The 36th infantry is fighting it's way through Italy under the spirited leadership of Captain Jim Benedict. His men include flirt D'Angelo who carries his guitar along, plus pals Lucavich and Hanson. McKenna is the free wheeling sergeant.
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1963   1962  
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Robert McQueeney ...
 Conley Wright (26 episodes, 1962-1963)
...
 Capt. Jim Benedict (26 episodes, 1962-1963)
Robert Ridgely ...
 Lt. Frank Kimbro (26 episodes, 1962-1963)
...
 1st Sgt. John McKenna (26 episodes, 1962-1963)
Eddie Fontaine ...
 Pvt. Pete D'Angelo / ... (26 episodes, 1962-1963)
Roland La Starza ...
 Pvt. Ernie Lucavich (26 episodes, 1962-1963)
Robert Gothie ...
 Sam Hanson (26 episodes, 1962-1963)
...
 Roger Gibson (26 episodes, 1962-1963)
Sandy McPeak ...
 Pvt. Saunders / ... (11 episodes, 1962-1963)
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Storyline

The 36th infantry is fighting it's way through Italy under the spirited leadership of Captain Jim Benedict. His men include flirt D'Angelo who carries his guitar along, plus pals Lucavich and Hanson. McKenna is the free wheeling sergeant.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

world war two | sergeant | See All (2) »

Genres:

Action | War | Drama

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Release Date:

5 October 1962 (USA)  »

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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(26 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Robert Conrad might have achieved greatness on this show
24 August 2007 | by See all my reviews

The pilot of "Combat" was not as well made as the pilot of "The Gallant Men".

Robert Altman directed the pilot of "The Gallant Men". He was key in casting all the regulars. Boris Sagal ("Rich Man, Poor Man") directed the pilot for "Combat", but never did another episode. The producers of "Combat" hated the look of their pilot and loved the look of the "Gallant Men" pilot. The producers convinced Altman to move over to "Combat" as a producer-writer-director. Altman did some of his best work on the first season of "Combat", and he got the series off to a superb start. Altman says on a "Combat" DVD commentary of an episode with Albert Salmi that he never got better than that as a director. Altman also said that "Combat" had a better cast than "The Gallant Men", even though he cast "The Gallant Men" and had nothing to do with casting "Combat".

"The Gallant Men" was probably suggested by "The Story of G.I. Joe" (1945) where Burgess Meredith played war correspondent Ernie Pyle and Robert Mitchum played an infantry captain. In "The Gallant Men", Robert McQueeney was top billed as war correspondent Conley Wright.

"The Gallant Men" focused on a company while "Combat" focused on a single squad. The squad level turned out to be the ideal vehicle to tell war stories and to allow the viewer to get close to the characters. "Combat" also benefited from having one of the 1960's best series performances: Vic Morrow as Sergeant Saunders. Morrow was nominated for an Emmy for the first season of "Combat", but lost to E.G. Marshall ("The Defenders"). "Combat" also hired superb guest stars that Warner Brothers would never pay up for: Jeffrey Hunter, Lee Marvin, James Coburn, Rip Torn, John Cassavetes and many others. And finally, "Combat" paid for better writers and wound up with much better scripts.

Warner Brothers was a very cheap outfit, although they often did manage to make compelling shows.

Robert Conrad gave an excellent guest star performance on "The Gallant Men" as a sergeant who was the brother of series hero Captain Benedict (well played by William Reynolds.) Robert Conrad might have been brilliant as a tough squad leader, maybe even as good as Vic Morrow. Conrad should have been brought in as the new series star. The show should have focused on Conrad's squad rather than the company. The most appealing regular on "The Gallant Men" was 23-year old Roger Davis as Private Gibson. Conrad could bring Gibson along from episode to episode until finally Gibson is given a battlefield commission and becomes Conrad's platoon leader. This could have led to a strongly written and played relationship that could have given the show a dramatic center-something it badly needed.

Robert Altman's original conception for "The Gallant Men" was to kill off the regulars from week to week. This was a fascinating idea that could have made the series very realistic and emotionally involving. If Robert Altman had stayed on board, "The Gallant Men" might have given "Combat" a run for its money.


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