Browns Fan
March 23, 2004, 09:10 PM
I'm probably revealing my age here, but, any of you guys remember a great tv show in the '60s called "Combat!" that starred Vic Morrow as SGT Saunders? Is it still showing anywhere on cable? I really loved that show as a kid!

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March 23, 2004, 09:19 PM
It was a little before my time(born in '70!), but I watched it in re-runs. You're right, it's a great show. I saw some on AMC on satillite the other day. Not sure if it is a regular, though. Or it might have been on the Stars Action channel, hard to remember.

March 23, 2004, 09:19 PM
It has been on lately on one of the cable channels I get, at about 6 am on either Saturday or Sunday morning. I have watched it early morning on the last two weekends but can't remember either the cable station or which day of the weekend it was.

March 23, 2004, 09:20 PM
I use to watch that while in college, was in Vietnam the next year. Have seen reruns a time or 2 in the past several years, but dont remember where.

4v50 Gary
March 23, 2004, 09:22 PM
As a kid I loved Combat! but as I grew older, I noticed that they always fought at the same village (in Universal City) that McHale's Navy ran around in (when they were in the Med) and the eucalyptus trees that gave away the CA location. :) Gotta love Sarge's Thompson though.

March 23, 2004, 09:28 PM
I remember watching re-runs of Combat and Black Sheep Squad!! :)

March 23, 2004, 09:36 PM
My Dad, Robert Pirosh, created the show: he wrote the pilot, "A Day in June," and continued as "creative consultant" for a few seasons. He won an Oscar for his screenplay to "Battleground" (released, 1949)based on his experience in the Battle of the Bulge....this served as a template for the TV show. I met Vic Morrow once: very cool, salt-of-the-Earth gentleman.

March 23, 2004, 09:44 PM
It was on the History Channel up here up until a year ago last Fall. That's the show that inspired me to buy a Garand, Carbine and a .45. Nearly had an operational BAR long ago (had the money, but had just been laid off. I've cried ever since) and a semi'd M1 Chopper(The way it was semi'd meant you couldn't field strip it for cleaning. Has to be put on FA to get it apart. Bought a semi'd M-14 instead.) Still need the Chopper and the BAR.

March 23, 2004, 09:48 PM
Cool, hansolo! Your dad helped convince me to go into the Army! If he's still around, thank him for me! Vic Morrow was the closest thing I ever had to a childhood hero. (I've never been much for the 'hero' thing. I just don't get impressed with celebrities.)

the eucalyptus trees that gave away the CA location. Gotta love Sarge's Thompson though.

All can be forgiven for a Thompson! :D

But I think they have eucalyptus in Europe - at least I've seen a European study done on radiofrequency energy absorbtion by trees and the eucs were the worst.

March 23, 2004, 09:53 PM
"Checkmate King-Two this is White Rook, over".

One of the best T.V. shows of the 60's IMO, and my all time favorite. Great cast and outstanding writing and directing. There is even talk of making a movie based on the TV show.

Re-runs air on Good Life TV, a cable channel.

If you are a fan you will enjoy this discussion site dedicated to the TV show. Almost all your questions answered by knowledgeable fans, ever wonder why Sgt. Saunders wore a marine camo helmet?

March 23, 2004, 10:16 PM
Yes, a great show. I watched it as a kid in the 60's. I watched it last week on the Good Life network. My wife enjoys it as well.

March 23, 2004, 11:29 PM
I always enjoyed watching Combat as a kid. I'll have to see if it is on locally.

M2 Carbine
March 23, 2004, 11:39 PM
My wife and I never missed Combat.

I think she would have left me for Vic Morrow. :D

March 24, 2004, 03:07 AM
Still love it today just as much as when I was a kid - it's on the Action Channel around here about 1am. :)

March 24, 2004, 04:04 AM
It's on everyday on the Starz Action Channel.

I loved it as a kid, I even bought all of the books and read them over and over.

I always wondered when i was watching it as a kid where Sgt Saunders carried his extra ammo. He had no thompson mag pouches on his belt. Most of the time his Thompson was loaded with a 20 round stick yet he never ran out of ammo.

At least Lt Handley has the double mag pouch on the stock of this M1 carbine.

March 24, 2004, 07:47 AM
As a kid, I loved that show. It was always the Sargent (Thompson), Kage (M1), Kirby (BAR), Little John (M1), the Lieutenant (Carbine), and the new guy who was going to die.

The Gallant Men was good too, as was the Rat Patrol.


March 24, 2004, 08:29 AM

March 24, 2004, 08:41 AM
Never missed an episode as a kid. My dad spoke German so he would tell me and my friend what the enemy was saying. Pretty neat. Here is the Combat website. Enjoy:

March 24, 2004, 09:16 AM
Great show, some excellent story lines, great portrails, pretty realistic.

My favorite while it was aired. Hansolo, wow.. very cool.


March 24, 2004, 09:23 AM
I loved that show!

We used to run out in the yard after watching it and play combat.

Even went out into the woods with our bb guns and played combat. Just had one rule. Cant shoot anyone on the ground and you had to aim below the waist. Silly kids.

March 24, 2004, 09:29 AM
Really enjoyed it as a kit in the late 60s and early 70s when it was still showing on lots of re-runs.

As for "Battleground", it is one of my all-time favorites! Great to hear that your dad was a big part of that hansolo!

March 24, 2004, 10:24 AM
Its on Mon thru Fri on comcast cable at 12 oclock. Ever notice Kirby never uses the B.A.R. with the bipod. In the 60s we had the program on armed forces tv and we all got a kick outof it.

March 24, 2004, 10:32 AM
Rat Patrol! Christopher George, Eric Braeden, Justin Tarr...I can still hear the theme song in my head. A great series.

Vic Morrow used to carry a wooden Thompson prop painted correctly, until he had to be in a scene firing the weapon, then he'd swap out. Hell, I won't hold it against him; he was only acting. By all acounts, a fine gentleman off the screen, and he could hold his mud.

But why did he have that Marine camo cover? I allus wondered.

George S.
March 24, 2004, 10:39 AM
I remember watching Combat! as a kid. I even remember watching it when AFVN-TV broadcast the show in Saigon back in '68!!

Some of the later shows did an excellent job in the screenplay and the story lines.

March 24, 2004, 12:06 PM
Didn't see it in its first run but saw all the shows in syndication on a local channel. My favorite was the one where they had to go up against a pillbox. (2 parter)

March 24, 2004, 12:24 PM
On behalf of my late Dad(Robert Pirosh), it is really gratifying to see how "Combat!" had a positive effect, besides being great entertainment.
He wrote from personal experience: as an Infantry Sergeant in the Ardennes, I believe he based the Sgt. Saunders character on himself, although he would deny it.


Steve Pirosh

Fudgie Ghost
March 24, 2004, 12:33 PM
Yeah, "Combat"!--I was 9 years old in 1965, and I watched that show every week. Loved it. We used to play "war" all the time--on weekends we'd play from early morining till the sun went down. Lemme tell ya, patrolling the wilds of suburban New Jersey was HELL man, HELL.

My how times have changed. Kids would get locked up now for running around with toy guns. Thank God, I was able to live as a child in better times.

Trivia tidbit: Jennifer Jason Leigh is Vic Morrow's daughter (Mother is Janet Leigh).

March 24, 2004, 01:07 PM
It was my favorite show.

Rick Jason ... Lt. Gil Hanley
Vic Morrow .... Sgt. Chip Saunders
Pierre Jalbert .... Caje
Jack Hogan .... Pvt. William G. Kirby
Dick Peabody .... Cpl. Littlejohn

Rest of cast listed alphabetically
William Bryant .... McCall (1966-67)
Conlan Carter .... Doc (1963-67)
Shecky Greene .... Braddock (1962-63)
Tom Lowell .... Billy Nelson (1962-64)
Steven Rogers .... Doc (1962-63)

And thank you Hans.

Robert Pirosh
Date of birth (location)1 April 1910. Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Date of death (details) 25 December 1989
Filmography as: Writer, Director, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Composer, Himself
Writer - filmography
(1970s) (1960s) (1950s) (1940s) (1930s)

"Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, The" (1977) TV Series (writer)
"Ellery Queen" (1975) TV Series (writer)
... aka "Adventures of Ellery Queen, The" (1975)
"Harry O" (1974) TV Series
Twice in a Lifetime (1974) (TV)
"Barnaby Jones" (1973) TV Series

"Hawaii Five-O" (1968) TV Series
... aka "McGarrett" (1984) (USA: rerun title)
What's So Bad About Feeling Good? (1968)
"Mannix" (1967) TV Series (teleplay) (episode "Broken Mirror") (teleplay) (episode "Days Beyond Recall") (teleplay) (episode "Time Out of Mind") (teleplay) (episode "A World Without Sundays")
"Ironside" (1967) TV Series (writer) (episode "Return of the Hero")
... aka "Raymond Burr Show, The" (1967) (USA: syndication title)
"Guns of Will Sonnett, The" (1967) TV Series (writer)
"Fugitive, The" (1963) TV Series (writer)
Gathering of Eagles, A (1963)
"Combat!" (1962) TV Series (writer)
Hell Is for Heroes (1962) (also story)
"My Three Sons" (1960) TV Series (writer)

"Bonanza" (1959) TV Series (four episodes)
... aka "Ponderosa" (1972) (USA: rerun title)
Spring Reunion (1957)
Girl Rush, The (1955)
Valley of the Kings (1954)
Washington Story (1952)
... aka Target for Scandal (1952) (UK)
Go for Broke! (1951)

Battleground (1949)
Up in Arms (1944)
I Married a Witch (1942)
Rings on Her Fingers (1942) (story)
Song of the Islands (1942) (screenplay)
Night of January 16th (1941)
Quarterback, The (1940)

Day at the Races, A (1937) (story)
Winning Ticket, The (1935) (story)

Filmography as: Writer, Director, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Composer, Himself

Director - filmography

Spring Reunion (1957)
Girl Rush, The (1955)
Valley of the Kings (1954)
Washington Story (1952)
... aka Target for Scandal (1952) (UK)
Go for Broke! (1951)

Filmography as: Writer, Director, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Composer, Himself

Producer - filmography
(1960s) (1940s)

"Combat!" (1962) TV Series (producer) (pilot episode)

Battleground (1949) (associate producer)

Filmography as: Writer, Director, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Composer, Himself

Miscellaneous Crew - filmography

"Combat!" (1962) TV Series (series developer)

Filmography as: Writer, Director, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Composer, Himself

Composer - filmography

Spring Reunion (1957) (song "Central High")

Filmography as: Writer, Director, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Composer, Himself

Himself - filmography

Marx Brothers In a Nutshell, The (1982) (TV) .... Himself

March 24, 2004, 01:49 PM
Combat, Rat Patrol, and the cool M-16 toy with the real live action sound.
Wow it was great being a kid. We'd play at combat all day. Little plastic toy soldiers with tanks and artillery and barbed wire. I remember something called the Monkey Patrol as well. Damn that brings back happy memories. Wow, what fun we had!:D

March 24, 2004, 01:54 PM
Here you go! (!)

March 24, 2004, 01:58 PM
Great show, I used to watch it all the time.
Havent seen any reruns of it in awhile.
I always loved his machine gun.
Remember the "MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.", Great guns (P38?).
Sadly Vic Morrow was killed during the filming of the "TWILIGHT ZONE" movie.

March 24, 2004, 02:38 PM
Ah yes, I was a kid back then. My friends and I would watch it at home, and then we'd all get together the following day to re-enact the episode -- with a little twist involving water balloons, heh, heh!

Great memories. I hope they put the series out on DVD soon.

March 24, 2004, 02:58 PM
I remember "COMBAT!" and a couple of other war shows from back then . . . "The Rat Patrol" (where I learned that .50 BMGs could knock out Jerry tanks.) . . . "12 O'Clock High" (with Robert Lansing as Gen. Savage and later, someone else playing Col. Gallagher). . . "The Dirty Dozen" (the latter two TV shows were clearly based on movies.) And they used to have "Victory at Sea" on all the time. And I vaguely remember something called "Gallant Men" but can't seem to remember many details . . . too young I guess.

Strangest thing about COMBAT! was that their French soldier, Caje, didn't drop his rifle, wet his pants, and run fleeing at the first sign of "krauts." Hollywood license, I guess . . . :neener:

March 24, 2004, 07:07 PM
Maybe I am retarded or something, but the few episodes I saw of "Combat", I was not impressed. And I was into all that WWII history, action and weapons.

However, I like "Battleground" quite a bit and have rented it several times.

Interesting story I read years ago about the US Army and camouflage uniforms. Seems that during WWII they were tried out but quickly rejected.

Seems American troops were being attacked by other American troops because they thought they were Waffen SS, who often wore camouflage smocks. Cannot remember if the SS also wore camouflaged helmet covers too.

March 24, 2004, 07:33 PM
Strangest thing about COMBAT! was that their French soldier, Caje, didn't drop his rifle, wet his pants, and run fleeing at the first sign of "krauts." Hollywood license, I guess . . .

He was a Cajun from Louisiana, not French.

I also loved the show in reruns of course. I used to fall asleep at night with my black and white tv with the brightness turned all the way down so the screen was black and listen to it with a speaker that went under my pillow that was attached to the 1/8" headphone jack on the TV.

Ironically it was the #1 show during the Viet Nam war.

March 24, 2004, 07:50 PM
It's one of the very best ground war shows ever.

That's why it's still being shown on TV.

March 24, 2004, 09:35 PM

March 24, 2004, 09:53 PM
As you probably know, Vic Morrow was cut in two by the helicopter blade(as were the two young child actors)during late night filming by "Twilight Zone; the Movie" director, John Landis.

On the fatal "shoot", Landis was breaking many union rules and the pyrotechnics specialist and chopper pilot warned him of the dangerous conditions: like many egomanics, he ignored the warnings: the explosives knocked the chopper into "Sgt. Saunders" and the two kids. Landis walked . I'll never forget the smirk on his face leaving the courtroom in the L.A. Times photo.

4v50 Gary
March 24, 2004, 09:56 PM
When you think about it, even the tune for Combat! was a catchy little tune that was appropriate for time era too.

Browns Fan
March 24, 2004, 09:58 PM
Thanks, guys for all the replies. Combat! was also responsible for me joining the Army (and possibly making a career of it).

Yeah, the Man From UNCLE was pretty cool, too!

March 24, 2004, 10:32 PM
152 episodes..... ....TV worth watching!

March 24, 2004, 10:49 PM
Hansolo, why does it sound like he was intentionally killed?

March 25, 2004, 12:06 AM
I watched Combat reruns in the '80s. The sergeant wore the camo cover so as the lead star he stood out from the rest (like the Thompson wasn't enough?)

Good show for the time. Anybody remember the one where they had to find the crashed reconnaisance model P38? That was...interesting as it was a proper-model one.

March 25, 2004, 07:00 AM
Actually Eric Braeden was NOT in Rat Patrol. His name was still Hans Gudegast back then. He didn't change it to Eric Braeden until later.

While Rat Patrol was somewhat entertaining, it's not in the same league as Combat.

Fudgie Ghost, while Jennifer jason Leigh IS Vic Morrow's daughter, her birth name is Jennifer Lee Morrow, her mother is NOT Vivian Leigh.

Perhaps you are confusing her with Jamie Lee Curtis daughter of Vivian Leigh and Tony Curtis?

March 25, 2004, 07:34 AM
Correction: Bluesbear, Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Janet Leigh (Psycho) and Tony Curtis. :D

March 25, 2004, 08:03 AM
Duhhh I meant Janet Leigh.

Vivian was old enough to be Vics mother.

Of course I am sure that Vic would have "jumped" at the chance to have been able to procreate with Janet. ;)

March 25, 2004, 09:22 AM
As would I. :cool:

BTW, Combat! was a tremendous series. Liked Kirby with the BAR. :D

March 25, 2004, 11:55 AM
Wow. Looking at that picture makes me really feel my age. I'm 47, so when I was watching Combat in prime time television in 1964 I thought the guys on the show looked so "old" and battle weary. Now, looking at that picture, they look like kids!

March 25, 2004, 01:54 PM
You just HAD to say that, didn't you? :fire:


March 25, 2004, 01:55 PM
James Arness was in 'Battleground' - he was badly wounded at Anzio, if you watch his old shows carefully, you can see him swing one of his legs around before he gets up - a result of his wound.

And I remember seeing the movie when it first came out - 1949 - long time ago. Fine movie then, fine movie now. The IMDB has a good link to it:


March 25, 2004, 02:19 PM
One of my favorites. Right up there with the Bonanza, Gunsmoke, the old Twilight Zone and the old Outer Limits. I see it every now and again on cable. TV Land Channel is where I think I saw it last. I was sad when Vic Morrow died in the 1980 Twlight Zone movie because he had become familiar to me from Combat.

March 25, 2004, 02:46 PM
Loved that show as a kid. Still like it.

Made me mad that you couldn't find a toy gun that looked like Kirby's BAR.

But my brother found a scoped Garand that was 3/4 size. One of our friends had a full sized 'grease gun" that fired caps.

We played a LOT of "war" as kids.

I'd buy a full auto airsoft BAR.. I would.

We played a lot of Rat Patrol too, I even got a hat like Christopher George. Then I saw RP as an adult... yikes the show is almost un-watchable.

March 25, 2004, 03:32 PM
A while ago I caught Vic Morrow in "Blackboard Jungle." What a cool guy he was. Such a loss.

Fudgie Ghost
March 25, 2004, 03:44 PM
Blues bear: As Johnny Carson would say " You are CORRECT, sir!"

Vivien Leigh!? What was I thinking? Yeah, she could be Vic Morrow's mom, couldn't she?

Anyway, I dig JJL (mighty cute in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High), and you can see the resemblance in her face to her father---in a good way!

Now anybody remember "Fireball XL-5"? Ha! With the marionettes!?

March 25, 2004, 03:45 PM
You know what's really sad? You don't see kids in the neighborhood playing army, and going on patrols lanymore ike we did when I was a kid. Shoot, we'd play army all day killin those dirty Jerrys and those sneakie Japs.

March 25, 2004, 04:00 PM
I do not believe that director, John Landis, or any body else, "killed" Vic Morrow and the two kids, but I feel Landis wanted to finish the filming of that particular scene and plowed ahead, despite warnings from more than one person on the set. What always will bug me is, Landis(like O.J.)did not show remorse, as far as I know.

"Combat!" trivia: when it first aired, Vic Morrow's character was considered 2nd banana to Lt. Hanley.....from the fan mail, Vic was overwhelmingly more popular....'specially with the Ladies :rolleyes:

Johnny Guest
March 25, 2004, 04:40 PM
Interesting - - - Check the image furnished by both Whitey and RCL - - Wonder if they were using a poorly made prop dummy Thompson - - Note that the ejection port is several inches too far rearward. Puzzling, as SGT Saunders had a properly working 1928A1 in the episodes.

Agree with BluesBear about Saunders never carrying any mag pouches for his TSMG - - Always puzzled me. But, as I recall, he always had a 30-round mag in place, rather than a 20. There was ONE episode I recall when they were holed up in a ruined building and Sarge took another mag our of his jacket pocket and fitted it in place. I was impressed that he exercised very good fire discipline, too. Back in those days, movie types fired a lot of L-O-O-O-N-G bursts from their SMGs. Saunders: Two to four or five rounds, max.

Re: LT Hadley - - One episode, he either ran his carbine dry, or had a stoppage. He jerked at the op handle a time or two, then went for his .45.

Great series - - -


March 25, 2004, 05:14 PM
I remember in several episodes he'd pull a new magazine from inside his jacket, the pistol belt made sure nothing else fell out. Either C-rats or spare magazines he had rattling around in there in various episodes. I did the same thing with MRE bread at Fort Knox and my BDUs...... :) Gee wonder where I got that idea?

March 25, 2004, 06:53 PM
"we'd play army all day killin those dirty Jerrys and those sneakie Japs. "

Today that would be considered a hate crime.

March 25, 2004, 07:42 PM
I read a "Combat" related website once that said the Vic Morrow specifically asked the prop guys to make a wooden dummy Thompson so he wouldn't have to lug around the real gun all day. He'd carry the dummy gun until he had to shoot, at which point he'd trade it out for the blank firing gun.

The same website said that in the early episodes Morrow wore a more or less complete web set up with ammo pouches, etc, but also found it too heavy and later wore only the bare minimum.

March 25, 2004, 08:12 PM
"Wow. Looking at that picture makes me really feel my age. I'm 47, so when I was watching Combat in prime time television in 1964 I thought the guys on the show looked so "old" and battle weary. Now, looking at that picture, they look like kids! " Whitey

"You just HAD to say that, didn't you?" Quartus

Quartus, let's go hunt him down. Ain't no place safe for him ner his dog. I'm gonna help you burn his house down. And find his friends. We'll get the entire AARP out lookin' for him. We'll poison him with 5 gallons of castor oil and weigh his body down with Depends diapers, then we'll take him to the river and stuff him in a bag...:D

"Wow....[I] really feel my age. I'm 47, so... " Ya wanna little cheese with that whine??:neener: :D

Shanghai McCoy
March 25, 2004, 08:20 PM
Age?Heck,I'm 49 and have a 2 1/2 year old daughter.AGE!HAH!BTW,watched that show all the time when I was a kid.I recall that they sometimes filmed up in Sonoma Cty CA. at one of the vineyards.My father spoke german so I used to pester him for translations.Great show...

March 25, 2004, 08:21 PM
Combat! Vic Morrow was my hero when I was a kid. I've wanted a Thompson ever since watching the show. "Rat Patrol" was geat too, as was "12 O'clock High"

March 26, 2004, 11:14 AM
"We'll poison him with 5 gallons of castor oil"

Expect to have brown shoes when you are finished.

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