COMBAT!
 

 



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


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Season 4
COMBAT! episodes:

[Season 2 (1963 - 1964)]
[Ambush]
[Bridge at Chalons]
[Doughboy]
[The Long Way Home]
[A Distant Drum]
[Bridgehead]
[Masquerade]
[Infant of Prague]
[The Wounded Don't Cry]
[The Little Jewel]
[Glow Against the Sky]
[The Party]
[Anatomy of a Patrol]
[What Are the Bugles...]
[Barrage]
[Thunder from the Hill]
[The Pillbox]
[Gideon's Army]
[General and the Sergeant]
[The Hostages]
[A Silent Cry]
[Eyes of the Hunter]
[Counter-Punch]
[Mail Call]
[The Hunter]
[Weep No More]
[The Short Day of Pvt Putnam]
[Rescue]
[Command]
[The Glory Among Men]

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Combat!
reviews by Jo DavidsmeyerEpisodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets


(058) Mail Call

RATING: 4 bayonets

Written by Arnold Belgard
Directed by Bernard McEveety
Produced by Richard Goldstone

First aired 04-Feb-1964
Episode 21 of Season 2


SYNOPSIS:

The squad is concerned over Saunders' depression after receiving a letter from home. They are surprised to see him take his frustration out on Pvt. Trenton, the new recruit. Saunders sees past Trenton's good-natured act and faked injuries, and forces him to face his own fears. Saunders is fearful, too, of the fate of his brother, who he just learns is MIA at Okinawa.

REVIEW:

The script for "Mail Call" is the epitome of what makes Combat! work: the squad interactions, personalities, the human interest into the lives and characters of the soldiers themselves, not just the blood and guts realities of the war. To survive on the front, soldiers only had each other to depend on. Frontline squads survived as a team, or they didn't survive at all. In "Mail Call," the squad closes rank to protect one of its own.

This episode underscores the cohesiveness of the squad, that they genuinely care about each other's welfare. They may have been clumsy in their attempts to help Saunders, but they do try. Thankfully, these manly men of the sixties do not sit around and discuss their inner feelings, as is common in nineties TV shows. They instead take action.

Combat!, too, survives today because of the teamwork of its cast. This strong ensemble acting is very evident in "Mail Call." Each character has his place in the squad, and in the story. The opening sequence is particularly delightful to watch, as the squad gathers round the jeep, sharing equally in each other's mail and in their joy. But not in their problems. Saunders keeps all at a distance, even Hanley, who fails to draw him out by reminding him of their long-term friendship.

Guest star James Best has been a staple on series TV since the sixties. Including his work as Sheriff Coltrane on "The Dukes of Hazzard," he has appeared in over 600 television shows.

NOTES, ODDITIES, AND BLOOPERS:

The squad fights 10th regiment of the 25th Panzers.

During exchange between Saunders and Billy, while Caje is standing in the doorway, his boots are unbuckled. When Caje comes up to Saunders, the boots are buckled.

The driver of the jeep in the opening sequence has an appearing/disappearing helmet.

In the scene in Hanley's office, Hanley wants to send out Saunders' patrol again in two hours, but Saunders buys them extra time. But when Saunders sees his men, he says they're moving out in two hours.

Chronology error: The battle for Okinawa was in '45. Since the Americans are still fighting in Normandy, this episode takes place in '44. The only way Saunders' brother could be MIA in Okinawa is if he was shot down there, not if he took part in the landing.

ABOUT FILMING THE EPISODE:

Guest star James Best recalls, "Vic was a very nice guy, really friendly. It was a pleasure to work with the whole cast. A very congenial shoot. Some of 'em aren't that congenial. On those shows, you'd really look forward to going to work. Of course, the Combat! thing was interesting to me, because I was in WWII. I was a radio gunner in a B-17."

CAST:

Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley
Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders

Jack Hogan as Kirby
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Conlan Carter as Doc
Tom Lowell as Nelson

Ray Fulmer as Holmes
Fred Harris as Smitty
Ed Deemer as German #1
Mike Masters as Non Com
and
James Best as Trenton
Paul Busch (uncredited)

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File last updated June 28, 2012

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