Battle of the Network Stars - Robin Williams

1977’s Battle Of The Network Stars Was Intense!

Battle of the Network Stars was kind of a big deal. In my youth I certainly didn’t pay much attention to sports. Perhaps the occasional basketball game or boxing match would pique my interest. However on the whole I just wasn’t that interested. Until of course I caught wind of the Battle of the Network Stars. This was a sporting event that not only myself but my Family became addicted to. Say what you will about an basketball upset – I ask though how that can compare to the likes of William Shatner and Richard Hatch competing against Tim Reid in canoes? Of course you also had the fact that your favorite networks were naturally going head to head in Battle of the Network Stars!

[Via] TV News Themes 1

The whole point of the television show, which began in 1976 and always aired on ABC. Was that three teams composed of the top talent for each network would face a variety of challenges. Golf, tennis, cycling, swimming, obstacle course, running, bowling and more were the types of events the stars would compete in.

Furthermore each of the teams would pick a team captain. Generally a team consisted of eight to nine stars. I will definitely admit that there were certain celebrities that I didn’t recognize. But that added to the fun as in fact this caused my Family to pick different stars to root for. For example my Father and Grandfather were huge fans of Robert Conrad of The Wild Wild West fame. While my Grandmother and myself were rooting for Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica!
Battle of the Network Stars - Richard Hatch

One of the absolutely joys of watching these old broadcast, in which there were 19 specials from 1976 to 1988. Is of course to see all of these celebrities hanging out and having fun. Although having said that, at some of these events things got a little too serious. Nothing physical of course but I recall some of the stars getting into shouting matches once or twice. Although those instances were very rare in my personal opinion.
Battle of the Network Stars - Robert Conrad

How could you not want to tune in to see the likes of WKRP in Cincinnati‘s Tim Reid competing alongside LeVar Burton (Roots) and The Incredible Hulk‘s Lou Ferrigno.
Battle of the Network Stars - Levar Burton - Lou Ferrigno - Tim Reid

Actually friends, Reid would appear as Venus Flytrap in WKRP in Cincinnati beginning in ’78. It was probably his roles in Maude or What’s Happening!! that got him a spot in the Battle of the Network Stars. Besides the many celebrities such as Gabe Kaplan, Robert Urich, Debby Boone, Charlene Tilton, Joyce Dewitt, Maren Jensen, and many more – the legendary Howard Cosell would act as host and commentator on the events.
Battle of the Network Stars - David Letterman

When all of the major competitions were completed the network that had the least amount of points were disqualified. Leaving the remaining two to go head to head in an epic tug of war to crown the winner.

Enough background on the Battle of the Network Stars. Ready to watch this 1977 compilation featuring the likes of Robin Williams?

[Via] Clippety

Actually there was one other sporting events that I was a fan of in my youth. That was of course 1977’s Laff-A-Lympics!

[Via] Hewey 1972

Battlestar Galactica

Atari Was Making A Battlestar Galactica Laserdisc Game?!

Battlestar Galactica was required viewing in my youth. Of course it didn’t hurt the television series that in 1978 everyone was in the grip of Star Wars fever. In fact I I saw the Battlestar Galactica movie, which was an abridged version of the TV pilot, at the 62 Drive-In of my youth.

ReMastered By JDG

My notebooks at school were chock full of doodles featuring Stormtroopers as well as Cylon Warriors. Although I regret to say that I wasn’t lucky enough to receive very many of the toys. However I did get my hands on Mattel’s Cylon Centurion figure. Moreover it became a rival bounty hunter for Boba Fett in my Star Wars toy universe.

So in other words, I was a pretty big fan of the short lived Battlestar Galactica series. What I was not remotely aware of until yesterday though, was that Atari had plans on a laserdisc game. I found out about it thanks to Patrick Barnes who posted on the Diary of An Arcade Employee Facebook Page. It was back in 1984 that Atari began work on a conversion kit for another of their laserdisc titles – Firefox.

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive.

Sadly the Battlestar Galactic arcade game never saw the light of day. On the positive side at least there exists this test footage of the proposed arcade title.


Uploaded by Scottith Games to his YouTube account!

Furthermore he shares an interview with a designer of the game. Owen Rubin who worked on such classic games as Battlezone, Space Duel and Major Havoc:
“With Galactica, it was my idea originally as I was a Galactica fan obviously, (those are Cylon ships in Major Havoc, and the graphics displays in the tactical display were drawn like in Galactica as well), the guys who did Star Wars and Firefox started the project. I did a small amount of work as well. All that was really done was some footage on the laserdisc that let you land a fighter ship into one of the landing bays on either side of the large ship.

The video on the disc is recorded in such a way that playing it back would look like garbage. It is a bunch of still frames that you play out of order so that you can change what you are playing seamlessly. For example, the landing footage is one of 9 to 16 or so frames from different positions as you approach the landing bay. Imaging a 3×3 of 4×4 grid of possible positions you can approach from, with the center being straight on. If you fly straight, the program would display every 9th frame which was the video of flying straight.
Battlestar Galactica - Landing Bay
If you moved right, you would select the proper “frame view” and it would look like you moved in the video to the right, and now play every 9th “right position 1″ video frame in order. With this scheme, you could fly in 2 dimensions with the joystick while the game pushed you forward in the third as well, controlled by a throttle.”

It most certainly isn’t every single day that you learn about such a video game project. I want to thank Patrick Barnes once again as well as Scottith Games for documenting what might be lost arcade game history.

Now that you’ve learned about the Battlestar Galactica arcade game. How about you watch the 1998 trailer for the reboot of the series that the late and great Richard Hatch conceived?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s8heJPX8xk
[Via] Peter Noble