By Jon Waterhouse
When Star Wars fever blasted the world in the late ’70s, television answered quickly with Battlestar Galactica. The show garnered its own rabid sci-fi fan base and spawned a re-imagining in 2003 with a TV mini-series and subsequent series on Syfy
Actor Richard Hatch appeared on both, the first time around as Captain Apollo and as Tom Zarek on the later series. Hatch has taken a great interest in the “Galactica” mythos having co-written a series of Battlestar Galactica novels. He and his fans were geeking together at DragonCon this year.
MTV Geek: You’re a regular DragonCon guest. What do you think about the phenomenon of these types of conventions?
Richard Hatch: I think the world has discovered what I and many, many other fans of sci-fi and fantasy discovered many eons ago. Sci-fi conventions are probably the most fun, the most out-of-the-box, entertaining week or weekend you’ve ever had in your life. It’s for the whole family. The studios and networks have discovered it, because they can market to their niche audiences. And you get people from all walks of life, all ages, all backgrounds. Some of the most amazing human beings on the face of the planet go to sci-fi conventions, although I’m sure a few of them wouldn’t admit it. But I love this genre, I love “Battlestar,” I love visionary sci-fi stories, I love anime, I love fantasy. And plus I love great writing, great acting, great drama. What’s not to love?
MTV Geek: I understand lots of funny incidents went down on the set of the original Battlestar Galactica. You’re known to share these tales at DragonCon.
Richard Hatch: We had so many stories. There were so manny funny things that happened, especially late at night when everybody’s exhausted, and we’re living on hot popcorn and hot sake on the backlot of Universal. ...It took forever for the actors to get in the Cylon costumes. And once they got into those costumes, if they had to go to the bathroom, they would have to plan way ahead of time to get out of those costume to make it to the John. So we had more than one Cylon not make it. And that was a very, very, very uncomfortable experience for some of those actors who were in those costumes. I think one of them lost his balance, because he was in such dire need to get to the bathroom. He fell down and hit the Cylon in front of him, he hit the Cylon in front of him, and it knocked down a whole row of Cylons.
MTV Geek: You also had monkeys on the set of the original Battlestar Galactica, right?
Richard Hatch: That was always funny. We called it little monkeys in bondage, because they were stuck in these mechanical suits that were part robotic. Basically the trained monkey could move and react to the situations. I’m sure that wasn’t the most comfortable thing for a monkey. So they had three monkeys sharing time in their little jail cells. Whenever they could, they tried to get out of those outfits. And whenever an explosion or something went off, they would just freak out, jump out of those costumes and run around the rafters of the sound stage. We would spend a couple of hours trying to get them back down.
For more on Richard Hatch, go to www.richardhatch.com.