Combat! reviews by Jo
Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets
Bridge at Chalons
Written by Bob & Esther Mitchell
Directed by Ted Post
First aired 17-Sep-1963 (Episode 1 of Season 2)
Produced by Gene Levitt
On a mission with a hard-nosed demolition expert (Sgt. Turk, played by Lee Marvin),
Saunders mother-hen's his men, and in the end, even Sergeant Turk. While behind enemy
lines, Turk shows his contempt for the squad's ineptitude and a mutual hatred develops
between the sergeants. Saunders' men are picked off one by one, until only the two
sergeants remain to complete the mission.
Guest Star Lee Marvin is superb as the sergeant-with-an-attitude who makes Saunders'
life miserable. Marvin was larger than life both on camera and off.
Rick Jason was surprised to see Marvin do a guest stint. After a three-year run as star
of the series "M Squad," in which he was to share in the profits, Marvin should
not have needed the money. But Marvin confided in Jason that the books for the series
showed no profits, so Lee Marvin was again working series, but trying to select only good
An ex-Marine, Lee Marvin brought touches of realism to his role. Marvin saw action in
WWII in the Pacific and was wounded in the battle of Saipan. In "Bridge at
Chalons," he is completely natural as a man of arms. He holds his weapon like someone
familiar with the feel. He added the rubber inner tube around his helmet, just as he had
done with his own helmet in the Pacific.
ABOUT FILMING THE EPISODE:
When asked about guest stars on the show, Lee Marvin is the first one all the actors
and crew mention. "I always thought Lee Marvin was so cool," says Tom Lowell.
"The way he came in and had his rifle slung that way. Remember the way he had his
elbows looped through the strap. That was so cool. I tried to do that for every show after
that and Dick would look down at me and say, 'Don't even try it.' After Lee Marvin came
on, everyone wanted a rubber band wrapped around their helmet."
Jack Hogan about Lee Marvin: "I remember Lee Marvin as one of the most bright
military guys and a fantastic actor. After work, the Retake Room (a bar just off the MGM
lot behind the Thalberg building) was busy when he was there."
"Lee Marvin was a kick in the tail," says Conlan Carter. "He was a piece
of work, boy. The fun part of him was not so much in the acting, though he was good and he
did what he did well. But he was a hard drinker. After the shoot was over for the day,
man, could he put them down. Tell the stories! And he had incredible recovery. He could
drink to one, two, three o'clock in the morning and show up on the set the next day and
look like he'd never been out."
Georg Fenady says, "I was still an assistant then. I made the mistake of trying to
stay with him one night. That man had a hollow leg. At two o'clock in the morning I'm
staggering out to my car and he says 'Where are you going, I know a place to go.' I said,
'Lee, we have to get up in two hours.' I left him, and he went wherever he went. The next
day, at seven in the morning, he put on all of his equipment -- backpack, helmet, and
rifle -- and stood three feet from the camera all day, standing tall. Incredible. What an
interesting man. A really interesting man."
NOTES, ODDITIES AND BLOOPERS:
- Sarge starts out the day with a holstered .45 and a sheathed bayonet on his belt. Later
the bayonet has disappeared.
- While carrying Turk back on the stretcher, Sarge's Tommy gun is on his left shoulder. After
he sets the stretcher down, it's on his right shoulder.
- The pontoon bridge is also seen in "One More For the Road" and blown up for a
second time in "Command."
- The French barnyard is the same one in "The Squad."
- Filmed on the MGM backlot and at Franklin Canyon.
- "My favorite Ted Post story," says Dick Peabody, "is the one with Lee
Marvin. A two-shot between Vic and Lee. They did the scene and Ted said, 'Okay. Cut.
Print.' And Vic said, 'Ted, are you out of your mind? Don't you realize I flubbed that
whole last sentence?' And Ted said, 'I 'm sorry, Vic. I wasn't listening.' He was reading
the Hollywood Reporter while the scene was going on. Paying absolutely no attention. As I
recall, that was end of Ted Post on Combat!"
Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley
Guest Star Lee Marvin as Sgt. Turk
Jack Hogan as Kirby
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Tom Lowell as Billy
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Conlan Carter as Doc
Lee Kreiger as Capt. McQuillan
Rudy Hanson as German Leader
Peter Helman as German
Kurt Landon as Other German
Donald Ein as German Corporal
Mathais Uitz as 1st German Cyclist
Heinz Sadler as 2nd German Cyclist
Chris Anders as 1st Bridge German
Deiter Jacoby as 2nd Bridge German