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Set in North Africa during World War II, this series chronicles the adventures of a 4-man team of commandos within the Long Range Desert Group. (In utter defiance of historical accuracy, the team consists of three Americans and one Brit.) Armed with jeeps equipped with .50-caliber machine guns--and endless chutzpah--they wage a highly irregular war against Rommel's Afrika Korps. Their most common nemesis is Hauptmann Dietrich, though Dietrich and the Rats join forces from time to time against a common enemy. Written by
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The first World War II television series made and telecast entirely in color. See more »
The shots of the jeeps jumping the sand dune which opens the show (actually the same shot, repeated) are reversed, or "flipped" images. The steering wheel and driver are on the right side of the jeeps in the shots, incorrect for an American vehicle. See more »
"THE RAT PATROL"-Produced by Rich/Mirisch Productions for UATV. Number of Episodes Produced: 59 episodes in color. Filmed on location in Spain and parts of Europe. Series ran on ABC-TV.
First Telecast Of The Series: September 12,1966. Last Telecast Of The Series: March 18, 1968. Repeated Episodes aired from March 25,1968 until September 16,1968.
Producer: Lee Rich-Executive in charge of production. Executive Producers: Lee Rich and Walter Mirisch,under Mirisch Productions for United Artists Television.
Stars: Christopher George,Gary Raymond,Jack Moffitt,and Eric Braeden.
Synopsis: Filmed on location in Spain where a great deal of war material was left over from filming of the movies "The Great Escape", and "The Battle Of The Bulge". This was an action-adventure series about a group of American and British soldiers fighting for or against the Germans and "The Rommel" in the North African desert during the days of World War II. This was a grand series that had supreme production values and was in full color to boot,which was the selling point of the series. In other words,this was one action-packed show showing the soldiers each week battling it out over the Germans in the sophisticated "jeeps" through the desert and the adventures they face along the way. This was a series that made stars out of not only actor Christopher George,but also made a career boost out of German-born actor Eric Braeden,who would make a name for himself later on in several television shows and also would boost him to the top of the latter in American daytime television(as Victor Newman on the soap-opera,"The Young And The Restless").
Also to point out,when "THE RAT PATROL" premiered in 1966,this was the only ABC show that depicted WWII in color since the network's longest-running WWII series at the time "COMBAT",and not to mention "TWELVE O CLOCK-HIGH",were still in black and white,but would make the transition to color later on,respectfully in their final seasons. Both of the shows mentioned ran for one hour,while this series ran for an half-hour,with some episodes leading up to a cliffhanger until the next installment.
Also if you notice that every episode had the title "RAID" in it. This was basically a prime example of other shows of the 1960's that before THE RAT PATROL did the same thing with the same title. For example,on the spy drama "The Man From UNCLE"(NBC,1964-1968),every episode had the title "AFFAIR" in it,and the western fantasy/adventure-espionage drama,"The Wild Wild West"(CBS,1965-1969),had the title "NIGHT" in it.
Getting back to the series,THE RAT PATROL,this series had some of the best action sequences out there,especially with some of the episodes which were very good and some were passable. In all,compelling drama mixed with high adventure and breathtaking excitement. It held up brilliantly until the show's final episode on September 16,1968 when it went off the air with a whisper,and from there into syndicated repeats during the 1970's and continue onward into cable re-runs of the early to mid 2000's.
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