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Twenty-years ago in 1986, the Post-Walt Disney Co. used its regular Sunday night "The Wonderful World of Disney" on ABC to showcase a number of failed pilots of dubious creative distinction. Several of them stand out in my memory, including "Mr. Boogedy" and one called "Northstar" about an astronaut (played by Greg Evigan of "B.J. and The Bear" and "My Two Dads" fame) who gained super powers from sunlight through a freak cosmic accident. Of most importance to me, however, is the move called "I-Man," starring Scott Bakula in the title role. To the best of my knowledge, "I-Man" aired only once before disappearing into the black-hole of un-produced pilots.

"I-Man" was about a regular guy who was granted super-human powers of self-healing through a freak accident not-too far removed from the origin story of Daredevil or those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The only hitch in his alien-induced Wolverine healing trick is that perfect darkness is now fatal for him. Figuring that complete darkness is so rare that he has little to worry about for the rest of his unnatural life span, I-Man, short for Indestructible Man, naturally, decides to turn his powers to the unselfish causes of truth, justice, and American television.

Soon, I-Man has been discovered spying for the U.S. government, as was his wont to do, and is captured by the stereotypical dastardly rich villain. He finds himself (in true super-spy tradition) invited to breakfast with the villain and his co-conspirator, the treacherous she-spy turned traitor who was responsible for the revelation to the enemy of I-Man's amazing powers (by stabbing him in the arm with a knife!). When asked how he likes his eggs prepared, I-Man responds with a snarl towards his former comrade, "Benedict, as in Benedict Arnold!"

At this point in the dialogue, I, a 10 year-old boy, laughed and said something to the effect of, "he's angry that she stabbed him in the arm." My father wasted little time in correcting me with the observation that I-Man was not disappointed in being stabbed but rather upset that the enemy was now aware of his super-secret healing factor. Of course, my father was right, which I realized as the words were leaving his mouth.

Eventually, I-Man escapes the enemy's pitch-black death-trap, discovers that the she-spy turned traitor is only pretending to be a traitor and has been revealing information to the enemy so that she can pretend to be a double agent and learn the enemy's secrets (I'm sure that this tactic makes a lot of sense to women), and discovers that his son has the same healing powers that he does just in time for a happy ending.

But none of that last bit is really important, and I couldn't tell you what happened during the final portion of that film if my life depended on it.

Man, do I HATE to be wrong.

(On a related side-note, eggs Benedict were not named for Benedict Arnold, as this show would have impressionable young viewers believe. Instead, they appear to be named for nineteenth-century New York City native Lemuel C. Benedict.)

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To be continued...

 

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