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Season 5
COMBAT! episodes:

[The Gun]
[The Losers]
[Ollie Joe]
[The Brothers]
[The Chapel at Able Five]
[A Child's Game]
[The Letter]
[The Outsider]
[The Bankroll]
[Cry for Help]
[The Furlough]
[The Gantlet]
[The Masquers]
[A Little Jazz]
[Nightmare on the Red Ball Run]
[The Partisan]
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Combat! reviews by Jo Davidsmeyer • Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets 

The Furlough

First aired Dec-27-1966, Episode 15 of Season 5

Directed by Bernard McEveety
Written by Paul Playdon
Produced by Gene Levitt


3� bayonets


When Private Vincent dies before going on Furlough, he tasks Saunders to deliver a bequest for him. Saunders travels to England to fulfill his promise, bringing Vincent's money to Ann Tinsley, director of an English orphanage. While in London, Saunders views the war through the frightened eyes of children and shares a bittersweet relationship with Ann.


Let me get the major flaw with this episode out of the way. The script suffers from hopeless predictability. The soldier who likes orphans might as well have a target on his forehead. When the mistress of the orphanage turns out to be a lovely young woman (Carol Lawrence), who could not predict that Saunders would spend his furlough with her? And when they share their first tender kiss, her fate was sealed.

wpeE.jpg (103185 bytes)With that said, what a wonderful episode! I will take predictable scripts anytime if they are so gorgeously performed and directed. Vic Morrow excelled in his portrayal of Saunders in a non-military situation. In London, he is not in charge and is deliciously at a loss as how to behave. His usual style of underplaying a scene worked particularly well here as his character tries to remember how to behave in domestic situation.

The scene of Saunders' return to the orphanage to find his love is so effective -- an excellent example of how TV has changed over the decades. The long shot of Saunders turning slightly and seeing the corpse, the camera slowly panning in as he realizes that she is gone, panning in and in . . . and you wait for the cut to the corpse (or an arm out from under a beam or something of the like), but the shot just keeps panning in and in. And suddenly, I found myself afraid that they would cut to the corpse; in that excruciatingly long shot, Morrow made me afraid to look at the death that he was seeing. Today, not only would you see the corpse and blood, but probably some dismemberment. But that slow closeup on Saunders, as we watch his hopes die, was more eloquent than anything seen on contemporary television.

Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers

  • Ann was married, but is called Miss Tinsdale by the children.

  • Anne's husband died just after D-Day. After that she set up the orphanage. When did the American private spend his weekends at the orphanage? Was she entertaining soldiers so soon after his death?

  • The upstairs hallway of the orphanage is the hotel set in "Gunsmoke."

  • The POV shot of the sniper sighting the American: he is sighting on a Garand M1, not a Mauser.

  • Christine Baranski (listed as Chris Charney) of "Cybil" plays Paulette and Jon Walmsley, of "The Waltons," plays Andrew.


Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley [does not appear]

Guest Star
Carol Lawrence as Ann Tinsley

Jack Hogan as Kirby
John Williams as Edmund Tinsley

Jon Walmsley as Andrew
Tony Fraser as Phillip
Chris Charney as Paulette
Cindy Eilbacher as Cynthia
Maria Lennard as Dolly
Jacquelyn Hyde as Maggie
Merri Wood-Taylor as Mrs. Davis
and Paul Picerni as Vincent

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File last updated December 22, 2015

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