In 1979 the aging grounds of Expo 67 and "Man and His World" made an appearance on the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica. The series was the story of a band of human survivors fleeing a murderous race of robots, and their adventures as they searched for possible allies on the lost world of Earth.
The episode Greetings from Earth aired on February 25, 1979. The story began when the colonists aboard the mighty spaceship Battlestar Galactica came across a smaller ship carrying a family in suspended animation. Could this ship be from Earth?
The sleeping family turned out to be from the planet Paradeen, which had once been a thriving world but had been laid waste in an almost forgotten war. Hoping to learn if the inhabitants of Paradeen had ever found any clues to Earth, two members of the Galactica crew travel to the planet surface. The journey leads them to a ruined city, the former capital of Paradeen.
A number of the remaining structures of Expo 67 were used for the capital of Paradeen. In this opening shot of that sequence, the decaying theme structures of Expo are seen behind the empty Expo-Express rail line.
Numerous shots of the grounds provided quick looks at the once thriving pavilions standing empty and forlorn. Given the number of years the buildings had gone without maintenance through the harsh Canadian winters they were still in surprisingly good shape, especially considering they had been built as temporary structures to begin with.
The episode was filmed on Ile Notre Dame, which had been closed to visitors since 1971 due to the condition of the structures. The large white building on the right side of the photo was the former Great Britain Pavilion.
"Man and His World" continued in operation on Ile Ste. Helene until 1982.
Actors Dirk Benedict (as fighter pilot Starbuck) and Bobby Van (as Hector, the android), traveled to Montreal for these scenes. Benedict has been quoted as saying it was an uncomfortable experience - not all that surprising in that the scenes were shot in winter in buildings that had not been heated in years.
The theme structures still looked futuristic even after more than a decade after their debut.
The large size of the structures and the total lack of any inhabitation or vegetation proved to be an effective setting for the episode.
This view of a walkway on one of the theme structures gives a hint of how the buildings were falling apart.
The once beautiful United States Pavilion had been gutted by a fire on May 21, 1976. Here what was once billed as the world's longest escalator rises to the ruins of one of the exhibit platforms.
Hector and Starbuck continue their search, climbing here on the steps leading to the former France Pavilion.
Once inside they stop to talk about mankind's problems with war, and Starbuck muses that they should replace their leaders with robots. That's an ironic thought, seeing as how the colonists are fleeing from robots who are determined to eradicate them.
The sequence ends as the pair decides to travel to the dangerous lower depths of the city to continue their search. The remainder of the Paradeen segment was shot elsewhere, and this is our last sight of the once proud Expo grounds.
Want to own a copy of the show?
Greetings From Earth has been released on DVD as part of Battlestar Galactica - The Complete Epic Series. It can be ordered through Amazon. Be sure you are getting the original version of the series that starred Lorne Greene; this episode was not in the remake of the series.
It is also available for streaming in standard definition on Amazon Prime Video and iTunes.
The series is also available on Blu-Ray.