As mentioned previously, I’ve been trading emails with Kenneth Johnson. I may not be able to correspond with Martin Caidin, who wrote the Steve Austin novels, or interact with Harve Bennett, who produced “The Six Million Dollar Man.” But to correspond with Kenneth Johnson, who created Jaime Summers, and later produced her TV series, has been a treat. From “Bionic Woman,” to “The Incredible Hulk,” “V,” and the “Alien Nation” TV show, he produced shows that consistently entertained me, and fed my interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy. I consider it a rare privilege to revisit “Bionic Woman” on DVD, and to be able to write to him with my questions and observations.
This process has also provided an unexpected discovery. In one email, I mentioned to him how much I enjoyed a second season episode of "Bionic Woman" in which the great Vincent Price played two roles. Kenneth Johnson wrote back that he and Vincent were already old friends at this point, as they had met when Johnson was Executive Producer on a daytime talk show called “The Mike Douglas Show." After that discussion, I not only studied his website more carefully, but researched “The Mike Douglas Show” to learn more about it. During this research I stumbled upon a vintage “Star Wars” interview.
This interview, conducted by Mike Douglas and cohost Richard Thomas (best known for his role of John Boy on “The Waltons,” although he later starred in the Roger Corman Sci-Fi film “Battle Beyond The Stars”), features Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. It aired in July 1977, when “Star Wars” was just beginning to surprise everyone with its box office success. While most of it is “old news,” I learned a few interesting facts about Mark Hamill’s previous TV work, and about George Lucas’ casting process, that I hadn’t known.
If you’re a diehard “Star Wars” fan, and regularly watch video on the Internet, you’ve probably seen these interviews. But if not, and you love the “Star Wars” movies, check out the first two segments. Alternatively if you’re a baseball fan, you may be more interested in the third and fourth, in which Tom Seaver and Pete Rose discuss how the recent change of “free agency” has impacted their sport. Either way, don't miss the final minutes of segment four, in which Mike, Richard, Tom, and Pete try to shave Mickey Mouse balloons with hand razors. Their antics might just put a smile on your face.
“Star Wars” made a huge impact on my life. Knowing how their careers have turned out, it’s interesting to look back now, to see how casual and carefree the three young stars were. Back then, I thought all three would have big futures in the movie business. (I imagine they did too). Of the three, only Harrison Ford rose to become a "star" in the movie business. While we may never understand Fate’s whims, I have to think some of his success came about because he was the oldest, had already experienced several setbacks, and was therefore the hungriest.
Perhaps there’s a lesson there for all of us.
Gazing back in time,
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