"One of Our Running Backs is Missing"

(Original air date 11/02/75)


Steve comes to the rescue of a football player friend who is kidnapped
before an important championship game


Writers: Kenneth Johnson & Elroy Schwartz

Director: Lee Majors

Taking a break between assignments, Steve drives down to the Rose Bowl Coliseum to meet with college friend, professional football player Larry Bronco (Larry Csonka). He sits on a bench and watches him at practice. Larry's wife Pamela (Pamela Csonka) comes up to him and leads Steve down to the field. She calls Larry over. The teasing starts between the longtime friends but is soon interrupted by the team's coach (Russ Grieve) who calls Larry back.


Larry asks Steve to throw him a pass. The force knocks the wind out of him. Observing from a high angle are Rick LaPort (Lee Josephson) and a former football player named Tatashore (Mike Henry). Together they plot Larry's abduction.


Steve joins Larry in the players' dressing room and leave the coliseum together. Not far away, Tatashore meets with football player Bob LaPort, (Dick Butkus) , member of the opposite team to inform him that everything is set.

Larry challenges Steve to a race to his car parked a few miles up the road. Tatashore follows but has trouble keeping up the pace. When they finally arrive at their destination, Larry is huffing and puffing. He's amazed that Steve isn't the least bit winded. Steve teases him about being out of shape and invites him to a bowling alley.


Meanwhile, Bob LaPort meets with his brother Rick who brings in the heavy artillery for the kidnapping, a group of brawny thugs who are old prison inmates. Stolar (Carl Weathers), Kibbie (Tom Mack), Ernie (Russ McGinn),Ailes (Earl Faison) and Rosin (George Clifton). The plan is to prevent Larry Bronco from playing in the championship, which will inevitably sway the final score in their favor and make them a fortune in the pre-game betting. Bob is a bit uneasy about the whole scheme but reluctantly agrees to go along.


Larry flaunts his bowling talents in front of Steve who acts impressed. When his turn comes, he zooms in on his target and throws the ball.

The force of the impact pulverizes the pins. Larry is dumbstruck.


When Larry asks Steve to reveal his trick, he pretends it was all a setup, but that nevertheless he made the score. Therefore Larry gives Steve his 10$.

Tatashore walks out of the bowling alley seconds after and gives Bob a call to inform him that Larry is driving back to his hotel but that Steve Austin is still tagging along. Bob knows they will have to separate the two in order to execute the plan. He asks Stolar to take care of it.


At the hotel, Steve gets a fake phone call from Bob. He picks it up in the lobby while Larry goes up to his room. He finds it strange that no one is on the other line, but shrugs it off. Bob gives the ok to Stolar to cut the power of the elevator once Steve gets in, thus trapping him between floors.


While Steve tries to find a way out of his trap, Stolar, Kibbie and Rick, wearing ski masks, erupt in Larry's room and shoot him with a tranquilizer.


Steve manages to bring the elevator down to Larry's floor with his bionic arm as a maid watches in amazement.


Stolar and Kibbie put Larry inside a laundry cart and don janitor smocks while Rick rearranges the furniture. They head out of the room and down the hallway with Steve being none the wiser.

Steve suspects something is wrong when Larry doesn't answer the door. He breaks in and looks around. Pamela calls in saying she's returning Larry's call who just phoned her a few minutes ago. They both find it strange that he should leave the room knowing she'd be calling him back. Steve zooms in on a piece of glass on the carpet. Lying next to it are Larry's crushed sunglasses.


Steve goes to Oscar. He explains that the adverse camp would have a lot to gain by having Larry out of the game. They would stand to strike the mother lode by betting against Larry's team. He has to find out if anyone has been placing heavy bets in the last few days and asks Oscar for his help in contacting a bookie.

Oscar introduces Steve to one of the best bookies in the business, George Yokum, (Al Checco) a man he met during his years as State Prosecutor. Steve can't resist teasing Oscar when he finds out his nickname, Goldie.

George pulls an all nighter contacting his relations to come up with the name of Stolar, one who's been betting heavily on the other team and that by chance, should be back shortly to place more bets.

Steve keeps an eye on the man in question, Stolar, as he exits the nightclub.


Stolar's car leads Steve to a house where all the thugs are busy playing cards. He circumspectly makes his way to a small shed and bends open an opening in the side where he finds a drugged Larry, hands chained.


Steve pours the water pitcher over his head to snap him out of his delirium. Before they can escape, Tatashore shows up and brings them to the gang.


Larry is surprised to learn that Bob would be associated with crime. Bob's retirement is drawing near and wants to plan for the future which is the sole reason that drove him to hatch this scheme.

Back at the Rose Bowl, Pamela worries about Larry when his coach says he never showed up for his pre-game briefing. Oscar is also concerned about Steve's absence.

Back at the country house, Steve thinks up of an escape plan. He antagonizes Bob by pretending his talent as a football player doesn't hold a candle to Larry's and proposes a match. Larry thinks Steve has flipped, signing their death warrants, but Steve is confident that it's the best way to neutralize them all at once.


A few men stand guard at the four corners of the open field while Bob, Stolar, Kibbie and Ailes prepare to go head to head with Steve and Larry in a game of touchdown. Larry doesn't like the odds but Steve assures him that the more are involved in the game, the better their chances are to make a run for the red van parked in the background.


The game begins. As Larry and Steve score extra points, a frustrated Bob adds more players, thus lowering the number of rifles around the field.


Steve ends with a long pass to Larry and both knock players out of the way as they make a dash for the van.


Steve gives a good kick to burst the tires of the thugs' car and escapes in the van with Larry.


With Larry's help, his team wins the championship hands down. Steve goes backstage to congratulate his friend. Larry is puzzled as to what bionic means. Embarrassed, Steve confesses that it's a matter of national security and that he is sworn to secrecy. Nevertheless, Larry suspects there's a trick involved behind Steve's incredible strength and is convinced he cheated. Therefore Larry asks for his $10 back.


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