Original Airdate: November 8, 1974
Minonee tries to show Steve her star
Lionel E. Siegel and Joe L. Cramer
D. C. Fontana
Meg Foster as Minonee
Cliff Osmond as Bob Kemp
Donald Billett as Deputy Lohrman
Kurt Grayson as Deputy Cockrell
Lucas White as Deputy Packer
Jimmy Lydon as Dr. Waters
Robert Bruce Lang as 1st Technician
John Clavin as Project Director
Al Dunlap as Ed Hermon
Christopher Mears as Eymon
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Steve Austin is witness to a UFO at a launch site and, after being dismissed by the ATC and local law enforcement, pursues his own investigation.
Meanwhile, a family of explorers from outer space is marooned on Earth after their spacecraft malfunctions. They are unaware that because of their inherent radioactivity, their touch can do great physical harm to human beings, and vice-versa. They come into contact with humans and each time, both alien and human fall deathly ill.
As the police now believe killers are at large, the hunt intensifies. The alien "father" has the ability to create illusions, and throws off the police, but Steve's eye penetrates the illusion, and he splits off and discovers the alien family.
Steve, realizing that the interplanetary visitors have no hostile intentions, goes to their aid. Steve befriends the alluring Minonee, and while her brother, father, and mother die from their contact with humans, Minonee and Steve can touch without harm - with Steve's bionic hand.
Taking her to the launch site, Steve tears out valuable equipment from a lunar probe to make room for Minonee in order to send her back to her mother spacecraft. The spacecraft rounds the moon, but fails to appear on the "flip side"; the only signal acquired is a cryptic voice message from Minonee: "straight on til morning". Disappointment fills the control room, but Steve knows, thanks to the cryptic message, that Minonee is safe.
"Straight On 'Til Morning" is one of a handful of Six Million Dollar Man episodes to be adapted as a novel. The novelization was written by Mike Jahn, who combined the storyline of this episode with that of "The Rescue of Athena One" (another D. C. Fontana-written episode) for his book, which carried the title of the latter episode. See The Rescue of Athena One (novel).
Steve: Sheriff, I don't want to interfere with your business, but I heard last night you had a report of a UFO.
Sheriff: I didn't know UFO's were a specialty or yours, Colonel. I thought you tested planes and did all that space stuff.
Steve: Was your ship launched from a planet or a larger spaceship?
Minonee: A large spaceship.
Minonee: Out there, near Pluto's orbit. (points to the sky with two fingers)
Steve: (quoting J.M. Barrie) Second star to the right, straight on 'til morning.
Steve: Does the saving of one life mean anything to your people?
Minonee: Yes, a great deal.
Steve: Good. Yours is the one we're gonna save.
Oscar: I know what's been going on here.
Steve: Do you, Oscar?
Oscar: I know that four of them landed in a craft that came down at sea. I know that one of them died and disappeared. I know that if anyone touches them, they'll suffer extreme radiation burns and shock. And I know that we can't let any of them escape.
Oscar: Could you give us any information, any knowledge that your people may have accumulated?
Minonee: I've told him everything I know.
- While the basic concept of The Six Million Dollar Man was based on science fiction, this episode marked the first time the series veered into the "aliens and spaceships" aspect of the genre. Austin would encounter aliens on several more occasions as the series progressed.
- D.C. Fontana, the writer of this episode, was a regular staff writer on "Star Trek: The Original Series".
- Minonee's family, who are said to be the vanguard of a planned (but presumed aborted) exploration of Earth by her people, are only the first of a number of alien groups who will arrive on earth in the next few years (with, fortunately, less ill effect). These include Shalon's people in the Bigfoot stories (who, in fact, are already present on Earth at this time), and the aliens featured in "The Lost Island".
- The title of this episode is taken from the phrase "second to the right, and straight on till morning" from J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" and denotes the supposed directions to find Neverland. However, Steve quotes the more popular version from Walt Disney's 1953 animated film version, adding "star" to Peter's directions.
- Most of the aerial exterior shots of the space center - specifically those in a desert setting - are of the Rockwell International Assembly Facility in Palmdale, Calif. At the time of the episode's filming, the first space shuttle (Enterprise) was under construction there. The assembly facility is part of Air Force Plant 42, a 6,600-plus-acre site where multiple aerospace companies and NASA boast centers that have worked on such advanced aircraft as the B-2 bomber, F-117 stealth fighter and the Global Hawk. While the facility has superb aircraft runways, spacecraft cannot be launched from there, as shown in the episode. The facility would later be featured in the motion pictures "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" and "Moonraker" (as Drax's facilities).
- We learn that Steve spotted a similar UFO prior to his moonshot, which is said to have happened three years earlier. We learn this was a probe sent by Minonee's people in advance of a landing party.
- Despite being a spacefaring species, Minonee's people lack the necessary biological data from Earth's life forms (thus the fatal outcome for their landing party) despite the automated probe sent previously. This is very disappointing for such supposedly advanced visitors, despite their knowledge of English language, the name given to our system's planets, the Greek word "bionics" and some anthropological customs, such as their need to change their clothing to "blend in."
- Minonee's people (as stated by herself) are from Andromeda, that is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years (2.4×1019 km) from Earth in the Andromeda constellation. A common occurrence as an alien origin in science fiction, it's very unlikely that a sentient species would travel such a vast distance to our planet and then lose almost an entire crew in such an ill-planned mission.
- Minonee's people either have close-to-light-speed travel capability (most likely given their origin at 2.5 million light-years from Earth), allowing them to travel from beyond Pluto's orbit to rendezvous with her capsule in the few days that would have elapsed between her transmission and arrival behind the moon, or they had another craft closer to Earth, monitoning Minonee's mission (a very sensible precaution given the fate of their landing party).
- Oscar's initial near-mania over keeping Minonee for observation, and his ultimate decision to allow her to be sent away, is consistent with his maverick nature as previously seen in "The Pioneers".
- Yet another new function for the bionic eye is revealed - the ability to change wavelengths on the fly and detect false images, such as the projection of the alien family fleeing. For the first (and possibly the only) time, we see the eye change function from telescopic to infrared/multi-wavelength on the fly.
- Austin's arm is capable of absorbing radiation without ill effect to Austin or anyone nearby.
- Minonee's hair instantly goes from being tightly bound to loose between shots as she and Steve sneak through the launch facility. There is nothing showing her letting it down (nor, indeed, any real rationale for her to do so at this point).
- The alien's skin tone changes drastically between scenes almost in every shot.
- Minonee's brother's space suit is most likely the same one worn by the character David Tate in the episode "The Pioneers". Also, the aliens have cream colored top-sider canvas shoes in most shots, despite appearing with silver boots in their first scene, under the bridge.
- The bright display radar screen console that appears while Oscar and Steve are talking at the opening sequence isn't plugged. It just shows the diagnostic mode.
- When Steve rips open the electric fence, at one point he's shown holding the presumably-still-live chainlink with his left hand.
- While the script has a NASA controller acknowledging the change of weight, it's odd that the lack of several pieces of equipment (and on a spacecraft, nothing is extraneous) goes unnoticed.
- The footage of the large reddish boulder Minonee's brother tries to drop on Steve appears again a few minutes later when the brother tries to stop the police posse.
- Some of the same NASA stock audio used in "The Rescue of Athena One" (recognizable by someone calling out the words "Main stage!" and a count of 1-2-3 etc. after the launch commences) is heard again as the probe launches.