Thompson Question


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Junkyard Dog
May 13, 2007, 11:41 PM
Does anyone know what ever happened to the Thompson that Vic Morrow
used in the tv series Combat. Not that I could afford to own it but I was
just curious as to where it was.

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Tommygunn
May 13, 2007, 11:53 PM
I am not sure it is even known which particular serial no. that Thompson had.
I read once the barrels of most of the weapons on that show were pretty messed up because of the way they were restricted so they would cycle with blanks.
It is likely that they had 2 Thompsons in case one broke. I do know that about two weeks after production began, Vic Morrow complained about carrying 12 lbs of steel and wood around, so the MGM prop department made a wood dummy Thompson. Supposedly, if you're watching the show, and Saunders is just carrying it, it's the dummy gun and not the real thing.
The Thompson(s) might have been Stembridge rentals.
Originally, actor Rick Jason (Lt. Hanley) was supposed to carry the Tommy gun, but Jason took one look at the thing when he showed up for filming, and told the prop guys to give him whatever gun weighed less. That's how he got a carbine. Jason was a hunter and did his own reloading, and knew all about carrying guns around woodlands all day! And that's how Sgt. Saunders wound up with a commissioned officer's weapon.

Junkyard Dog
May 14, 2007, 12:36 AM
Tommygun
Thanks for the info. While we are talking about Combat what
do you know about the BAR that I think Littlejohn or Kirby
carried. It is late and my memory is not that good.

Tommygunn
May 14, 2007, 11:27 AM
I know the B.A.R. was rented from a private owner, but I don't know his name. The owner was a bit antsy about it getting dirty. Even though they were only "playing war" for a movie camera, things got dirty. So MGM agreed to build a wood dummy of it even before the Thompson. I'm sure actor Jack Hogan (Kirby) appreciated it, since real B.A.R.s weigh about 20 pounds.
You need to order a good book; "A Viewer's Companion to the WWII TV series (revised) COMBAT!", by Jo Davidsmeyer.

Go to www.StrangeNewWorlds.com or write Strange New Worlds, PO Box 223, Tallevast, FL, 34270.
This is a soft-covered "coffee table" book that is chock full of all sorts of info, episode write ups, actor background and stuff, with good photos. The cover has a colour pic of Vic Morrow as Saunders in WWII uniform, with dogtags around neck, looking a bit haggard, in that Frenchtown set on the MGM lot they often filmed in.
There's not really a HECK of a lot about weapons there, but a LOT about the series.
OH! And the series is available on DVD from AMAZON.COM or, www.moviesunlimited.com. It's available in different formats of DVD --you can buy the WHOLE series, or buy it by the season.
Loved it as a kid! Still do, in fact!

68'chevelle
May 15, 2007, 11:16 AM
This really doesn't have any thing to do with this but the 69' Camaro in "cop in a half" that was my Dad's camaro no bull and it was filmed in Tampa Bay, Florida thats where was born and raised.

Im283
May 15, 2007, 11:28 AM
I am sure that the owner of the BAR was very happy that they used a wooden mock up of that gun.

If I remember correctly Kirby used to lose it quite often:neener: :

trailgator
May 15, 2007, 11:53 AM
I loved Combat when I was a kid! I hadn't thought about the series in ages. When I was young (some time ago), the guys in my neighborhood and I used to play "Combat" all the time, back before we could even spell "politically incorrect". One thing that sticks in my mind for some reason is us arguing over which character we were. Some of us thought "Caje" (Pierre Jalbert) was cool, and wanted to be him. Then they killed the character off. Someone would say, "ok, I'll be Caje", and everyone would chime in, "go ahead, but Caje got killed". I really need to find that book! ;)

ACP230
May 15, 2007, 12:39 PM
Dan Shea from Long Mountain Outfitters sold a bunch of Stembridge Rental guns about 10 years ago.
He had some "movie Thompsons," but I don't remember if guns from the TV series were included.

Shea still has some pics of the movie guns on his website, www.longmountain.com.

Tommygunn
May 16, 2007, 11:25 AM
Dan Shea from Long Mountain Outfitters sold a bunch of Stembridge Rental guns about 10 years ago.
He had some "movie Thompsons," but I don't remember if guns from the TV series were included.

As I understand it, a "movie gun" is one specifically designed to, or altered to, fire only a type of proprietary blank. Often, they are made of materials that would not withstand real ammo, even if real ammo could cycle and fit the breech.
I don't believe these types of guns were available in the early to mid 1960's. In any case, the guns used in "COMBAT!" were all real guns. The barrels were restricted, unfortunatly as I recall, they used screws that had the heads partially cut to restrict them and this buggered the rifling.
According to the book I mentioned earlier, the Thomspon Vic Morrow used had a pronounced tendency to jam, and it is said Morrow taught Rick Jason some swear words he didn't previously know.
It would be interesting to know what happened to Morrow's Thompson -- or the two of them if there were two. But as I said before, I don't think anyone knows the serial number(s).

GRIZ22
May 16, 2007, 12:40 PM
And that's how Sgt. Saunders wound up with a commissioned officer's weapon.


Not really the case. From what I've read most NCOs in infantry units (including airborne units) could pick what they wanted M1, M1 carbine, or Thompson. I've seen photos of Gen Gavin getting ready to jump into Normandy and Holland, he carried an M1.

Always did like Combat and catch it on the Retro channel sometimes.

Chuhhuniban
May 16, 2007, 12:50 PM
The Armed Forces TV network in Saigon in 1967 ran Combat at (IIRC) about 1600 hrs (4:00 PM, folks). There was a cessation of work at that time every day — it was treated as a training film.

I can speak to the pain and agony of carrying a BAR, I was in at the end of the era and in training was designated "big enough" to carry the thing. Didn't have one in RVN though, just a M1911A1 and a shotgun.

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