Today we’ve lost someone who was an undisputed television juggernaut. Glen A. Larson, creator and writer of dozens of popular tv shows from the ’70s to the ’90s, has passed away at the age of 77. Variety reports that he died of complications from esophageal cancer at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Larson leaves behind an amazing legacy on television, creating, writing, and producing some of the most popular television programs of the day, including Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I., Quincy M.E., and Knight Rider to name but four. He was a huge champion and proponent of genre television, and specifically science fiction, and a great many of his best shows were in this vein. There are but a few out-and-out moguls in the television game and Glen Larson is certainly one of that select group. He only received three Emmy nominations in his career, two for the miniseries McCloud in 1974 and 1974 and one for Quincy M.E. in 1978, but his impact on popular culture still today is massive.
As a tribute to the master TVsman, I’ve decided to highlight the opening titles of some of his most beloved, by me or otherwise, shows. These are so of their era, they can’t help but elicit a smile, even if you can clearly tell the big screen stories that gave Larson his “inspiration.”
Battlestar Galactica – 1978-1979, then a redone series in 1980
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – 1979-1981
B.J. and the Bear – 1979-1981
Magnum P.I. – 1980-1988
The Fall Guy – 1981-1986
Knight Rider – 1982-1986
Automan – 1983-1984
And last, but certainly not least, possibly my favorite intro to any kind of television show ever, the incredibly lengthy beginning to a show that only had 8 episodes, despite it now getting a big screen reboot (and a momentary reference in Too Many Cooks)…
Manimal – 1983
These are by no means the only shows he created, but it really does show how he attempted to be on the cutting edge of what people were talking about. And, of course, without him, we’d never have the updated Galactica by Ronald D. Moore. Glen A. Larson, an undeniable King of Television.