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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
Marg Baskin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Neato! Not only is THE RAT PATROL in color,its also on DVD!
This show is escapist entertainment because it is supposed to be escapist entertainment. And that just happens to be why I like this show so much. The plots were short and simple. They HAD to be since the show was only a half hour long (not a full hour like COMBAT or 12 O CLOCK HIGH). So in a nutshell, the Rat Patrol came, they raided and then they were off. In 30 minutes, there was not much more they could do in the time allotted. True, some of the episodes are kind of silly but other episodes are really good.
Unlike most war related features of the time (tv shows, movies, etc), the Germans were not depicted as villains, but as the opposing force. The Germans were lead by Captain Deitrich, who actually respected the Rat Patrol and on more than one occasion, teamed up with the Rat Patrol on a truce. One truce, for example, was declared to rescue an Arab girl who had fallen into a well.
The main selling point of this show was that it was in color! Another selling point was to promote one of the stars (Lawrence Casey) as a sort of teen-zeen idol. It was a tactic that would work until 1968, when the public would quickly lose interest in anything war related and THE RAT PATROL would drop suddenly in the ratings war and get the cancellation ax later that year.
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