Automan Information

Automan is an American science fiction superhero television series produced by Glen A. Larson. It aired for only 12 episodes (although 13 were made) on ABC between 1983 and 1984.


Automan (the "Automatic Man") follows the adventures of a police officer and computer programmer named Walter Nebicher (Desi Arnaz, Jr.), who had created an artificially intelligent crime fighting program that generated a hologram (Chuck Wagner) able to leave the computer world and fight crime.

While in the real world, Automan posed as a government agent by the name of "Otto J. Mann." This was a secret to all except Walter's close associate, Roxanne Caldwell (Heather McNair).

Nebicher could merge with Automan to become one being, sharing consciousness and skills, while retaining Automan's invulnerability. During the "merges" only Automan's form, a head atop a glowing body of circuit panels and lights, could be seen.

Cursor was his sidekick, a floating, shifting polyhedron which could "draw" and generate physical objects as needed. Cursor could only "draw" one object at a time. Exceptions to this included conventional clothing to hide Automan's unusual glowing body and various vehicles with glowing blue piping. The most common forms taken were a car (Auto Car), plane, and helicopter, all of which could defy the laws of physics such as making a 90 degree turn.

Automan featured the use of a Lamborghini Countach as transport. When driving, Automan could turn his car at 90 degree angles. Automan was unaffected, but his passengers were generally thrown around in the vehicle.

The show also starred Robert Lansing as Lieutenant Jack Curtis and Gerald S. O'Loughlin as Captain of Detectives E. G. Boyd, Walter's superiors. Both believed that Automan was a friend of Walter's from the FBI. Captain Boyd, a technophobe who had no use for computers, often held up Lieutenant Curtis as the kind of cop he was convinced was the ideal for police " an ideal to which he believed Walter could never rise.


The show had used several visual effects. The costume itself had reflective plates stuck on it to give the holographic appearance, with a specific lighting system in place.

The Autocar and Autochopper were the most common vehicles created for transport. Each vehicle would appear or disappear as a sequence of wireframes drawn by Cursor, and were black with strips of reflective tape stuck on them. The Autocar was a Lamborghini Countach LP400, which was capable of turning in 90-degree angles and overtaking merely by strafing, rather than turning. The Autochopper was apparently a modified Bell Jetranger capable of landing anywhere. The show also featured a futuristic airplane and motorcycle, while other episodes featured a distinctive handgun and a guitar. As with Automan's costumes, Cursor could also create replicas of ordinary vehicles and appliances as a disguise.

Another prominent feature of Automan was to wrap himself around Walter as a means of protection. Being a 'perfect' hologram, Automan was invulnerable, and could use it to protect Walter, and appear as one person, but given Walter's interactions with Automan, he would inadvertently end up speaking in two voices. Automan could also manipulate computer records and transactions.

However, Automan's excessive use of electricity would often mean he would suffer from power shortage during the daytime, so he was rarely active in sunlight.


Automan was inspired by Steven Lisberger's film Tron, which had come out a year earlier. In order not to seem to be plagiarizing Tron, Glen A. Larson involved Donald Kushner, who had been an operating producer of Tron, and his partner, Peter Locke, as operating producers of Automan.

Although similar in appearance, the special effects used to create the Automan look were completely different from the hand-painted effects used in Tron. Automan cinematographer Charles "Chuck" Barbee reports that what they actually did was use reflective material and portable projectors, though the end result looks simply like some kind of blue/green screen chromakey overlay.


  • Desi Arnaz, Jr. " Walter Nebicher
  • Chuck Wagner " Automan / Otto J. Mann
  • Robert Lansing " Lieutenant Jack Curtis
  • Gerald S. O'Loughlin " Police Captain E. G. Boyd
  • Heather McNair " Roxanne Caldwell


Episode title Director Writer(s) Original air date

* "Club Ten" has been broadcast (years later) on The Sci-Fi Channel, and on BBC1 and Bravo in the UK.

International broadcasters

  • " Canal 2
  • " Network Ten
  • " Rede Globo (Dubbed)
  • " Canal 13 (Dubbed)
  • " Cadena 2
  • " Repretel
  • " La Cinq (dubbed)
  • " RTL Plus (dubbed)
  • " ATV (Dubbed) Chinese Title: "??"??
  • " STAR Plus (English)
  • " TVRI
  • " Channel 1 (English)
  • " Italia 1 (Dubbed)
  • " TV3 (English)
  • " XHGC (Latin Spanish Dubbed: Automan)
  • " NTV (English)
  • " NTM
  • " RPC TV Canal 13 (1986?; Latin Spanish Dubbed: Automan)
  • " RTP
  • " TV2 (Afrikaans " Outoman)
  • " Televisión Española (Dubbed)
  • " Sveriges television
  • " TTV (Dubbed) Chinese Title: "????
  • " TRT
  • " BBC One
  • " RTB (1986"87)
  • " ZBC1
  • Macedonia " MTV1

See also

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Automan" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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