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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

Galactica 1980: Spaceball Galactica 1980
"Spaceball"
Written by Frank Lupo & Jeff Freilich and Glen A. Larson
Directed by Barry Crane
Original air date: March 30, 1980

Troy, Dillon, and Jamie are forced to hide the Galactican children at a Little League baseball camp.

Read the synopsis of this episode at the Battlestar Wiki site

Didja Know?

This episode appears on Disc Two of the Galactica 1980 DVD set produced in 2007. If you put this disc in the DVD drive of your computer and look at the disc identification, you'll see BATTLESTAR mistakenly spelled BALLTESTAR!

Didja Notice?

At the beginning of the episode, we see Commander Adama is wearing a wrist computron like the ones worn by Troy and Dillon on their Earth mission. But why would Adama feel the need for it? No one else aboard the battlestar is seen sporting one.

At 1:51 on the DVD, a sphinx statue is clearly seen on the shelf behind Commander Adama's desk. A sphinx is a mythical creature that is half feline and half human, seen in the mythologies of many different cultures throughout Earth.

At 6:02 on the DVD, Colonel Sydell receives a newspaper clipping with the headline "SCIENTIST KIDNAPPED" and features a photo of Troy, Dillon, and Jamie with Dr. Mortinson. This is a reference to the events of "Galactica Discovers Earth" Part 2, where the three are mistakenly believed to have kidnapped the scientist. The first paragraph of the newspaper article is just barely readable in freeze-frame: "LOS ANGELES--Three unidentified terrorists kidnapped the respected scientist, Professor Donald Mortinson, of the Pacific Institute of Technology." The following paragraphs have intermittently readable words, but seem to have no relation to the headline, just generic sentences designed to fill up space, a common tactic in Hollywood productions.

At 7:12 on the DVD, we can see that the television camera whose inner workings are about to be described by Wellington, is a Norelco brand. In current times, the Norelco brand name is used only on electronic personal care devices such as electric razors, but in the 1960s-70s, the parent company, Phillips, marketed a number of professional video cameras under the Norelco brand.

UBC station manager Brooks refers to Billy Eheres as a former National League bonus baby. "National League" refers to one of the two leagues of professional baseball in the United States and Canada (the other being the American League). The term "bonus baby" refers to amateur baseball players who were paid a signing bonus of $4,000 or more by a professional team and who were required by Major League Baseball's Bonus Rule of 1947-1965 to play directly for the major league team with which they'd signed, not one of the team's minor league affiliates where amateurs are normally trained/tested for entering the big leagues.

Brooks refers to Eheres' children's baseball camp as Casey's Camp, but it's true name is seen later to actually be Casey's Baseball Park. This is a fictional camp made up for the story. Most likely, the name "Casey" is derived from the 1888 baseball poem popularly known as "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Thayer.

Given what seems to be a simple assignment of covering Billy Eheres' baseball camp for kids, Jamie is told by her boss and co-worker to stay out of trouble "you are not to pass Go, you are not to collect $200." This is a reference to the Parker Brothers board game Monopoly. In the course of the game, players move their playing pieces around the board based on a roll of dice and each time they pass the starting square, "Go", they receive $200 play money as a salary. Players also draw cards at intervals that give them instructions that are either positive or negative towards their gaining economic strength in the game; a couple of the cards penalize the player by directing them to go to Jail, another space on the board, where they must pay a fine or roll doubles to be released: "Go to Jail. Go directly to Jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200."

Wellington's lecture about the workings of a television camera are basically accurate, as far as they go.

Jamie fibs to Brooks that she met the super scouts while covering the pollution story in Paradise Valley. This is a reference to the events of the previous two-part story, "The Super Scouts".

Wellington informs Starla that General Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball. Doubleday (1819-1893) rose to the rank of general in the U.S. Army and participated in several important Civil War battles. It was long claimed that he invented the game of baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839, but recent decades have thrown considerable doubt on that premise, especially since nothing has ever been found in Doubleday's own words claiming to be the inventor or have any significant involvement with the sport. More likely, the game gradually evolved in the U.S. from the British sport of rounders.

When Hal sees Starla throw the baseball the first time, he tells Jamie the girl has an arm like Nolan Ryan. Ryan played in the Major Leagues from 1966-1993 and was an all-star pitcher.

When the super scouts arrive at the baseball camp, Jamie tells them they must not do anything to give away who they really are, admonishing them, "Now, go out there and lose." This, of course, is the exact opposite of the typical sports pep talk which would normally end with something similar to "Now, go out there and win!" In fact, Eheres later tells the scouts forming his new Polecats team, "I want you to go out there and win that game!" and still later, Jamie also tells them to "go out there and win!"

When "Lt. Nash" (actually Xaviar in disguise) startles Jamie at the camp, she remarks, "I thought you were Bigfoot or somethin'." Bigfoot is a cryptozoological hominid some people believe lives (mostly) in the American northwest.

At 27:30 on the DVD, we get a glimpse of the Galactica bridge that is obviously a shot from BSG, as both Colonel Tigh and Omega are visible!

The playoff game in which Eheres' Little League team, the Polecats, participates is said to be the Southern Conference Regional Playoffs. In the real world, the Little League is not divided in conferences, but simply regions (in the U.S., East, Central, South, and West).

The opposing team is said to be the Encino Cougars. Encino is a district within Los Angeles. It is never stated from what city/area the Polecats are from.

After the confusion where one of the super scouts takes off with the umpire's silver dollar for the coin toss, the coin toss itself is never performed! So how did they decide which team was to bat first?

At 35:53 on the DVD, the game announcer states that little Frankie Lupo is up to bat for the Cougars. This is a reference to Galactica 1980 producer (and co-writer of this episode) Frank Lupo. Oddly, it's obvious that the kid's jersey does not say "Lupo" on it, but "Osder" instead!

The shot from 40:40-40:45 on the DVD has been flipped, as evidenced by the reversed jerseys on the two players.
Reversed jerseys

At 42:16 on the DVD, the cables supporting the spacewalking Troy are clearly visible, not to mention the landing gear of the Viper, which should not be extended while it is in space. The wing of the Viper is also seen to bounce some when Troy puts his hand on it.
Spacewalk

At the bottom of the 6th inning, the Cougars have a 6-0 lead over the Polecats. But at the top of the 7th inning, with the Polecats at bat, the scoreboard is somehow at 8 for the Cougars. The scoreboard also shows 5 for the Polecats when we've only seen them score 3 runs; then, seconds later, the scorekeeper changes the score to 5 even though it already said 5 seconds earlier.

At 42:38 on the DVD, the brand of catcher's mitt used by the catcher is seen to be Hutch. This was a real world brand at the time, no longer in business, though the Hutch name is owned by another company.

Unanswered Questions

How was the outlaw Xaviar able to alter his appearance so drastically while isolated from the fleet? Does he have contacts within the fleet who were able to assist him in the epidermal transformation and voice modification? Could he have used his Viper's time travelling capabilities to go into Earth's future and seek advanced plastic surgery there?

Memorable Dialog

the consensus is.wav
primitive but fascinating.wav
what did he say about the aliens?.wav
stay out of trouble.wav
maybe Dr. Zee made a mistake.wav
go out there and lose.wav
I thought you were Bigfoot or somethin'.wav
catch flies out in the field.wav
hey, batter.wav
the scaredy cats.wav
he couldn't hit a beach ball.wav

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