Monday, October 04, 2010

Day 04 - Your favorite show ever

If you've read this blog at all, you know what I'll be writing about today:  Combat!

Mmmm.  Combat!  What a show.  From the first time I watched an ep, at the tender age of 14, I have loved and adored Combat!  I even co-maintain a fansite for it, Fruit Salad, where Deborah Koren and I share our fanfiction, screencaps, my humorous ep reviews, and various other (often "hidden") goodies.  I wouldn't pour that kind of time and effort into just any show, so what makes Combat! so special?

The Squad

Partly, it came into my life at the perfect time.  I was 14, just beginning to grow up, and starting to recognize good writing and acting from bad.  It was 1994, the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day, and all kinds of classic war movies were being released on video.  My dad loves war movies, so we watched quite a few of them that year.  And then, Combat! came into my life, one of many old shows on a brand new channel starting up, TV-55.  My dad remembered it from his childhood, we recorded some episodes, and from then on, it's been an important part of my life.  A year or so later, I started writing seriously, and one of the first stories I wrote was, technically, Combat! fanfiction, though I didn't yet know such a thing as fanfic existed.

Partly, it's the setting.  I'm a history buff -- I love learning about WWII and the 1940s, and that makes this show right up my alley.  I also love heroes.  Combat! is about heroes, the real, dirt and grime and daily grind kind of heroes.

Littlejohn (Dick Peabody) and Billy Nelson (Tom Lowell)

Then there's the writing.  This show has some of the best doggone episodes I've ever seen in any show.  It grapples with serious, deep, sensitive subjects.  Betrayal, revenge, justice, mercy, fear, courage, love, hate, kindness, cruelty, good, evil -- it's all here.  Combat! introduces us to cowards, murderers, musicians, artists, grocery clerks, shoe salesmen, writers, every kind of character you can imagine.  And it does all this in just 152 episodes.

Lt. Hanley (Rick Jason)

There's also the acting.  The main cast members are all superb:  Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Pierre Jalbert, Jack Hogan, Dick Peabody, Conlan Carter, and Tom Lowell.  They're supported with a truly impressive list of talented guest stars.  Actors and actresses like James Coburn, Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Eddie Albert, Mickey Rooney, Nina Foch, Leonard Nimoy, James Caan, Beau Bridges, Roddy McDowell, Sal Mineo, Frankie Avalon, Robert Duvall, James MacArthur, Joan Hackett -- I could keep going, but you get my point.  Some of these pros even requested to be on Combat! because they knew it was such a swell show.

Kirby (Jack Hogan), Doc (Conlan Carter), and Caje (Pierre Jalbert)

But most important for me are the characters.  The main ones are all great, but from my first episode, my heart has belonged to Sgt. Saunders.  He's played by Vic Morrow with a depth of feeling and understanding I have never seen equaled in a mere TV show.  He transcends the stereotype of Hero.  He's brave, but also fearful.  He's noble, but also human.  He's intelligent, but also fallible. He's compassionate, but also uncompromising.  In other words, he's the kind of complex character I'm still trying to learn to write.  He's so multifaceted, he feels real to me, and I sometimes forget he's fictional.

Sgt. Saunders (Vic Morrow)

So.  I love the setting, the writing, the acting, the characters. For sixteen years, my pulse has quickened every time I hear the familiar duh duh-duh-duh duh-duh rhythm.  I don't expect to lose interest any time soon.


  1. Nicely written. But where's Caje's close-up? :D

  2. Deb -- Thanks! Would you believe this took me nearly a week to write?

    Janet -- Sorry. You can do double the Caje pics when you do this meme, k?

  3. I too am a Combat! lover from way back, I was 9 in 1962. I was re-united with this wonderful show about 4 years ago, thanks to cable TV reruns, and now I am an absolute Combat! nut. I have read and re-read every bit of fan fiction I can find, many thanks to all the amazing writers out there. I enjoy all the stories many thanks.

    1. Hi, I write fanfic over on for Combat! I have two stories posted so far and need encouragement. I love the show and heartily agree with all the comments hrs. I saw it as a 60's child on its first run with my four-member family.

    2. Hello, Unknown! If I knew what handle you write under over on, I would try out one of your stories sometime :-)

  4. Hi, Daphne! It's always great to "meet" another Combat! fan. I'm glad you've rediscovered the show and are enjoying all the fanfic out there. In case you hadn't figured out from my plug for Fruit Salad, my call sign in that fandom is White Queen. I'm working on a couple new stories, but due to having a baby less than 3 weeks ago, it'll probably be a while before I finish the stories and have them up on Fruit Salad.

    If you're interested in interacting with other fans and discussing the show, there are some excellent fan groups on Yahoo -- I think the biggest one is at but there are several others too.

    Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you're enjoying C! fanfic :-)

  5. Dante Quinn
    City and Country: Mount Vernon,NY U.S.A.
    E-mail address:
    Occupation: Counselor
    Sex: male
    When did you first watch COMBAT?:
    I have vivid memories of watching Combat with my Father while He was eating Polyseeds in the family room. I was about 7-years old. Even then I appreciated the acting. My dad was in the Navy during the war,and he watched the show religiously.
    Why do you enjoy COMBAT?:

    First off it wasn,t until later on when the show went into syndication and I was much older that I was so impressed with the Cinematography. The "gritty" look of the show, Robert Altman is a genius at angle shots ,close ups, and the writing was outstanding the relationships of the characters really studied the personal "Wars" going on with the men, and how they coped with being in Combat.

    That and to top it off the fine backround Music and compositions provided by the talent of Leonard Rosenman made for a very realistic view of war.
    Share any COMBAT memories you might have.:

    The one episode that stands out in my mind is "The Volunteer" In the "Volunteer" the story about a 10 year old french boy that wanted to join the American Army was a tearjerker. The photography was great,and the music with the harmonica backround made me feel like I was in France. The French boy was played by the actor Serge Prieur. Being a childhood actor,he is only listed with that one acting credit for the episode. I understand today He owns a bed and breakfast in France.
    Comments about the web site or other comments:
    At this time I am collecting the series and hope to have many more comments on being a devout "Combat" fan!
    Thursday, April 2nd 2009 - 02:50:58 AM

    1. Hello! Nice to meet a fellow fan :-) Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts on the show -- it's so intriguing how different aspects attract different people. And I didn't know that Serge Prieur now owns a bed-and-breakfast in France, how interesting! He definitely turned in a wonderful performance in "The Volunteer."

      Isn't it wonderful that the entire series made it to DVD? So many other classic shows are either unavailable or only have a season or two out, but we can enjoy all of Combat! whenever we want. Lucky us!

      Thanks for stopping by :-)

  6. Just found your blog. I became obsessed/addicted to Combat!. I guess it's not so bad, there a lot of other things that could have been worse. Anyway, I read and re-read your fanfic. I wanted more. So I joined the Combat fanfic forum and read those stories. It was never enough.

    My major in college was business but my minor was history. I love the 1940's. My Dad was in WWII so I would pump him for info. Then one day I got this idea and I decided to write a story about it. The only thing I ever wrote were legal documents for mortgage loans.

    I think I have now written 12 or more stories.

    So thank you for writing those stories, you inspired me.

    1. Hi! I say, if you've got to be addicted to something, Combat! is one of the better options :-)

      There is never enough fanfic. That's why we keep writing more! I'm trying to write a short new story right now myself, though a cold and impending company for Easter have derailed me. But anyway, do you have your stories online somewhere? Please leave me a link! What's your call sign in the C! fanfic group? I'm White Queen, in case you haven't guessed, though I rarely post anything there anymore.

      I got my BA in Liberal Arts with concentrations (like minors) in English and History. The 1940s are hands-down my favorite historical period to learn about.

      Thank you for letting me know you've enjoyed my stories! I'm so honored that my stories have inspired you with your own writing. What an amazing fandom we have!

    2. Well Rachel, it's been approximately 10 years now and I still love Combat. Kirby played by Jack Hogan is still my favorite character. I think it is because you see him grow up. I took some time off from writing fanfic, I couldn't think of anything new to write about. The other day I wondered about something and looked it up. Once I got my answer, I began writing. Of course, it's Kirby centric but all the other characters show up. You were one of the reasons I began writing. Thank you.

    3. Sue R., the more I watch C!, the more I love Kirby. He'll never reach Saunders-level of adoration, but he's got such wonderful growth over the series, more than any of the others. As you say, you get to see him grow up.

      I haven't written fanfic for a couple of years -- I think my last story was in 2019? -- but I never say I'm done because ideas pop up every now and then :-)

    4. Also, oh my. I'm so honored to have helped you decide to start writing! That really touches my heart.

  7. You asked me back in 2013 for my call sign and I have to laugh anytime I tell someone. My friend went online and filled out the info and she gave me my nom de plume. Although I should say nom de guerre because it means an assumed name under which a person engages in combat. lol I go by Kirbysbabe at

    1. Sue R, don't be embarassed by your call sign! I've had fans who went by things like Kirby's Kitten and Caje's Cutie. It's all fun ;-) Next time I'm on I'll seek your stories out!


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