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



Season 4
COMBAT! episodes:

[Season 2 (1963 - 1964)]
[Bridge at Chalons]
[The Long Way Home]
[A Distant Drum]
[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...]
[Thunder from the Hill]
[The Pillbox]
[Gideon's Army]
[General and the Sergeant]
[The Hostages]
[A Silent Cry]
[Eyes of the Hunter]
[Mail Call]
[The Hunter]
[Weep No More]
[The Short Day of Pvt Putnam]
[The Glory Among Men]

Back Up Next
reviews by Jo DavidsmeyerEpisodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets

Tom Lowell as Billy Nelson Glow Against the Sky

* * * 1/2
3 bayonets

Written by Kay Lenard and Jess Carneol
Directed by Sutton Roley
Produced by Gene Levitt
First aired 05-Nov-1963 (Episode 8 of Season 2)


Saunders ' squad, with a critically wounded Billy Nelson, is trapped in the cellar of a destroyed house in a town taken over by Germans. With the German field hospital in view, Littlejohn and the squad helplessly watch Nelson suffer. Saunders decides to deliver Billy to the Germans so his life may be saved.


Fans who enjoy hurt/comfort stories will adore "Glow Against The Sky," the show 's most excruciating example of this delightfully painful story type. Billy is grievously wounded in a German barrage in the teaser. Throughout the rest of the show he is gang-comforted by Littlejohn, Saunders, Caje, Kirby, and even the Germans.

This episode features standout performances by Tom Lowell, Dick Peabody, and Vic Morrow. Tom Lowell 's Billy Nelson is the All-American kid -- and how difficult it is to watch this boy-next-door suffer. With a perfect sense of timing, Lowell switches easily from pained screaming to delirious humming, knowing just how far he can go before it becomes too much. "That was the most satisfying show for me, dramatically. In that scene where I was going nuts and Vic and everybody was trying to keep me quiet, I remember I got applause on the set for the first time ever. That was a thrill. That didn't happen very often."

This is Peabody's best work on Combat! Playing against Tom Lowell brought out a charm and honesty in his portrayal, and created a permanent place for "the big lug" in the squad. "Glow Against The Sky" is the big payoff for Peabody in his on-screen relationship with Lowell. No flaws or gaffes from Peabody, just consistent concern, tenderness, and a gnawing guilt. Beautifully acted, his, "Please, Sarge. I don't want you to do this," is so plaintive in its sincerity and pain. Lowell's face disappears in Peabody's massive hands as he tries to give a comfort beyond their ability.

Amidst all this artful suffering, Morrow manages to also pull out the stops. His emotional pain at helplessly watching Billy suffer is devastating. The end of act three is silently eloquent, when, after surrendering Billy, Saunders discovers that he has Billy's blood on his hands and that an angry Littlejohn is looking daggers at him.

glow-against-the-sky.jpg (176163 bytes)Director Sutton Roley brings this tiny tragedy of a dying boy into intimate focus. Grueling close-ups of Billy writhing in pain are cross-cut to views of three powerful men struggling impotently to provide him relief. Roley crams four-shots into a camera frame that can only comfortably hold one close-up. This harrowing proximity of the camera lens to such monumental pain and suffering draws the audience frighteningly close to the action.


  • The pot that blew up in front of Tom Lowell in the opening segment was "a pretty good blast," Lowell recalls. "It knocked my helmet off."
  • Saunders still needs to requisition his own knife; he several times borrows Kirby 's in this episode.
  • Saunders' aim is remarkable. He sprays a room of Germans, striking only the soldiers and missing the non-combatant medical staff.
  • Continuity: Close-ups show Littlejohn hovering inches above Billy's face. The long shot, from over Saunders' shoulder, has him standing upright.
  • When Saunders jumps in the truck, his helmet falls to the ground and is left behind. Next shot of Saunders in truck, he has his helmet.
  • Famous pitcher, and Cy Young Award-winner, Warren Spahn makes his acting debut as a German soldier.


Tom Lowell remembers: "So much of it was studio stuff. We were out on location only a couple night's. I worked harder on that ["Glow"] than any of the other ones, because I wanted it to be a good performance. Most of the time, we 'd get scripts the week before and everybody 'd go in and see how many lines they had next week. Everyone would rag on each other, saying stuff like "Hey, I only got three lines, what is this, your show? ' So, when this one came along, I thought, "Oh, wow.' I really jumped in with both feet."

Dick Peabody was unhappy with his work in this episode. "I think I was sort of insecure for the whole five years, in some respect, because I knew I didn 't have the background. I had never done a play in my life, even in school ... And, of course, Lowell, whose father was head of the drama department at Sacramento State College, had been imbued with it from an early age and had done millions of plays and so forth. So he had the good sense just to play it the way he wanted to and ignore Sutton Roley [the director]. But everything Sutton Roley told me to do, I did, to my detriment ... He was a great lens guy, but I don 't think he was very good with actors."

Warren Spahn being outfitted as a German soldier by costumer Beau Vandenecker. His cameo role in COMBAT! was highly publicized at the time.


Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley
(though he has top billing, does not appear)

Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders

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

Bill Sargent as Huffman
Brian Avery as German Soldier
Bobby Hyatt as American Medic
Carl Carlsson as German Sergeant
Kurt Landen as German Sentry
Addison Meyers as German Medic
Kurt Kreuger as Capt. Neubauer

Warren Spahn as German Soldier (uncredited)

Back Up Next


Military Magazines

Military Posters

Patriotic Jigsaw Puzzles

WWII Video Games

WWII toys

American Flag Jewelry


SITE MENU: Combat TV Series
The Show
The Cast
The Crew
Combat! A Viewer's Companion
Combat!  Fandom
Combat TV Trivia
Combat! Collectibles
WWII Weapons
WWII Books
Military Posters


HomeWeb site copyright 1995 - 2011 by Jo Davidsmeyer.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy
File last updated June 28, 2012

Other WWII TV Shows: Black Sheep Squadron Twelve O'Clock High

Combat! is owned by ABC Television and distributed in the US by Paramount Pictures. It is not our intention to infringe on the copyrights of the creators of Combat! This web page is meant for the free enjoyment of Combat! fans everywhere. Unless otherwise noted, materials Copyright Jo Davidsmeyer. All rights reserved. Photographs from the TV series  copyright ABC-TV.

Dollar Bargains:  Christmas Stocking Stuffers for a Dollar * Halloween Party Favors * July 4th Favors