1.Combat – ABC Tuesday 7:30 You would find this little guy on the living room floor almost every Tuesday night glued to the small screen watching the adventures of K company from the 563rd division.
The show ran 5 season featuring Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders and Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley. The repeating weekly cast consisted of Jack Hogan, whom most of the cast agreed was the best actor in the series.
Hogan played the “Loose Cannon” Kirby as in “William J. Kirby” and the other fan favorite was “Caje” or PFC Paul Lemay, who was supposed to be a “Cajun”.
Pierre Jalbert who played Caje (and recently passed, R.I.P.) was a sound guy at the Warner Brothers studios. He was from Montreal and spoke fluent French however his English was spoken with a French Canadian accent. (Not Cajun).
The gentle Giant “Little John” was played by Dick Peabody and was there for all five seasons as were the previously mentioned. During the first two seasons Billy, who was the youngster of the squad was played by Tom Lowell. His character disappeared in the 3rd season. In season five, Combat would add another regular named William Bryant to play the Bazooka man “McCall”. The Medic in season one was a pretty boy named Steven Rogers.
His acting just couldn’t cut it and he was replaced in season 2 by Conlan Carter who was nominated for an Emmy in his first season with the ensemble for best supporting actor. Finally we come to the Vegas comedian Shecky Greene. Shecky played the role of Braddock. His part worked well in the pilot of the series, but his prowess as a comedian didn’t fit into what became a serious WWII drama. Shecky Greene was also losing money by passing on opportunities to do what he loved which was stand-up comedy in Las Vegas. So Shecky departed towards the end of season one. Between the shift of filming in Black and White to Color, and the increasing salaries of the two stars, Selig Seligman, the executive producer felt unsure about the future of the show. America was watching real news clips coming from a war in Vietnam. Anti-war protesters like the SDS were making daily headlines. Seligman had another series to replace Combat that would have been cheaper called “Garrison’s Gorillas”. The show was a flop so Combat was no more. The good news is, Combat is available on DVD. The five discs sit on my desk every day. It’s funny because as a youngster, I would play hard and like most young kids, would fall asleep by 8:15. My father would come home and watch the end of Combat and pick me up and put me in my bed. Every time I hear the theme song during the closing credits, it reminds me of my father picking me up off of the floor and putting me to bed.
2. Hogan’s Heroes – Hogan’s Heroes was a comedy about a group of captured airmen and pilots that ran an escape business out of Stalag 13. The true comedians were the Germans which were all played by Jewish actors. Sadly the only surviving member of Hogan’s Heroes is Cpl. Lebeau who was played by the French actor Robert Clary. The plots were pretty much the same although they did use historical events as the premise for certain episodes. Hogan’s Heroes ran 6 seasons and never compromised its’ level of entertainment.
3. The Time Tunnel -Although it only ran one season; The Time tunnel was one of the more under-rated TV Shows in the history of programming. I guess the audience got tired of getting a history lesson every week. It’s ironic that one of the more successful channels today is “The History Channel” or “H2”. The show starred James Darren and Robert Colbert as the two Time Travelers.
4. It Takes a Thief – – Robert Wagner was wonderful in his role as a “reformed master thief” who steals for the government. Again, we see the counter culture turning bad guys into good guys. I believe the show was cancelled after 3 seasons after a political incorrect scene involving Marilyn McCoo of the soul group “The Fifth Dimension”. In a scene, Wagner who plays the role of a “Playboy Thief”, kisses McCoo on film. The last discussion I had about this TV show was with a black friend I was in summer camp with. When I said Robert Wagner, he responded: “Is he that white Mutha fucka that kissed the sister from the fifth dimension”?
5. Star Trek – Yes I expect to catch hell from my Trek friends for not putting this at the top of the list, but hey it’s my list and they can either live long and prosper or go fuck themselves. What can I say about Gene Roddenberry’s creation that the people haven’t already said? NBC blew it big time and the fans fought to get it back. Don’t you wish politicians could learn that lesson?
6. Lost in Space – Again, I think puberty had much to do with my love for this wonderful Sci-Fi series that had everything from hot babes to a talking Robot.
7. Batman – Yes it was campy, corny stupid, silly and used a lot of one syllable words. But it was all about the Batmobile my friends. The Batmobile was hot and is still my dream car. Hell I’d drive it on a rainy day. It was almost as hot as Julie Newmar “Meow”. What can I say, If you take a hot woman and put her in a tight black jumpsuit, it gets my attention.
8. Get Smart –Speaking of puberty and hot babes; how can any young testosterone filled young man not be glued to agent 99 in her leather jump suit? Oh my! Sure Maxwell Smart was funny as agent 86, but the show would never have lasted without the beautiful Barbara Feldon. I would try my hardest (if you’ll excuse the pun) to stay up (excuse again please) on Saturday nights to watch The Avengers which also had a beautiful agent in a black leather jump suit named Diana Rigg, only she was English.
9. Bewitched –This show was hilarious. The one question everybody has to ask when you bring up Bewitched is: “If Samantha was a witch; why didn’t she make Darren better looking”? The story of Dick York is/was a truly sad story. I can almost share his misery. If the show were being filmed today, they would have just divorced Darren and Samantha and nobody would have said a thing. But we had morals that were decaying back in the 60s. I’ve always felt that if they were going to do a movie based on the TV show, it should have starred Meg Ryan. She would have been a perfect Samantha.
10. THE GREEN HORNET –
Just one comment: “Bruce Lee”. Sure it was a cheap version of Batman, in fact they did cross overs with Batman, but the “Black Beauty” was no “Batmobile” The only reason America watched The Green Hornet was to watch Bruce Lee kick ass. PERIOD