Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nostalgia Theater: The Fall Guy -- Remembering the Unknown Stuntman

One of my favorite regular diversions here in Nostalgia Theater has been to shoot BBs at producer Glen A. Larson's execrable TV output from the '70s through the '90s. From Automan to Night Man, with a touch of Highwayman tossed in, it's been a good run. And while I'm sure there will be plenty more entries like that in the weeks and months ahead, this isn't one of those times. No, this week we look at a Larson excursion that actually executed a decent concept fairly well: The Fall Guy. I've joked previously about Larson seemingly coming up with his titles first, concepts second, and while I have no idea if that happened here, if it is, it actually kinda-sorta worked.

Marking a return to series TV for actor Lee Majors after playing The Six Million Dollar Man in the '70s, The Fall Guy debuted in November 1981 and starred Majors as Colt Seavers, movie stuntman by day, bounty hunter by night. Every episode, Seavers, with assistant Howie Munson (Douglas Barr), would put his Hollywood-honed skills to use while tracking down baddies in his friggin' indestructible GMC truck. It's a deceptively simple, tailor-made for TV idea in the A-Team vein. And while it didn't have an especially ambitious reach, it hit its bar all the same.

Here's the title sequence, with embarrassingly catchy "The Unknown Stuntman" theme tune written by Larson and sung by Majors:


Welp, that's gonna be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. The Fall Guy lasted a not-unimpressive five seasons, ending its run in Spring '86 with 112 episodes under its belt. Although we don't see very much in the way of reruns today, as of a few years ago a big screen adaptation was in the works, with Casino Royale (and *ahem* Green Lantern) director Martin Campbell attached. Don't know if there's been any movement on the project since, but this really does seem like a premise that would translate perfectly to the big screen -- I just hope they find a way to keep that theme song! You can buy the first season on DVD here, or watch the extended pilot episode of the show via Hulu below:

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