Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Science Fiction, Transhumanism

Childhood Science Fiction: Television (Part 7)

A few more of the science fiction television influence in my preteen years. This time around we encounter invisible men and secret agents with superpowers.

David_McCallum_Melinda_Fee_Craig_Stevens_The_Invisible_Man_1975The Invisible Man  (1975)

This was my first encounter with the actor, David McCallum, having been a little two young to see him reprise his role as Russian agent, Illya Kuryakin, in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. My next encounter was him playing Steel in Sapphire and Steel mentioned back here.

Here McCallum plays Daniel Westin, as scientist who is turned invisible by the experiments he is performing on objects, animals, and ultimately himself. Westin dons a skinlike dermaplex mask and gloves to interact with the regular world, and has a variety of ‘adventures’ that don’t necessarily form part of a wider story arc. I remember as a child being quite moved by some of the episodes. The pilot and the series pay homage to H.G. Wells original 1897 novel, The Invisible Man, in a variety of ways.


GeminiThe Gemini Man (1976)

This was a series that continued the idea of the invisible man, and was developed by NBC to replace The Invisible Man series mentioned above with a cheaper series. All I can remember was that the hero, for me, were not the human actors but the supercool digital watch that measured how long the hero could stay invisible without negative side-effects. This was one of several TV series pitched to compete with The Six Million Dollar Man.

Around this time I remember my parents getting me a Dick Smith digital watch kit that you assembled yourself. I had two of these – the first with glowing red LEDs, and the second with a more modern LCD display. I remember pouring over LV Martin catalogues as new watches came out, with the ultimate watch being one like the one below.



championsThe Champions (1968-69)

This was regular viewing in the evenings while eating fish and chips for dinner on the couch. 30 episodes of this British series, where a group of secret agents crash in the Himalayas, are rescued by people from a mysterious civilisation (Shangri La?), have their injuries tended to, and their physiology enhanced (tranhumanist-style?). With their additional mental and physical powers (which they keep secret), they continue their missions for Nemesis, a UN law enforcement agency. Overall, a good watch.

The opening titles

Here in this clip, Craig encounters one of this mystical Himalayan dwellers and discovers a little about the implications of this. Watching Marvel’s Iron Fist and Doctor Strange television and films (and reading the comics) seemed like deja vu having watched this as a child.