On October 2,1962,one of the most realistic,exciting,and one of the most realistic dramas in television history premiered on the ABC Network. "Combat!" was that show and under it's creator and producer Robert Pirosh under executive producer Selig J. Seligman under his production company,Selmar Productions produced a show about the grim lives of a squad of American soldiers fighting the Germans in France during World War II. The squad lead by Platoon leader Second Lieutenant Gil Hanley(Rick Jason),and Sergeant Richard "Chip" Saunders(Vic Morrow). "Combat!" was more that just a combination of drama,it was a show loaded with action. Each week,these soldiers and their Platoon Leaders take on the Germans with lots and lots of spectacular action sequences and astounding firefights and sometimes daring rescue missions where not only the squad fights to stay alive against impossible odds,but the replacements that were assigned to the squad always ended up being captured by the enemy or killed. The squad in some cases find themselves in a tough situation only to find a way to get out of the predicament they're in and destroy the enemy against the perils they faced,only to come out of them victorious. But instead "Combat!" focused on the individual soldier and how he dealt with the war on a personal level not to mention the mental and physical fatigue these men faced each week. There was a brotherhood of sorts between the characters whether the situation they were in.One had the others back in case of trouble and to help each other out whenever the squad was in a tight situation. This was a show that had some of the best writing,spectacular direction,believable characters and some of the best hardcore action sequences ever produced for television were the hallmarks of this television classic which today had the same impact as when television audiences first saw this show and eventually blew them away back in 1962. "Combat!" became the longest-running World War II drama in the history of television that became a staple on ABC's schedule,lasting five seasons. Out of the 152 episodes that were produced,the first four seasons of the show(which were in classic black-and-white)spanning 126 episodes aired from October 2,1962 until April 12,1966. It's final season(the color episodes)produced 26 episodes that aired from September 13,1966 until the show's final episode on March 14,1967. The repeats from Season Five aired from March 21,1967 until August 29,1967.
"Combat!" was one of ABC's most successful show and went on to develop a huge following of loyal fans which remains to this day. The series regulars were superb and believable especially with the main characters of Vic Morrow,Rick Jason,along with Jack Hogan(Kirby),Conlan Carter(Doc),Dick Peabody(Littlejohn),Pierre Jalbert(Caje)were in some aspects lifelong brothers in the fight,depending on each other each week to get through some of the tightest situations even when they were assigned to dangerous missions. Not to mention a line-up of guest stars that came on board each week ranging from additional squad members or playing evil Nazi villains. The guest stars ranged from Frank Gorshin,to Lee Marvin,Charles Bronson,Sal Mineo,Roddy McDowell,Terry Carter,Frankie Avalon,Dennis Weaver,to Claude Akins,James Whitmore to Robert Duvall and Richard Basehart among others. Even after 50 years,this was the show that had non stop action and incredible drama,and it shows in the number of Emmy nominations and wins this show received. Don't miss the best episodes of "Combat!" from the premiere episode "A Day In June" to "The Long Walk Home"(Season 2), "The Hostages"(Season 2),"The Hard Way Back"(Season 3), "Hills Are For Heroes"(Season 4),to "Ollie Joe"(Season 5),and the final episode of the series "The Partisian"(Season 5).
Happy Anniversary....for now "Checkmate King Two To White Rook:Out"