Those who follow me on Facebook will know I had a heart attack last week which meant I had to take it easy for while. It just so happens that the week before that, I bought the season one box-set of “The Fall Guy”, having found it on ebay (I can’t remember now why I’d been looking). Back in the day I loved that show and - trying to keep away from the news - I binge-watched it over the week. Dude joined me for a lot of them and we finished the whole 22 episode run on Sunday and he wanted to go straight back into it, whilst I decided this was a prime candidate for my “Nostalgic for my childhood” thread.
For my part, I was a massive fan of “The Six Million Dollar Man” and Lee Majors was one of my favourite actors at the time, so he was completely my draw for “The Fall Guy”, as I’m sure he was for many other people.
The pilot episode was written by Larson and directed by Russ Mayberry and the remainder of the series was mostly written by David Brafff and Nick Thiel who, for the 1981/82 first season, also acted as script editors (they were replaced from the second series on). Alongside the theme (credited to Somerville, Larson and Gail Jenson), US series stalwart Stu Philips provided the soundtrack.
|The first series cast - from left, Heather Thomas, Lee Majors, Douglas Bar, Jo Ann Pflug|
|Heather Thomas makes her entrance|
|series 2-5 cast, with Markie Post replacing Jo Ann Pflug|
|The truck, in the first series, about to snap its axles...|
The theme song became a minor hit in the early 80s (the singer is credited as Colt Seavers in a handful of the first series credits) and was very popular in Germany (though as Majors said in an interview, “everyone is popular over there”) and includes a nice touch in the lyrics with the line “I’ve been seen with Farrah”.
As I write this, Dude & I have watched all of the first series and six episodes of the second (which is a lot more humorous, in tone, with some great one-liners from Majors). The first thing I noticed, binge-watching, is a key Larson trait, wherein quite a few shots are recycled over the year (generally of the truck driving about). Locations are also re-used frequently, which can be quite entertaining and some actors also appear more than once and as a different character altogether. Distinctive looking character actor Dennis Fimple, for instance, plays deputy sheriff Renfo in “The Pilot” and is also one of the Rio Brothers - Bobby - in “The Japanese Connection”. Chuck Hicks, a big character actor regularly cast at the time as a heavy, was a recurring thug who our heroes usually encountered just in time for a brawl whilst Terry Kiser (who was Bernie in the “Weekend At…” films) was a director in “The Pilot” and a thug in “The Rich Get Richer”. As a recurring character, Judith Chapman played Kay Faulkner, an insurance investigator, who tangled with Colt in “The Rich Get Richer”, “Goin’ For It!” and “Three For The Road” - all of them in the first season plus “Death Boat” in the second. The series also featured some genre stars and they got plenty of good screentime, from Sid Haig to Martine Beswick, Chris Stone to Don Stroud. An amusing, continuing joke is that the goodies listen to country music, whilst the baddies always listen to classical.
Lee Majors, who was born in 1939, still acts occasionally, though he remains best known for his portrayal as Steve Austin (“The Six Million Dollar Man”) and Colt Seavers.
Douglas Barr was born in 1949, left acting in 1994 and now works as a writer and director and is also co-founder of Hollywood and Vine Cellars, a small, high-end Napa Valley winery.
Heather Thomas was born in 1957 and after a much-publicised battle with drug addiction left acting in 1998. She is now a screenwriter, author and political activist.
I loved “The Fall Guy” the first time around and whilst it isn’t a classic piece of television (I’m a fan, not a fool), it is good fun and I enjoyed re-watching and re-discovering it with Dude. Roll on series 2!
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And now, I leave you with the series 2 opening credits complete with Lee Majors singing, the truck breaking its axle, James Coburn on a helicopter and Heather Thomas giving her character a great entrance.