The Fall Guy (1981–1986)
|Creator||Glen A. Larson|
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Comedy|
|Content Rating||TV-14 (TV-14)|
|Awards||1 win & 1 nomination.|
|Company||20th Century Fox Television, Glen A. Larson Productions|
The Fall Guy
The Fall Guy is an American action/adventure television program produced for ABC and originally broadcast from November 4, 1981, to May 2, 1986. It starred Lee Majors, Douglas Barr, and Heather Thomas as Hollywood stunt performers who moonlight as bounty hunters.
Lee Majors plays Colt Seavers, a Hollywood stunt man who moonlights as a bounty hunter. He uses his physical skills and knowledge of stunt effects (especially stunts involving cars or his large GMC pickup truck) to capture fugitives and criminals. He is accompanied by his cousin and stuntman-in-training Howie Munson (Barr), who studied in Nashville - whom Colt frequently calls "Kid", and occasionally by fellow stunt performer Jody Banks (Thomas).
Guitarist and lead singer of The Diamonds, Dave Somerville, had been asked by television executives to develop a song for TV series based on the life of an anonymous stuntman. Although the original show never went forward, a year later when asked to vacation with his friend Glen A. Larson at Larson's holiday home in Hawaii, the only original song Somerville had in his guitar case was the same song. Larson had also been trying to develop a TV show about stuntmen, and on hearing the song began developing his idea. On their return to Los Angeles, Larson and Somerville pitched the idea to ABC Studios, opening their pitch with Somerville playing the song on his guitar, now called The Ballad Of The Unknown Stuntman. Just on the five minute pitch alone, ABC Studios agreed that Larson could write a fully funded pilot show.
Whilst writing the pilot, Larson met actor Lee Majors in an airport terminal. Looking for a new project post the Larson-produced Six Million Dollar Man, Majors agreed to take on the lead role in the pilot. The series became known from the pilot onwards for its frequent cameos by Hollywood celebrities, and the occasional in-joke referring to Majors' previous starring role in The Six Million Dollar Man. The pilot featured a cameo appearance by his then-wife Farrah Fawcett and his friend James Coburn. In the series, due to Majors' pending divorce, Larson cast actress Heather Thomas in the Fawcett role, having previously cast her in other pilot shows at Universal Studios. Seavers' house was built on a studio backlot, but its design was based on Somerville's real house which still exists today in the Hollywood hills, which had an outside bathtub.
During the first-season episodes, typically, an episode begins with a voice-over introduction from Majors (in his role of Seavers) explaining the precarious life of a Hollywood stuntman, and how he, Seavers, is unable to make a full-time living from stunt work and must moonlight as a bounty hunter. This is intercut with actual Hollywood stock footage from various eras of dangerous movie stunts, such as an exploding plane plunging straight into the ground, a motorcycle jumping through a flaming hoop, and a biplane crashing/barnstorming into a barn. After the voice-over introduction, the crew is seen performing a stunt for a film or TV series when Seavers is then assigned to finding, for example, a man who has skipped bail. His case turns out to be more complicated than it first seemed. In the course of dealing with the villains, Seavers performs a stunt similar to the one shown at the beginning of the show. Seavers's voice-over narration was dropped from the second season onward.
- Lee Majors as Colt Seavers
- Douglas Barr as Howie "Kid" Munson
- Heather Thomas as Jody Banks
- Jo Ann Pflug as Samantha "Big Jack" Jack (1981–82)
- Markie Post as Terri Shannon / Michaels (1982–1985)
A board game adaptation based on the show was released by Milton Bradley in 1981.
A comic strip adaptation was drawn by Jim Baikie for Look-In magazine.
On June 5, 2007, 20th Century Fox released the first season of The Fall Guy on DVD in Region 1. As with a number of other TV shows of the era released on DVD, the 6-disc set contains extensive music substitutions due to copyright reasons (as well as completely editing out the sequences with actor/singer Paul Williams, in the Pilot). Due to poor sales it is unknown if the remaining seasons will be released.
Season 1 was released on DVD in Region 2 in Germany and the UK. Season 2 has also been released in Region 2, in Germany on November 28, 2008 and in the UK on February 16, 2009.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2 (UK)||Region 2 (Germany)|
|The Complete First Season||23||June 5, 2007||June 25, 2007||January 14, 2008|
|The Complete Second Season||23||N/A||February 16, 2009||November 28, 2008|
The highest rating is in bold text.
The series intros were composed mainly by both scenes from the TV series as well from risk scenes taken from films that dated before 1981.
In Season 1, the montage of scenes were borrowed from the films Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, The Stunt Man, Silver Streak, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Hot Rock, Our Man Flint, The Poseidon Adventure, Speedway and Sky Riders. And exclusively for the Season 1 opening narration; Singin' in the Rain, The Blue Max, Race with the Devil and Moving Violation. Also included archive footages from stunt shows made in the 1930s.
Following Season 2, a few of the borrowed movie risk scenes were replaced by stunt scenes from the TV Series.
Seavers's truck was a Rounded-Line 1981 GMC K-2500 Wideside with the Sierra Grande equipment level package. A Rounded-Line 1980 GMC K-25 Wideside with the High Sierra equipment level package was also used. During the show's initial series the stunts took their toll on the modified production trucks, supplied at low cost to the production by General Motors, so several different years, makes (Chevy/GMC) and models were used during the show's initial run. As a result, there are some inconsistencies in the episodes.
From the second season onwards, General Motors supplied three specially adapted trucks for the stunt sequences, with the engine moved to a mid-chassis position immediately under the cab seat. This meant that these trucks flew further and pitched less in the air, allowing them to be reused for multiple takes and shows
At the end of the series, the remaining trucks were either auctioned or given away in a contest. One of them was sold on eBay in 2003.
In July 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that a film based on the series was in development. DreamWorks has teamed up with producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald on the project. Martin Campbell was in talks to direct the film. DreamWorks, through Disney's Touchstone Pictures distribution label, will release the film in North America, Latin America, Russia, Australia and Asia, while Mister Smith Entertainment will handle sales in the remaining territories. In September 2013, Dwayne Johnson was in negotiations to play the title role and McG was in talks to direct.