WWII Costumes for Combat!

Warren Spahn guest starred on COMBAT!

Beau Vanden Ecker and one assistant provided costumes for the cast and the armies of extras. They strove for authenticity (on a budget) and researched the uniforms of the European theater. Pictured above is costumer Beau Vanden Ecker putting final touches on the uniform of guest actor, and baseball great, Warren Spahn.

Camoflauge helmet worn by Vic Morrow as Sergeant SaundersBy second season, Beau Vanden Ecker provided special fiberglass helmets for the cast and the stunt doubles, replacing the authentic steel helmets. Vic Morrow's helmet was covered with authentic camo parachute silk used in the European Theater — some soliders in Normandy used the freely available fabric on their helmets. It is not a Marine Camo helmet. 

In the December 1983 issue of TV Collector, Rick Jason said "Our helmets were custom made because the steel pots can press your vertebrae after wearing 'em for about sixteen hours a day ... They cost 115 bucks a copy then. I've still got mine. My boots had to be made-to-order because I wear a size 13 shoe." The fiberglass helmets, though comfortable for the actors, caused problems during shooting. When running and jumping into a foxhole, the actors would go one way and the helmet would go the other.

Beau Vanden Ecker replaced the wool uniforms with tailored cotton replicas, dyed the proper olive drab, making it easier for the actors to work in California heat. "Beau was incredible in wardrobe," says Fenady. "He could wardrobe 15 guys in 15 minutes."

To entice Vanden Ecker to stay with the show, they started casting him in small roles. "It was getting boring for him," says Fenady. "We always wanted to sweeten the pot, and he said 'I wouldn't mind doing a little stunt once in a while, a few lines.' So he got plenty of them. As long as he was happy, we were happy. He was very good, too, very good." Beau later moved to Hawaii, where he acted and directed for "Hawaii 5-0" and "Magnum, P.I."

Simulated WWII German ammunition belts used on COMBAT!

Wehrmacht WWII canteen simulated for use on TV series COMBAT!German bayonet used on COMBAT!The German canteen and ammunition pouches shown here were made from wood in the prop shop and painted. The metal belt buckle and German bayonet are metal made from molds. Sorry about the bayonet image, the bottom of the bayonet was cut off in the picture. (Items from the collection of Jo Davidsmeyer.)

The helmet pictured above is one of Vic Morrow's hand-made fiberglass helmets. (From the collection of Chris Andersen). All items were used on the TV show Combat! and were purchased from auctions of merchandise from Beau Vanden Ecker.



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File last updated August 15, 2011

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