The 1979 Pilot Episode For The Star Wars Inspired “Starstruck” Has Been Found!

Debuting on June 9, 1979 the TV Pilot for the series entitled “Starstruck” aired only once on CBS. A Sci-Fi comedy focusing on the McCallister family and the Hotel/Restaurant they run in space. The humor coming from the robotic staff as well as the clientele that the family come in contact with. The shows creators seem to have been inspired by the cantina scene from the original Star Wars.

This was considered to be a lost pilot but thankfully Chuck Cirino who happened to be an effects technician on the show saved his copy on a VHS tape and has uploaded it on his YouTube channel.

Considering that the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted yesterday it certainly seemed time to share this bit of previously lost TV history!

[Via] Chuck Cirino


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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5 thoughts on “The 1979 Pilot Episode For The Star Wars Inspired “Starstruck” Has Been Found!

  1. I watched this the other day. It’s weird. It’s hard to tell on this version, but it looks like the show switched between shooting video and film (like classic Dr. Who). For example, the opening scene in the diner is clearly film, yet the fight at the end is very videoy – not just the effects, but the overall image.

    I wonder what the factor was? My gut tells me it was due to the cost of shooting those scenes on film (with all that coverage as well as several takes) – or that using the video effects over the video was more cost effective than doing them as opticals on film. They probably learned a lot from the process.

    Love that opening titles and the theme song. Really make sure the audience has ALL the setup!

  2. You are quite right, Patrick. On his YouTube channel: ” From what I understand the show didn’t get a pick up for budgetary reasons. The visual effects were being shot on video tape (originally to save money). The rest of the show was shot on 35mm film. Because of strict CBS Network guidelines the pilot was required to be broadcast from 35mm film through a telecine. When this pilot was broadcast for the one and only time those scenes shot on video tape had to be transferred to 35mm film. At the time that cost was astronomical and unexpected. This issue became a huge political stumbling block in the pickup negotiations with the network.?”

  3. Great info! I can tell you firsthand that network delivery requirements are very strict and they make no exceptions. I would love to see those video tape segments clean.

  4. I wanted to update this thread about shooting special effects on video. I have recently gotten my son into the 70s Hardy Boys series – and he loves it!

    We watched an episode in season 1 – The Disappearing Floor – which makes use of the technique we discussed above. SPOILERS!!!

    For any of the scenes where the boys are inside the hologram, it’s CLEARLY been shot on a green screen using videotape, then all the effects done on video and, unlike Starstruck, finally all transferred back to film. However, you can notice the interlacing and drift when they move around, even though it has been re-shot to reversal.

    If you have the DVD set (which you should), check it out.

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