There's a lot of fun packed into this 20-second 1981 NBC promo for the second season Buck Rogers In The 25th Century episode "The Satyr" - not the least of which is the delightfully goofy monster make-up.
In fine Universal Television tradition*, the script for the episode was recycled from a previous Universal series. Actually, the TV story - which already owed a huge debt to the 1953 George Stevens-directed Western, Shane - was also re-used, again, on a subsequent adventure series from the cost-conscious studio.
On Battlestar Galactica a couple of years prior, it was known as "The Lost Warrior," and featured the heroic Captain Apollo (Richard Hatch), marooned on an isolated, human colony world and protecting a farm-dwelling widow and her hero-worshiping young son from the amnesiac Cylon "gunfighter" that killed her husband.
On Buck Rogers, the titular space explorer (as portrayed by Gil Gerard) is marooned on an isolated, human colony world and finds himself protecting a farm-dwelling widow and her hero-worshiping young son from the marauding, satyr-like alien creature that was once her husband.
And, a year or so later, on the 1982 ABC adventure series, Tales Of The Gold Monkey, the script would be dusted off again, as "The Lady And the Tiger;" this time so that South Seas aviator Jake Cutter (Stephen Collins of Star Trek- The Motion Picture) could get marooned on an isolated, tropical island and protect a farm-dwelling widow and her hero-worshiping young son from the man-eating tiger that killed her husband!
Ahhh.... classic television.... you gotta love it.
* The most notorious example of Universal's story recycling is when they took the script from the Knight Rider episode, "Good Day At White Rock" and re-used it the following season on The A-Team, where it was titled, "Black Day At Bad Rock!" Another choice example is the re-use of the Six Million Dollar Man script "Survival Of The Fittest" for The Bionic Woman episode, "Fly Jaime."
The worst “re-script” that I have seen was in Star Trek 6, where they announce over the 1MC that the two assassins that killed the Klingons are in sickbay and that they will be giving statements after Kim Cattrall killed them by phaser fire. I remember seeing this on a black and white episode of Sherlock Holmes played by Basil Rathbone. He came upon the body of a murder victim, placed a handkerchief over the man’s hand and said he wrote something in the dust. Well the murderer had to come back and wipe it away, thereby giving himself away.ReplyDelete
If you kill someone, and you know it, why do you fall for this trick?
I actually saw all those episodes and even as a kid thought Hollywood kept recycling things too much. But I did like the Cylon gunfighter!ReplyDelete
I always had a soft spot for the 'Lost Warrior' episode of 'Galactica'. It's clearly not one of the best but it kinda workedReplyDelete
I think I'll write and submit a script for "The Walking Dead" that is about Rick Grimes, who has taken refuge at a isolated human colony and finds himself protecting a farm-dwelling widow and her hero-worshiping young son from the fleah-eating zombie that was once her husband.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the clip. I remember being freaked out by Buck's transformation at my tender age but now of course it's just delightfully cheesy.ReplyDelete
Christopher, that is priceless. I thought those stories sounded familiarReplyDelete
I know that it boils down to lazy writing, but given the circumstances that these writers probably worked under, I can't blame them too much for borrowing some ideas. Can you imagine working with those deadlines and no Internet? LOLReplyDelete
I'm sure it had less to do with laziness than it did with money. It was cheaper to pay someone to revise a script the studio already owned than commission a new one.ReplyDelete
I think the strike-rate of good episodes on most of these series is actually pretty high. Even the first season of the original 'Star Trek' had a few clunkers. It's inevitable when you consider the budget and time constraints involved in making a series of 20+ episodesReplyDelete
I really wanted to see this episode back in the day (that laser whip looked pretty cool when I was ten), but I ended up missing it because I wasn't home that night. The premise definitely owes plenty to Battlestar's The Lost Warrior, which itself was pretty obviously based on Shane (with a little High Noon thrown in for good measure). BG certainly had its share of episodes "borrowed" from pre-existing sources, but this was mainly due to the whole series being incredibly rushed. BG began production as a seven-hour miniseries, then transitioned into a regular weekly series halfway through. When this happened, the show's writers--lacking the extra time necessary to properly develop stories for a weekly show--ended up working like crazy just to deliver scripts on time, much less make them great.ReplyDelete