Combat! reviews by Jo Davidsmeyer
Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets
Written by Barry Trivers
Directed by John Peyser
First aired 04-13-65
Episode 30 of Season 3
Guest star Charles
artistic stone mason, Corporal Velasquez, is assigned to Hanley's outfit with orders to
destroy a German observation post. Velasquez was a sculptor of monuments as a civilian who
longed for the skills to be a great sculptor. When he discovers world-class art treasures
sequestered in the vault that he must destroy, he cannot bring himself to deprive the
world of such beauty even at the cost of American lives.
Charles Bronson guest stars as a specialist who
must choose between saving American lives and preserving a priceless heritage for future
generations. It's a great opportunity for some real conflict and moral dilemmas: the
present vs. the future; the temporal vs. the eternal; the physical vs. the ephemeral.
Since the episode wastes the first three acts getting to the central conflict, little of
this is examined. But Bronson delivers the goods as an earthy, everyman-type who longs to
be something more.
Action fans will be disappointed by this episode. It is almost completely devoid of
fighting, with even the standard action opening foregone. The episode opens after a
battle, with the squad injured and exhausted.
In Combat!, Saunders seems to get the obnoxious specialists and Hanley the
ethereal ones. Velasquez's biggest problem in the field is keeping his mind on soldiering
and away from rock formations, sculpture, and classical art. Jason is fine as Hanley, in
what little he has to do in this episode. Hogan, as Kirby, is just along for the ride. But
this great actor makes the ride a fun trip, even though the script hampers him with the
stupid questions that progress the plot. This episode is all Bronson's, and he is fun to
watch making the big sacrifice: giving up more than his life in the name of the greater
NOTES, ODDITIES, AND BLOOPERS:
Charles Bronson's publicity information used to state that he flew as a bomber gunner in
WWII. Actually, he drove a delivery truck in Kingman, Arizona, for the 760th Mess
For once, the commanding officer, Jampel, journeys to the front to check on his troops.
Beautiful lighting on the sound stage, simulating a glow in the fog.
Sculptor Jacob Epstein, that Bronson's character refers to, was a controversial
American-born sculptor who worked directly in hard stone.
Rick Jason says, "Jack Hogan, I think, is the finest actor of
all the bunch of us. Absolutely superb. Better than Vic, better than me, better than
anybody who ever visited the show. Very underrated."
And about working with Charles Bronson, Rick said:
There was the time Charles Bronson guested on the show. I used to smoke cigars on the set,
but since I never got a chance to finish one, I settled for cheapies that I didnt
mind stamping out if they were a third or halfway smoked when I was called into a shot
Grenadiers at three for a dollar. Matter of fact, theyre what George Burns
smoked because he said theyre a cheap cigar, but unlike expensive ones, they stay
Anyway, Charlie and I were sitting off to the side on Stage Twenty-four, which was our
'outdoor set,' used for special constructions, snow scenes, etc. I was smoking a
Grenadier, and there was some leak light behind me. Charlie isnt what one might term
a great conversationalist, so we just sat. And waited.
Presently he said, "That is not a good cigar."
Oh, I dont know," I said, taking it out of my mouth and looking it
It is not a good cigar," he insisted.
I like em."
Well, its not a good cigar!"
Uh . . . whats wrong with it, Charlie?"
The smoke? Whats wrong with the smoke?
Its brown. If it was a good cigar, the smoke would be blue.
I looked carefully at my stogie. Uh huh, I said. Well, thanks.
I got up and stepped into my dressing room, where I smoked the Grenadier until we were
called into the set.
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley
Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Charles Bronson as Velasquez
Jack Hogan as Kirby
Conlan Carter as Doc
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Robert Fortier as Captain Jampel
Kort Falkenberg as German Sergeant
Michael Stroka as Scope Man
Gunther Weishoff as 1st German Soldier
Alf George as 2nd German Soldier