Based on the best-selling novel Cyborg, The Six Million Dollar Man successfully ran for five seasons as it was well-loved by many. While shooting for the fourth season of the sci-fi show, the crew ran into a shocking set-piece that isn’t actually what it seemed.
The crew of Six Million Dollar man was appalled to discover the corpse of Elmer McCurdy, an outlaw whose body was initially used in a public exhibition of criminals’ corpses.
The Six Million Dollar Man’s Surreal Discovery
Based on a best-selling book entitled Cyborg written by Martin Caidin and published in 1972, The Six Million Dollar Man is an American science fiction television series that spawned from the successful initial adaptations of Cyborg.
The Six Million Dollar Man television show lasted for five seasons, spanning from 1974 to 1978. With Lee Majors, Richard Anderson, and Martin Brooks portraying the lead parts, they became most known through their roles in the sci-fi show.
Steve Austin, the protagonist, is a cyborg that becomes a secret agent for the Office of Scientific Intelligence. With the superhuman powers he obtained in his conversion as a cyborg, he finishes his missions successfully. (Source: Mental Itch)
In a particular filming session nearing the period of Christmas in 1976, The Six Million Dollar Man‘s crew stayed in Queen’s Park, Long Beach, California, to shoot an episode for their fourth season, Carnival of Spies. The staff needed to film the cyborg protagonist battling evil German spies. Shooting in the Laff in the Dark funhouse, the set contained dispersed automatic set pieces for pop-up scares.
A rather odd and thin-looking neon orange dummy hid in a back corner of the funhouse, hanging from the gallows with a hangman’s noose for four years before its usage as a set-piece. On the filming session, a few passenger carts collided with the previously mentioned prop as the art director attempted to stage the dummy, causing it to swing in the air before its wax arm separated from its body.
Upon further inspection of the wax arm, the crew saw a human bone from its aged skin, realizing that the dummy wasn’t a wax doll but the remains of Elmer McCurdy’s corpse. (Source: Ripley’s)
Elmer McCurdy and the History of His Corpse
Elmer McCurdy’s corpse had a bizarre and eventful journey before it ended in the Laff in the Dark funhouse. Born as an illegitimate child in 1880, Elmer McCurdy immersed himself in alcohol and illegal activities upon knowing his birth’s past.
Joining a group of robbers, McCurdy first robbed banks before becoming a train robber in 1911. After stealing only $40, two whiskey jugs, and two beer kegs from a train, McCurdy hid in a barn, where he loosened himself up with numerous drinks of alcohol.
From then, a sheriff’s posse came for him, and they gunned each other down for an hour before McCurdy died from a gunshot straight to his heart. After the embalming process, his corpse became part of a funeral home’s public exhibition of the dead bodies of horse thieves and train robbers.
Four years had passed when a man claiming to be McCurdy’s relative demanded his body back. Revealed to be a swindler, the man used McCurdy’s corpse as a sideshow attraction, which then landed the corpse in the museum of crime. His body was soon forgotten as it was passed from state to state as sideshow attractions, often mistaken for a papier-mâché dummy or a wax doll. (Source: Dusty Old Thing)