Films featuring car chases and complex "stunts" have long been solid attractions at the box office. Notable examples are "Bullet" (1968) and the "french connection" (1971). But it wasn't until the late 70's that big budget, formula driven, Hollywood "stunt films" began to have massive box office appeal. "Smokey and the bandit" (1977) is probably the best known and most successful of the crop. "Bandit" director (and former stunt man) Hal Needham quickly followed his initial success with another Hollywood "stunt film" titled "Hooper" (1978) - A film that revolved around the life of a Hollywood stunt man.
TV producer, writer, and "Fall Guy" creator Glen Larson became quite famous for keeping a watchful eye on "big screen" successes and then, with a little ingenuity, creating small screen equivalents. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" became "Alias Smith & Jones", "Star Wars" became "Battlestar Galactica", "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Every Which way But Loose" became "B.J and the Bear" and "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo", and finally, "Hooper" (mixed with Steve McQueen's 1980 film "The Hunter") became "The Fall Guy".
The Fall Guy certainly wasn't the first series to use a "stunt driven" formula to attract viewers. "CHiPs" and "The Dukes of Hazzard" had already proven the formula by featuring stunt work in most of their episodes. But, before the "A-team" arrived, The "Fall Guy" featured the most outrageous and incredible stunt work on TV. In fact, when the A-Team finally DID arrive on TV (in 1983), an early advertising campaign was launched to make DIRECT claims that it was more action packed and had better "stunts" than "The Fall guy".
Beyond its ground breaking stunt work, the Fall Guy also featured a very likable cast. Lee majors was perfectly cast as stunt man "Colt Seavers", a role that afforded him the opportunity to prove that he was worth much more than "six million dollars". The series also has the distinction of introducing the world to the first "Heather" of the 80's. Not "Locklear", but "Thomas". For a brief moment in time, Heather Thomas was the most popular "babe" in all of America. A poster featuring Heather (wearing a blue bikini) became the biggest selling poster of its kind, even surpassing the record breaking sales of the now legendary 1970's "Farrah Fawcett" pinup.
One cannot also forget other such notable aspects of the series such as; The theme song is actually sung by it's star, Lee Majors. Singer "La Toya Jackson" made a guest appearance to perform her song "Hot Potato" (in 1984). The "other Heather" of the 80's (Heather Locklear) makes an appearance in episode number 23 ("Scavenger Hunt")!! The series also featured a pre-"night court" Markie Post as a regular cast member (1982-85)!
The first few seasons were fresh, sometimes funny, and quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, by the time of its cancellation in 1986, the series had become quite horrible. Once groundbreaking stunts were replaced by special effects that featured badly filmed miniatures and models (I kid you not!).
This series is a great piece of 80's nostalgia and will be enjoyable viewing for those looking for harmless, escapist entertainment. I sincerely hope the DVD release is not edited in any way and I'll be updating my review as soon as it's released!
I was a bit surprised at the retail price for the complete season one box-set, and that seperate "split volumes" of season one will ALSO be released. I'm a firm believer that the best way to generate the most DVD sales is to avoid the split volumes approach and simply release an entire season at a decent price.