We loved them as Sheba, Starbuck, Bojay and Rigel on the original “Battlestar Galactica” TV series from the 70s. Now, we have all-new (lengthy) interviews with these amazing actors — Anne Lockhart, Dirk Benedict, Jack Stauffer and Sarah Rush — from the recent Classic Comic Con convention.
“Sidewalks Entertainment” creator / host Richard R. Lee and videographer / associate producer Rebeca Zuniga attended Classic Comic Con, held in Modesto, CA. At the 2016 event, the theme of the convention featured sessions and celebrity guests from the original “Battlestar Galactica” TV show.
A little background on “Battlestar Galactica,” a 1978-79 TV show seen on the ABC network. Produced and created by Glen A. Larson (“Knight Rider,” “The Fall Guy”), the science fiction program followed the last remaining survivors of a long war between the human race and their enemy, the robotic Cylons. Starring Lorne Greene (“Bonanza”), Richard Hatch (“Streets of San Francisco”) and Dirk Benedict (“The A-Team”), their solo battlestar and hundreds of ships went on a unknown journey to find the lost tribe from their colonies, who settled on the planet Earth.
The franchise began with the TV series, which lasted only one season (24 episodes) due to high cost of the production. Following the original run, the series attempted a short-lived comeback by producing a lower-cost version called “Galactica 1980” featuring Greene and a new set of cast members. As the years progressed, “Galactica” found new life in TV syndication and the release of DVDs, as well as a popular line of book adaptations, original novels (some written by series star Hatch), comic books, and video games. Over the years, there were numerous attempts in bringing the show back to life, including a proposed feature film version by Larson and Hatch producing a promotional trailer called “The Second Coming” to help pitch a potential series to Universal, who owned the rights to “Galactica.” A 2-hour pilot-movie revival, of sort, came close in 2000/2001 when “X-Men” director Bryan Singer and producer / screenwriter Tom DeSanto attempted a continuation of the original concept, but was cancelled due to delays and availability of Singer. In 2003, the then-Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) brought the idea back with a “reboot” of the story with former “Star Trek” writer Ronald D. Moore (“Outlander”) and producer David Eick (“Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”) A miniseries, starring Edward James Olmos (“Miami Vice”) and Mary McDonnell (“Major Crimes”), was produced and then a successful TV series continued during the years of 2004–09.
Below, the original cast members – Dirk Benedict (Starbuck), Anne Lockhart (Lt. Sheba), Jack Stauffer (Lt. Bojay) and Sarah Rush (Rigel) – gave us extended interviews at the Classic Comic Con event. They talked about their time on “Galactica,” and they gave us stories about their acting careers.
Dirk Benedict (Lt. Starbuck)
Anne Lockhart (Lt. Sheba)
Jack Stauffer (Lt. Bojay)
Sarah Rush (Rigel)
Comment from host Richard R. Lee:
I have to admit … I am a fan of the original “Battlestar Galactica” TV series. Even though “Star Wars” was released a year before, and I enjoyed the daily run of “Star Trek” in syndication, I fell in love with this science fiction program because it was truly epic in scale (even at 12 years old I knew there was nothing like this on TV previously). The show came on network TV every Sunday night, and it was my first, regularly-viewed “Must Watch TV.” I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this (another admission) — before we had a VHS recorder, I used to put my audio deck in front of the TV speakers and record the audio of the show on cassette. I played back the sound of the show over and over in the house and car. I think my mom knew the lines of Apollo and Starbuck from hearing the audio constantly. When we got our first VHS recorder, “BG” was the only show I tried to record every episode (this time with video). “Galactica” was my first cult show that I have followed over the decades. My first “complete TV series” collection on DVD was the classic series. Even though, I watched the rebooted version, I still believed the original was better, and I always hoped the original cast and creator Glen A. Larson would get a second chance in re-making the program.
So, flash-forwarded almost 40 years, I was truly excited to interview these actors. While we usually do 5 to 10 minutes interviews on TV, I was presently surprised we had as much time as we did. I let them talked – without restrictions or being rushed. While Dirk Benedict was reluctant at first to do an interview (he said he had nothing to promote), I was beyond happy when he said “yes,” and we got a chance to interview him, since I followed his career like many fans (he is not “anonymous” like he claims). He had an interesting sense of humor. The other actors were very friendly, wonderful and very open to being interviewed. Anne Lockhart (who didn’t correct me when I called her “Annie” by accident) is as beautiful and sweet as you can imagine; it was a joy to be in her presence (off hand, we interviewed her mom, June Lockhart, a long time ago on “Sidewalks,” so we had both Lockhart ladies!!). Stauffer gave us a very fascinating 45-plus minute interview. He had some truly interesting stories about his acting career (i.e. what happened on “Young and The Restless” and why he disappeared during the 1st season and only season of “BG”), and what he is doing now in his life. You can really learn something just listening to him talk, especially if you’re an aspiring actor. Rush, who had a brief role on the show, really enjoyed her time on “Battlestar” and really appreciates the fans (actually, they all do). She was really nice and is an adorable lady, who makes you smile when she talks. Sadly, again, Herbert Jefferson, Jr. (Boomer) declined an on-camera interview (I have seen him at other conventions previously and he always kindly decline). He doesn’t do video interviews, and we respect that and his wishes. Maybe one day, before we are cancelled, he will give us the long-awaited to interview. While we have interviewed Richard Hatch (Apollo) before on the show, I never had the opportunity to interview him personally. Unfortunately, he had to cancel his appearance days before the convention.
Before I forget, I really want to thank Mina Frannea, who is also Hatch’s assistant, for setting up the interviews. Additionally, we need to thank the wonderful staff at Classic Comic Con and the owner/senior partner of the event, Joe Cahill. It was a smaller convention, but they gave it their all to make the fans happy (they did made our TV show happy, too). “Sidewalks” appreciates the opportunity and will always support their endeavors, including the talents. I hope you enjoyed watching the interviews.
Recorded: October 1, 2016
Host / Producer / Editor: Richard R. Lee
Videographer: Rebeca Zuniga
Special Thanks To: Mina Frannea, Classic Comic Con, Steam House Entertainment, Joe Cahill, McHenry Event Center