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Combat! is an American television program that originally aired on ABC from 1962 until 1967. (The exclamation point in Combat! was depicted on-screen as a stylized bayonet.) The show covered the grim lives of a squad of American soldiers fighting the Germans in France during World War II. (The episode "A Day In June" shows D-Day as a flashback, hence the action occurs during and after June 1944.) The program starred Rick Jason
Rick Jason
as platoon leader Second Lieutenant Gil Hanley and Vic Morrow as Sergeant "Chip" Saunders. The series was unusual in that Jason and Morrow would play the lead in alternating episodes.

Contents

1 Broadcast history 2 Production 3 Cast 4 Guest cast 5 Producers 6 Directors 7 Military connection 8 Syndication 9 Critical reception 10 Media

10.1 Novel 10.2 Coloring book 10.3 Board game 10.4 Video game 10.5 VHS and DVD releases

11 References 12 External links

Broadcast history[edit] Main article: List of Combat! episodes Combat! premiered on ABC on October 2, 1962, and was broadcast for five seasons. TV's longest-running World War II
World War II
drama (as of February 2016), Combat! aired 152 hour-long episodes. The first four seasons, spanning 127 episodes, were produced in black and white. The fifth and final season produced 25 color episodes. The show was developed by Robert Pirosh, who wrote the pilot episode.[1] Production[edit]

Rick Jason
Rick Jason
(left) and Vic Morrow
Vic Morrow
in a first-season episode

According to Rick Jason, "Our budgets for the first year, including pre-production, production, and post-production, (that is, the entire cost of each negative) was $127,500. In the fifth year (in color) we delivered them for $183,000. Our time schedules were six shooting days. Therefore, on a five-day week, we took a week and one day to shoot a show. Here and there, a segment went to seven shooting days and everybody in the front offices got a little nervous."[2] Jason said of the working conditions, "In the first year of the show, Vic and I were given dressing room suites in a building that hadn't been renovated in twenty-five years. We also had no dressing rooms on the outdoor sets (we were thankful just to have chairs). Vic went on strike the beginning of the second year and things got much better."[2] Wesley Britton wrote, "The producers and directors of the series (including Robert Altman, whose work on the show included 10 defining episodes) went the extra mile for establishing credibility and realism. Then and now, viewers see motion picture quality photography as in the long shots very unlike most network television of the period. They had military advisors on hand to look over scripts and maps. The cast couldn't shave during the five day shoots to help the 'beard continuity.' Except for occasional dialogue, for the most part when the 'Krauts' or 'Gerrys' spoke, they did so in German. Actor Robert Winston Mercy, who wrote one script and played a number of German officers, told me the uniforms were so precisely recreated with correct pipings and insignias that he would cause a stir among Jewish cafeteria workers when he strode in wearing his costume during lunch breaks."[3] Cast[edit]

Character Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5

2nd Lt. Gil Hanley

Rick Jason

Sgt. "Chip" Saunders

Vic Morrow

PFC Paul "Caje" LeMay

Pierre Jalbert

Pvt./PFC William G. Kirby

Jack Hogan

PFC "Littlejohn"

Dick Peabody

PFC "Doc" Walton Steven Rogers

PFC "Doc"

Conlan Carter

Pvt. Billy Nelson

Tom Lowell

Pvt. Braddock Shecky Greene

Pvt. McCall

William Bryant

Recurring Characters: Season 1 only (except Davis who appeared twice in Season 2)

Fletcher Fist as Cpl./Pvt. Brockmeyer 7 episodes Joby Baker
Joby Baker
as Pvt. Kelly 3 episodes (killed in third) John Considine as Pvt. Wayne Temple Jr. 2 episodes (killed in second) Arnold Meritt as Pvt. Jerome Crown 3 episodes Dennis Robertson as Pvt. Albert Baker 7 episodes William Harlow as Pvt. Davis 5 episodes

Note: Fletcher Fist, Dennis Robertson, William Harlow, Arnold Meritt and John Considine all played different characters in minor guest roles in Seasons 2-5. Prior to portraying Pvt. McCall, William Bryant made three guest appearances throughout the first four seasons. Throughout the whole series, however, Paul Busch portrayed multiple characters, the majority of them being German. Conlan Carter
Conlan Carter
(a newcomer) was nominated for an Emmy
Emmy
in 1964 for his portrayal of PFC "Doc". Guest cast[edit]

Sal Mineo
Sal Mineo
and Vic Morrow
Vic Morrow
in a 1965 episode

The majority of the guest stars appeared as additional squad members, French citizens or German soldiers. In the first season, the then little-known Ted Knight
Ted Knight
and Frank Gorshin
Frank Gorshin
made appearances. Other notable guest stars included Lee Marvin, Robert Duvall, James Coburn, Bill Bixby, Dwayne Hickman, Telly Savalas, Luise Rainer, Andrew Prine, Rip Torn, Charles Bronson, Richard Basehart, Eddie Albert, James Caan, Jeffrey Hunter, Leonard Nimoy, Terry Carter, Ben Cooper, Frankie Avalon, Dan Duryea, Sal Mineo, Neville Brand, Brandon De Wilde, Tab Hunter, Bobby Rydell, Beau Bridges, John Cassavetes, Roddy McDowell, Walter Maslow, Mickey Rooney, Claudine Longet, James Whitmore, Dennis Hopper, Tom Skerritt, Carol Lawrence, Harry Dean Stanton, James MacArthur, Dennis Weaver, Keenan Wynn, Joseph Campanella, Richard Jaeckel, James Franciscus, Fernando Lamas, Ricardo Montalban, Claude Akins, Paul Burke, Warren Oates, Nick Adams, William Smithers, Joan Hackett, Margaret O'Brien, Jack Lord, Dean Stockwell, Jack Carter, Chad Everett, and Frank Sutton. Producers[edit] Producers for the series were:[1]

Series pilot: Robert Pirosh Season one: Robert Altman, Robert Blees, Burt Kennedy, Gene Levitt, Richard Maibaum, Paul Stanley Seasons two through four: Gene Levitt Season five: Richard Caffey The executive producer for all five seasons was Selig J. Seligman, head of Selmur Productions.

Directors[edit] Directors for the series were:[1]

Jus Addiss (1 episode) Robert Altman
Robert Altman
(10 episodes) Laslo Benedek (2 episodes) Richard Benedict (2 episodes) Michael Caffey (11 episodes) Alan Crosland, Jr. (6 episodes)            Richard Donner
Richard Donner
(1 episode) Tom Gries (3 episodes) Georg J. Fenady (6 episodes)

Herman Hoffman (1 episode) Burt Kennedy (6 episodes) Bernard McEveety (31 episodes) Byron Paul (1 episode) John Peyser (27 episodes) Vic Morrow
Vic Morrow
(7 episodes) Ted Post (6 episodes) Sutton Roley (15 episodes)

Military connection[edit] Most of the cast members were veterans of the armed services, with several having served during World War II. Jack Hogan, Dick Peabody, and Shecky Greene all served in the U.S. Navy, while Rick Jason
Rick Jason
served in the Army Air Corps. Vic Morrow
Vic Morrow
served in the U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy
in 1947. Conlan Carter
Conlan Carter
served in the U.S. Air Force
U.S. Air Force
during the post-Korean War era. Pierre Jalbert was a drill sergeant in the University Air Training Corps at Laval University
Laval University
in Canada
Canada
during World War II. Morrow's character often displays what appears to be USMC cover on his helmet; it is actually a scrap from a camouflage parachute used in the D-Day invasion. Syndication[edit] Combat! has been aired on and off since the 1970s in Greece, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Brazil, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, South Korea, Canada, Venezuela, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Pakistan, and Taiwan. Combat! is also aired on Me-TV
Me-TV
and Heroes & Icons. Critical reception[edit] The show is noted for its realism and character development. Syndication created a new audience and interested commentators. Pop culture scholar Gene Santoro has written,

TV's longest-running World War II
World War II
drama (1962-67) was really a collection of complex 50-minute movies. Salted with battle sequences, they follow a squad's travails from D-Day on--a gritty ground-eye view of men trying to salvage their humanity and survive. Melodrama, comedy, and satire come into play as Lieutenant Hanley (Rick Jason) and Sergeant Saunders (Vic Morrow) lead their men toward Paris. Under orders, Hanley keeps sending or leading Saunders and his squad on incessant patrols though they're dead on their feet and always shorthanded; replacements are grease monkeys or cook's helpers who are fodder, and everybody knows it. The relentlessness hollows antihero Saunders out: at times, you can see the tombstones in his eyes. Most of the first 32 episodes are very good indeed, thanks to taut scripts and canny direction... Series developer Robert Pirosh copped an Oscar for writing Battleground: his hard-edged realism is often reflected in the plots. Later episodes inevitably get uneven, though there are gems throughout... But this TV series, shot on MGM back lots when color TVs were rare, remains exceptional."[4]

Rick Jason
Rick Jason
and Luise Rainer
Luise Rainer
in 1965

Wesley Britton, son of a World War II
World War II
veteran, wrote, "Unless you watched Combat! during its original 1962-1967 run, you might not know just how popular and influential the program was... In a league of its own, Combat! was aptly titled as considerable time was spent with the American soldiers engaged in machine gun fire fights and explosions while the soundtrack was filled with the martial horns and drums of the rousing Leonard Rosenman
Leonard Rosenman
score. Combat! was also distinguished by its grim and realistic stories that frequently had only the most minimal of dialogue, and that often being only quick orders from Sgt. Saunders to his unit while they were on the move."[3] Britton added, "The 25 episodes of the fifth and final season of Combat!, the only one broadcast in color, maintained the high-quality of the show so well established in the first four years. One major change was a move from MGM studios to CBS
CBS
which meant, among other matters, a new sound crew and different props. Further, in this season the color was especially memorable as most viewers were accustomed to seeing World War II
World War II
in black-and-white like the newsreels of the war years. However, using color resulted in a variety of production problems such as the lack of usable stock footage. But the show wasn't simply spectacular explosion fests, although most episodes opened and closed with violent skirmishes believably orchestrated by the special effects crew."[3] In 1997, TV Guide
TV Guide
ranked the episode "Survival" #74 on its list of the 100 Greatest Episodes.[5] Media[edit] Novel[edit] Franklin M. Davis wrote a novel based on the theme.[6] Coloring book[edit] In 1963, Saalfield Publishing
Saalfield Publishing
published a 144-page coloring book based on the television show. The cover features an in-action illustration of Lt. Hanley and Sgt. Saunders running across a battlefield.[citation needed] Board game[edit] In 1963, the Ideal Toy Company
Ideal Toy Company
released a board game whose cover featured images of Lt. Hanley and Sgt. Saunders along with the show's logo. However, the game itself had nothing to do with the series; it was just a World War Two strategy game for two players who controlled six soldiers each with each side trying to capture the others' headquarters or all of the other players' soldiers.[citation needed] Video game[edit] The Super Famicom game, Sgt. Saunders' Combat!, was based on the television show and only released in Japan. It allowed players to re-enact crucial World War II
World War II
battles in Western Europe and North Africa. The names of fictional officers in addition to real-world officers (i.e., Karl Bülowius, Joachim Peiper, and Anthony McAuliffe) are used in order to maintain a sense of historical accuracy.[citation needed] VHS and DVD releases[edit] Several Combat! episodes are available commercially from WorldVision, with six tapes in all. These were the time-compressed syndication prints and ran slightly less than the original airtime of 50–51 minutes. The frequently asked questions for the shows' mailing list confirms this.[7] Image Entertainment
Image Entertainment
has released the entire series on DVD (Region 1). They released each season in two-volume sets in 2004 and 2005. On December 6, 2005, Image Entertainment
Image Entertainment
released a 40-disc boxed set featuring all 152 episodes. Each season set, as well as the complete series set, features various extras including commentaries, oddities, bloopers, and photo galleries. However, all episodes are the time-compressed versions that were distributed by WorldVision for syndication; each comes in at 46 to 47 minutes, instead of the original runtime, which was 50 to 51 minutes.[8] On October 9, 2012 Image Entertainment
Image Entertainment
released a five-DVD collection of 20 episodes called Combat! - 50th Anniversary Fan Favorites.[9] On November 12, 2013, Image released Combat! - The Complete Series, a 40-disc set that features all 152 episodes of the series.[10] References[edit] Notes

^ a b c Davidsmeyer, J. (1996, 2008) Combat! A Viewer's Companion to the Classic WWII TV Series. Sarasota, Florida: Strange New Worlds. ^ a b Jason, Rick (July 2000). "Scrapbooks of My Mind: A Hollywood Autobiography by Rick Jason". www.scrapbooksofmymind.com. Retrieved August 24, 2013.  chapter= ignored (help) ^ a b c Britton, Wesley (July 29, 2013). "DVD Review: Combat! The Complete Fifth Season". BC: Blog Critics. Retrieved September 8, 2013.  ^ Santoro, Gene (March–April 2011). "Infantrymen on the Small Screen". World War II. Leesburg, Virginia: Weider History Group. 25 (6): 69. Retrieved August 24, 2013.  ^ " Special
Special
Collector's Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide (June 28-July 4). 1997.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ [1]. ^ Combat Fan website FAQ. ^ Combat: Season 1 – Campaign 1 : DVD Talk
Talk
Review of the DVD Video. Retrieved 2010-01-19. ^ Lambert, David (July 3, 2012). "Combat! - '50th Anniversary Fan Favorites' 5-DVD Set Arrives in October". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved July 5, 2012.  ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Combat-The-Complete-Series/18837

Bibliography

Davidsmeyer, J. (1996, 2008) Combat! A Viewer's Companion to the Classic WWII TV Series. Strange New Worlds: Sarasota, Florida. (ISBN 978-0970162434)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Combat! (TV series).

Combat! on IMDb

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