Sunday, April 13, 2014

Here's Boomer (a Viper pilot) from the 1978 "Battlestar Galactica" wearing his Viper pilot's helmet.

If you believe creator Glen A. Larson (and there are reasons not to), the show was conceived in the late 1960s as Adam's Ark -- where Bible stories would be translated into an outer space setting, complete with a Captain Adam commanding a starship full of animals and peoples seeking a new planet. Well.

After the success of Star Wars in 1977, Universal Studios decided to give Larson -- a wildly successful television producer -- the chance to do his own sci fi series. For a time, the lead characters of "Skyler" (Skywalker) and Princes Lycro (Leia) were the main characters. But Larson quickly changed this.

Larson drew heavily on his own Mormon faith as well as Erik von Daniken's best-selling junk-science book Chariots of the Gods (the old "ancient aliens" story). Larson also liberally imported elements from ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures into his show. Many of these were plot elements -- with the Twelve Colonies named for the 12 signs of the zodiac, the names of people like Apollo and Athena, the home planet Kobol suspiciously sounding like the planet Kolob found in Mormon scripture, and so on.

Other elements were visual. The Viper pilot's helmet, for example clearly drew on the distinctive gold and blue banding found on the death mask of King Tut, as well as the pharoahnic headdress. Each battlestar had its own 3D device atop the helmet.

You can more clearly see the Galactica's device atop Apollo's helmet here.

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