Combat!: Season 3, Episode 9

Fly Away Home (17 Nov. 1964)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | War
8.1
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Sgt. Saunders and his squad have been ordered to escort a Sgt. Keeley behind enemy lines with his trained pigeons. The birds have small cameras on their legs to photograph the enemy, but Keeley is belligerent and surly.

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Title: Fly Away Home (17 Nov 1964)

Fly Away Home (17 Nov 1964) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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...
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Sgt. Keeley
Jack Hogan ...
Pierre Jalbert ...
Dick Peabody ...
...
Polaski
Rudy Dolan ...
Robert Champion ...
Ed Deemer ...
Ron Stokes ...
Maxwell
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Storyline

Saunders' squad is assigned to escort Sgt. Keeley of the Signal Corps on a special scouting mission to find an enemy location that cannot be spotted by aircraft. Sgt. Keeley uses pigeons he has trained to fly over enemy positions while carrying a small camera, and then return to their mobile roost with the pictures. Keeley is unfriendly from the start, and as the squad escorts him into enemy territory and they become involved in several firefights, Keeley clearly shows he cares only about his pigeons - not his fellow GIs. Written by David Wile

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Genres:

Action | Drama | War

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Release Date:

17 November 1964 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Pigeons At Work
15 August 2014 | by (Mesa, AZ USA) – See all my reviews

"Fly Away Home" is a story about a man and his birds. White Rook must escort Sergeant Keeley (well played by Neville Brand) deep into German territory along with his pigeons for a special recon mission. A small camera is attached to a pigeon which then flies in circles over German territory taking pictures at regular intervals. The miniature camera is wind operated. All the pigeon has to do is fly at a reasonable rate of speed to automatically operate the shutter at regular intervals.

In real life Mr. Brand had quite a book collection and it would be interesting to know about his knowledge of birds and how he wound up doing this episode. Brand was also cast in "Birdman of Alcatraz" in 1962. He is extremely convincing in his role of pigeon expert and his devotion to his birds is undeniable. In addition, Neville spent 10 years in the Army and was a decorated WW II veteran. Pigeons were actually used to great advantage in WW II. (G.I. Joe (March 24, 1943 in Algiers - June 3, 1961 in Detroit (see Wikipedia)) was a pigeon noted for his service in the United States Army Pigeon Service.)

Conflict between Saunders and Keeley is excellent. And when the Sarge see's he's dealing with a compulsive bird man, he must temper his approach to work with him. Kirby plays the tough but excellent role as the ignorant one of the squad. Leave Kirby & Keeley alone and inevitably you'd have a fist fight on your hands.

Kay Lenard & Jess Carneol wrote a very realistic screenplay and I give them credit for addressing the topic. Carrier Pigeons have been used to great advantage in numerous wars and some of them were recognized for their outstanding service as G.I. Joe mentioned above. Bernard McEveety did an excellent job directing and as usual the action scenes are very believable.

It's interesting to note according to Lieutenant Hanley, using pigeons to carry a mini-camera and take pictures was an idea the Americans borrowed from the Germans.


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