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Combat! episode reviews by Jo Davidsmeyer
Episodes are rated from 0 to 4 bayonets 
Just for the Record
Vic Morrow with Guest Star Micheline Presle
Thanks to Sandy Marshall, for providing these images. She is webmaster and runs the COMBAT! Photo Gallery web site.

Just For The Record

Rating: 4 bayonets
* * * *

First aired: Jan-15-1963
Syndication order: 3
Season: One, Episode 15

Written by William Bast
Directed by Laslo Benedek
Produced by Robert Blees

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While searching an abandoned French farm house, Saunders takes a moment to play a record from home on a hand-crank phonograph. Germans burst in and take him prisoner. He is transported with four other prisoners including a French civilian, Andre Mallott. The resistance intercepts the truck, kills the Germans and frees the prisoners.

Mallott stops at a French tavern to obtain gas for the return to Paris. But no gas without ration books. An attractive French woman, Annette, who is stranded in the town, overhears his predicament and offers him her coupons if he will transport her. En route to Paris she is horrified to discover she is aiding an escape. At the next stop the Germans kill Mallott. Saunders convinces the unwilling Annette to continue to the rendezvous in Paris. Against her better judgement, Annette is convinced to take one prisoner into hiding in her home until transport is arranged.

She takes Saunders to her home, and soon a German officer knocks at the door. It is Annette's lover, Kurt. He brings her soap and nylons. She fears he might think that these gifts are the only reason she cares. Their affection is genuine. For the moments they have together, there is no war, there is no enemy.

After Kurt leaves, Annette provides dinner for herself and Saunders. Following the meal, she plays the record for him, a message from his mother and sister. To the gentle sound of the ballad on side two, Annette and Saunders dance. Kurt returns unexpectedly after his meeting is cancelled. Kurt is agitated; he knows the war is lost. In this anger, he notices the English- labeled record on the phonograph. He is suspicious. He plays Louise's message, and calms; these enemies, he hardly knows them.

Next evening. Saunders is alone in the darkened apartment. The phone rings incessantly. Finally Annette and Kurt return from their picnic. Kurt goes to clean up and shave while she answers the phone. It is the resistance; Saunders must join up with them on a boat leaving Paris soon. Kurt discovers Saunders as he tries to leave. Saunders and Kurt struggle over the gun. Kurt is killed. Saunders brings Annette with him, not wanting to leave her for the Gestapo.

Next day, they are met by resistance fighters who separate them into two groups to move them through the German lines. Without a word to Saunders, Annette walks past him to the other group.

Next we see Saunders questioned by Doc, Littlejohn, and Caje about his experiences in Paris. The show ends as Saunders starts his letter home. "Dear Mom and Louise, thanks for the record ...."


In "Just For The Record" we see Sergeant Saunders not as the fighting soldier, but as a homesick young man lost in a foreign land. In the opening scene, Saunders searches a house for Germans. Everything is quiet "That's where the danger is. In the quiet." Alone, thinking of home, Saunders does something we rarely see in the series--he lets his guard down and makes a stupid mistake. When he finds a record player, he forgets the danger and plays a record from home. The mistake of the homesick boy gets the soldier captured. As often happens on television, Saunders escapes and finds himself in the hands (and the spare bedroom) of a beautiful French collaborator.

Just_for_the_record2.jpg (17211 bytes)I adore this episode. It's on my top ten list. The strong script by William Bast provides ample moments for actors to shine. In Vic Morrow as "Chip" Saunders, Micheline Presle as Annette, and Alf Kjellin as Kurt, we have three capable actors who find all the nuances in these complex, richly-drawn characters. Annette's tragedy is that she is not what she appears to be. She is not the collaborator motivated by greed or desires for creature comforts. She is a woman in love. But her devotion to her German lover comes at odds with her sense of "right" when the fate of an American soldier is placed in her unwilling hands. Morrow, still new to the Saunders character when this was filmed, convincingly established the fragile side of this fearsome soldier. The scene where he listens to the message from his mother and sister is particularly well-performed--subtle and moving. Alf Kjellin as Kurt makes it apparent why Annette fell in love with this German invader. As portrayed by Kjellin, Kurt is a man of gentle strength and quiet resolve--a good soldier and good German, afraid of what lies ahead for his country and family.

Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers

  • A few things in this episode that we never see again:
  • 1) Opening narration by Saunders; Morrow doesn't have a flair for the Sam-Spade-type voiceover. I'm glad this wasn't made a staple of the show.

    2)Everyone speaks English, even the Frenchmen when speaking among themselves. I don't mind this. I can pretend they are speaking their native language (and by the magic of television I can understand it). This seemed very natural, more natural than the extremes they go to elsewhere in the series, trying to explain that English is the only language shared by these characters, that's why they're speaking it among themselves.

  • Biographical info we learn in this episode: Saunders has a neat Mom, and a younger sister names Louise (nicknamed "The Brat"); Louise calls Saunders "the goon" and Mom's nickname for him is "Chip". They're from Cleveland.
  • This is one of only two times that Saunders' nickname "Chip" is used in the series. Both times it is used by family members. Despite fan-fiction to the contrary, no one in the squad ever calls him "Chip."
  • First appearance of camo helmet.
  • How did Saunders get the record back? Surely the Germans would have confiscated it when they arrested him.

Cast Credits

Vic Morrow
as Sgt. Saunders

Rick Jason
as Lt. Gil Hanley
[Note: Rick Jason does not appear in episode]

Guest Star
Micheline Presle as Annette
Alf Kjellin as Kurt

Steven Rogers as Doc
Pierre Jalbert as Caje

Edward Colmans ..... Andre Mallott
James Forest ..... Foreman

[Note: Dick Peabody appears as Littlejohn at end of episode, but is not in credits.]

Dialog Excerpts

OPENING NARRATION BY SAUNDERS: It's a lonesome war. Today is Sunday. And like any other day, we search. Squad under strength, so we search alone. Eight men and twenty farms to search. Quiet, deserted farms. That's where the danger is. In the quiet. Quiet, hidden danger. Sometimes you get a good one. An empty one ...

SIDE ONE OF THE RECORD: Hello, Chip, it's Mom. I--your sister and I came downtown and we passed this record place. You know, where you can make a record and send it to the boys overseas. I should have planned what I was gonna say. I should have written it down. Your sister and me are all right. Don't you worry about us. I miss you son. We both do. Sometimes I get to missing you so much I--oh, this thing's no good. I want to ask you so many questions. How are you? Are you well, dear? Where are you? They censor your letters now so we never know. Oh, my time's almost up. I--I'm gonna let Louise use the other side. I'll have to say good-bye now. Take good care of yourself, dear. Write. And hurry home. God bless you, son.

SIDE TWO OF THE RECORD: Hi! It's the brat. I know you don't want to listen to a lot of drool from me, so I'll make it short. Any ways, I got something I know you'd rather hear. This'll really send you. It's the latest hit song here at home. Hugs and kisses, goon. Come home soon. Bye now. [music ... ]

Annette: And where is your home, Sergeant?
Saunders: Oh, a village you've never heard of. Cleveland.

Dialog (42 k)

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Related Reading about the French Resistance:

Convoy to Auschwitz: Women of the French Resistance
by Charlotte Delbo, et al (Hardcover - May 1997)
Translated into English from French.
List price $28.95, check price

Agents for Escape: Inside the French Resistance, 1939-1945
by Andre Rougeyron, et al (Hardcover - January 1996)
Autobiography of a French resistance fighter who worked in Normandy to help with the Allied invasion. He was captured and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. Well written and provides a unique perspective of both the resistance and the high price they paid when caught.
List price $24.95. Check price at

Love in the Tempest of History: A French Resistance Story
by Aude Yung-De Prevaux, et al (Hardcover - April 2001)
At 23 the author discovered the people who raised her were not her parents. Her real parents were executed by the Nazis when she was just an infant. This story is a daughter's tribute to brave parents she never knew, documenting their remarkable story as they resisted the Nazis in France, and gave their lives for liberty.
List price $23.00. Check price at

Resistance and Betrayal: The Death and Life of the Greatest Hero of the French Resistance
by Patrick Marnham (Hardcover - March 2002)
List price $25.95, check price.

Hitting Back : An Austrian Jew in the French Resistance
by Dolly Steindling, et al (Hardcover)
List price $20.00, check price.

Code Name Christine Clouet: A Woman in the French Resistance
by Claire Chevrillon (Hardcover - June 1995)
Superb Autobiography!
Out of Print--Check Availability at by clicking links below.
Editions: Hardcover | Paperback




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