|The History of the Daggit Costume|
|Written by Marcel Damen|
|Saturday, 11 September 2010|
This article will attempt to reconstruct the history of the design of Battlestar Galactica's robotic Daggit: Muffit II. The history, based upon images from my private collection and talking to people who worked on it, begins with the initial sketches and paintings from Ralph McQuarrie. It continues on the work of Joe Johnston, other artists, the making of the costume itself and concludes with Evolution (aka Evie), the chimpanzee that wore the suit.
In 1977 concept designer Ralph McQuarrie is asked by Glen Larson to pitch his project Galactica: Saga of a Star World to the studios. Ralph had just finished working on the first Star Wars film, called A New Hope, and was hired to illustrate the first initial script with 24 concept paintings. After or during this studio pitch Ralph McQuarrie also started working on a whole bunch of concept art for a large variety of subjects. He worked on anything between concept art for the ships to designing the look and feel of some of the key costumes.
One of the storylines tells us about Boxey, a boy that loses his pet Daggit (Galactican for "dog") during the attack on Caprica. Devastated by the loss of his Daggit named Muffit, Boxey refuses to eat or drink which worries his mother Serina. She turns to the Colonial Warrior Apollo for help who in turn asks Galactica's scientist Dr. Wilker to make a robotic Daggit, named Muffit II, to easy Boxey's emotional suffering.
Since this robot dog was one of the many, many things Ralph McQuarrie had to design for Battlestar Galactica, we've found only a couple of images from his hand. Below you see a large variety of pet robots that could have been the starting point for the robotic Daggit.
Possible concept art Battlestar Galactica's Daggit by Ralph McQuarie
The most promising one Ralph McQuarrie drew, was the Daggit as shown in the preliminary Battlestar Galactica poster art. Also here it's only a minor detail on the big poster, but I've blown up the section that shows the Daggit. That's the last thing I could find by the hand of Ralph McQuarrie, since the Daggit isn't shown in any of his 24 concept paintings.
The Daggit on Battlestar Galactica concept poster art by Ralph McQuarrie
After the pilot movie was greenlit by Universal/ABC, a whole team of new concept designers started working on creating concept art for it, next to Ralph McQuarrie. I tend to believe concept artist Joe Johnston (also of Star Wars fame) took over from Ralph McQuarrie (or worked with him on it simultaneously). Joe Johnston first started out by drawing a dog as a template and then continued drawing a costume for it, since I believe at the time it must have sounded logical to put a real dog inside the costume. When they decided to put a chimpanzee in it, is not known. The images below show the art Joe Johnston made for the Daggit.
Concept art for Battlestar Galactica's Daggit by Joe Johnston
Storyboard artist Carl Aldana, who was hired for the "Saga of a Star World" storyboard drew a totally different and less friendly version of the Daggit. Thought they didn't continue on this course it's still interesting to show the image (see below).
Daggit concept sketch by storyboard artist Carl Aldana
Probably at the same time sculptor Ralph Massey was also asked to make a model of the costume. As you can see in the images below, they're loosely based upon the last sketches Joe Johnston made. Ralph Massey was initially hired to work on the Ovion costume (see "The History of the Ovion Costume"), but also worked on other costumes like the Cylon Centurion (see "The History of the Cylon Centurion Costume") and the Daggit. The image below shows the model he made for the Daggit.
Concept model for Battlestar Galactica's Daggit by Ralph Massey
After this, the costume had to be made. It needed to be taken apart piece by piece and the image below shows and exploded view of the details without surface texture. Until anyone tells me otherwise, I believe these sketches were made by Martin Kline, who also did a lot of concept art on props and several costumes (like Lucifer).
Concept art for Battlestar Galactica's Daggit, possibly by Martin Kline
Then others in John Dykstra's team took over and created the costume for two chimpanzees, named Evolution (aka Evie) and Doc. Evie ended up spending most of the time in the suit and was also well known to the actors to goof up scenes by running off or make farting noises with her mouth. The costume itself consisted of servos to animate both the spinning ears and the moving mouth, controlled by a wireless remote control to animate these functions. The tail contained a high gauge spring which bounces when Evolution moved around. The images below show the suit and Evie wearing it.
Muffit II, the Daggit costume from Battlestar Galactica
Evie was trained by Hollywood animal trainer Boone Narr (see Boone Narr GALACTICA.TV interview to read all about the training of Evie). The images below show Boone Narr dressing up Evie, the chimpanzee to become Muffit II, the Daggit.
Boone Narr dressing up Evie, the chimpanzee as Muffit, the Daggit
The video below was taken from the Universal DVD set "Battlestar Galactica - The Complete Epic Series". It's a short documentary, called "Working with the Daggit", that interviews cast and crew about working with Evie. Also some backstage footage of the Battlestar Galactica series in relationship to filming Evie is shown.
You can view the video by clicking on the "PLAY" button below to start.
Documentary "Working with the Daggit" from the
Muffit II, the Daggit and Boxey in Battlestar Galactica
It is believed that four Daggit costumes were made, but only two are known to have survived. In the Galactica 1980 series, two Daggits are shown in the episode "Galactica Discovers Earth" in a scene that explains that Troy is actually Boxey grown up. Outside of his quarters we Dillon stumble upon a group of children playing with the two Daggits. I was told there's an episode of Matlock that even shows all four Daggit costumes at once.
Two Daggits in Galactica 1980
In 2005 one of the set used hero costumes was sold at Profiles in History - Hollywood Auction #21. It remains complete with working electronics, which operate via the original wireless remote control. This amazing piece had been in the hands of private collectors since the series ended, and had never before been seen in public. It came with the original comb used on the set to groom the costume. The value of this superb item was estimated at $15,000 - $20,000 but sold for $30,000! Below are the images from the Profiles catalogue (The fur looks replaced, laid on in much larger panels and too combed. Some even say what was sold was a "stunt" version that was used in the Universal Animal show).
screen used hero Daggit from Battlestar Galactica
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