There are a great many science fiction shows from the eighties that I fondly remember today, although it has to be said that quite possibly some of them were possibly not as good as I recall.
For every Knight Rider or A Team there was a Manimal or, indeed, Automan, the subject of todays post. Where the former have had several repeat showings over the years, the latter have just not been shown as much.
Automan was about a police officer named Walter Nebicher (played by Desi Arnaz Jr., the son of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball of black and white sitcom I Love Lucy) who also happened to be a computer programmer. Despite the fact that the processing power of the computers Walter had available to him would have been a small fraction of todays normal PC, he still somehow managed to create an artificial holographic life form that helped him fight crime. This AI program was called the Automatic Man, or Automan for short.
Automan (played by Chuck Wagner) had a human head but spent most of the show with his body glowing blue and covered in a circuit board design. He had his own sidekick called Cursor, which was a little glowy ball of light that flitted around gathering information and generally adding a bit of comedy relief.
Cursor was actually incredibly useful though, as it could trace out an outline of any object and make it real. Cursor often created disguises for Automan himself, but also created Automan’s vehicles, which included a car (a glowing Lamborghini Countach joking refered to as the Auto Mobile), a helicopter and a ‘plane. The car was best remembered for it’s ability to take corners at 90 degrees, throwing the passengers about in the process (except Automan of course).
Automan also had the ability to withstand gunshots and walk through walls, given his holographic status, although he could also merge with Walter to allow him entry to places he wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
I certainly have fond memories of watching Automan on an early Saturday evening, and I hope I would still enjoy it as much were I be able to see a repeat of it today.
(Thanks for the image to Chuck Wagner himself, as I pinched it from his website!)