Tuesday, March 10, 2009

the savage season

One of my favorite television shows as a kid was Twelve O'clock High (1964-67). This series was based on the movie of the same name (great movie by the way). Robert Lansing portrayed the roll of Brigadier General Frank Savage for the first season of the series. Studio executives decided to take on a younger looking actor to appeal to a younger audience, so they killed off Savage after the first season. They replaced Lansing with an Paul Burke who in real life was two years older than Lansing. Burke did a good job as Colonel Joe Gallagher, but as a kid I missed Savage.

Twelve O'clock High's first two season was shot in black and white so that WWII footage could be used. When the show went into living color, the old war footage was colorized and just wasn't passable. One scene that I remember is when a B-17 had to be put into a dive to put out a fire in an engine. The frames were tilted of a B-17 footage in flight to look as if the plane was diving. The funny thing is that the clouds were tilted too.

There were some good stories from the Burke seasons but nothing surpassed what I call the Savage season. The studio had it right that first season and then started messing with a good thing.

I had not seen this show in decades until Gina and I moved up to Bowling Green, KY in 1990. There was a Nashville station airing reruns late at night. I had every intention of putting the timer on to tape the shows but I couldn't resist staying up and watching them. I have a good many of these shows on VCR. For all the flaws and many weak story-lines - the show is still entertaining after all these years.

I have the complete five seasons of COMBAT! on DVD and waiting for Twelve O'clock High to eventually make it's way to disc.
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