To construct the 'rag tag fleet' that follows the Galactica on its lonely quest, the model makers were given a free hand to let their imaginations run wild. Ken Swenson constructed the livery ship (that was supposed to carry all the livestock) out of three film cans, one behind the other.
There are numerous references to ancient Earth civilizations. The helmets worn by Colonial Viper pilots are based on headdresses work by ancient Egyptian kings. Baltar's name is a merger of the Norse god Baldur and the Summarian god Baal. The Cylon force structure is based on Roman legions.
Set decorator Mickey S. Michaels contacted computer hardware giant Tektronix, Inc. and got them to donate some three million dollars worth of hardware, as well as a large number of television monitors worth about $35.000 at the time, to be used on the Galactica bridge and other sets, in return for a prominent screen credit.
In 1979, was released theatrically in "Sensurround". This was the fourth film to be presented in this short-lived process, a special low-frequency bass speaker setup consisting of four huge speakers loaned by distributors to select theaters showing the film. This system was employed only during certain sequences, and was so powerful that it actually cracked plaster at some movie theaters. "Sensurround" was used in only three other films released by Universal: Earthquake (1974), Midway (1976) and Rollercoaster (1977).
Although Cassiopea was a prostitute in the pilot movie, she was never identified as such. The euphemism "socialator" was used (in the Battlestar Gallactica universe, a socialator is defined as a female who is proficient in the arts of music, dance and entertainment, and trained to engage in conversation on a variety of subjects).
The Colonial military rank system is never explained in detail in this (the original) version of the show. The official website for the 2003 Sci-Fi Channel remake does give a detailed run-down of the Galactica ranks. They are: Ensign, Lieutenant j.g., Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel, Commander, Admiral.
Sophia Loren served as a model for a "likeness" (i.e. picture) of Adama's wife Ila, which can be seen during the scene where Adama sifts through the ruins of his family's home on Caprica after the Cylons' attack on Peace.
As part of the settlement with George Lucas, they were not allowed to show laser trails when they use their blasters. All you see is the weapon lighting and then whatever damage was caused. The only time you see a laser or light trail is when they're in space, the Colonial Vipers and Cylon fighters.
The original shooting model, restored for a display at Universal Studios several years after Galactica 1980 (1980) wrapped production, went missing when the display was removed. The model, viewed as stolen property by Universal, has yet to be recovered.
In addition to playing Starbuck, Dirk Benedict also served as a stunt double for one of the Capricans being killed (falling to his death as the result of the Cylons attack) in the "Destruction Of Peace" sequence.
Terry Carter was initially cast as Lt. Boomer but broke his ankle while skating at Venice Beach with his daughter. Unable to play the more physical part of Boomer with a cast on his leg, Glen A. Larson cast Carter as Col. Tigh instead. All during the film/pilot, Colonel Tigh has his left leg in a cast.