12 O'Clock High: Season 2, Episode 21

Back to the Drawing Board (7 Feb. 1966)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | War
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 6 users  
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Frustrated by heavily overcast skies that make precision bombing impossible, the Allies are at wit's end, until Dr. Rink arrives with a new, top secret technology enabling them to "see" ... See full summary »

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Title: Back to the Drawing Board (07 Feb 1966)

Back to the Drawing Board (07 Feb 1966) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Burke ...
...
Chris Robinson ...
...
Dr. Rink
Alf Kjellin ...
Col. Ehrland
...
Robert Doyle ...
Master Sgt. Zemler
Robert Boon ...
Capt. Schiller
Walter Friedel ...
Capt. Schmidt
Robert Sorrells ...
M.P. Lieutenant
Robert Dornan ...
Barry Cahill ...
Capt. Curt Douglas
Hal Stalmaster ...
Lieutenant Gurney
Richard Brander ...
Lt. Butler
Lee Farr ...
Maj. Rice
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Storyline

Frustrated by heavily overcast skies that make precision bombing impossible, the Allies are at wit's end, until Dr. Rink arrives with a new, top secret technology enabling them to "see" through the clouds: airborne radar. The first missions employing the device are wildly successful, especially since the Germans cannot effectively intercept the bombers with fighters or anti-aircraft because of the cloud cover. Unfortunately, the Germans quickly devise a counter-measure that actually uses the signals from the device to trace the bombers, allowing them to pinpoint the Americans with deadly accuracy. Only Dr. Rink has the knowledge to turn the tables once again, but he is virtually catatonic at the apparent failure of his technology. Written by alexk-6

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Genres:

Drama | War

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Release Date:

7 February 1966 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

An episode that is tight, well acted and filmed with a decent plot.
30 September 2011 | by (The 13th Colony) – See all my reviews

A few spoilers below: 12 O'Clock High is one of those standard television dramas in that it has episodes that rely heavily on the melodrama and not conflict. This episode, Back To The Drawing Board, is pretty tightly written and very well acted by the veteran players. The crew of the 918th Bomber Group has to perfect a radar device that can bomb through cloud cover. Pretty believable as the allies worked on such a device during World War II. Alf Kjellin does a decent job with the part of the German fighter commander. Burgess Meredith fills out his role as the scared scientist well. The cast of regulars do solid jobs also - many episodes they do not and the writing and acting are all over the place. But the best performance is that of Robert Doyle, television regular in the 60s and 70s, who plays a sgt. aide to Meredith who gets wounded on one of the missions. His part could have been a sappy performance geared to make people feel sorry for a wounded warrior, but it did not devolve into a propaganda bit. He went from confident to scared to scarred to determined throughout the episode. The cinema photography looks like a quality production motion picture - almost like one of the big budget war films or Bogart movies of the 40s, and adds to the period viewers are meant to believe this drama takes place. All too many times - especially in the 70s - a good cast, script and plot can be shot down with "modern day" hairstyles and poor wardrobe selections. The bombing missions didn't seem corny, and the stock World War II footage matched the missions (in most of these episodes they were forced to use a P-47 Thunderbolt closeup of machine gun whenever either side is attacking with fighters). The bit about how radar fooling chaff is created is a little much, but acceptable. Robert Dornan, who went on to be a eight term U.S. congressman from California is in many of these episodes - something like 24 of them - as a captain or co-pilot. He is always chewing gum and gives a pretty good portrayal as an Air Force pilot - and that is because he was one. Star Trek fans, and lovers of beauty, will not that Susan Denberg, who had but a short acting career, is in this episode as the German colonel's "girlfriend." She is best remembered for her role in the first season Star Trek episode "Mudd's Women." She looks much, much better in living color.


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