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An unproduced script for the Galactica 1980 series
Writer(s) Allan Cole and Chris Bunch
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Wheel of Fire Earthquake A Flight For Life
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This is a summary of the second draft of the script.

Troy and Dillon are driving their turbocycles to the farming town of Lemoncreek, California to investigate the unusual earth tremors that have plagued the town recently. They are surprised to see a convoy of military vehicles in the area. As they pass a military research facility, Dillon's turbocycle begins to malfunction and lose power. They ask the security guard for assistance, but are told that only authorized personnel are allowed on the premises. The two shrug their shoulders and make their way to the nearest gas station.

Meanwhile, Jamie is in town doing a story on the recent tremors. She interviews a Dr. Jack Kirkwood who has predicted more earthquakes in the area. Kirkwood studies animals and natural phenomena to predict earthquakes and everyone in town thinks that he's a crackpot. Jamie then interviews Jerry Hargreaves, the director of the research center and he insists that there isn't an active faultline within a hundred miles.

Meanwhile, Troy and Dillon borrow the gas station's tools and repair the turbocycles. As they leave, they run into Jamie and take her to Galactica to discuss the seismological activity in the area. Dr. Zee displays a visual projection of Lemoncreek and reveals that a long-dormant faultline runs through the town. He then projects a simulation of what would happen if the fault triggered an earthquake - California would fall into the ocean!

Back at the research center, the military are drilling a hole two miles deep to test a device capable of producing energy from nuclear fusion. They are unaware that their drilling caused the recent remors and could trigger a devastating earthquake.

Elsewhere, Troy, Dillon and Jamie are on their way to visit Dr. Kirkwood (with a ton of Galactica equipment strapped to their bikes) when a severe earthquake occurs. They take to the sky and head back to the town to survey the damage. After preventing a startled motorist from hitting a tree, they head to Dr. Kirkwood's farm. They offer to help determine if a quake will hit the area and are soon testing every animal in sight for signs of unusual behavior.

Later, Kirkwood is summoned to the local school. His daughter, Samantha, has been frightening her classmates by insisting that an earthquake is going to destroy the town. Kirkwood fences with Principal Berrnardi and Samantha agrees not to tell any more "wild" stories. Later at the drilling sight, the drilling is almost completed. Suddenly, another quake rocks the town. Back at the farm, Galactican instruments go crazy and Kirkwood suspects that it might be the preshock of a major quake.

On Galactica, Dr. Zee determines that the quake must be man-made since his instruments are unable to predict them. He and Adama contact Troy and Dillon and inform them that they must locate the source of the disturbance as soon as possible. Their instruments quickly determine that the research center is the epicenter of the quakes. Jamie theorizes that their research on food rations is a cover for something else. Kirkwood confirms their suspicions when he says that there have been rumors of very high speed drilling equipment being shipped to the research center.

Since Troy and Dillon are still wanted for kidnapping Dr. Mortinson (in Galactica Discovers Earth), they return to Galactica while Jamie and Kirkwood go to the research center to interrogate Hargreaves. Hargreaves, a typical bureaucrat, feigns ignorance of any drilling. Jamie spots a radiation dosimeter clipped to his shirt pocket - something he wouldn't need for food ration research. Jamie says that she has a headache and excuses herself. As Kirkwood badgers Hargreaves, Jamie quietly explores the facility. She comes upon a huge control room and a voice on the P.A. system says, "Three hours to detonation - and counting." A nuclear bomb is going to be detonated in the shaft. Seconds later, Jamie is discovered by a guard and hauled away.

On Galactica, Dr. Zee, Adama, Troy and Dillon hatch a plan to plug the hole with a collapser, a device with the properties of a black hole that will make the ground at the drill site totally impenetrable. Meanwhile, Jamie and Kirkwood have been taken to Hargreaves' office and plead with him to shut down the drilling operation. He refuses to do so, and Jamie and Kirkwood are sure that millions of people are doomed.

Elsewhere, Samantha is being scolded by Principal Bernardi for telling everyone that the research center is responsible for the quakes. When she mentions that her father is at the center putting a stop to the drilling, Bernardi says that he just called the center, and they haven't seen Dr. Kirkwood in weeks. Samantha panics and runs home as fast as she can. She arrives at the farm just as Troy and Dillon arrive and begs them to find her father. Troy gives her his Languatron so she can keep in touch with them, and the duo head to the research center.

They enter the center invisibly and discover, as Jamie did, that a nuclear bomb is going to be detonated in the drilling shaft in fifty minutes. They contact Galactica and Dr. Zee tells them that the collapser will neutralize the bomb, but only if it is placed directly above it. As they make their way to the drilling site, their invisible bodies are picked up by a ground radar and a nervous soldier sounds the alarm. Troy and Dillon reach the mine entrance just as their invisibility shields run out of power. Before entering the mine, the duo contact Samantha and tell her to warn the town that they may be hit by a major quake in the next few minutes. Samantha frantically calls the school and begs Principal Bernardi to evacuate the children. Bernardi wrestles with his feelings and finally pulls the fire alarm.

Elsewhere, Troy and Dillon burst into the drilling chamber. They run to the hole which has a bolted-down cover on it. Troy draws his laser and blasts the lid off the hole. They take the collapser from Dillon's pack and set it to explode in two minutes. They drop it down the hole and then run. They escape just as the collapser detonates and the mine explodes.[1]

Afterwards, Hargreaves realizes his mistake and apologizes to Troy and Dillon. The two heroes say goodbye to Samantha and her father before heading off.


  • This script features a scientist named Hargreaves as the villain who works in a military research facility.
  • The first draft of the script featured Xaviar as the villain (although he never appears on-screen). The script was rewritten when it was decided that the Xaviar character would not be used again after the pilot episode (although the character eventually did return in Spaceball).

Official Statements

  • Writer Chris Bunch on Earthquake:
"After the pilot was produced, we sold a script called Earthquake over the phone to Jeff Freilich, when he called us to see if we had anything the day he started on the show, and we came up with some fast buzzy-wuzzy crap that might convince him to Give Us Money. Something to do with earthquakes. So he says we have a deal, come on out and let's work the details out. We jumped in the car, with nada in the way of a plot, and Thought Fast. About the time we got off the freeway, we had a couple of vague ideas to flesh out our first dumb sentence.
"The first draft of the script featured Xaviar, but then it was decided that they weren't going to use Xaviar anymore, which creates a small credibility problem, like we don't believe anybody but a Major Bad Guy can create an earthquake and he better have himself a Fiendish Thingie. We reworked the script and came up with Nutball Hargreaves, underground nuclear tests, roboticized security and the rest is (isn't) film history."[2] (Click here to read the entire interview.)

Get The Script

External Links

  • Summoned to the Black Tower - Allan Cole offers a detailed account of how he and Chris Bunch sold the Earthquake script. This blog has numerous stories of their work as story editors on Galactica 1980. Read the blog entries for 2009 and 2011. Warning: Explicit language.
  • The Galactica 1980 Fiasco - Allan Cole explains why he believes Galactica 1980 was the second worst television show ever made. Warning: Explicit language.


  1. Galactic Sci-Fi Television Series Revisited. Alpha Control Press. 1995
  2. Galactic Sci-Fi Television Series Revisited. Alpha Control Press. 1995