Combat! reviews by Jo Davidsmeyer
Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets
(142) Nightmare on the Red Ball Run
RATING: 2 bayonets
Written by Dan E. Weisburd
Directed by Michael Caffey
First aired 02-28-67
Episode 23 of Season 5
The drivers on the Red Ball Run are overworked to the point of danger, pushed
by the fanatical Sergeant Rose. The truckers must accept Kirby and Littlejohn
as replacements. They volunteered believing that riding would be easier and
safer than walking. Transporting explosives over bumpy roads and collapsing
bridges, they encounter snipers and a halftrack that blocks their path. Rosie saves
the day when he rams the halftrack with his truck, at the cost of his own life.
Claude Akins, as the sergeant-with-an-attitude, and William Campbell, as
Rosie's right-hand-man Corporal Sloan, have fun in this episode filmed at Franklin
Canyon. Campbell appeared in fourth-season's "More Than a Soldier." This is
Akins' third appearance on Combat!
The pacing in this episode is abominable. Nothing much happens, and what does
happens, does so slowly. The characters drive through a series of contrived
predicaments with no real dramatic tension. But Hogan and Akins have an
easy-to-watch chemistry, as do Peabody and Campbell. Pity this story could not have been
accelerated to allow them to interact more.
Watch for the small role of the Major in this episode. It is played by John
Carter, who is the real-life brother of Conlan Carter ("Doc").
NOTES, ODDITIES, AND BLOOPERS:
· Opening nighttime barrage includes much historic footage, colorized.
· The snipers have the element of surprise and the high ground, but still are
easily picked off.
· The trucks drive all night, yet they arrive at the front and encounter the
same medic (Walt Davis) they left behind the night before.
· Disappointing that no black actors were cast for this tribute to the drivers
of the Red Ball Express.
· The Germans who ambush the truck wear U.S. camo pattern HBT jackets. One has a
camo helmet cover in the U.S. pattern.
· Kirby tells Rosie he has never fought a half-track. Not true.
Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley [does not appear]
Claude Akins as Rosie
Jack Hogan as Kirby
Conlan Carter as Doc
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
William Campbell as Corporal Sloan
John Carter as Major
Paul Busch as German Tank Commander
Mike Masters as Medic
Beau Vanden Ecker as Markum
(Note: Medic is mis-credited, it is actually Walt Davis)
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Davidsmeyer. All rights reserved. Photographs from the TV series