Film, History Class, Life, Uncategorized, World War 2, Writer's Life

World War II on the Small Screen

Combat!

My husband has a knack for finding interesting viewing. When the first season of Combat! showed up amongst my gifts last year, I didn’t know quite what to expect having neither heard of nor watched the show before.

Now that we have completed watching the first season, with the second and third seasons waiting in the wings, I can say that I’m glad he decided to give it a try!

First aired in 1962, Combat! focuses on the European Theater of the Second World War. Lasting for five seasons, it’s the longest running WWII television drama to date. In spite of its longevity, the reruns never made it on to the major television networks that my husband and I grew up watching. (He first found out about the show from Youtuber talking about creating a set of action figures of the show’s characters on Maurader Inc.—incidentally the same site my husband used to make action figures of my novels’ main characters.)

Season One opens with D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. We view the action through the eyes of the men of a squad of the Second Platoon of King Company, a fictional infantry outfit under the command of Lieutenant Hanley (played by Ric Jason.) The squad leader, Sergeant Saunders (Vic Morrow), is a veteran of North Africa and Italy. The members of the squad come from various walks of life with nary a professional soldier among them.

When I typed the name of the show into search engines to see what background I could find, words like “gritty realism” popped up almost every time. While it’s a show from the 60s and has no profanity and minimal gore, Combat! puts us into the boots of infantry men who are tired, dirty, and war weary. While it isn’t a bleak show and does highlight acts of bravery and camaraderie between the squad members, it also doesn’t attempt to sugarcoat the difficulties of wartime.

As to realism, according to the fan sites the cast included a number of veterans. Several episodes included actual war-time footage. German and French speaking characters speak their lines without translation, (unless “Caje,” the French-speaking member of the squad happens to be around) which is a nice touch.

What really hooked me, however, were the stories. Each episode is more like a one hour movie than a TV series. The struggles the characters face and the moral questions that challenge them make for compelling narratives.

Overall I found Combat! a satisfying show that I am looking forward to completing.

What about you? Have any of you seen Combat! ? What were your thoughts?

Band of Brothers News

On a somewhat related note, my husband ALSO gave me the series Band of Brothers this Christmas. This moving and acclaimed show is 20 years old this year, and it is going to be recognized with some special events at the National WW II Museum in New Oreleans this August. Here’s the informational link.

And On a Personal Note…

Readers, it has been a crazy month.

Sure, sure. Those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while might be thinking, “Anne, it seems like it’s always a crazy month.”

This is true. But even so, January 2022 ranked right up there with the craziest of them. I mentioned in a recent post that we’d gotten through 2021 without any major shut downs at my school. Not that I believe in jinxes, but guess what happened right around the time that post went live?

It started with school closures due to icy roads, progressed to classrooms with half of the kids out from illness, moved on to shutting down for an online week, and closed with a mad scramble to try to get report cards put together while some teachers were out sick and school and church had staffing changes.

On top of that, I received an unexpected phone call three weeks ago, with the opportunity to serve a church in Wisconsin as a first grade teacher and to take the lead with school Music. My husband and I have been deliberating where best to serve—here in Washington at our current congregation, or there. There are so many exciting possibilities with this potential move, but the prospect of uprooting our family of five from my home of 16 years (which we also love) and moving it more than 2000 miles across country is…a lot to think about.

AND of course a change in location and a change of job might lead to other changes in this writing life.

For those of you folks who pray, I’d appreciate prayers for wisdom! 🙂 I’ll keep you posted on where this all goes.

Until next time,

Anne

28 thoughts on “World War II on the Small Screen”

  1. Yes, I remember watching the Combat! series as a kid. (Another series about the same time was Rat Patrol, with a setting in the North African theater.) I recently found Combat! on a local TV channel–when it will come in–and when I’m not too sleepy to stay up for it! Will certainly be praying that you’ll have wisdom and discernment as you make your decision about the move. (One of my daughters moved from Eau Claire, WI, a few years ago.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I saw ads for Rat Patrol when I was looking up info for this. Do you recall whether you liked it?
      Thank you, Dennis. I know Eau Claire a little. All of the inlaws live in WI, so it’s not a complete unknown, but still…lots to think about!

      Like

  2. I’m glad you’re discovering Combat! I remember watching the series, yes, hooked on it while growing up. Vic Morrow was my fave character. Come to think of it, it’s strange that there was no censorship in my home during my childhood, so my interest of WWII history started early. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Try the Twelve O’Clock High series, based on the movie of the same name. Being a Washingtonian, I’d say stay as we need all the good citizens we can keep or get! But go where the Lord leads you, and prayers in support whatever you ultimately choose.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I watched Combat faithfully. As a youngster in the early ’60s, WWII seemed like ancient history. In addition to other series mentioned, another WWII TV series was The Gallant Men. It was about an infantry unit in the Italian campaign. It had some personal meaning as my stepdad was nearly killed by a German Bouncing Betty landmine in Italy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not familiar like The Gallant Men, but it sounds like something I’ll need to check out- thanks so much for mentioning it!
      Wow, what a piece of family history- I’m glad that he made it back home!

      Like

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