"The Night the Cylons Landed" Part 1
Written by Glen A. Larson
Directed by Sigmund Neufeld, Jr.
Original air date: April 13, 1980
An advanced Cylon Raider crash-lands on Earth.
Read the synopsis of this episode at the Battlestar Wiki site
From queues in the episode, we see that the story opens on
October 30, 1980 and continues into the night of the 31st,
Troy and Dillon take the super scouts to a movie theater to see
an old sci-fi/horror movie. The film is 1955's This Island
Both Troy and Wellington suggest that the bug-eyed alien seen in
This Island Earth is similar to a creature on the
planet Gorkon. Presumably, Gorkon was a planet the fleet
encountered during its trek to Earth.
In this episode, Colonel Briggs replaces Colonel Sydell as the
head of the U.S. Air Force's
Special Detachment One, investigating unexplained phenomena.
Sydell was injured by a blast from Xaviar's laser pistol in
Major Jensen informs Colonel Briggs of the UFO that's been
detected in a decaying orbit. He remarks that it's "Skylab all
over again." Skylab was an American space
station which orbited Earth from 1973-1979. Later in the
episode, Jensen goes on to say that predicting where the object
will fall is difficult and that NASA's prediction of where
Skylab would land was off by an entire continent. I've been
unable to confirm that NASA predicted a continent it would
strike, instead they attempted to steer the station to crash
into the south Atlantic or Indian Oceans; it fell in pieces over
a largely uninhabited stretch of Australia instead.
The observatory visited by the super scouts in this episode is
Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles at the top of Mt.
Jamie tells Troy and Dillon that the falling craft detected by
the U.S. military is projected to land somewhere in the
tri-state area. She is referring to the conjunction of the three
states New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The tour guide at the observatory tells the assembled group that
there are over 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy and
Wellington corrects her, stating it's 114 billion. But modern
science now says it is actually 200-400 billion stars.
When Troy and Dillon are forced to fly to New York to track down
the crashed ship, they leave the children in Jamie's care, who
says they can spend a couple of days at Billy's camp. This is a
reference to the children's camp called Casey's Baseball Park owned
by Billy Eheres, as seen in
The futuristic-looking building at 11:03 on the DVD is the Theme
Los Angeles International Airport, which informs us
where Troy and Dillon are taking their flight from. The
futuristic architecture of the Theme Building has come to be
known as Googie architecture, after Googie's coffee shop in
Hollywood which had similar "space age" design elements which
were popular from the late '40s through the mid-'60s. The Theme
Building formerly housed the Encounter Restaurant, which went
out of business on December 31, 2013.
As Troy and Dillon walk into the airport terminal, the overhead
speaker announces that Trans Globe flight 91 from New York is
now arriving. Trans Globe appears to be a fictional airline,
though may be inspired by Trans World Airlines,
popularly known as TWA, an international
airline that operated from 1925-2001, when it was bought out by
At 11:19 on the DVD, a TWA sign is seen in the background.
At 11:17 on the DVD, a young man is seen carrying a Pan Am bag.
Pan Am (short for Pan American World Airways) was an
international airline from 1927-1991.
From the background seen, the flight desk Troy and Dillon are
seen standing at in close-ups as they check in is a different
one than they were seen walking up to just seconds before.
Troy and Dillon are given the names Jones and Smith as aliases
by Jamie for their flight since there is an APB out for the
pair. This is likely a reference to the previous Glen Larson TV
series Alias Smith and Jones, a western that ran for
two seasons from 1971-73. Actor Roger Davis, who plays the Cylon
Andromus here, appeared in a number of episodes of
Alias Smith and Jones as replacement for one of
the lead actors of the show, who had committed suicide in the
middle of production.
Troy and Dillon seem confused when learning of the act of
airplane hijacking that occurs at times on Earth. But hijacking
of spacecraft occurred a number of times in BSG stories, which
the two should be aware of.
The actress Sheila De Windt, who plays a flight attendant on
Troy and Dillon's flight to New York, also played Dietra in the
"Lost Planet of the Gods"
2-parter and "The Hand of
Troy and Dillon checked in at a flight desk for an airline that
appeared to begin with the letters TR (most likely Trans World
Airlines). When their plane is shown lifting off, the paint job
on it suggests a plane of the American Airlines fleet. Seconds
later, while in the air, the plane is a TWA airliner. Later
still, a plane with a CA logo on the tailfin is depicted
(Columbia Airlines, a fictional airline from a shot taken from
1975 film Airport 1975)!
Troy and Dillon's flight proceeds on to New York, despite the
hijacking attempt to Cuba. It seems unlikely this would happen
without a stop at the next closest airport for FBI
The flight attendant on Troy and Dillon's flight announces that
the plane will be landing at JFK. JFK is
John F. Kennedy
International Airport in Queens, New York.
Awaiting the crash of the unknown object, Colonel Briggs and his
aide, Butler, remark on the earlier crash of a Russian satellite
in Canada. This is likely a reference to the Russian Kosmos 954
satellite which came back down to Earth in 1978 with its nuclear
reactor still onboard, scattering radioactive debris across
The Cylon A-B Raider appears to manned by at least 5 Cylons (3
Centurions and 2 human-like androids).
The monitor screen and even keypads aboard the A-B Raider use
English words and lettering! Notice also that the keypads below
the monitor are number/letter pads that are oriented in
different ways: right-side up, sideways, and upside-down!
Andromus remarks that Earth has 7 major landmasses, a radius of
6,378 kils, and 71% covered with a blanket of H2O. The
7 landmasses are the continents Africa, Antarctica, Asia,
Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. The radius
he mentions is correct, in kilometers.
H2O is, of course, water, and it does, indeed, cover
71% of the planet.
At 25:51 on the DVD, a TV camera for WRTZ is seen, waiting with
other reporters for interviews regarding the hijacking attempt
on the flight. This appears to be a fictional television
station. The W would indicate it is intended to be a station
east of the Mississippi River, as those west of it begin with K.
At 26:14 on the DVD, a fallout shelter sign is seen on the wall
in the background at JFK Airport. Fallout shelters were common in
public places during the Cold War (1945-1991).
As the A-B Raider comes in for a crash landing on Earth,
Andromus and Andromidus view Earth tele-communications. These
include scenes from 1953's Abbott and Costello Go to Mars,
as well as a western and a vampire film which I've been unable
Two police officers in New York on I-5 see the fire in the woods
caused by the crash of the Raider. There is no I-5 in New York
state. Interstate 5 runs north-south on the west coast, not the
The paint job on the vehicles of the New York State Police in
this episode is similar, though not exact, to what the real
state police used in 1980.
After the crash of the A-B Raider, Andromus and Centurion 9
survive. Centurion 9 becomes known as Centuri, as if that is the
name of the "human" inside the robot costume on Halloween.
Andromus initially refers to the centurion simply as
"centurion", but, oddly, starts calling him Centuri even before
their encounter with humans.
After discovering Troy and Dillon at the crash site, the state
police officers take the small laser pistols they carry. One of
them accidentally fires one and it brings down a tree, setting
it aflame. Yet, when the Warriors snatch the weapons back as the
officers stare in shock, the guns are immediately used to simply
"freeze" the two officers. Notice that there does seem to be a
split-second when the two Warriors adjust the weapons
(accompanied by an electronic sound) to the less lethal mode.
Andromus remarks to Centuri that they've landed within 1000
metrons of the communications center he plans to use to send
their distress call to the Cylon baseship. In BSG, a Colonial
metron was about the same as one meter, much less distance than
the equivalent term used here by Andromus. Possibly, the Cylon
term "metron" is simply different than the Colonial one. Since
Major Jenkins had earlier told Colonel Briggs that the
unidentified object was projected to crash about 60 miles north
of New York City, the Cylon metron used here must be equal to
about 0.06 miles.
Norman and Shirley are listening to a disc jockey named Wolfman
Jack on their car radio. Wolfman Jack was a real world disc
jockey with a syndicated show at the time. He appears in person
"The Night the Cylons Landed" Part 2.
The character of Norman is played by William Daniels, who would
go on to provide the voice of KITT on Glen Larson's Knight
Rider TV show.
As it is Halloween night when the Cylon ship crashes to Earth,
Andromus and Centuri are assumed to be merely partiers in
costume and Shirley approaches them to offer a ride. She is
dressed as a sexy vampire, possibly meant to be the campy 1950s
horror character Vampira. When Shirley approaches Andromus for
the first time, at 40:45 on the DVD, she is wearing vampire
fangs; but just seconds earlier in the car, she wasn't! Seconds
later, the teeth are gone again, though it might be argued she
removed them in a split-second when Andromus appeared taken
aback by her appearance.
The song played by Wolfman Jack on the radio at 43:02 on the DVD
is "Disco Inferno" by The Trampps, from 1976.
Shirley tells Andromus that her husband, Norman, is the general
manager of the radio station they're listening to in the car.
Norman remarks that his station broadcasts at 150,000 watts.
However, U.S. broadcast standards prohibit broadcasting radio at
more than 50,000 watts.
After stealing a state police cruiser, Troy and Dillon hear a
"Code 10-16, stolen police vehicle" over the police radio. But a
Code 10-16 is normally police code for picking up a prisoner.
However, there is a fair amount of deviation in codes between
states and even between regions within a state.
The police radio indicates that the police cruiser was stolen in
the area of Hudson River Parkway. Although there is no official
Hudson River Parkway, the area around Hudson River Road along
the Hudson River is occasionally referred to as such. But the
area does not lie in the wooded area 60 miles north of New York
City where the vehicle was stolen!
The bridge seen at 44:18 on the DVD appears to be the Queensboro
At 45:11 on the DVD, Norman and Shirley and crew drive past a
is a chain of supermarkets in the New York City area.
Norman remarks to Shirley that Arnie's meatballs "are to the
digestive tract what Vida Blue is to the San Francisco Giants. A
stopper." Vida Blue was a Major League Baseball pitcher from
1969-1983, including two stints with the Giants. In baseball
parlance, a stopper is a pitcher who closes out a game. In
meatball terms, I suppose Norman means they end the evening.
How is it that Andromus and Centuri know how to speak English
when they arrive on Earth?