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“Operation Firefly”

S1 E3

Production 40016
Original Airdate: 01 February, 1974
SMDM 103 Firefly Oscar Steve Laser
Oscar briefs Steve on the wireless laser
Produced by
Sam Strangis & Donald R. Boyle
Written by
Sy Salkowitz
Directed by
Reza Badiyi
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Pamela Franklin as Susan Abbott
Simon Scott as Samuel Abbott
Jack Hogan as John Belson
Joe Kapp as Frank
Vic Mohica as Eddie
Joseph Ruskin as Le Duc
Erik Holland as Ed Rawlins
Bill Conklin as Hobbs
Margarita Cordova as Desk Clerk
Broadcast Order
Season 1
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"Survival of the Fittest" "Day of the Robot"


It is feared that the inventor of a revolutionary wireless laser, Dr. Samuel Abbott, has been kidnapped. Steve Austin travels to El Capote, Spain to meet with his daughter, Susan, who is gifted with extra sensory perception (ESP). Susan senses that her father is being held in the Florida Everglades. On their way to the Madrid airport, an attempt is made to kill both Susan and Steve but they survive and eventually arrive in Florida. Meanwhile Oscar Goldman receives a visit from a representative of the kidnappers confirming that Dr. Abbott is indeed being held prisoner and seeking a ransom.

In the Everglades Steve and Susan begin their search but during their first night there they are attacked by four men. This results in the death of their local guide and the loss of their boat. The following day, in a canoe made from a log, they manage to continue their search. Susan is lucky to survive an attack by a crocodile with Steve coming to her rescue. Eventually they locate Dr. Abbott in a large house but they quickly discover that he has been tricked into believing that the kidnappers, the leader of which is an old friend of his, are his protectors and that Steve has been sent to kill him. Steve is imprisoned but soon escapes and removes a vital part from the wireless laser that Dr. Abbott has been working on. When the laser explodes during a test, the leader of the kidnappers is infuriated and hits Dr. Abbott. Now realising the truth about his captors, Steve, Susan and Dr. Abbott finally manage to escape.

Memorable Quotes[]

Susan: Mr. Austin, are you trying to pick me up?
Steve: No, but..
Susan: Then why don't you go and take a tour of a Moorish Castle, and take Mr. Goldman with you, huh?

Susan: Hey, how did you stop the cab?
Steve: Well, by ruining my best pair of boots.

Oscar: You must have the wrong office, you want the purchasing office, Mr. Le Duc.

Steve: You know the thing about canoes is that they tip over easily, especially homemade ones.
Susan: What happens if it sinks?
Steve: Well you'll be the first to know!

Big Frank: What's going on, Boss?
Steve: Well, I'm not sure, it could be trouble.
Big Frank: Hey, then I can really start earning my money. I'm a good fighter. They don't get up when I get through.
Steve: I appreciate your offer, Frank, but it won't be that kind of trouble. They'll have guns.

Abbott: Susan, I've licked it. After all these years, the laser works perfectly!

Susan: How did you get free?
Steve: It's an old Indian trick.

Abbott: Where are Belson and his men?
Steve: Well, as soon as you can prove you're the real Dr. Abbot, I'll be happy to explain.
Susan: (laughs) I think you had that coming, dad.
Abbott: (demure) Yes...

Abbott: Well don't tell me that you have a background in biocanical electronics?
Steve: Oh, I've snuck into a few classes here at MIT, professor.
Oscar: Steve has taken advanced science classes at other universities as well, doctor.
Abbott: Him? I thought he was a football player?
Oscar: That too.

Steve: (feigning ESP) I just saw... a bottle of wine, flickering candles and an incredibly beautiful sunset.
Susan: I really like your visions.
Steve: You do? (she nods) Well, lets go.


  • Steve plays the Spanish guitar. He says he only knows a few chords.
  • To account for knowing that the removal of a transistor would make the laser projector blow up, Steve tells Abbott that he has "snuck into" a few classes at MIT. Oscar adds that he has taken advanced science classes at other universities as well. (See Nitpicks below)
  • Abbott remarks that he thought Steve was a football player. This is the first of several references to football in The Six Million Dollar Man, and a probable in-joke reference to Lee Majors' real-life interest in the sport. He'll later direct the football-themed episode "One of Our Running Backs Is Missing."
Sound Effects[]
  • This episode settles on the sound effect for Steve's bionic eye. The sound had previously been used in the pilot movies, The Six Million Dollar Man and Wine, Women and War to indicate the operation of various background technology.
Visual Effects[]
SMDM 103 Firefly Bionic Eye Gunman
  • This episode introduces the signature visual effect for Steve's use of his bionic eye — although it is not used consistently. First, we see a close-up of Steve's eye, followed by a zooming POV shot. The POV shot features a reticle overlay of centered black crosshairs, framed by four black lines. This setup is used twice while Steve and Susan traverse the Everglades. But in two instances the effect is slightly different: in the teaser when Steve's uses his eye to examine the laser at MIT, the zoom effect happens before the eye is activated. And later, near the end of the episode when Steve spots the laser at the cottage, the sound effect and zoom are present but no reticle.


  • The house where Dr. Abbott is being held hostage is the Queen Anne Cottage located on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California. It was seen weekly in the opening titles of the television show, Fantasy Island.
  • Although the location of Dr. Abbott's lab is never mentioned, presumably it's where Steve and Oscar examine his prototype laser in the teaser, the establishing shot of which is stock footage of MIT. Later, Steve, Oscar, Susan, and Abbott will end the episode there, whereupon Steve will mention that he has "snuck into" a few classes.


  • When the cab driver bails from the sabotaged car with Steve and Susan inside, he leaves the driver's door open. But in the next shot, it's closed.
  • The black car that goes off the cliff and explodes is not the same taxicab (a Checker Marathon) from which Steve and Susan just escaped. Furthermore, it doesn't have any taxi markings.
  • When Susan falls into quicksand, she is covered in mud up to her thighs. The very next scene, her jeans are clean and mud-free.
  • Sounds of jungle animals are used for background in the Florida Everglades.


  • When nearing the house where Dr. Abbott is being held, Steve looks off to his left with his bionic vision, but his POV camera angle appears to zoom in on the river bank to his right.
  • The depth of quicksand into which first Susan, then Belson and his men, fall is probably unrealistic. Also, it may stretch credulity to believe that people who had been living around quicksand for any period of time would have reacted as Belson and his men do.
  • To account for his knowledge of the inner workings of the laser, Steve tells Abbott that he has "snuck into" a few classes at MIT and Oscar adds that he has also attened advanced science classes at other universities. They play this exchange wryly, which only adds to its inexplicable nature in downplaying the fact that Steve is actually a very intelligent USAF colonel and astronaut for whom math and science are generally an expertise. Moreover, in the teaser, Steve uses his bionic eye to zoom in on what could be a prototype transistor and therefore he knew to remove its counterpart in the test model. The wry exchange between Steve and Oscar may be an attempt to forestall any suspicion about his supernatural abilities. But since Susan has been exposed to all manner of bionic feats, the effort seems a moot.

Podcasts (External Links)[]