happy birthday battlestar galactica (audio post)


On September 17, 1978, ABC television first aired “Battlestar Galactica” and in doing so (damn them), sealed my fate.  Ever since then I’ve had a special place in my heart for the show and, for reasons still unclear, my enthusiasm for the beast simply will not wane.  For a while there, being a Galactica fan was something you kept to yourself (even the Star Wars and Star Trek fans looked down on us), but, thanks to Ron Moore, BSG fans can once again wear their T-shirts proudly and in public.  To help celebrate this auspicious occasion, I’ve dusted off a rare piece of Galactica memorabilia that each and every one of you can download and enjoy on this special day…


Very much in the style of The Story of Star Wars record album, Universal released the lesser known Saga of Battlestar Galactica.  With a narration by Lorne Greene, it’s essentially an edited version of the audio from the pilot.  Although presented in mono, the sound is clear and crisp and somewhat of a rarity.  For many years I’ve had a sealed copy, which I decided to finally open and share on this, the 31st anniversary of the series.  And, just to prove I really had a fresh, unopened copy, I made this “unboxing” video with my new best friend, Senor iPhone:

As I mentioned in the video, perhaps the most inexplicable thing about this album is the use of the Matel toy imagery – the front cover Cylon is a picture of the less-than-menacing (and less-than-Cylon-looking) 12″ action figure, and the inner gatefold artwork features the “Colonial Scarab,” a toy of a ship that never even appeared on the show (come to think of it, we should have built a CG version of it and featured it somewhere in the new series.  Oh well, maybe I’ll give Bryan Singer a call, heh heh).

While the audio content of the album itself offers few surprises (ok, no surprises), the liner notes are quite extensive and contain some excellent behind-the-scenes info.  The notes begin on this image of the back cover, and continue with the gatefold image below it (click for the super-large, readable versions):




Finally, of course, are the audio files of the album itself.  Since the vinly was in mint condition, no cleanup was needed.  Also, the album is in mono, so the digital files are half the size you would normally expect (did I hear a cheer from the dial-up crowd?):



Before we wrap up this special anniversary salute, I’d like to ask you, my loyal Darth Mojo readers – what were you doing when the pilot originally aired in 1978?  (and yes, I know many of you are already contemplating leaving a comment like “in 1978 I was swimming around my dad’s nutsac!” so you can just skip it).  Assuming you were alive and have any memory of the day, let us know what you remember!

25 Responses to “happy birthday battlestar galactica (audio post)”

  1. 1 Adrian Gan
    September 17, 2009 at 3:01 am

    Happy Battlestar Galacticaday!!! Hmmm, 1978, 5 years old… all the way here in Penang, Malaysia, i don’t think we got the show the same time as you guys. One thing for sure though, it helped nurse me thru the dark days when Star Wars was out, and kept the ol’ love for cool and awesome space dogfights alive and well! Thank you, BSG, may everything that has happened before, happen again…

  2. September 17, 2009 at 5:41 am

    I don’t remember it, but I know my father watched it and enjoyed it, with my then-13-day-old self on his lap.

  3. 3 falconfilmmaker
    September 17, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Not being alive when the show was around, I still fondly remember my father putting on VHS episodes of the original BSG, watching the pilot/movie many many times and being in love with the effects. My old man was at the perfect age to watch the original, buying the model kits, and Marvel comics (he still has multiple copies of all the original Marvel series of BSG tucked away, and there still pretty fun to read and see what the new series accidentally borrowed from them). I sorta became a huge fan of the new series, so it caused some contention between my self and my dad, but after buying him the Original series on dvd, having seen them all I really see what he dug about the old show.

  4. September 17, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Sitting with my friend in front of the TV in his rec room, wearing our PJs.

  5. 5 Fer
    September 17, 2009 at 8:24 am

    That is so cool! Thank you for sharing this, Mojo. I always wanted to get this record, but I couldn’t afford it back in the day. (I did, however, end up getting the story LPs for The Black Hole and The Empire Strikes Back.) And yes, I too always thought it was weird that they used the Cylon toy for the cover!

    I remember the day well– I was 9 years old, and my first glimpse of this new show was in a in a five and dime store, where I saw a tabloid with the headline “Star Wars comes to TV!” Looking through the pictures I was just confused… the ships kinda looked like X-Wings, but without the X.

    By the time September 17 rolled around I had a better idea of what it was, and I couldn’t wait. I remember my mom even let me stay up late to watch it, even though it was a school night. I think it was one of the first nights I was allowed to stay up past my mom and put myself to bed.

    I loved the not-X-wings, I loved the space fights, I loved the Cylons with that cool moving red eye, and most of all I really liked the characters. Starbuck was funny and Apollo was cool and I wanted my own Muffit.

    I also remember that just as they were fighting the Cylons on a bridge to get out of the Ovion cave… the show was interrupted for the SALT II talks! SALT II? Who or what is SALT II? Why is President Carter interrupting my cool new show just to sign a paper about salt? I started to fall asleep at that point.

    Luckily the announcer’s voice saying “We now return to Battlestar Galactica” was enough to wake me up, so I didn’t miss the ending.

    The next day my fellow Star Wars friend and I both couldn’t stop talking about the show with each other. Among us, at least, Galactica ranked as high as Star Wars and Star Trek!

    Happy Birthday, Battlestar Galactica!

  6. September 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I had just turned 9 two days before and was about to burst with anticipation for this new TV series. It had been two long years since Star Wars, and I still had another one to go for The Empire Strikes Back; I badly needed a space-battle fix, and BSG looked to be just the thing to ease my jones.

    After a nearly endless weekend of waiting, I settled in on Sunday night for the three-hour premiere. My indulgent parents weren’t terribly interested in the show and occupied themselves reading the paper, but I was enthralled… the prologue about Egypt and Atlantis fascinated me; the death of Zac brought tears to my eyes; the destruction of the colonies horrified me. I was completely involved in the unfolding story… and then, horror of horrors, a blue title card flashed onto the screen with the seal of the President of the United States, and a voice announcing, “We interrupt this program…”

    President Carter wanted to talk to the nation about something, and he had the temerity to do right smack in the middle of the premiere. I was furious. I don’t recall what he was talking about, only that I was incredibly upset, and worried about whether when he FINALLY stopped talking the show would resume where it had left off, or if I was missing it, never to be seen again. (This was pre-home video, obviously, and I was savvy enough to know that TV movies didn’t repeat very often, so if I missed this, chances were good I’d never see it again.)

    It was years before I finally saw the middle third of the pilot, when the BSG “movie package” went into syndication.

    As it happens, I had (still have) the same storybook record you’ve posted. It’s packed away with all my other vinyl; I probably haven’t heard it in 25 years, so thanks for these audio files. They’re a real treat!

  7. September 17, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I’d like to raise my chalice to you… a nice gift on Galactica’s birthday…

    I just need to change the needle on my iTunes.

  8. 8 Boris
    September 17, 2009 at 9:28 am

    When I saw the entire oBSG a few years back, I actually liked it better towards the end of the season (starting with the Count Iblis story), because it looked like they were just about to go someplace interesting, with the whole Terra subplot and indications that the show actually takes place in our future (otherwise what’s the point of having Terrans use our everyday units in contrast to centons and such?) The show could’ve recovered given more seasons and better focus; the first season suffered from the fact that oBSG was never intended to be a series in the first place.

  9. September 17, 2009 at 9:35 am

    You wouldn’t hear a cheer from the dial up crowd. Well, not for a while anyways. ;-)

  10. 10 Colonial Warrior
    September 17, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Ah, 1978 that was a Sunday I was just 16 years old at the time and I would be driving downtown to the midday matinee in my dads Pinto complete with 8-track tape deck. Yes I was making mix tapes on 8-track long before mix tapes were coined.. I would switch out from various TV/movie themes to the truelly wonderful Jeff Waynes Musical: “War of The Worlds”.
    Once I got back from the movies my mom would have dinner ready Dad would be in his recliner I would be stretched out on the family room sofa and my dad, me and my kid brother would be awaiting the debut. We enjoyed it and I can still see my dad smiling during the space battle scene. We didn’t have a VCR at that point but if we did I would have worn the tape out to be sure.
    I was always a fan of science fiction as was my dad ( he got me addicted to science fiction at an early age) so if it was on tv or major movie we always saw it together. Lost In Space, Trek, 2001:, Fantastic Voyage, Quark, Starlost, Star Wars, and then came Battlestar. We loved them all.

    Colonial Warrior…
    And so it begins…

  11. 11 Ross J
    September 17, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I watched it, as I was nuts about star wars and this looked great too… I was 10 years old and I remember it aired in a 3 hour block. I thought that was really long, but somehow I got to see the whole thing… did it start at 7 pm east coast? I think so… anyway, that show was great and later I made it a point to see it in Sensurround when it was in the theatre… !
    By the way, I just finished watching the Blu Ray boxed set this morning…!!

    I had no idea this was the anniversary today until I stopped by!

    I guess they were right! This has happened before and will happen again!

    thanks for your excellent work on the series! It even looked better in BLU!!!

  12. 12 b
    September 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I’d begged and pleaded for a new color TV specifically so I could watch THIS show in color as opposed to the black-and-white we had up to then. It was the event of the autumn. We got a Sony Trinetron. I was sooo excited. Then dad announced he wanted to watch a baseball game that night. Mom came to my defense, pointed out we wouldn’t have the TV without my prodding, etc. etc. So then BSG came on, with dad down in the garage listening to the game and tying flies. Ah, good times.

    Funny, the new one never really hooked me (sorry DM). Liked the concept, sensibility, attitude, etc. — just couldn’t get in to the narrative arc. Maybe exposure to too much schlocky 70’s and 80’s TV sci-fi (BSG, Buck Rogers, Space 1999, etc.) ruined my sensibilities.

  13. 13 Robert
    September 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    When I was just a bit older than this kid, my best friend’s Dad was DP on the tv series “The Hulk” at Universal.
    Long story short – we spent a day with him filming at the studio and after they wrapped he took us to visit (the original) BSG sets. I can’t even tell you how extremely cool it was! Being able to wander the bridge, sit in the chairs, fiddle with the controls… AMAZING!

  14. September 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I remember it well, actually – due to the fact that during the premiere ABC pre-empted a good section of the battle on Carillon to air the “historic” signing of the Sadat-Begin-Carter Middle East Peace Accords. Nothing could have possibly been more annoying to my 11-yr-old brain during the climax of a 3 hour space movie!

    I don’t recall if they stopped the broadcast, showed the news break, then started back were they left off or if they just picked up later on – I’m thinking the latter, because that section of the pilot sometimes still seems like I haven’t seen it before.

  15. September 17, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    “The exodus in space could be happening now or a million years from now. Or perhaps these people reached Earth a long time ago and became our ancestors.” Hmm. Now that’s a good idea…

    Thanks for taking the to time to make mp3s, I’m looking forward to listening. :)

  16. 16 Boris
    September 17, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    John Pearse: that possibility is implied by “there are those who believe that life here began out there”, unless we take it to mean that the thirteenth tribe went to Egypt, as suggested by the Kobol two-parter. However, there is also the last sentence: “Some believe that _there may yet be_ brothers of man, who _even now_ [in 1978!] fight to survive, somewhere beyond the heavens.” Ron Moore went for the most obvious solution, unfortunately, instead of coming up with a unique and more convoluted way to tie the nBSG culture to our own, one that would easily explain everything from business suits to chicken pie.

  17. 17 ScottA
    September 17, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks for the audio files, Mojo! I tell you, happening apon your blog is one of the best things I’ve ever found on the internet. Between your great stories and insights into special effects, great downloadable hi-res images, and audio files like this Battlestar Galactica treat and the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” soundtrack a few weeks ago… wow… you just rock, dude! Oh, and of course I have you to thank for the best Root Beer Float ever! Keep the great posts coming!!! -Scott Andrews, Portland, OR

  18. September 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    What a treasure, I remember that album! My memories, watching in my friend Chris’ basement with him, also are much stronger about how angry I was at the show being interrupted than in the happiness of watching the show itself… I guess those dark side emotions ARE more powerful!

  19. September 17, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I remember the premier. I was sick like a dog with the flu, so Mom made a special exemption and let the sick kid pick what was on the TV (even though she wasn’t fond of those “space shows with all the guns”). I was flying my pretend Viper as soon as I could stand.

    In the liner notes for the album, one line had me howling. “Laughing Bays”. Priceless. LOL.

  20. 20 Towaway
    September 17, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    While I revel in the latest incarnation there is my love of the original. I had a Viper pilot jacket which I wore to school and if I could have afforded those biker boots they used on the show I would have worn then, too! This was right after Star Wars and before Trek had returned so I didn’t see the campiness in it at the time. I walked around saying “Frak!” and “Feldergarb!” I was considered a geek already, so it came as no surprise to those around me.

    I had tickets to see Richard Kiley in Boston in “Man of LaMancha” on that day. I was thrilled to go see the show with my mother and an aunt. We had these tickets for months in advance. Then I heard about the premiere of BSG……ON THE SAME DAY!!!!! Luckily, It was a matinee on that Sunday and I made sure with my mother that we would be back from Boston in plenty of time.

    The show was terrific and Kiley was magnificent. The moment the curtain came down I said, “OK, mom! We gotta go so we’re home in time for Galactica!!!!!!” Our ride back to Providence was the longest of my life. I kept asking what time it was and each mile seemed to stretch on forever. We pulled into my aunt’s house five minutes before the premiere. Since I lived on the other side of town I knew we wouldn’t make it home in time so I begged and pleaded (whined was probably more like it) to stay there to watch the show.

    My whining paid off as I sat alone in my aunt’s living room with dinner on a TV tray while she and my mother played cards in the other room, planted at a folding TV tray and dinner of what ever leftovers my aunt could find to watch the 2 hour premiere.

    Richard Kiley and Loren Greene in the same day! Can’t get better than that.

  21. 21 Lew Powell
    September 17, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    On Sep. 17,1978 I was being born

  22. September 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I had eagerly awaited the movie on that fateful day. I was eleven, and begged my folks to let me stay up (on a school night!!) to watch the whole thing. I was devastated when Carter came on. My mom said “Well, there’s no point in you staying up now!” AAARRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

    I had to suffice with the photo-novel, and then the novelization. It was years before I saw the whole movie.

  23. September 19, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I was 14 and watched it every sunday night, and in fact tape recorded it on my boom-box. Listened to it over and over. Then I got a cassette of the “saga of bsg”. Now I have it again! Bwa ha ha ha!

    I was the right age to really love the show. I remember monday morning before classes trying to figure out how to spell “felgercarb” with other kids. I loved the ships and costumes. I was in a sci-fi club at the time and we would go to conventions, I remember an older kid (who must have been 17) who had a full colonial warrior costume (including blaster and jacket) and he was like a god to us.

  24. 24 Desert Rat
    September 23, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    14 years old when it hit the small screen. Watched it religiously, every week, with my 11 year old brother. It nicely filled the void between Episode IV & V of Star Wars, and it was great fun. Also saw the pilot in its big screen glory in the summer of 1979.

    I was depressed as hell when I read in TV Guide that the series had been canceled, and was really happy to see the Reimagined Series finally make it to Earth.

    I will say that the SciFi series sated the fix, and I look upon the Glen Larson-Bryan Singer film with a somewhat jaded eye. Let’s face it, the public is a lot more jaded in 2009 than 1978, and some of the original series can only charitably be described as camp at this point. After Ron Moore’s version, its hard to see what Larson is going to do with it, other than screw it up.

  25. May 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    i was 11 when it came out i watched it the first time it aired & loved it i immediatly got a hold of a colonial viper cylon raider starbuck appollo & muffet & a cylon i loved it then & still do

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September 2009

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