"Danny's Inferno"

(Original air date 01/23/77)


Steve investigates a new source of energy accidentally created by a young scientist


Writer: Tom Greene

Director: Cliff Bole

On a bright morning in suburbia Los Angeles, fourteen-year-old scientific genius Danny Lasswell (Lanny Horn) sets out to test a new fuel for his experimental rocket. When his two solutions are mixed together they trigger a thermo chemical reaction that ends up gouging a six-foot crater in the street.

In Washington, Rudy Wells informs Oscar of the satellite report on the source of heat registered in California. An intensity so great it’s a miracle Los Angeles is still intact.


Steve travels California to investigate the source of this unknown energy surge. He roams about the premises while Danny gives his account of the experiment gone awry to Bill Bruner (Frank Marth) Director of Health Services, who advises the young man to keep the incident under wrap for risk of getting arrested for having played with dangerous chemicals. Danny ignores the warning after meeting with his hero, Steve Austin, a man he knows he can entrust with his secret.

Danny takes Steve to the garage where he stashed his two solutions, only to find them missing. Steve begins to suspect the only man privy to the experiment, Bill Bruner, and contacts Oscar with his findings.


Meanwhile, Bruner contacts land developer Lazarus (Mills Watson) with an interesting proposition. Eager to become world leader in new sources of energy, Lazarus agrees to a meeting.

Oscar flies to Los Angeles with thermo-chemist Dr. Monica (David Opatoshu) to try to duplicate the formula and learn how to harness and control the new overwhelming energy. Only trouble is that Danny’s notes are in a shambles and, in his haste, forgot to jog down most of the measurements.

Later on, they make another attempt at deciphering the formula. When Dr. Monica’s temper begins to flare up at Danny’s incompetence, Steve is quick to remind the eminent scientist that he is addressing a teenager and not a doctor in sciences and therefore must exercise patience if they want results.

The computer comes up with millions of different combinations for Danny’s fuel, thus impelling them to turn to the only other option, which is to find Bruner.


Bruner meets with Lazarus and his men at a building in construction. After giving a sample of the power of Danny’s invention, he requests a substantial sum of money for the solutions. Lazarus is agreeable only if he can provide the formula along with the flasks. Instead Bruner suggests giving him the inventor’s address.

Once Oscar’s men locate Bruner driving out of Los Angeles, Steve is sent to tail his car. Halfway down the road he takes off at a bionic sprint to catch up with the motor home that he unfastens from the car before jumping inside to search the premises.


Posing as members of the International Scientific Federation, Lazarus’s men show up at Danny’s house where they feed his sister Glennis (E.J. Peaker) a story about wanting to discuss a project with him. Seeing how he’s in school they don’t insist and leave with a portrait of the young man.

They drive to Danny’s school where they spot him with Steve, after which they follow the car and force it to come to a halt. Steve, however, manages to prevail over the armed man, thus avoiding a kidnapping.


Lazarus is incensed at the failed attempt to capture Danny. It’s obvious they’ll need to proceed differently.

Their idea is to send a warning letter to the OSI that if Danny is not delivered to them, they will blow half of Los Angeles with a bomb of Danny’s invention. To prove they mean business, they applied a drop of both solutions onto a paper clip that rapidly burns a hole in the desk.

Danny is willing to go with Steve’s plan, which is to meet with Lazarus and keep them busy while Steve creeps up the building to overpower the gang. Problem is that he doesn’t remember the formula and thus can’t recreate it for the bandits. The solution is to have Rudy provide them with one that will mimic the reaction.


The plan is set. Steve roams freely on the construction site, keeping his sight on Danny who is being escorted up to meet with the brain of the outfit. When the coast is clear, he jumps up and disarms the guards one by one while Danny sets up his equipment under the watchful eye of chemist Dr. Spruger (John Hoyt). The scientist is convinced Danny is concocting a mixture for common ordinary soap but Lazarus remains sceptical.


When he receives Steve’s green light, Danny trickles the final drop into the mix and scurries out of the room. Steve bolts the door, bionic style, trapping the men inside. He promises to reveal which flask contains an inhibitor to stop the reaction in exchange for the location of the bomb.


Once the location is known, Steve and Danny leave the men with their ‘soap’ and ‘jump’ down the building to drive to Bessville dam. Steve runs the rest of the way to get to the bomb about to explode.


His bionic hand melting at the contact of the object, he opts instead to kick it on the other side of the structure where it implodes under water.


The next day before leaving for Washington, Steve brings Danny a farewell present: his NASA jacket given to him following his first mission to the moon. Danny is utterly grateful and promises his new friend to stick to harmless chemical experiments. But will he?


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