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"Survival of the Fittest"

(Original air date 01/25/74)


After their plane crashes into the ocean, Steve, Oscar and other
passengers are stranded on a deserted island


Writer: Mann Rubin

Director: Leslie H. Martinson

On their way to their airport to catch a military plane to Washington, Steve and Oscar's car gets a flat. Unlike grumpy Oscar, Steve finds the incident rather amusing.

While Oscar gets the emergency tyre out of the trunk, Steve lifts the side of the car. Oscar pauses briefly to marvel at his friend's prowess. Although flattered by the compliment, Steve says: "When you're done admiring me, maybe you'll fix the tyre?"

Later, Oscar contacts the airfield to advise A. F. Lieutenant Ralph Cromwell (James McEachin) of their lateness. Cromwell informs him that the flight already took off, but that luckily they were two available seats on a charter plane.

Cromwell's partner in crime, Navy Commander Ted Maxwell (William Smith), is worried that the hitch might play havoc in their plans to assassinate Oscar Goldman.


As they settle aboard the plane, Oscar is getting restless of having to wait for a last-minute passenger. When Steve asks the reason for his edginess, Oscar remains mute.

During the bumpy flight, fellow passengers get acquainted: A. F. Officer Helen Machek (Laurette Spang) learns of PFC Robert Barris (Randall Carver) love for medicine. Although he dropped out of Med school, he likes to keep abreast of the recent research in the field.

As for civilian passenger Mona (JoAnne Worley), she confesses to A.F. Sergeant Roberts (W. T. Zacha) how she should have delayed her flight on her pilot husband's recommendation.


A thunderclap starts Oscar awake. When Steve insists on knowing the reason for his jumpiness, Oscar finally yields and confides that someone may be trying to kill him. He's had several meetings with Russian officials in the past few days regarding an important deal between the Soviets and the US, one that many would like to see fall through. To achieve that goal, they need to eliminate the biggest threat, namely himself.

When the thunderstorm intensifies, Stewardess Lieutenant Bobbie Colby (Christine Belford) urges the passengers to fasten their seatbelts, after which she loses consciousness when she bumps her head.


Steve takes over as a wave of panic runs through the emotionally-charged atmosphere. He calms an hysterical Barris before handing out the pillows and instructing the passengers to assume a crash position.


When the aircraft finally bucks to a halt, Steve uses his bionic arm to open the jammed hatch. He fires a signal flare into the air before helping the passengers leap into the ocean to an awaiting pneumatic canoe. Oscar reports the death of the pilot (Dick Valentine) and co-pilot (Jim Raymond).

Before jumping, Steve notices Cromwell coming out of the cargo room with a briefcase. He urges him to get out before the plane sinks.


The next morning, the passengers awake on a deserted island. When Oscar asks about Steve, Lt. Colby tells him that he went on a survey of the island.

Oscar meets with Steve in the marshes as he jumps down with a pouch slung over his shoulder, looking like a bionic Santa Claus dispensing food to the needy. With his hand, Steve severs two coconuts in two to indulge in a quick breakfast before heading down to the beach.


A few feet away, Cromwell and Maxwell set up their transmitter, acting as a beacon for their men to locate them before the rescue party does.

After distributing the food to the passengers, Steve stresses the importance to keep the fire ablaze in order for the rescue planes to spot their location from above. He outlines a list of chores and asks for anyone with medical training in order to relieve a tired Lt. Colby. Faced with Barris's reluctance to step forward, Helen volunteers.

She steps up to Steve to confide about Barris's medical training but that for some reason, he won't help. Barris confesses that he can't stand the sight of blood and panics easily, stating his little hysterical episode in the plane as a good example.


The humming sound of a plane above has everyone stand to attention. Eyes looking skywards, they spot an aircraft dropping boxes of supplies onto the beach, one being a radio-transmitter through which Steve and Oscar are informed that a submarine will be picking them up tomorrow morning.

A bit later, Steve makes himself useful by bringing the medical supplies to the women. When he enquires about Oscar's absence, Helen tells him that he was given a message asking him to meet somewhere in the island. Worried, Steve decides to look for him.


Steve finds Oscar dazed on the ground near a rattlesnake poised ready to sink its fangs into him. Steve takes off in a bionic sprint and with lightning speed, grabs the snake and smashes it against a rock.

It is now obvious that someone is attempting to Oscar's life, and that the assassins are on the island. They agree to camp out in the wild to avoid hurting any innocent bystander.

In the hush of the night, Cromwell and Maxwell sneak away quietly from the campsite, unaware that Sgt. Roberts is following them.


Well hidden behind a large boulder, Oscar catches some Zs while Steve mounts guard. When he hears some twigs crack, he goes investigate. He zooms in on Maxwell treading his way up with a gun in hand and goes after him. Meanwhile Oscar awakes and gets shot by Cromwell. Expecting to do the same to Steve, he accidentally shoots his partner instead.

When Steve returns to Oscar, he spots Sgt. Roberts and asks him to run back to the beach to get Lt. Colby.


She follows him to the scene of the crime. There, they meet with Cromwell who knocks Roberts unconscious, after which he instructs his silent partner to carry out the plan.

Meanwhile back on the beach, Helen discovers that Lt. Colby left without the bandages and asks Barris to bring them to her.


As Steve applies pressure on the wound, Lt. Colby comes up to examine the patient. After administering Oscar a sedative, she reaches into her medical bag for a second syringe. As she poises herself to inject the poison into Steve's neck, he grabs her wrist and wrestles for the lethal weapon. In the confusion, Cromwell accidentally shoots her. Steve picks up a rock and hurls it at Cromwell to get him out of commission.


Barris shows up in time to save Oscar's life. Steve urges him to perform emergency surgery, but the young man insists that the haemorrhage has to be stemmed before the bullet can be removed. After swearing Barris to secrecy on what he's about to witness, Steve cuts his right index finger to provide him with what he needs to cauterize the vein. The bleeding under control, Barris can now extract the bullet. He is grateful to Steve for giving him a renewed confidence in his medical skills.


A few hours later, Oscar is carried down on a stretcher to the awaiting canoe that will take him to the submarine.

Mona is happy but worries about her friends and family waiting for her back in New York. When Steve informs her that the plane was bound for Washington and not New York, she breaks into an hysterical laugh at the irony that she nearly got killed on the wrong flight.


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