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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

Galactica 1980: The Night the Cylons Landed (Part 1) Galactica 1980
"The Night the Cylons Landed" Part 1
Written by Glen A. Larson
Directed by Sigmund Neufeld, Jr.
Original air date: April 13, 1980

An advanced Cylon Raider crash-lands on Earth.

Read the synopsis of this episode at the Battlestar Wiki site

Didja Know?

From queues in the episode, we see that the story opens on October 30, 1980 and continues into the night of the 31st, Halloween.

Didja Notice?

Troy and Dillon take the super scouts to a movie theater to see an old sci-fi/horror movie. The film is 1955's This Island Earth.

Both Troy and Wellington suggest that the bug-eyed alien seen in This Island Earth is similar to a creature on the planet Gorkon. Presumably, Gorkon was a planet the fleet encountered during its trek to Earth.

In this episode, Colonel Briggs replaces Colonel Sydell as the head of the U.S. Air Force's Special Detachment One, investigating unexplained phenomena. Sydell was injured by a blast from Xaviar's laser pistol in "Spaceball".

Major Jensen informs Colonel Briggs of the UFO that's been detected in a decaying orbit. He remarks that it's "Skylab all over again." Skylab was an American space station which orbited Earth from 1973-1979. Later in the episode, Jensen goes on to say that predicting where the object will fall is difficult and that NASA's prediction of where Skylab would land was off by an entire continent. I've been unable to confirm that NASA predicted a continent it would strike, instead they attempted to steer the station to crash into the south Atlantic or Indian Oceans; it fell in pieces over a largely uninhabited stretch of Australia instead.

The observatory visited by the super scouts in this episode is the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles at the top of Mt. Hollywood.

Jamie tells Troy and Dillon that the falling craft detected by the U.S. military is projected to land somewhere in the tri-state area. She is referring to the conjunction of the three states New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

The tour guide at the observatory tells the assembled group that there are over 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy and Wellington corrects her, stating it's 114 billion. But modern science now says it is actually 200-400 billion stars.

When Troy and Dillon are forced to fly to New York to track down the crashed ship, they leave the children in Jamie's care, who says they can spend a couple of days at Billy's camp. This is a reference to the children's camp called Casey's Baseball Park owned by Billy Eheres, as seen in "Spaceball".

The futuristic-looking building at 11:03 on the DVD is the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, which informs us where Troy and Dillon are taking their flight from. The futuristic architecture of the Theme Building has come to be known as Googie architecture, after Googie's coffee shop in Hollywood which had similar "space age" design elements which were popular from the late '40s through the mid-'60s. The Theme Building formerly housed the Encounter Restaurant, which went out of business on December 31, 2013.

As Troy and Dillon walk into the airport terminal, the overhead speaker announces that Trans Globe flight 91 from New York is now arriving. Trans Globe appears to be a fictional airline, though may be inspired by Trans World Airlines, popularly known as TWA, an international airline that operated from 1925-2001, when it was bought out by American Airlines. At 11:19 on the DVD, a TWA sign is seen in the background.

At 11:17 on the DVD, a young man is seen carrying a Pan Am bag. Pan Am (short for Pan American World Airways) was an international airline from 1927-1991.

From the background seen, the flight desk Troy and Dillon are seen standing at in close-ups as they check in is a different one than they were seen walking up to just seconds before.

Troy and Dillon are given the names Jones and Smith as aliases by Jamie for their flight since there is an APB out for the pair. This is likely a reference to the previous Glen Larson TV series Alias Smith and Jones, a western that ran for two seasons from 1971-73. Actor Roger Davis, who plays the Cylon Andromus here, appeared in a number of episodes of Alias Smith and Jones as replacement for one of the lead actors of the show, who had committed suicide in the middle of production.

Troy and Dillon seem confused when learning of the act of airplane hijacking that occurs at times on Earth. But hijacking of spacecraft occurred a number of times in BSG stories, which the two should be aware of.

The actress Sheila De Windt, who plays a flight attendant on Troy and Dillon's flight to New York, also played Dietra in the "Lost Planet of the Gods" 2-parter and "The Hand of God".

Troy and Dillon checked in at a flight desk for an airline that appeared to begin with the letters TR (most likely Trans World Airlines). When their plane is shown lifting off, the paint job on it suggests a plane of the American Airlines fleet. Seconds later, while in the air, the plane is a TWA airliner. Later still, a plane with a CA logo on the tailfin is depicted (Columbia Airlines, a fictional airline from a shot taken from the 1975 film Airport 1975)!

Troy and Dillon's flight proceeds on to New York, despite the hijacking attempt to Cuba. It seems unlikely this would happen without a stop at the next closest airport for FBI investigation.

The flight attendant on Troy and Dillon's flight announces that the plane will be landing at JFK. JFK is John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.

Awaiting the crash of the unknown object, Colonel Briggs and his aide, Butler, remark on the earlier crash of a Russian satellite in Canada. This is likely a reference to the Russian Kosmos 954 satellite which came back down to Earth in 1978 with its nuclear reactor still onboard, scattering radioactive debris across northern Canada.

The Cylon A-B Raider appears to manned by at least 5 Cylons (3 Centurions and 2 human-like androids).

The monitor screen and even keypads aboard the A-B Raider use English words and lettering! Notice also that the keypads below the monitor are number/letter pads that are oriented in different ways: right-side up, sideways, and upside-down!
A-B Raider console

Andromus remarks that Earth has 7 major landmasses, a radius of 6,378 kils, and 71% covered with a blanket of H2O. The 7 landmasses are the continents Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. The radius he mentions is correct, in kilometers. H2O is, of course, water, and it does, indeed, cover 71% of the planet.

At 25:51 on the DVD, a TV camera for WRTZ is seen, waiting with other reporters for interviews regarding the hijacking attempt on the flight. This appears to be a fictional television station. The W would indicate it is intended to be a station east of the Mississippi River, as those west of it begin with K.

At 26:14 on the DVD, a fallout shelter sign is seen on the wall in the background at JFK Airport. Fallout shelters were common in public places during the Cold War (1945-1991).

As the A-B Raider comes in for a crash landing on Earth, Andromus and Andromidus view Earth tele-communications. These include scenes from 1953's Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, as well as a western and a vampire film which I've been unable to identify.

Two police officers in New York on I-5 see the fire in the woods caused by the crash of the Raider. There is no I-5 in New York state. Interstate 5 runs north-south on the west coast, not the east.

The paint job on the vehicles of the New York State Police in this episode is similar, though not exact, to what the real state police used in 1980.

After the crash of the A-B Raider, Andromus and Centurion 9 survive. Centurion 9 becomes known as Centuri, as if that is the name of the "human" inside the robot costume on Halloween. Andromus initially refers to the centurion simply as "centurion", but, oddly, starts calling him Centuri even before their encounter with humans.

After discovering Troy and Dillon at the crash site, the state police officers take the small laser pistols they carry. One of them accidentally fires one and it brings down a tree, setting it aflame. Yet, when the Warriors snatch the weapons back as the officers stare in shock, the guns are immediately used to simply "freeze" the two officers. Notice that there does seem to be a split-second when the two Warriors adjust the weapons (accompanied by an electronic sound) to the less lethal mode.

Andromus remarks to Centuri that they've landed within 1000 metrons of the communications center he plans to use to send their distress call to the Cylon baseship. In BSG, a Colonial metron was about the same as one meter, much less distance than the equivalent term used here by Andromus. Possibly, the Cylon term "metron" is simply different than the Colonial one. Since Major Jenkins had earlier told Colonel Briggs that the unidentified object was projected to crash about 60 miles north of New York City, the Cylon metron used here must be equal to about 0.06 miles.

Norman and Shirley are listening to a disc jockey named Wolfman Jack on their car radio. Wolfman Jack was a real world disc jockey with a syndicated show at the time. He appears in person in "The Night the Cylons Landed" Part 2.

The character of Norman is played by William Daniels, who would go on to provide the voice of KITT on Glen Larson's Knight Rider TV show.

As it is Halloween night when the Cylon ship crashes to Earth, Andromus and Centuri are assumed to be merely partiers in costume and Shirley approaches them to offer a ride. She is dressed as a sexy vampire, possibly meant to be the campy 1950s horror character Vampira. When Shirley approaches Andromus for the first time, at 40:45 on the DVD, she is wearing vampire fangs; but just seconds earlier in the car, she wasn't! Seconds later, the teeth are gone again, though it might be argued she removed them in a split-second when Andromus appeared taken aback by her appearance.

The song played by Wolfman Jack on the radio at 43:02 on the DVD is "Disco Inferno" by The Trampps, from 1976.

Shirley tells Andromus that her husband, Norman, is the general manager of the radio station they're listening to in the car. Norman remarks that his station broadcasts at 150,000 watts. However, U.S. broadcast standards prohibit broadcasting radio at more than 50,000 watts.

After stealing a state police cruiser, Troy and Dillon hear a "Code 10-16, stolen police vehicle" over the police radio. But a Code 10-16 is normally police code for picking up a prisoner. However, there is a fair amount of deviation in codes between states and even between regions within a state.

The police radio indicates that the police cruiser was stolen in the area of Hudson River Parkway. Although there is no official Hudson River Parkway, the area around Hudson River Road along the Hudson River is occasionally referred to as such. But the area does not lie in the wooded area 60 miles north of New York City where the vehicle was stolen!

The bridge seen at 44:18 on the DVD appears to be the Queensboro Bridge.

At 45:11 on the DVD, Norman and Shirley and crew drive past a D'Agostino sign. D'Agostino is a chain of supermarkets in the New York City area.

Norman remarks to Shirley that Arnie's meatballs "are to the digestive tract what Vida Blue is to the San Francisco Giants. A stopper." Vida Blue was a Major League Baseball pitcher from 1969-1983, including two stints with the Giants. In baseball parlance, a stopper is a pitcher who closes out a game. In meatball terms, I suppose Norman means they end the evening.

Unanswered Questions

How is it that Andromus and Centuri know how to speak English when they arrive on Earth?

Memorable Dialog

is she a frimp.wav
I wouldn't even let you.wav
fly to the planet Pluto in less time.wav
how do we get in these messes?.wav
we have money.wav
the lost human civilization.wav
destroy all humans.wav
this is their first time on Earth.wav
a good guy.wav
Disco Inferno.wav
on a good night they can hear us in the next galaxy.wav
we're quite capable of defending ourselves.wav

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