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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 

(150) A Little Jazz

RATING: 1 bayonet

Written by James Menzies
Directed by Michael Caffey

First aired 21-Feb-1967
Episode 22 of Season 5


A USO jazz troupe, led by arrogant Bernie Wallace, causes Saunders trouble. Saunders rescues them from a German attack and their gratitude is underwhelming. When a German patrol traps them in a mill, Wallace panics and, without Saunders' knowing it, puts out a flag of truce. The jazzmen heroically opt to stay and support Saunders. In the nick of time, an American patrol arrives to save the day.

Noah Berry and Joe Maross


Dan Duryea makes his second Combat! guest appearance as jazz band leader Bernie Wallace, a character as self-centered and cowardly as the correspondent that Duryea played in "Dateline."

A pity the central character was so unsympathetic and unbelievable, because two of the supporting characters were not only interestingly written, but strongly portrayed. Dennis Hopper as the 4-F drummer who wants to be a hero is heart-breakingly convincing and Noah Berry as the over-aged conscience of the jazz group was touching. All the jazzmen are well-drawn and well acted — from Woody, the happy soul who insists on carrying his bullet-ridden bass across the countryside, to Will, who makes a failed plea to Saunders to understand Bernie's behavior. But the on-screen time of these characters is limited and overshadowed by the Duryea character.

This is one of director Michael Caffey's best episodes. The battle sequence where the bass and drums are destroyed musically with orchestrated bullet shots in inventive.

After the 4-F drummer becomes a hero, the shows ends on a plaintive note with the death of the bass player. The scene fades out as the clarinetist plays a lonely dirge.

Dan Duryea


Paul Busch is killed twice in this episode.

Both Germans and Americans have radio contact. Why does neither call in a barrage?


Pierre Jalbert says, "Dan Duryea, when he came to work with us, because of our humor and attitude, he used to shake his head, saying, 'God, you guys are something else.' But he was very nice and very pleasant. His son did a few episodes."

Dick Peabody particularly enjoyed Dan Duryea as a guest. In his newpaper column, Dick said, "He joined us in our stupid games, laughed at our dumb jokes, and was an enthusiastic spectator at our unauthorized Jeep races through the western streets of MGM's back lot No. 3. Dan was older by 20 years but he fit in as not many guest stars did. He said working with us reminded him of his college days at Cornell. He had belonged to a fraternity whose members were as wild and irreverent as we were." Dick Peabody says that Dennis Hopper was crazy, so he fit in perfectly with the gang of Morrow, Jalbert, and Peabody. Peabody and Hopper had gone to the same junior high school, but not at the same time. "We wondered if that experience could have negatively impacted on our brain cells."


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

Guest Star
Dan Duryea as Bernie

Jack Hogan as Kirby
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Conlan Carter as Doc

Special Guests
Noah Beery as Hank
Dennis Hopper as Zack

Joe Maross as Will
Robert Easton as Woody
Hank Brandt as German Lt. Knubel
Mike Masters as German Sgt.
Paul Busch as German Cpl. #2
Walt Goodrich as German Cpl. #1

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File last updated June 28, 2012

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