"Dr. Wells is Missing"

(Original air date 03/29/74)

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Steve travels to Austria to free Rudy Wells from the clutches
of an infamous criminal

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Writer: Elroy Schwartz, Krishna Shah and William Keenan

Director: Virgil W.Vogel



Rudy Wells travels to the Austrian Alps where he is to be honoured by his alma mater. As he checks in at Hotel Otztal, he gets a call from mother hen Oscar who reiterates his suggestion to appoint an agent as bodyguard for the good doctor, but Rudy refuses. Once the call over, two men creep behind him to press a chloroform-drenched rag over his face.

Oscarís concern for Rudyís safety prompts Steve to propose a little vacation in Austria.

           

After a smooth landing, Steve drives to the same hotel. He is disturbed to learn from the clerk (Than Wyenn) that Rudy checked in but left three hours later with some man who said to be his host for the commemoration. Outside Steve speaks with the hotel porter (Norbert Schiller) who corroborates the story and adds that they took place aboard a very unique model of car.

Inside, the clerk reports to his boss, crime syndicate Alfredo Touchelli (John Van Dreelen) about the nosy stranger. Touchelli orders him to stop him at all cost.

           

Which he does by hiring two thugs to run Steve off the road. Their plan backfires when Steve yanks out their steering wheel to disable their car.

In the small town of Mondsee, he goes to car dealer Anton Brandt (Curt Lowens) to enquire about vintage cars. The particular model sends the man panicking and fibs about having seen the vehicle.

           

However Steve is not so easily duped. He later phones Anton and by adopting a feigned Austrian accent, orders him to drive over to his bossís domain. Steve then follows him to the mansion in question where he jumps over the entrance gates to penetrate the fortress, and scales the wall to the second story to sneak inside through a window.

           

He circumspectly roams the halls in search of Rudy. Hearing the good doctorís voice in the distance he crawls over to a banister overlooking a grand room to get a better understanding of the exchange between Rudy and Touchelli, one that concerns bionics. Out of the blue Rudy shouts out a warning to Steve but Touchelliís brother Julio (Michael Dante) is faster. Before Steve could react, the ruthless man knocks him unconscious.

           

While Touchelliís bodyguard Yano (Jim Shane) watches over Steve, Rudy pulls the wool over the top honchoís eyes by feeding him a story of an agent working for a pharmaceutical group who has been hounding him to offer him a position at their institute. He lies about been able to convince him that he has no intention of joining their ranks. Touchelli is wary but allows Rudy to proceed.

Touchelli keeps his eyes and ears on as the fake exchange takes place. Steve instantly picks up on Rudyís game and plays along. However Touchelli has no plan to release the so-called agent and requests of his men to chain him down in the cellar.

           

On camera they witness Steveís incredible strength as he yanks the chains off the concrete wall, proving that Touchelliís hunch about the existence of a bionic man was right on the nose.

They impel Steve to come out of hiding by threatening Rudyís life. They later have him measure his strength against several hulky men.

           

Much to Rudyís amusement, Steve sends each flying into the air until Yano breaks a lamppost on his bionic arm. Injured Steve is now powerless to deal with the three men lunging at him to beat him up.

Touchelli quickly breaks the fight, warning his men that Steve is worth his weight in gold and therefore needs to be kept alive.

           

He takes him down to the lab where Julio argues that they should do away with the nuisance. His brother begins to seriously consider the suggestion to have the good doctor build them a new bionic man instead. Eager to save his friendís life, Rudy proposes an alternate plan to render Steve completely obedient to Touchelliís orders.

           

Touchelli reluctantly agrees to the drug treatment, unaware that Rudy is injecting in a bionic leg. Soon after Steve sends Yano crashing against the wall and he and Rudy flee the property under heavy gunfire.

           

With the men still tailing them, Steve steps out of the jeep to lure them away from Rudy who continues on a different road. At some point he hides in the bushes, waiting for his preys to show up. After sending their car downhill with one big bionic push, Steve deals with the remaining hurdle, but finds that Yano wonít go down for the count so easily. One solid kick in the chest finally does it.

Days later in Washington, Steve reports a small embarrassing problem with his mended bionic arm. Both Oscar and Rudy exchange worried glances but later burst out laughing when Steve breaks the table with his little finger.

           

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