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Combat! Season 1
Combat! Season 2
Combat! Season 3
Combat! Season 4
Combat! Season 5


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Season 4
COMBAT! episodes:

[Season 4 : Intro]
[The Linesman]
[The Main Event]
[Hear No Evil]
[9 Place Vendee]
[A Sudden Terror]
[Evasion]
[Finest Hour]
[Breakout]
[The Farmer]
[The Raider]
[Crossfire]
[Soldier of Fortune]
[The First Day]
[S.I.W.]
[Luck with Rainbows]
[The Flying Machine]
[The Old Men]
[The Casket]
[The Good Samaritan]
[Retribution]
[The Mockingbird]
[Hills Are for Heroes]
[Counterplay]
[Nothing to Lose]
[Ask Me No Questions]
[The Ringer]
[One at a Time]
[Gitty]
[Run, Sheep, Run]
[The Leader]

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Combat!
reviews by Jo Davidsmeyer * Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets 

Jack Hogan, Vic Morrow, and Pierre JalbertThe First Day

Rating: 3 bayonets
* * *

First aired 09-21-65
Episode 2 of Season 4

Written by Esther and Bob Mitchell
Directed by Georg J. Fenady
Produced by Gene Levitt
(click on image for larger view)

View fan comments about this Episode   - add your own!

Review

Our beloved squad, worn-out and exhausted, receives four green replacements. In this tight, fat-free script by Esther and Bob Mitchell, we follow these four teenagers as they attempt to survive their first day on the front line. Among the newbies are: a high-school football star, a wise-cracking street- smart kid, a sweet country boy, and the clean-faced boy next door. Who will survive?

This episode provides a little more background info on Doc. Here he claims to have been a grocery clerk before the war. He also shows familiarity with 4H, knowing what type of projects and info would be in a project book.

firstday4.jpeg (40214 bytes)Georg J. Fenady, a regular associate producer of "Combat!", makes a great debut behind the camera as director of this episode. He makes sure the pacing of camera and actors matches the pace of this first-rate script. I do have a bit of a problem with the initial premise of the episode, though. The squad acts as if it's so unusual to have soldiers of this age. In reality, many sol- diers who fought on the frontlines in WWII were between the ages of 18 and 20. These replacements were typical -- guys in their late 30s and 40s, such as Saunders, Kirby, and Caje, were rarer than the teens.

Later in the season this same combination of writers, Esther and Bob Mitchell, and director Georg J. Fenady give us the flip side of this story, as three old men become the squad's replacements in the episode "The Old Men". I wonder if the Mitchells sold the two scripts as a package?

Oddities and Notes

  • Just how many cotter pins does a soldier lug around? Kirby seems to have a never-ending supply.
  • Shouldn't Kirby have marked his path as he crossed the mine field?
  • The squad doesn't carry mess kits with them? Then how come they always have their kits whenever there's a fire or a hot meal around?
  • Kevin Coughlin (Loomis) also appeared as an MP in "Off Limits." In that episode, shot three seasons earlier, no one thought he was too young to be a soldier.

See Production Schedule for filming "The First Day."

Cast Credits

Vic Morrow
as Sgt. Saunders

Rick Jason
as Lt. Hanley
(Note: does not appear in episode)

Jack Hogan as Kirby
Conlan Carter as Doc
Pierre Jalbert as Caje

Dee Pollack ... McBride
Buck Taylor ... Tobin
Kevin Coughlin ... Loomis
Robert Biheller ... Tate
John Nealson ... Anderson
Rick Weber .... German


Dialog Excerpts

Tate:
I didn't freeze.
Kirby:
Well, you can call it anything you want to, Tate. All I know is, you didn't act like a soldier. You don't get many chances up here. Don't waste 'em.

[sound clip] Encouraging Words (66 k)


Saunders:
What are you waiting for, a speech? He made a wrong move and he's dead. That's all the speech there is. Let's go.

Kirby:
Caje, we better win this war soon. We're runnin' out of men.

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File last updated June 28, 2012

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