Goodbye Captain Apollo an Old Sci-fi Geeks tribute to Richard Hatch. A Young Sci-fi Geeks Hero and Legend.

Posted on 8th February, 2017

VipersYesterday we learned of a true Sci-fi legends passing. Richard Hatch passed away at the age of 71 years young. The loss felt by geeks of a certain age is profound. Let’s step back to 1979. The world was still reeling from the iconic film Star Wars and drooling in anticipation for part V. Every movie Production Company was scrambling to produce a Sci-fi movie en par with the Lucas masterpiece. There were lots of failures. However a young budding Sci-fi Geek was beginning to find their feet in this new wonder. Being of school age there were lots of things that interested this young padawan of the geekdom. Gods and Myths were peaking interest, fantasy worlds and heroes of the past were shaping this nubile mind. If only there was something that could weave this together in a tangible sci-fi world. In the summer of ‘79’ mythology and sci-fi met. The ancient Egyptian figures of Battlestar Galactica emerged onto the flickering screen.

Battlestar Galactica Poster

It was this TV Series that cemented the nubile mind of a young sci-fi geek, already shaped by the Lucas touch. Vipers, Cylons, pilots, aliens, a chase …. Baltar, all with helmets of the Pharaohs. The series created a world attached rather than detached from the world of flares, airplane collars and bubblegum. Not a distant galaxy but a tribe of earth space travellers detached from the rest of humanity. Some of the coolest ships seen since that first Star Destroyer rumbled across the screen. Amongst all this sat two of the coolest hero’s the young mind had seen. Dirk Benedict as the Solo-esk Starbuck and at the centre of it all Richard Hatch as the leader Apollo. Wow a real leader, not a farm boy, not a smuggler, but a real squadron leader. The Battle of Britain flew past the mind and the hook was cast.

 

Richard Hatch for this OSG was the favourite character. Han Solo fulfilled the playful scoundrel part of this young mind, but Richard as Apollo was the man OSG wanted to be. His strong, dependable and loyal character influenced many a young mind of this era. Sure friends clambered to be Starbuck on the playground, classroom bins were worn by those wanting to be Cylons, but OSG gave the orders as Apollo. The woosh as Apollo led the scabby kneed viper pilots out of the boys toilets (renamed Galactica) to engage the bucket headed Cylons in a two footed dogfight. Skating the tarmac kicking up stones as a sharp turn was made in the dance of viper against raider. ‘This was as good as Star Wars’ the heart cried. All this because of a central character that to the young mind was …. ‘brilliant’.

 

Richard had set the bar for real Sci-fi Heros, not even the saga from the top dog film franchise had such a man. Sure they had the best anti-hero, sure the best scoundrel, the best x wing but, they didn’t have Apollo. Since these heady times of the golden age of Sci-fi there are two things that spark the OSGs senses Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. They set the bar with cinema domination for one and TV domination for the other. It was the TV series that confirmed, Battlestar as a dominant force of Sci-fi. They really couldn’t of pulled this off without Richards’s character, which made you really feel for him. Viewers felt for Apollo, whether it was for the loss of his wife, his father figure to a motherless son or a man committed to the squadron he commanded. Star Wars didn’t really have a character like him. It was for this reason Galactica Stood apart from everything else and created an iconic Sci-fi character.

 

So with the sad news yesterday, may all those geeks of a certain age reflect on the man, the legend and the inspiration. Yes Richard was a busy man working until Pancreatic Cancer took him to the stars. He was a writer, actor, producer and supporter of the Fandom & Geekdom. His filmography is vast and his love of Galatica remained evident. OSG can talk about his career all night, but today it’s, as Apollo OSG wants to remember him. Thank you Richard, thank you for your influence, thank you for standing apart when all were trying to emulate and thank you for the scraped knee as that ‘wastebin headed cylon’ caught the heroic Apollo as they performed a sudden stop 180 degree turn. RIP Richard and keep those cylons on the run. Geek Out.

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