Braddock, while on duty as Lt. Hanley's runner, is "appropriated" by a tough-talking, overbearing colonel as his jeep driver. Unfortunately the colonel decides to drive the jeep himself, and his reckless driving results in an accident in which both men are knocked unconscious. When Braddock awakens he is captured by a German patrol, but since he happens to be wearing the colonel's coat--which he put on to keep warm while the colonel was zooming around the countryside--the Germans think that he actually IS a colonel, and nothing Braddock can say or do will convince them otherwise. Written by
When Braddock, as Col. Clyde, demands that the Germans feed the American enlisted POWs, one of the German officers turns to a guard he addresses as "Gefreiter [Corporal] Hauser" and tells him to feed the men. This is an "in-joke"--Robert B. Hauser was one of the series' cinematographers and, in fact, shot this episode. See more »
"COMBAT :The Prisoner" Provided a sort of "Truce" in the Season's Video Hostilities.
IN OUR HOUSEHOLD, COMBAT was one series that was faithfully watched by all seven of us; that being, a Mommy & Daddy Ryan, two Girls and three Boys.The appeal of the series was broad and with good cause; for it is probability the finest TV Drama of the Allied Forces (though mainly American) in day to day battle in Western Europe following the D Day, June 6, 1944 Invasion. In a sense it corresponds to BATTLEGROUND, which must take the prize for a Film theatrically produced and released.
THE SERIOUS TONE of the series was always foremost in the production team; for, after all, it was depicting the everyday horrors of modern battle in what was a particularly realistic fashion for a Drama on Primetime Network Television. But even in war, be it real or in a dramatic recreation, there are moments of levity. In fact, if it weren't for the possession of a healthy funny bone, there would hardly a survivor of such an ordeal. As a further evidence in real life, we submit the popularity of G.I. Cartoonist Bill Mauldin's comic strip panels of UP FRONT featuring the 2 quintessential dog-faces, Willie & Joe.*
TODAY'S SPECIAL REVIEWEE, COMBAT: The Prisoner (Season 1, Episode 12, 1962), is a fine example of a bit of comic relief for the series. Its careful blending of standard military story' but peppered with 'chaeacters' to provide the laughs.
SAFEGUARDING THE INTEGRITY of the episode in its relationship to the entire series was a definite number 1 concern of the creative partnership. This feat was brilliantly accomplished by the use of characters which have all of the idiosyncrasies of real, flesh sand blood people; you know, those characters one inevitable meets on the journey through life.
IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH the successful transfer of the idea and concept of a weekly installment as a comic change of pace, the producers wisely went to the use of the very talented guest star to carry the load. In this case they cast comedian Shecky Greene as the Goldbrick of Army Goldbricks. His comic timing and sharp yet realistic delivery makes for convincingly true to life, natural laughs to the viewer.
AS A COUNTERBALANCE to Mr. Shecky Greene's conniving hustler Buck Private, the production company signed on as guest star one Keenan Wynn. Demonstrating his versatility and range as an actor, Mr. Wynn, son of Comedian Ed Wynn ("the Perfect Fool"), made us all laugh at his characterization of what would have to be the most strictly by-the-book and ego-maniacal Colonel in the U.S. Army. He even outdid George C. Scott's portrayal of the famous General in PATTON, which lied about 8 full years in the future when this episode premiered on ABC on December 25, 1962.
NOTE: UP FRONT with Willie and Joe was undoubtedly the most popular and best remembered Comic Strip from the pages of The Stars & Stripes; which was the special Armed Forces Newspaper during World War II. Mr. Bill Mauldin spared nothing in his depictions of the grubby, muddy and totally fatigued infantrymen, the guys we called G.I.
General Gerrge Patton didn't take to Mauldin's cartoon characterizations and ordered Bill to cease and desist such drawing and verbal wit. In a rare case of reversal, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in the European Theater of Operations overrode and countermanded Patton's directive; "Ike" being of the mind that the sort of humor that UP FRONT dealt with was very important to the morale of the troops. (For what it's worth, we concur!)
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