vince Parnell, begins shooting at Steve, who runs out into the canyon as the chopper pursues him. Steve manages to get away however.

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Steve vs. the robot.

The robot arrives at the Red Canyon site where Oscar Goldman and General Tanhill are waiting to receive him. The fake Sloan makes an excuse for why Steve isn't there. They go to Bunker 21 where the robot plugs the activator chip into the ignition unit. They all watch the anti-missile defense system put through its paces from an observation booth. Satisfied that the technology works, the robot then uses his super-strength to pull the entire device out of is housing and runs away from the building.

Steve, who has been steadily running to the base this entire time, catches up with the robot just as it is getting ready to deliver the package to the helicopter crew. The Sloane robot throws the device to the ground and Steve and he get into a protracted battle. Through the conflict, the fake Sloan's life mask falls off, revealing his robotic face beneath. After a considerable amount of time deflecting blows from one another, Steve manages to impale the robot on a girder, which destroys it.

Aftermath Edit

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Steve and Oscar wonder about Fred.

Later, at OSI headquarters, Oscar Goldman tells Steve that they managed to capture Gavern Wilson, as well as helicopter pilot Vince Parnell, who was actually a U.S. Army Master Sergeant, who was feeding Wilson information. Doctor Dolenz managed to get away. He somberly informs Steve that they have not recovered the true Fred Sloan, and that he is presumed dead.

Steve later goes back to the tennis courts where he is surprised to find Sloan sitting at a picnic table. The man is okay, but admits that his memory is spotty, and that he has no idea what happened to him after the gas station. The only thing he remembered was that he had a date to play some tennis with someone. Steve smiles and assures him, "You did. It was with me". The two walk off to play their game.

Cast Edit

Principal Cast Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • This episode is production code number: 40012.
  • Actor Louie Elias is uncredited for his participation in this episode.
  • This is the first episode of the series to feature robots.

Allusions Edit

  • There are no allusions available for this episode at this time. Be the first to add some! Just click on the edit tab under the section heading and start typing. An allusion is an incidental reference made to a character, person, event or other miscellaneous piece of media that can be found somewhere in the episode itself. In most cases, this refers to characters or events from previous episodes.

Bloopers Edit

  • In the first scene when Gavern Wilson is speaking directly to the Mister X robot, the robot is supposed to be without its life mask. However, if one looks closely, they can see the actor's reflection in the glass behind Wilson.
  • In the final fight scene between Steve Austin and Mister X, the hair piece used on the faceless robot is clearly fake and bears no resemblance to John Saxon's hair from previous scenes.

Quotes Edit

  • Sloan robot: Mister? You mean Colonel Austin, don't ya? Steve would cringe if anybody would call him Mister. He's all Air Force, there's not a drop of Mister in him. The last time I saw my buddy Steve Austin was on the tennis court this morning.



  • Oscar Goldman: We've got Master Sergeant Parnell, and Gavern Wilson - the man who financed the project. And Dolenz... the one who built the robot is... well, he's temporarily eluding us.
  • Steve Austin: What about Fred Sloan?
  • Oscar Goldman: Still missing. And presumably dead.

See also Edit

The Six Million Dollar Man

The Bionic Woman

External Links Edit

Episode links

Series links

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