FTN pays tribute to Glen A. Larson
It is with a very heavy heart that we at FTN report that Glen A. Larson has sadly passed away. Glen was a true legend in television and creator of some of the most memorable series ever made.
Glen’s first foray into television was on the hit show The Fugitive where, in 1966, he wrote the episode “In a plain wrapper”. The television show had captured the public’s imagination of the wrongfully accused man on the run and it was this episode that started a 40 year career in television.
Glen then worked as a Producer on It takes a thief and The Virginian before creating his first real classic series with Alias Smith and Jones – a comedy western series that involved two very successful bank and train robbers who assume new identities in order to stay out of trouble (they seldom did).
However, in 1973 Glen struck international stardom with the mega hit series The 6 Million Dollar Man starring Lee Majors – series about an air force pilot who is famously rebuilt with super human strength used it to and fight injustice. This incredible show made stars out of Lee Majors and Glen himself and for a child growing up in the 1970s it also sparked off one of the must have toys – A 6 Million Dollar Man action figure (it was NOT a doll!)
The 1970s continued to be highly successful for Glen who created shows like Quincy M.D., McCloud and Get Christie Love. However, it was in 1979, when the world was thirsting for more space stuff (Star Wars had really taken a grip and anything science fiction was desperately needed), that Glen created the most expensive television show ever (up to that point) with the intergalactic hit Battlestar Galactica.
The television show was an immediate success and led to a highly successful big screen outing of both the pilot movie and the two episode ‘The Living Legend’ story. However, it was not all plain sky sailing and Glen and Universal Studios were successfully sued for ripping off Star Wars.
That didn’t stop the success that Battlestar Galactica had become and fans all around the world loved the space adventures of Apollo and Starbuck. In that same year, Glen also launched the highly successful Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Based on the black and white serials, this was a modern retelling of the original story and kept the imagination of children and adults enthralled.
The 1980s were as successful for Glen as the decade before with seemingly hit television show after another including Manimal and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, before launching a show about a man fighting for justice with a talking car… Knight Rider became an instant hit all over the world (This is where The Hoff got his big break and is still fondly remembered) and the adventures of Michael Knight and K.I.T.T became instant Saturday evening viewing for the whole family.
By the mid !980’s Glen had decided to move into the more dramatic shows and created Magnum P.I. with Tom Selleck. This television show is credited as one of the first mainstream shows to portray Vietnam veterans in a more positive light as opposed to the downbeat films of The Deer Hunter and First Blood and was once again a tremendous success. Glen also later on created The Fall Guy with his friend Lee Majors as the stuntman turned bounty hunter.
By the 1990s, television audiences had demanded more from their favourite shows and Glen created what is regarded as one of the most highly acclaimed dramas in television history: BSG.
Battlestar Galactica, a re-imagined creatively diverse science fiction drama blasted its way on to the small screen in 2003. This show had thrown away clunking cans and robotic dogs for a deeply moving and challenging drama that, to this day, still has viewers divided on “the true meaning of the Cylons”.
BSG as it became known to fans, dealt with very adult and in some cases taboo themes (the violation of Cylons still raise series moral questions among fans), coupled with realistic battle scenes that lifted this from space opera to high quality drama.
For anyone who has grown up watching Saturday evening television or repeats on cable television, or has been introduced to Cylons and Buck Rogers, Glen A. Larson will forever hold a warm place in our hearts. We will miss you greatly and will always thank you for the imagination and enjoyment you have brought to us all.
Glen A. Larson
1937 – 2014