Site hosted by Build your free website today!

"Burning Bright"

(Original air date 04/12/74)


Steve is asked to vouch for the sanity of an astronaut friend
threatened out of the space program


Writer: Del Reisman

Director: Jerry London

During a space mission, astronaut Josh Lang (William Shatner) begins to hallucinate once he's plunged into a cosmic field.

Later back on earth, the head of the space exploration program, Calvin Billings (Quinn Redeker), replays the tape for Steve to get his views on the odd behavior. Steve admits to having lapsed into similar deliriums while in space but that contrary to Josh's they were short-lived. The doctor's diagnosis is one of a galvanic brain. Before Billings decides to expel Josh from the space program, Steve asks for some time to shed some light on the matter.

While doing routine exercises at Dr. Ted Haldane's (Warren Kimmerling) lab, Steve gets a call from Josh who gives him rendezvous at the grand aquarium.


Josh explains that the electro-magnetic field has somehow altered his mind, which is now swirling with new ideas and theories, hence the reason why he's longing to be in a peaceful place. Steve questions him about Andy, the name he kept mentioning while in space, but Josh has no idea who that might be.

As Steve and Billings argue over Josh's case, they receive a call saying that the madman is creating an uproar in the main control room. There, Josh begins to quote equations on the theory of the universe, and points out a glaring computer programming error in the next space project that needs to be addressed before the next launch.

Although everyone dismisses Josh's assertion as a mere figment of his imagination, Steve nonetheless asks Oscar to verify not only his friend's theory but the computer inaccuracy he implied.


Later, while out jogging with Steve, Josh is suddenly drawn to an electric pylon. Without any warning, he starts to climb, shouting to his imaginary friend, Andy, to hold on tight. Steve jumps up to reach Josh just as he accidentally touches a high-tension cable. Steve uses his bionic strength to sever it and gets Josh down to safety.

Once on the ground, Steve informs Josh that he has no choice but to report the incident, which will undeniably get him kicked out of the space program.


Feeling poorly for his friend who's now under heavy guard at the Army hospital, Steve combs Josh's file in a last-ditch attempt to find an answer to his irrational behavior.

Meanwhile at the hospital, Josh uses his mind powers to render the MP unconscious to thus switch places with him. When the second MP (Ron Stokes) comes by to relieve him of guard duty, Josh sneaks out with no one being the wiser.

Later, Steve's nose is still buried in the file when he gets a call from Dr. Haldane informing him of Josh's escape. Steve's asks that he hold off contacting the authorities until he has a chance to talk with him. Another MP (Chas. Floyd Johnson) hands him a note from Josh asking him to meet him at the special place where they are no phones and no worries, one that Steve translates as the grand aquarium.


Steve meets with Josh who informs him of his newly acquired telepathic ability than enables him to communicate with dolphins. He proves it by commanding the mammals to jump out of the water. He repeats the feat several times as he aims to persuade Steve that dolphins are the key to the mysteries of the universe, and therefore should travel to outer space.

Though reluctant, Steve submits the suggestion to Billings who flatly rejects it. Steve himself sadly comes to the realization that Josh is off the latch. As he leaves the office, Josh enters. With a defiant stance, Josh insists that dolphins will be part of the next space mission. Billings sneers and reaches for the phone to alert security, but Josh uses his mind powers to render him unconscious.


On his way up to his office, Oscar runs into Steve and tells of the veracity of Josh's findings. The two head up the stairs to Billings's office where they are informed of Josh's lunacy. Steve asks Oscar for a few hours to find his friend before he notifies the authorities. He picks up the file to get Ernesto Azzura's address, the beneficiary of an insurance policy.

Steve travels to Josh's hometown to meet with Azzura (Rodolfo Hoyos) who tells him of his young son Andy's death. He was electrocuted while climbing a high-voltage tower and to this day, his friend Josh has shouldered the guilt for not being able to save him.


Josh drops by a roadside diner where a deputy sheriff (Joseph di Reda) spots him. When he blocks his way, Josh unwillingly kills him when his powers reach a peak.

Shortly after, Steve and Oscar arrive on the scene of the crime. Steve questions the waitress Millie (Mary Rings) who tells him that Josh did mention the name of Andy before he fled.


Steve finds a demented Josh balancing on a beam atop an electric pylon. He jumps up and just as he edges up to his ailing friend, Steve is stricken when Josh's powers become uncontrollable.


Steve loses his balance and nearly falls off the beam. With the aid of his bionic arm, he manages to hoist himself back on the beam just as Josh's brain shuts down.


Back at the OSI, Steve grieves the lost of Josh. Despite how things turned out, he commends Billings's fortitude for not kowtowing to a madman's demand.

Outside, Steve looks up at the sky to bid a last farewell to his friend.


Return to Episode Guide     Return to Homepage