12 O'Clock High: Season 2, Episode 5

Big Brother (11 Oct. 1965)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama, War
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 14 users  
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As part of a brand new strategy called "shuttle bombing", the 918th lands in North Africa at the end of the first leg of the flight seriously short on fuel. Unfortunately, they are forced ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Burke ...
Chris Robinson ...
Lt. Col. Preston Gallagher
Lt. Betty Russo
Robert Colbert ...
Major Dutton
Douglas Henderson ...
Major Lecroy
Harry Millard ...
Captain Strader
Robert Sorrells ...
Staff Sgt. Webhorn
Robert Biheller ...
Sergeant Bessy
William Swan ...
Ted Markland ...
Trevor Cuming ...
Scout Officer
Hans Heyde ...
German Officer
Robert Dornan ...
Captain Johnson


As part of a brand new strategy called "shuttle bombing", the 918th lands in North Africa at the end of the first leg of the flight seriously short on fuel. Unfortunately, they are forced to use an airfield that has only just been liberated from the Germans by a motley group of Allied units commanded, by chance, by Col. Gallagher's older brother, Preston. Now the Nazis are determined to take the field back in a massive counterattack. Not only are Preston's forces badly outnumbered and out-gunned, but he is suffering from battle fatigue and on the verge of a breakdown. To make matters worse, he has commandeered his brother's fuel for his own plan to retreat, leaving Joe's planes and his mission in grave danger. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War




Release Date:

11 October 1965 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Col Gallagher's brother is in command of a joint American/Australian/British ground unit. The historical setting is the Battle of Kasserine Pass, which took place in Feb 1943. However, all Australian units were withdrawn home to defend Australia against the Japanese. The last remaining Australian unit in North Africa, the 9th Division, had been stationed 2400 km away in Egypt and in any event had departed by Jan 1943. The joint operation as depicted could never have taken place. See more »

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User Reviews

Pure television ... but good entertainment
20 December 2011 | by (The 13th Colony) – See all my reviews

This episode pits - albeit temporarily - Joe Gallagher against his own brother U.S. Army infantry officer Lt. Col. Preston Gallagher, ably played by Jack Lord. Gallagher is leading the 918th to North Africa after bombing a target in Europe on what was called a shuttle mission, meaning the aircraft shuttled from England to a target and then to another base. Kudos to Quinn Martin & Co. for using this bit of historical fact as a background. The facts sort of end there, but hey its free to watch (on broadcast TV anyway), right? From the opening act you know what you are in for - brother vs. brother. Lord plays Gallagher's brother as an short sighted, hard infantry officer who is at the end of his fighting rope after a week long battle with German units to seize an important airfield. Joe Gallagher needs fuel and bombs, waiting there for this very important shuttle raid, to complete the return part of his mission. Somewhere along the line, Preston Gallagher has decided the fuel is his outfit's needed to evacuate (to where isn't very clear) his wounded. He tells Joe Gallagher the 12 or so B-17s are going to be scrapped - blown up - on the runway to keep them out of enemy hands and everybody is going to fall back. The episode goes off the logic rails with this one. I guess the thought is Jack Lord is slightly mad from too much combat and isn't seeing straight. It seems to me if your orders are to hold an airfield for aircraft to operate out of, then BLOWING up some $3 million worth of aircraft (B-17s were about $250,000 a piece then) and essentially kissing off the second half of a very important mission when the goods and time are there to do it wouldn't be a punch in the promotion ticket. Plus, you have 12 bombers, fuel and bombs and you know where the Germans are ....hmmmmm (well, wait and watch the episode) From then on out the episode is just standard 'No you will not' ... 'Yes I will for duty, honor, country' conflict stuff that most episodic television is to this day. And that's sort of the bane of television production. Grinding out some 24-28 episodes a year (in the mid 60s) didn't leave a lot of time to polish scripts and make sure plots were iron clad. Along with that, Quinn Martin had a few television shows in production at this time - mid 1965 - and staffs tended to work across the board on multiple shows on script approval and rewrites. As usual, however, the performances of the actors, along with some pretty good reuse of movie war footage, sells this episode and gives it an 8 stars for me.

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