Skyway News, Tuesday Edition: December 4, 1979 (pp.18)
by Steve Kaufman

 

WHEN HE TURNS HEADS in the Rosewood Room at the Northstar Inn, it is probably because folks recognize Terry Carter as "Col. Tigh," Lorne Greene's executive officer in the gone-but-not-forgotten TV series, Battlestar Galactica. But there's a lot more to Carter than meets the television viewer's eye.

In town on business recently Carter told me that Battlestar's popularity surprises even him sometimes. "I was in a little town outside of Houston that stages a 'Space Spectacular' every year," Carter said. "They invited me, along with actors from other science fiction shows, and people were standing in a line half-a-mile long for the privilege of buying autographed pictures of us. There s a real hunger for science fIction right now."

That observation is borne out by the fact that the 24-episode Battlestar series will soon be recycled and distributed to motion picture theaters as 12 feature-length films. If you can sell a warmed-over TV series to a movie theater audience at three or four bucks a shot, I guess there really is a demand for sci-fi products.

A NATIVE NEW YORKER, Carter cut his professional teeth off-Broadway and in live TV. Eventually he landed a series of Broadway roles and a regular slot on Phil Silvers' Sgt. Bilko series. He is also remembered as Dennis Weaver's sidekick on the McCloud series, and TV viewers in Boston knew him as the first Black news anchor-man in the country when he appeared on WBZ-TV in the middle 60s.

But frankly, Carter's credits as an actor-or even as a newsman-aren't as interesting as the projects he's now involved with as president of his own production company, Meta-4, based in Los Angeles. Meta-4 produces film, videotape and slide presentations. Far and away the most exciting venture the company has undertaken so far is the projected six-hour mini-series which brought him to Minneapolis in search of a backer.

Through a contact with a former director of documentary filmmaking in the People's Republic of China, Carter was able to sign a contract with that country's government to produce a docu-drama which will relate China's history through some of the thousands of works of art in Peking's Forbidden City, now a museum.

THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC has agreed to undertake the project as partner in a joint venture-if Carter can find an American backer. Carter is confident that he will and expects to visit China next month to finalize details. Shooting could begin this coming summer, which means the show could air as early as the spring of 1981. In addition to American television, the series would also be seen on Chinese TV and in Chinese schools.

Also simmering in Carter's creative kitchen are TV projects dealing with Black history and the problems of the elderly. He also owns the screen rights to a novel, and he's trying to iron out a development deal with a major film company to turn it into a feature film. His company is also working on a children's television series.

Otherwise, he's not doing much.