Combat! reviews by Jo Davidsmeyer
Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets
(083) Birthday Cake
Written by Ed Adamson
Directed by John Peyser
First aired 29-Dec-1964
Episode 15 of Season 3
Littlejohn receives a birthday cake from his mother, with the explicit instruction
to not open until the 21st. He carries it on a dangerous patrol into enemy territory. On
the mission, also, is Cantrell, a man waiting for orders to go home. Littlejohn's
adherence to his mother's request brings the squad into harm's way and Cantrell to doubt
he'll live to see home.
Littlejohn receives a cake on the 20th, with instructions not to open it until the
21st (which 21st? It doesn't say). The audience endures a day of this cake causing
complications for Littlejohn and for an obnoxious translator forced to go along with the
squad and the cake.
The script makes Littlejohn come off as a slow-witted bumpkin C something that he is
not in most episodes. This story could not quite decide if it was truly a comedy. There's
a bit too much bloodshed, angst, and abandonment of wounded soldiers to really make it
amusing. The episode originally aired Christmas week, just before the new year.
NOTES, ODDITIES, AND BLOOPERS:
- Filmed at Korbel winery.
- This episode is first time Dick Peabody is credited on his own title card, but still
listed after Hogan and Jalbert.
- First on-screen credit for wardrobe man Beau Vanden Ecker
- On the walk back, the squad stops and Saunders looks through binoculars. He says that
nothing is there, but people are moving in the shot.
Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley (does not appear)
Phillip Pine as Pvt. Steve Cantrell
Jack Hogan as Kirby
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Jean del Val as French Farmer
Beau Vanden Ecker as G.I. Driver