The Fall Guy: The Complete First Season – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Created By:
Glen A. Larson

Cast:
Lee Majors….Colt Seavers
Howie Munson….Douglas Barr
Heather Thomas…Jody Banks
Jo Ann Pflug….Samantha “Big” Jack

Fox Home Video presents The Fall Guy: The Complete First Season. Twenty two episodes on 6 DVDs. Episodes aired from Nov. 4, 1981 to May 5, 1982. DVD released June 5, 2007.

The Show

“There are no second acts in American lives,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald. He would have eaten those words if he’d lived long enough to see the career of Lee Majors. In the sixties, he had become famous to TV audiences as the illegitimate Barkley brother on The Big Valley. When the ’70s arrived, Majors was rebuilt with technology to emerge as The Six Million Dollar Man. He proved to be ready for the ’80s when he dropped into The Fall Guy. In his third iconic role, Majors played Colt Seavers. He’s a big time stuntman in Hollywood. But the rehearsed dangerous work isn’t frequent enough to make Burt Reynolds’ bucks. In order to keep up payments on his outdoor bathtub, Colt works as a bounty hunter.

Colt doesn’t work alone in chasing down the fugitives. He’s joined by Jody Banks, a stunning stuntwoman. This blonde doesn’t look like she’s been been dragged behind too many horses. Somehow Colt isn’t doing a little bedroom bam-bam with Jody. That’s true movie magic. In the two-episode pilot (that played as a movie when the show debuted), Colt’s young cousin, Howie Munson, arrives in Los Angeles wanting to get into the lucrative stuntman game. He learns the unglamorous ways of the stunt trade in Tinseltown. He also gets clued into the secrets of being a bounty hunter. He is the student to Colt’s words of wisdom. Colt’s main outlaw retrieval employer is a woman that goes by “Big Jack.”

The show features plenty of stunts both on the backlots and the streets of Los Angeles. These aren’t just cheap sitcom level pratfalls; they deliver theatrical level thrills. The pilot episode has a helicopter dangling a car across the desert. Plus there’s always plenty of fight scenes. It does create a weirdness of reality when you see Lee Majors playing a stuntman for a major star, but during the stunt, you see a stuntman playing Lee Majors.

The pilot movie sets the tone for the series. Lee ends up having to hunt down Eddie Albert (Green Acres) when he skips town after running over a boy. Turns out Eddie is the sheriff of a county in Arizona that he also owns. He has no plans to return to Los Angeles to face the music. Colt has to trick him into leaving the county lines by claiming to be a movie producer. There’s also a subplot involving Lou Rawls as a country singer that’s tangled up with interstate drug dealers using Lou’s tour bus for mule purposes.

Buddy Hackett shows up as a homeless guy in “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harold.” He and his imaginary friend witness a judge being mowed down by two cops. Hackett’s dynamic work as a man with mental problems is completely overshadowed when Heather Thomas wears an electric blue bikini. You will be rewinding her swinging door entrance. Why isn’t this ranked on those “Greatest 100 Moments In TV History” lists? “Colt’s Angels” has Thomas decked out in Big Bad Biker Mama gear. The woman looks natural in a studded leather dog collar and tight black jeans. Colt and Howie on bikes look like they inspired Wild Hogs. Sid Haig plays one of the outlaw bikers. He looks like a true One-Percenter.

Jack Arnold directed “The Japanese Connection” in which Colt mixes it up with Tokyo mobsters in Hawaii. Arnold directed Creature From the Black Lagoon and The Incredible Shrinking Man. Sending Colt to Hawaii means the mandatory cameo by Mr. “Tiny Bubbles” himself, Don Ho. The big fight at the end involves Colt having a sword battle with the local Yakuza leader. It’s got more action than when the Brady Bunch hung out with Don Ho.

There’s no warning on the box that these episodes have been edited and have music replacements from the original broadcast versions. But it seems that this is the case. In the pilot, Paul Williams’ musical number has been clipped away. During “The Japanese Connection,” it seems like Don Ho should have performed on stage before the fight breaks out. It’s disappointing that the evils of music rights has caused great art to be compromised. Maybe not great art. This show is pure cheese, all the way to the core. Don’t expect a great profound experience after a day-long marathon session of the box set. The show does have historical significance since Major sports the first Hollywood superstar mullet. The rear part of his hair edges against his neck’s party line. It’s critical mullet mass for Colt. You’ll mostly be watching these Fall Guy episodes for the fantastic stunts and Heather Thomas’ fashion choices.

The Episodes

The first season included “The Fall Guy Pilot,” “The Meek Shall Inherit Rhonda,” “The Rich Get Richer,” “That’s Right, We’re Bad,” “Colt’s Angels,” “The Human Torch,” “The Japanese Connection,” “No Way Out,” “License to Kill (Part 1),” “License to Kill (Part 2), Goin’ for It,” “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harold,” “Soldiers of Misfortune,” “Ready, Aim, Die,” “Ladies on the Ropes,” “The Snow Job,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Town?,” “Child’s Play,” “Charlie,” “Three for the Road,” “The Silent Partner” and “Scavenger Hunt.”

The DVD

VIDEO:
The picture is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are clean with very little specks or dust. The flesh tones appear natural. Heather Thomas’ bikini still dazzles.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is Dolby Digital Mono. The levels are soft. You’ll probably have to notch it up to get a proper loudness. You don’t want to miss anything from the lips of Heather Thomas. The subtitles are in English and Spanish. The theme song is not given any subtitles.

EXTRAS:

Remembering The Fall Guy: An American Classic (14:03) gives us a sense of how the show was created. All the major players including Glen A. Larson, Lee Majors and Heather Thomas share their recollections in recent interviews. Larson points out that while a lot of producer were developing a stuntman based action show, the key to getting The Fall Guy onto network TV was the bounty hunting angle. Plus the show was created around the theme song.

The Unknown Stuntman: The Theme Song (4:25) has Lee Majors still amazed that his singing of the theme song hit #1 in Germany. Composer Jimmy Somerville performs the song in its entirety with his band. Who knew there was the line “I burned my britches for Liza?” How come no one sings this on American Idol?

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Fall Guy:
The Complete First Season
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

7
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

5
REPLAY VALUE

7
OVERALL
7
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
Back in the early 1980s, people used to argue about who was hotter – Heather Locklear or Heather Thomas. Rewatching these episodes of The Fall Guy, it’s easy to see that Heather Thomas was the right choice. She dresses up this boxset.