"The Gallant Men" was an American television series that debuted on ABC in the fall of 1962. It followed a company of US soldiers from the Sept 1943 invasion at Salerno, and their battles up the toe of Italy. The series ran for a total of 26 episodes during 1962-63. Leading the cast is Robert McQueeney, who also narrates the story. McQueeney is a newspaper reporter who follows the company on their exploits. (Sort of an Ernie Pyle clone) The rest of the regulars are played by, William Reynolds, Robert Ridgley, Francis X Slattery, Eddie Fontaine, Roland La Starza, Roger Davis and Robert Gothie. There are the standard types sprinkled throughout, the joker, the card sharp, the loner etc. This is the 3rd episode.
The company has just been taking heavy casualties and is in desperate need of replacements, particularly among the NCO's. The truck from Battalion arrives with said replacements. Among them is non-com Robert Conrad. The deal here is that he is the younger brother of Company commander, William Reynolds.
Newspaperman McQueeney, spots right off that the two brothers seem to be less than friendly towards each other. Reynolds assigns Conrad to take over the radio operator's job. Reynolds' number two, Robert Ridgley, asks why when they need NCO's with the front line troops. Ridgley points out, that one squad is being run by senior corporal John A. Alonzo. It should really have a Sgt.
Reynolds just says that his brother has no combat experience and needs to see how things work first. Needless to say this does not go over well with the men. They see it as playing favourites. This feeling among the men gets worse, when the popular Alonzo and other several soldiers are killed during a firefight with the Germans.
Reynolds is now forced to put his brother in the line of fire, and gives him Alonzo's squad. McQueeney quizzes Reynolds on why the bad blood between the two brothers. It seems Conrad was always trying to show he was better than his big brother. Reynolds is frightened that Conrad might do something stupid and get men killed.
And it turns out he is correct in this assumption. Conrad takes a patrol out without permission and leads them into a trap. All six men, except Conrad, are killed or wounded in a German ambush. Conrad, seeing what he has done, drops his rifle and hotfoots it inside a wrecked house to hide. One man, Roger Davis, manages to stagger back to the American positions.
Reynolds wants to lead another squad out right away but knows better. He waits till daybreak and then heads out with a rescue party. This group stumbles into the same German positions and is also ambushed, with several more killed.
Conrad is watching this from a window up the street. He wants to call out to his brother, but he knows that right below him, is a German machine gun nest. Conrad decides to step up and he calls out a warning to his brother about the MG nest. The Germans are not amused with this, and fill Conrad with an unneeded overabundance of lead.
Reynolds and his surviving men now toss a few grenades into the MG position, killing the crew. Reynolds manages to reach Conrad before Conrad expires. The two make peace.
A pretty damn good episode if you are asking me. It is always nice to see Robert Conrad in his pre WILD, WILD WEST days. Of note here, is actor John A. Alonzo. Alonzo would give up acting in the mid -1960s and become a cinematographer of some stature. The Oscar nominated Alonzo was the director of photography on, VANISHING POINT, HAROLD AND MAUDE, LADY SINGS THE BLUES, BAD NEWS BEARS, NORMA RAE, THE CHEAP DETECTIVE and CHINATOWN.
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