Saturday, May 21, 2016

Garrison's Gorillas

ABC replaced Combat! with another WWII action series called Garrison's Gorillas.  The pilot was originally shot as the last episode of Combat!.  Of course the Combat! cast were not told that they were being relieved of command during the production of the spin-off.  The pilot never aired as the last combat episode.  The parts with Rick Jason (Lt. Hanley) were edited out and the show was aired as Episode 1 called 'The Big Con'.

Somewhere along the way the network had decided they didn't want two wartime shows on the air simultaneously. I am pretty sure they knew what they were doing all along.  Garrison's Gorillas was going to be cheaper to produce because the network didn't have to pay the actors of the greatly successful Combat! the money they were demanding - at least that was the scuttlebutt.  Another reason for ABC to move away from the idea of having two WWII series is because of sentiments regarding the ongoing Vietnam War.

Garrison's Gorilla's was nothing like Combat!, it was meant to be a television version of the hit movie The Dirty Dozen.  The producers even secured Telly Savalas to portray the same type of demented character in the pilot that he did in The Dirty Dozen.  Not only did Garrison's Gorillas mimic The Dirty Dozen, but there was a Mission Impossible flavor to the show.  The show had a good cast, and well written, just not that original.  The sets were the same as Combat!, and the sounds were Combat!'s. To me, the show wasn't able to grow out of the shadow of it's predecessor.  Combat! would always be the better, the more original, the more authentic series. Garrison's Gorilla's ran only 26 episodes - almost a full season.  ABC replaced it with The Mod Squad.  As a kid, I didn't give the show much of a chance because it replaced Combat!  Tonight I watched the pilot of Garrison's Gorillas on YouTube.  I enjoyed the show, but it wasn't...well...you know.

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