I was recently surprised to find myself blurting out the name “Oscar Goldman” to the television. As this is not something I typically do I feel it important to explain that I was (finally) watching the film “The 40 Year Old Virgin“. In the movie there is a scene in which the main character explains the importance of one of the hundreds of collectible toys lining the walls of his apartment. In this case it was a bland looking doll wearing a garish sports jacket; the epitome of 1970s men’s fashion and I recognized it without hesitation.
As you may suspect, I not only knew who Oscar Goldman was, I had my very own Oscar Goldman toy as a kid… complete with the exploding briefcase seen in Jim Emmon’s video (above).
It’s important that I point out that The Six Million Dollar Man wasn’t just a formulaic episodic television show from the mid-1970s, it was a glimpse into a future in which the notion of “handicapped” had been redefined to mean “bad ass” for an entire generation of kids. We left the 1970s believing that nearly any physical handicap could be overcome through the proper application of high technology combined with enormous stacks of money (never mind that we also believed that giant robotic Sasquatches roamed the Pacific Northwest).
When word got out that Kenner was releasing a Steve Austin doll it immediately shot to the top of my Christmas list. This doll would be a game-changer!! It had a telescope for an eye, an arm that could lift practically anything so long as you kept jabbing the big red ratchet on the doll’s back, and (even better), you could roll back the skin on his arm to reveal the bionic circuitry beneath. This was the sort of doll that proved you were living in the future and I absolutely had to have one.
What I didn’t count on was that my parents might not be able to find me a Bionic Man action figure anywhere in town because every kid my age had asked for the same damned toy. Every store was sold out so they came up with a Plan B…. guess what I received instead…
I received a Mike Power “Atomic Man” action figure, made by the GI Joe people, who were committed to cashing in on the bionic fever sweeping the land. Their strategy was to crank out a GI Joe figure with prosthetic limbs. Good old Mike Power had one clear arm, one clear leg, two kung-fu grip hands, and one eyeball which did not function so much as a telescope but rather as a signal mirror. His right hand was articulated so that it could spin a “personal helicopter blade”… but it really didn’t help much.
This “counterfeit Six Million Dollar Man” had zero curb appeal.
The thing was a complete dud in my eyes… more of an “acrylic man” than an “atomic man”…. check out this video and see what you think….
Needless to say that I was let down a bit, but a week or two after Christmas I did eventually receive my own Steve Austin doll and later on an Oscar Goldman doll complete with exploding briefcase.
And yes, if you must pry… I still have all of them.
Shut the Hell up.
(For all you folks who grew up in the 70s and 80s you really need to visit Sean’s site ToysYouHad.com for a great trip into yesteryear)