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“The Secret of Bigfoot”

S3 E16

Production 43027
Original Airdate: February 1, 1976
Der 6-Millionen-Dollar-Mann - S03E16 - Bigfoot Und Die Ausserirdischen - Teil 1.avi 001480880
The Sasquatch
Produced by
Kenneth Johnson
Written by
Kenneth Johnson
Directed by
Alan Crosland
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Stefanie Powers as Shalon
Severn Darden as Apploy
André the Giant as Bigfoot
Hank Brandt as Ivan Bekey
Penelope Windust as Marlene Bekey
Donn Whyte as Tom Raintree
Charles Cypher as Faler
Ford Lile as Captain
Chuck Bowman as Guard
Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers
Broadcast Order
Season 3
← Previous Next →
"Hocus-Pocus" "The Secret of Bigfoot (Part II)"
Related episodes
The Secret of Bigfoot (Part II)
The Return of Bigfoot
The Return of Bigfoot (Part II)
Bigfoot V
For the novel published in the UK under this title, see The Secret of Bigfoot Pass.

"The Secret of Bigfoot" is one of the best-known storylines in the history of The Six Million Dollar Man. It is in this two-part episode that Steve Austin first encounters the legendary Bigfoot and the alien visitors he protects.


Steve Austin and Oscar Goldman are in a remote region of the California mountains as part of a team working with high tech earthquake sensors. When two geologists - Ivan and Marlene Bekey - disappear in mysterious circumstances tracks of the legendary wild beast called Sasquatch or Bigfoot are found nearby. Ivan is soon found safe but in a state of shock. However, there is no sign of Marlene. When Bigfoot later attacks the team's base camp Steve pursues and fights with the beast unaware that he is being monitored by aliens who are living in a nearby mountain. During the fight one of Bigfoot's arms becomes detached revealing that it is not an animal but some form of robot. Bigfoot flees (complete with the removed arm!) and Steve follows it into a cave. This turns out to be inside the mountain occupied by the aliens and Steve is soon rendered unconscious, captured and analysed by them.

When he awakes, Steve learns from Shalon - a female alien - that Bigfoot was built and controlled by the aliens to protect them. The earthquake sensor team had been attacked as they had identified a volcanic vent that powered the alien colony. Meanwhile Oscar learns that a major earthquake is predicted along the main San Medrian fault line within the next few hours which jeopardises all the Californian west coast cities. Only a controlled underground nuclear explosion to trigger a smaller man made earthquake along a smaller tributary fault line will prevent the main earthquake from happening. Oscar authorises this knowing that Steve and Marlene are still missing in the area concerned and will be at serious risk from the explosion and subsequent earthquake.


"The Secret of Bigfoot" was adapted as a novel by Mike Jahn, who made some changes to the storyline -- including changing the ending -- in order to bring the book within the literary continuity of Martin Caidin. Specifically, in the novelization the aliens' attempt to erase Austin's memory at the end plays out differently: while they are successful in the TV version (and the return appearance of Bigfoot later has to address his loss of memory), in the novel Austin's artificial skull (a bionic replacement not seen in the TV series but featured in Caidin's version) prevents this from happening. Austin's disposition towards the aliens is also considerably more hostile (particularly after the failed memory wipe) than in the episode. As a result, not only does Steve remember, he immediately tells Oscar all about it, rendering the novelization incompatible with the later "The Return of Bigfoot" storyline.

The novel's original US edition carries the modified title The Secret of Bigfoot Pass, but the UK edition carries the same title as the episode. Why the word "Pass" is added is unclear, given that neither the episode nor the book actually refer to a geographic location by this name.


  • A scene from this episode was recreated for the 2004 telefilm, Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Charlie's Angels', with Ben Browder playing Lee Majors and John DeSantis playing Bigfoot (but not André the Giant).



Ivan Bekey: Say lady, how would you like to spend a second honeymoon? Right here. There's nobody around for forty miles.
Marlene Bekey: Discipline, Dr. Bekey. You're here as a geologist, not a husband.
Ivan Bekey: And you, Dr. Bekey, are a slavedriver.

Oscar Goldman: (looking at a giant footprint) What is it, a mountain lion?
Steve Austin: No, it's too big. What do you think, a huge grizzly, Tom?
Tom: No. No, not a cat. Not a grizzly.
Oscar Goldman: Well, what is it?
Tom: There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Apploy: (looking down at Steve Austin) He's by far the most interesting man we've seen.

Jaime Sommers: (on phone in classroom) Your office told me that you and Steve were in the California Mountains. I, eh, what are you doing, fishing?
Oscar Goldman: (on other line, on location) I wish we were fishing.

Shalon: You're really very special, Colonel Austin. Are there many more of you?
Steve Austin: ...Yes, there's a whole army of us.
Shalon: (sensors start beeping) Now Colonel, you and I both know that's not true, don't we?


Sm bigfoot1

Behind the scenes with Lee Majors and André the Giant on the set of The Secret of Bigfoot.

Bionic Ability[]
  • Steve displays a unique ability in this episode. After he rips Bigfoot's arm off and pursues him into the cave, his way is blocked by a false wall. Austin looks at the wall and as an electronic sound effect is heard, the portion of the wall that opens up begins to glow. Although it's possible that this is a presentation of Austin's infrared vision capability, by this point in the series the usual presentation of this was a red-filtered version of the usual crosshairs which followed the usual close-up of Austin's eye; this does not occur in this instance. Part 2 also features an unusual use of the bionic eye.
  • The alien explorers have developed a technology called nyosynthetics that is an advanced form of bionics.
  • Particular details on how nyosynthetics are more advanced than bionics are limited.  Shalon notes that the power source for synthetics is anti-matter rather than nuclear power.  The anti-matter substance used in nyosynthetics is called mergeron by the aliens.
  • Sasquatch is a native of the alien's homeworld.  According to Apploy, he is a lower form of life than the aliens.  For unknown reasons, Shalon has equipped Sasquatch with nyosynthetic enhancements. 
  • Jaime Sommers briefly appears in this episode when she telephones Oscar from her classroom in Ojai to find out how Steve is. Short clips from the episode The Bionic Woman are also shown during the aliens' investigation of Steve's memory. According to Kenneth Johnson's DVD commentary, Jamie's scene was added at the last minute to stretch a script that was running short; Johnson says the scene was shot soon after Lindsay Wagner returned to work after recovering from the automobile accident that left her with a lip scar. This is actually one of the only occasions (possibly the only occasion) in which a crossover occurred without the actor receiving a "special guest appearance" credit at the start of the episode; indeed, Wagner receives no screen credit at all.
  • The memory probe includes clips from (in this order) Population Zero; The Bionic Criminal; Dr. Wells Is Missing, and The Bionic Woman.
  • When the alien scientists are examining Steve Austin, they speak English, but use scientific jargon that is unique to their technology.  These terms and their possible meaning include:
    1. Eunasic - a diagnostic test.
    2. Cellical Attachment - unknown meaning.  The aliens are impressed that Austin's bionic eye has no sign of cellical attachment.
    3. Intramuscular Caladentic Response - this was a test of the crushing strength of Austin's bionic hand.  For the test, Austin was made to squeeze an iron bar.  The pressure was measured in Latts.  Austin's limit was 68.4 Latts.
    4. Visual Macrodamics - an advanced eye exam.
    5. Opticon Scolometer - one of the instruments used during the eunasic.
    6. Ventricular Probe - unknown.
    7. Neuroeunasic Scan - a process by which the aliens can read the memories of a subject and translate them to images on a viewing screen.
  • According to The Bionic Book, Stefanie Powers was at one point a candidate to play Jamie Sommers. Johnson affirms this on his DVD commentary.
  • For this episode a unique set was utilized -- a rotating ice tunnel. At the time it was a brand new addition to the Universal Studios Tour called The Glacier Avalanche and was inspired by the Clint Eastwood picture The Eiger Sanction (1975). It remained an integral part of the tour for over twenty years and can be glimpsed in The A-Team episode 'Steel', the Knight Rider episode 'Fright Night' and the 1985 movie Misfits of Science. In 1997 the ice tunnel was renovated to become the Dante's Peak volcano and again in 2001 to tie in with Universal's The Mummy film franchise. It then became part of a tomb the tour passed through. It now has a tan-colored surface with no backlighting. Johnson, in the DVD featurette "The Search for Bigfoot", recalls that he incorporated the ice tunnel into his script, and had to convince a dubious studio official that the ice tunnel wouldn't need to be built from scratch as it already existed on the studio tour.
  • Many of the outdoor scenes in this episode were filmed in Franklin Canyon Park, according to producer Kenneth Johnson in his commentary on the 2010 US video release.
  • As of fall 2011, the precise filming location, which was the Lower Franklin Canyon reservoir, is no longer open to the public. The lower reservoir has been re-engineered, and lined, so that it no longer has the original wilderness look to it. The upper reservoir is still accessible and unspoiled. It is a lush secluded place loaded with wildlife.
  • The plaster cast of Bigfoot's footprint is an actual cast of Andre the Giant's size 24 foot.  The heel has been extended a few inches, but according to Kenneth Johnson on the DVD commentary, the rest of the casting is unaltered.
  • Kenneth Johnson had two plaster casts made.  One of those was used in the pilot of The Incredible Hulk television series. 
  • This is the second time that Steve Austin and the OSI have been involved in the installation of earthquake sensors.  About a year earlier, Steve was assisting Dr. Louis Craig and Sharon Ellis in setting earthquake sensors in the Caribbean near the country of Santa Ventura. (Act of Piracy)
  • The reason for OSI's involvement in the installation of earthquake sensors around the San Madrian is the use of classified components in the earthquake sensing apparatus.
  • Steve Austin is unclothed by the curious alien scientists for the "eunasic exam."  However, at one point when the camera cuts away from the aliens and back to a close-up of Austin, he is wearing his khaki shirt again.  Then in the next cut-away scene he is unrobed on the exam table wearing only the gold towel.
International Release[]
  • This two-part episode was released as a theatrical film in many parts of Europe, North America (Mexico), and South America.


Visual Effects[]
  • When the aliens observe Austin's actions on their view screen, the image they view shows him moving in slow-motion, even though they move at full speed. They should be viewing Austin moving at full speed, although it's possible their viewscreen was calibrated to slow down the action for ease of viewing.
  • The same "magic viewscreen" is used to scan Austin's memory in such a way that not only can they view a third-person view of some of Austin's past exploits, but also views of things Austin could never have seen, such as the interior of the van he destroys with the "concrete javelin" in "Population Zero".
  • Steve jumps across a body of water but lands just short of the bank, getting quite wet. In the next shot, he is dry.
  • While probing Austin's memory, the aliens view Austin bionically running with Jaime Sommers, yet despite their predilection for commenting on Austin's bionics, this potential bombshell (that there are more like Austin) passes without comment other than Shalon showing a bit of jealousy. (Although later on Shalon does call Steve on his lie that there is "a whole army" of bionic men, which may be related to only one other being shown in his memory; that said, one might have expected the aliens to have also found memories of Barney Hiller, which might have actually supported Austin's claim, given there would now be evidence of two other bionic humans). The later "The Return of Bigfoot (Part II)", however, suggests they may not have realized that Jaimie is also bionic; in the original episode featuring the running footage, Steve notes that Jaime was not running at full speed, only about 35 mph. While still faster than most normal humans can achieve, the aliens may not have been aware of this given evidence of Steve's full power; in the later episode Jaime is running at full speed when she is observed.
  • For once, however, the recurring issue involving third parties viewing bionic action in the same slow motion seen by the audience is actually addressed in Part 2 when it's learned the aliens have the ability to affect how they perceive time.