Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Classic TV: The Rat Patrol (1966)

ABC filled their primetime schedule with diverse varieties of adventure in 1966. On one side, you had Batman (2nd season), now joined by William Dozier's straight-forward adaptation of The Green Hornet. Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (3rd season) was joined by The Time Tunnel.

And, then, there were the shows set in World War II. Blue Light was cancelled after 1 season (as were Hornet & Tunnel). Meanwhile, The Rat Patrol gave viewers a front-line view of the war, at least on one front. Patrol lasted just two seasons, but could've gone on longer had it not been for declining ratings and other factors in season 2.

Christopher George was the headline star, but only one cast member is still active today. Back then, he was known as Hans Gudegast, who played one of the German soldiers. Today, soap opera fans know him as Eric Braeden, who has been a mainstay on The Young & The Restless almost from the series' beginning. Like, whodathunk, right?

Anyway, here's the open, uploaded by Chuck Collins:

It's too bad no one has the courage to put this back on the air, to help educate today's audience.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

I'd heard of this show (Dad used to watch it back in the day) but I have never seen it.

I did learn that the majority of the characters in the Rat Patrol were American - which is historically wrong since they were British or Kiwi. I suppose it was meant to attract an American audience rather than using a British cast.

One thing I know is that the real life Rat Patrol was the ancestor to the "Desert Rats" who served alongside US troops in Iraq.

I agree that some TV series or miniseries highlighting historical events would be a boon - but TV execs would botch it anyway - too many PC attitudes floating around. I wouldn't be surprised if they made a new WW2 era Rat Patrol with troops all the color of the rainbow and made Americans the bad guys!!

We did get "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific", so there's that. I also heard they're working on another series to salute the pilots of The Mighty Eighth called, "Masters of the Air".

GASP! Cigarettes advertised on TV? Bloomberg would have a cow if it weren't so fattening!

hobbyfan said...

Back in the day, cigarette ads were fairly common up until the early 70's, when they were phased out.

Listening to the theme, I wonder if Mike Post didn't crib a piece of it to craft the theme to "The A-Team". Hmmmm.......