My older brother collected sci-fi memorabilia and was obsessed with the show Battlestar Galactica. So the first time I went to Comic Con -- the biggest comic book/movie convention in the world -- right here in San Diego, I was excited when I saw Richard Hatch, Captain Apollo, at a booth. He had a line of about 25 fans, and I took a picture of him. The next year, the same booth, the same amount of fans. Yet later in the day, I saw him walking around and had a conversation with him. I told him how my brother still has the collection of Battlestar Galactica stuff in the garage and he said, “You should bring some of it, I’ll sign it for him.”
I asked if I called him, if he’d say hello. He smiled and said, “Sure.”
We got his voicemail, but he left a nice message. When I saw the actor that played Boomer (Herbert Jefferson, Jr.), he said, “No! I will not do that. I’m here selling my autograph. If you want to buy something, I’ll sign it. Otherwise, I’m not interested in doing phone calls.”
I tried to act interested in the stuff he had at his table, all of which cost $25 extra for a signature. I thought about how Carrie Fisher was signing stuff for $35, and figured this wasn’t a very good investment. And besides, he wasn’t very nice.
It’s funny that the more famous actor from the show was the nicer one. And each year, he’d always be smiling, making the fans laugh, and taking selfies with them. I was sad to hear today that he passed away from pancreatic cancer at 71.
Hatch didn’t just do Battlestar. He was on the soap opera All My Children, and had a lot of guest roles in various TV shows from the ‘70s and ‘80s. After the two year run of Battlestar, he wrote five Battlestar books. Many of the fans in line always had books for him to sign.
I like to think he brought the big smile of his to that captains chair in the sky.