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JOHN PEYSER
Director for TV Series Combat!

Grabbing the honor of second-most prolific Combat! director is John Peyser with twenty-seven episodes. He is a yeoman director, always putting in competent, professional work. He doesn't exhibit any specific style from episode to episode. His work always matched the quality of the script. He showed a great ability to deal with rough filming locations and difficult filming situations. He had a flair for mixing actors and heavy equipment in a dramatically interesting (and safe) way. He handled most of the "mechanized" Combat! episodes -- those featuring our favorite squad using jeeps, tanks, earth-moving equipment, and even a steam locomotive. He also was the only director to use high-altitude shots from a helicopter (or possibly a small plane). Unfortunately, when not dealing with the tough requirements of interacting human flesh with hardware, he didn't bring anything special to the camera, letting the acting and the writing either shine or flounder on their own.

Two notable exceptions are the early "Masquerade," which features a lot of interesting camera movement and the fourth season "S.I.W." In "S.I.W.", I don't know if he was inspired, helped, or frightened by directing two skilled directors (Morrow and Cassavetes) or if he was confidently coming into his own behind and before the camera; but something made this episode sharply different in style and execution from his other outings. Throughout it he is in firm command of the action, the camera, and the characters, creating some stunning visuals and gut-wrenching emotional moments.

He went on to direct other action shows, including "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and ten episodes of "Garrison's Gorilla's."

Combat! episodes:

  • A Distant Drum
  • Masquerade
  • Infant of Prague
  • The Little Jewel
  • The Party
  • What Are The Bugles Blowin' For - Part One
  • What Are The Bugles Blowin' For - Part Two
  • Thunder From The Hill
  • Gideon's Army
  • Counter-Punch
  • The Duel
  • Vendetta
  • Operation Fly Trap
  • The Enemy
  • A Walk With an Eagle
  • Birthday Cake
  • The Steeple
  • The Long Wait
  • Heritage
  • The Hell Machine
  • Beneath the Ashes
  • Evasion
  • Breakout
  • The Farmer
  • The Raider
  • S.I.W.
  • The Mockingbird

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COMBAT!
Directors:
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Selig J. Seligman
Robert Blees
Georg J. Fenady
Michael Caffey
Burt Kennedy
Bernard McEveety
John Peyser
Robert Pirosh

 

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File last updated August 15, 2011

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