In both versions of “Battlestar Galactica,” the planet that spawned humanity is called Kobol, and we have Glen A. Larson’s Mormon faith to thank for that. Kobol is an anagram of Kolob, the planet situated closest to the throne of God.
While “Galactica” may prove Larson’s most enduring creation (the last series with his name on it was Syfy’s “Caprica” and “X-Men” director Bryan Singer has long been plotting a big-screen Galactica project), it was far from Larson’s biggest.
Lit-to-TV adaptations “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries” (1977-1979) and “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” (1979-1981) were his brain children, as were “Quincy M.E.,” (1976-1983), “Knight Rider” (1982-1986) and “Magnum P.I.” (1980-1988).
Larson adapted Martin Caiden’s “Cyborg” novels into the three “The Six Million Dollar Man” TV-movies that spawned the series.
Some of Larson’s creations were more original than others. Fellow TV writer Harlan Ellison came to call him “Glen Larceny” because so many of his creations closely resembled high-profile motion pictures of their eras.
“Coogan’s Bluff,” a 1968 Clint Eastwood actioner about an Arizona deputy who heads to New York to bring back a fugitive, proved a big hit. In 1970 Larson penned his first episode of “McCloud.”
The 1969 outlaw dramedy “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” proved a huge hit in cinemas. In 1971 Larson created outlaw dramedy “Alias Smith and Jones.”
In 1973, Redford and Newman reteamed for the blockbuster con-man drama “The Sting.” In 1975 Larson created the con-man hourlong “Switch.”
In 1973 crime drama “Cleopatra Jones” proved a huge hit in cinemas. In 1975 Larson created “Get Christy Love.”
In 1977 “Star Wars” hit cinemas. 1978 saw the premiere of the Larson-created “Battlestar Galactica.” (“Star Wars” producer Fox sued -- unsuccessfully -- “Galactica” producer Universal over that one.)
Burt Reynolds played a trucker outwitting a dim lawman in 1977 megahit “Smokey and the Bandit.” In 1978 Clint Eastwood played a trucker with a monkey in “Every Which Way But Loose.” In 1979 Larson created “B.J. and the Bear.”
In 1978 Reynolds scored another hit with the stunt-man comedy “Hooper.” In 1981 Larson created “The Fall Guy.”
In 1982 “Tron” hit cinemas. In 1983 Larson created “Automan,” about a computer-generated superhero.
Some of these homages even spawned spin-offs like “The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo” (focusing on B.J. and the Bear’s heavyset nemesis) and “Galactica 1980” (the grandchildren of the Capricans and the Taurons arrive on Earth and discover they have superpowers there).
Some of Larson’s less-remembered TV creations included 1978’s “Sword of Justice” (wealthy playboy crime fighter),
1984’s “Cover Up” (fashion photographer on CIA missions),
1991’s “PSI Luv U” (con woman in witness protection must pretend to be girlfriend of her handler),
1995’s “One West Waikiki” (Hawaii’s female medical examiner butts heads with the state’s top homicide cop),
and 1997’s “Nightman” (lightning bolt turns sax player into superhero “telepathically tuned to the frequency of evil”).
If “Cover-Up” is remembered, it is usually remembered for the freak on-set gun accident that killed star Jon Erik Hexum.
Likely because CBS’ “Magnum P.I.” was such a juggernaut in the early 1980s, 1983 was a weirdly huge year for largely forgotten Larson creations, including NBC’s “Manimal” (shape-changing crime fighter) and three dramas for ABC: “Automan,”
“Trauma Center” (Lou Ferrigno in an ER) and
“Masquerade” (Kirstie Alley working for a organization not dissimilar to CBS’ Impossible Missions Force).
Still not impressed? Larson’s screenwriting career can be traced all the way back to a 1966 episode of “The Fugitive,” but ten years earlier he was singing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “American Bandstand” as a member of The Four Preps, allegedly an influence on Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys:
Find the Hollywood Reporter’s obituary for Larson here.