Battlestar Galactica Fan's Convention at Sea

| September 29, 2008

Holding a fan's convention at sea offers fans and celebrities a chance to relax and enjoy each other's company.

For the uninitiated, the original Battlestar Galactica television show premiered in 1978 and only ran for one season. The network then cancelled the show not because of poor ratings - it was actually doing very well - but because the cost of producing each episode, which ran close to a million dollars, was more than the network could justify. So they pulled the plug on this show, despite its high ratings.

I spent four days on Carnival Paradise attending a Battlestar Galactica fan's convention at sea, and while there were some disappointments, Paradise is a ship that has seen better days, though she still has life in her, overall it was a great sailing. I first learned about this cruise ten months ago and the idea of a fan's convention at sea intrigued me. In my youth, I had attended similar events on land, and wondered what the differences would be when one was hosted on a cruise ship. These turned out to be more significant than I imagined.

Before this cruise, CruiseMates published an article on what it takes to produce a fan cruise like the Battlestar Galacticruise. Here is a recap: Organizing a Fan Cruise: Galacticruise.

Of course, there is always the matter of getting celebrities to attend, because without celebrities, you have no event. We had Richard Hatch (Captain Apollo) as the featured celebrity. At an autograph session held on the last day, his table had the snaking line that took about a half hour to get through. Terry Carter (Col. Tigh) was also a crowd pleaser with many admirers onboard. It is amazing to think that he is close to 80 years old now. He doesn't look it nor act it. I honestly thought he was maybe in his 50's! I never saw someone age so well.

Sarah Rush (Flight Cpl. Rigel) was truly a blessing to be around. She recently adopted the most adorable little girl and brought her along on this cruise. That adorable child quickly won the hearts of convention-goers and ship's staff alike.

click on pictures below for larger images:

Terry Carter   Sarah Rush

Another special treat was a last minute addition to the line-up, George Murdock (Dr. Salik). I spent quite a bit of time talking with him during this sailing, and even took to referring to him as "Doc" whenever I saw him throughout the ship.

Also onboard were some "behind the scenes" people, including Stu Phillips, the composer of the Battlestar Galactica theme music, which was performed on the show by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He put together a clever "take off" of the original theme music specifically for our sailing. The lyrics mentioned, "no Cylons being onboard the Paradise, but plenty of booze."

Also onboard was Terrence McDonald, one of the primary writers on the original series. He shared tales of how some of the episodes came into being. It was interesting to note that much of the original series was based on the Book of Mormon, especially the two-part episode featuring the "ship of lights." Fans will recall how similar this episode was to material contained in the Bible's Book of Revelation, where the ship of lights descends upon the fleet of the Galactica from the vastness of space, and the lifelong battle of good versus evil being played out. I for one was fascinated to hear that much of the factual material for episodes such as this was taken directly from religious works.

Some of the guest stars from the original series also made appearances on this sailing. Robert Ferro (Bora in the original series) only appeared in a couple of episodes, but he certainly drew a devoted fan base. Sadly suffering from emphysema, He actually left his sick bed against doctor's orders and came on the cruise with his oxygen tanks in tow. Despite the state of his health, he was very forthcoming with fans, answering their questions about his role in the show and what he's been involved in since.

Denny Miller (who played the character Ser 5-9 in one episode of the original show) was another favorite of the fans. He told stories about how his scenes were shot. For those who remember, he was "replicated" on the show, since he played a "clone," who had many doubles.

Continue Article >> The Fan-cruise Advantages (Part 2)

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