Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Glen A. Larson (1937-2014)

The planet loses another great voice from the popular culture of my formative years. There isn't a whole lot to say that hasn't been said elsewhere. Glen A. Larson (1937-2014) has passed.

Larson will be forever appreciated and loved by fans like myself for bringing the world some of the science fiction classics.  Most notably, the reimagined Battlestar Galactica by Ronald D. Moore wouldn't have happened without the existence of the original Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979), a true classic in the annals of science fiction. Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic took a very thorough look at Part 1 of Saga Of A Star World. I really do need to get on that second part.

The pure imagination of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (1979) would follow. "Beedy Beedy Beedy, what's up Buck?" Like Battlestar Galactica, for kids like me, it was another dose of pure escape coupled with great casting topped with yet another enticing female co-star.

But Larson also left his mark at the start of The Six Million Dollar Man (1973) on a couple of pilot films covered here at Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic.

Other series in which Larson left his mark entertained endlessly in the 1970s and 1980s including The Hardy Boys/ Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-1979) based on those classic blue hard cover books that seemed to circulate my neighborhood to no end.

B.J. And The Bear (1979-1981) would follow. As a kid it seemed I was a sucker for chimpanzees and orangutans. If you included a monkey of any kind I was front row and center at the television. Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980) had a similar effect. It seemed like there was a vortex for kids who loved ape-centric entertainment at the end of the 1970s. And of course let us not forget the Planet Of The Apes franchise.

Those uniforms were so cool you can see their influence on series like manga and anime's Attack On Titan (2012).

I was never much of a Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988) guy, but my grandmother loved it.

Talking cars were much more my thing. So Knight Rider (1982-1986), complete with roving red cylon eye sound effect, came next and my father was a real fan of that particular Pontiac Firebird Trans AM. And thus his love and mine for that aforementioned series was representative of why Knight Rider was a hit across generations. The 2008 reboot of the series didn't capture the same lightning in a bottle as Moore's reworked Battlestar Galactica. All of the charm of the original Knight Rider was gone replaced with nothing but an empty coat of contemporary television car wax and none of the character that made the first so unforgettable.

And finally, with The Six Million Dollar Man in the rear view mirror, The Fall Guy (1981-1986), starring Lee Majors, arrived and became a huge hit for me. Not to mention my bedroom walls were adorned with more than a few Heather Thomas posters. God bless all of the people involved in casting there and in the casting of latex-heavy, gorgeous Erin Gray for Buck Rogers. Bless your hearts. Thank the Lord and Larson for small favors. Iconic characters were created in Apollo and Starbuck. He gave me my beloved robot daggit (another chimpanzee by the way), Twiki and more gorgeous ladies than you could shake a stick at in the form of the lovely Jane Seymour, Maren Jensen, Laurette Spang and Anne Lockhart. He really did deliver on the space babes. Those colonial warriors never had it so good.

Well, Glen A. Larson had a big hand in creating some of the finest television in my young life ... and poster girls. Many of these series have been purchased and will continue to be enjoyed for years to come. But to recall the memories of enjoying those original episodes of Battlestar Galactica, holding a Cylon Raider or a Colonial Viper in my hand and the thrill of those days. Those memories are unquestionably irreplaceable. I would be remiss not to pay tribute to the man here given all of the joys he provided my young life. Great joy indeed.

Room posters.


J.D. Lafrance said...

What a fantastic tribute!

Larson certainly contributed heavily to a whole generation's formative years with his genre work in TV.

I still remember how excited I was as a kid to tune into a new ep. of KNIGHT RIDER every week.

Funnily enough, I was never a huge BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fan as I always felt that it was a bit of a retread of STAR WARS and there seemed to be a real divide back then, like you were either a BATTLESTAR fan or a STAR WARS fan.

I had forgotten that he was responsible for THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and THE FALL GUY. Ahh, Heather Thomas...

What a fantastic tribute. Well said, my friend!

Dog In Space said...

Thank you J.D.! Nice to hear from you.

Yeah, it's funny, I was one of the percentage that easily shifted between Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica in 1978.

I certainly held no ill will toward Battlestar for any inspiration from Star Wars it might have drawn upon.

In my young mind, I found the two adventure series very, very different. I guess I never thought it was that close. And thus loved the heck out of both of them.

Heather Thomas... yum.
Cheers as always my friend. sff

le0pard13 said...

Absolutely, a wonderful tribute, G. Larson was responsible for a large body of work that was part of my TV viewing through the years. The man left a great legacy and he will be missed. Well done, my friend.

Dog In Space said...

Thanks Michael.
Great news recently that Larson's Battlestar Galactica original will be released on Blu-Ray in 2015. So pleased to hear this.