Frank Frazetta's1978 Battlestar Galactica Ads Are a Pulpy Treat

Frank Frazetta's1978 Battlestar Galactica Ads Are a Pulpy Treat

The original Battlestar Galactica may not have been great television but thanks to the talents of famed fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, it sure did have some great ads.

Readers of a certain age will remember the original Battlestar Galactica, a 1978 television series that tried [and pretty much failed] to capitalize on the space opera craze launched a year earlier by Star Wars. It was pretty silly stuff, although in the eyes of my so-much-younger self it was absolutely "must-see TV," and ABC pulled the plug after just one year.

But before it all fell apart, the network took a bold step to promote the series, commissioning Frank Frazetta to create three illustrations for three episodes, which were then used in ads that wouldn't have been out of place on the back of a Golden Age pulp novel. "The ancient Tombs of Kobol hold two mysteries for the galactic adventures," reads the text in one. "A secret which could light their way forward... a curse which could destroy them all!"

Based on what I remember of that episode, the secret was never discovered and the curse came in the form of a few Cylon raiders who blew up the stock-footage pyramid that Adama, Apollo, Baltar and the rest were stomping around in. But that's okay, because Frazetta's illustrations don't have a whole lot to do with the show either; it's pretty obvious that someone from the network threw a very general overview at him and then sent him on his way.

And as far as I'm concerned, that's awesome. I love the idea of turning a classic fantasy artist loose on a concept as the basis for a marketing campaign. The only downside is that these images probably just helped to set the series up for failure; if Battlestar Galactica had offered up anything even close to what was promised in these ads it'd probably still be on the air but alas, it never even came close.

Source: Blastr

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That's, uh, quite a flight crew...

Those ads may have helped kill the show. I seem to recall seeing those and tuning in wanting to see what was depicted and being rather disappointed by the late seventies TV budget actors, costumes and sets.

I'll still like old school Battlestar Galactica better than the new pretentious bullshit one. At least the old one knew it was being derivative, and it gave me space battles.

The new one just squandered all its cash on a few giant space battles at the start, before devolving into "who turns out to be a cylon this week?"

Soviet Heavy:
I'll still like old school Battlestar Galactica better than the new pretentious bullshit one. At least the old one knew it was being derivative, and it gave me space battles.

The new one just squandered all its cash on a few giant space battles at the start, before devolving into "who turns out to be a cylon this week?"

BSG:TOS had the best intro of any tv show, like, ever.

This art is awesomely campy.

I was raised by parents who were fierce devotees of the original. (They're fond of relating the story of how they forced their parents to sit around for hours waiting for the end of the special coverage of the Camp David accords which interrupted the pilot or an early episode or somesuch so that they could finish watching.) As a result I'm pretty partial to it. Then again, I'm also a loud proponent of appreciating things in the context of their time. Yes, classic BSG looks kitschy and awful now (the later episodes did even at the time). But *everything* looked like that then. It's sure a huge step above Buck Rogers. At its best, the show told interesting stories with interesting characters.

And Patrick Macnee as the devil. That's just plain awesome.

megs1120:

Soviet Heavy:
I'll still like old school Battlestar Galactica better than the new pretentious bullshit one. At least the old one knew it was being derivative, and it gave me space battles.

The new one just squandered all its cash on a few giant space battles at the start, before devolving into "who turns out to be a cylon this week?"

BSG:TOS had the best intro of any tv show, like, ever.

This art is awesomely campy.

Pure retro camp.

Who cares if the space footage was recycled more than japanese animation cells? It was still awesome!

I saw the original Battlestar Galactica film in a movie theater. That was some pretty excellent shit.

Andy Chalk:
I saw the original Battlestar Galactica film in a movie theater. That was some pretty excellent shit.

Was that the one where the Cylons attacked Earth?

Franky died just last year. He was a pro ass-drawer. no one drew asses like frank. I love his viking series

Nice. If you like Frazetta stuff you might want to check out this animated movie he made with some other guy:
Fire And Ice. I never heard of it before and only watched it recently because it was given to me as a christmas present. I found it surprisingly good. Sorta like Conan (the Terminator version) animated.

Tiamat666:
Nice. If you like Frazetta stuff you might want to check out this animated movie he made with some other guy:
Fire And Ice. I never heard of it before and only watched it recently because it was given to me as a christmas present. I found it surprisingly good. Sorta like Conan (the Terminator version) animated.

That "other guy" is the great Ralph Bakshi, one of the most progressive animators in the western world.

instantbenz:
Franky died just last year. He was a pro ass-drawer. no one drew asses like frank.

I second that. No one can top Franky's ass.

Wait. I mean... that didn't come out right...

Soviet Heavy:
I'll still like old school Battlestar Galactica better than the new pretentious bullshit one. At least the old one knew it was being derivative, and it gave me space battles.

Wow, speaking about pretentious.

Soviet Heavy:
Was that the one where the Cylons attacked Earth?

Nope, it was the original television series pilot, edited a bit and released in theaters prior (I think) to the launch of the show. NBC did the same thing with Buck Rogers. Needless to say, neither have held up quite as well as Star Wars, but they were great at the time.

TheBelgianGuy:

Soviet Heavy:
I'll still like old school Battlestar Galactica better than the new pretentious bullshit one. At least the old one knew it was being derivative, and it gave me space battles.

Wow, speaking about pretentious.

When I hear "Battlestar Galactica", the first thing I think of is not pseudo philosophical dribble that is used to cover up the fact that they blew their budget on the first few episodes, and trying to make the show look deeper than it is.

Soviet Heavy:

Tiamat666:
Nice. If you like Frazetta stuff you might want to check out this animated movie he made with some other guy:
Fire And Ice. I never heard of it before and only watched it recently because it was given to me as a christmas present. I found it surprisingly good. Sorta like Conan (the Terminator version) animated.

That "other guy" is the great Ralph Bakshi, one of the most progressive animators in the western world.

I still haven't quite forgiven "that other guy" for not finishing his Lord of the Rings movies.

Tiamat666:

Soviet Heavy:

Tiamat666:
Nice. If you like Frazetta stuff you might want to check out this animated movie he made with some other guy:
Fire And Ice. I never heard of it before and only watched it recently because it was given to me as a christmas present. I found it surprisingly good. Sorta like Conan (the Terminator version) animated.

That "other guy" is the great Ralph Bakshi, one of the most progressive animators in the western world.

I still haven't quite forgiven "that other guy" for not finishing his Lord of the Rings movies.

I still haven't quite forgiven him for making them. Regardless of his other work, that strange attempt at LotR was one of the most nonsensical and obnoxious adaptations I've ever seen.

But Frazetta is awesome. I so love his camp and equal-opportunity fanservice.

Have watches all the remake/reboot series and I loved them.
Is there any point watching the originals now? I suspect I would just find them meh or find them ridiculous...

Back in the early '80s, I owned a paperback novel that had on its cover the painting on the far left (the one with Starbuck, Apollo, and Athena crouching and back-to-back, with guns ready).

Speaking of the painting on the far left: It definitely looks like Athena (played by Maren Jensen) is buck-naked except for her belt, holster, and boots. I doubt an artist nowadays could get away with depicting a character (actress) incongruously "naked" like that in a major publication, particularly in an action scene with the other characters (both males) fully-clothed. It would be seen as sexist and even silly.

However, when I first saw that paperback novel cover, I didn't think there was anything about it that was incongruous. If anything, I thought it was awesome. Then again, I was only 13 or 14 years old, at the time.

I'm not getting all the hate for Battlestar Galactica in this article. Maybe it wasn't the Love Boat or Fantasy Island, or whatever great late 70s television might be, but it was a perfectly fine show, that spawned a remake 20 years later.

Fearzone:
I'm not getting all the hate for Battlestar Galactica in this article. Maybe it wasn't the Love Boat or Fantasy Island, or whatever great late 70s television might be, but it was a perfectly fine show, that spawned a remake 20 years later.

Indeed. That hate should be reserved for Gallactica 1980 and the Super Scouts. Well except for the final episode "The Return of Starbuck" which is an excellent return to form. Even it is basically ripping off either the novella Enemy Mine or Hell in the Pacific.

Cyn0sure:
Back in the early '80s, I owned a paperback novel that had on its cover the painting on the far left (the one with Starbuck, Apollo, and Athena crouching and back-to-back, with guns ready).

Speaking of the painting on the far left: It definitely looks like Athena (played by Maren Jensen) is buck-naked except for her belt, holster, and boots. I doubt an artist nowadays could get away with depicting a character (actress) incongruously "naked" like that in a major publication, particularly in an action scene with the other characters (both males) fully-clothed. It would be seen as sexist and even silly.

However, when I first saw that paperback novel cover, I didn't think there was anything about it that was incongruous. If anything, I thought it was awesome. Then again, I was only 13 or 14 years old, at the time.

Yes, they had about 5 or 6 Galactica novels, one was named "Lords of Kobol", and there was one that was a retelling of "Assault on Ice Station Zero" (I think that was the original series episode name), the one with the clones, or as the clone leader says, "We prefer the term Theta-Class Lifeforms."

And I was in California and went to Disneyland when they were filing the series. I remember passing a Cylon spaceship and the guide telling us that it was a prop in a new Science Fiction series that they were filming. The Spaceship was about 10 or 12 feet long, I think (hard to tell scale when it's on the ground). And I loved that series. I loved everything about it, even the made-up sport they played (Triad), and the original Baltar's aide, Lucifer, and his salutation "By Your Command".

cool posters. I was exposed to one episode of the original series, a few from 1980 and the new series from the past decade. I actually like the new series better.... not so much because its better but just cause the story kept me addicted and litterly battles came in differnt forms: one episode it would be a terrorist attack, another a political fight, another an actual attack.

that being said when I saw the 1970's show I was impressed how real the actors tried to show that they just lost their whole civilization..... but I was more persuaded by the new series (the old one the "fleet" showed up after the earth was coquered..... kinda weird how Cylons attack the colonies and there still is 50,000 people on the planets and there is still all the ships left in tact to take them away)....But then again the new series showed how the cylons had some crazy plan (which albiet was much different in season 1 than it was in season 4 but thats besides the point) and occupied capirica rather than raid it.

Soviet Heavy:
I'll still like old school Battlestar Galactica better than the new pretentious bullshit one. At least the old one knew it was being derivative, and it gave me space battles.

Space battle. They only one. They just clipped it together differently each week.

Grey Carter:

Soviet Heavy:
I'll still like old school Battlestar Galactica better than the new pretentious bullshit one. At least the old one knew it was being derivative, and it gave me space battles.

Space battle. They only one. They just clipped it together differently each week.

True. However, I do remember at least one time where there was an attack on some of the transports that used different scenes of footage.

Does anyone here remember the BSG game that came out on the PS2 in 2003?

 

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