Tuesday, June 5, 2018

What Might've Been: 12 O'Clock High (1964)

Rare was the case where Quinn Martin's production company came up with something other than a crime drama. In 1964, Martin partnered with 20th Century Fox to adapt the studio's 1949 film, "12 O'Clock High", into a weekly series that, as far as ABC was concerned, was meant to be a complement to the network-produced Combat!.

However, 12 O'Clock High lasted 2 1/2 seasons, signing off for good in January 1967. Part of the problem appeared to be a revolving door with the ensemble cast. Robert Lansing (ex-87th Precinct) was cast in the lead role of General Savage in the 1st season, but left after that initial season. Lansing would return in The Man Who Never Was during the 1966-7 season, but that ended up a casualty as well.

Paul Burke (ex-Naked City) appeared in 2 episodes, including the opener, in the first season before being brought back as a regular in seasons 2 & 3. While most of us will remember Chris Robinson, another 2nd season addition, for his later work on the daytime soap, General Hospital, he was part of the ensemble, getting wide exposure for the first time.

Here's the opener, "Golden Boy Had Nine Black Sheep":

Rating: B.


Hal Horn said...

First season was a skin-of-the-teeth renewal I'd bet, outside the top 70 for the season (after half a season opposite GOMER PYLE, # 3 show on TV) and runner up in the new time slot behind JACK PAAR's final prime time season.

Contrary to the Wikipedia entry on the show, best ratings performance was in its second season with Paul Burke, ranking 53rd with a 30.4 share. Solid improvement when moved to leadoff spot on Mondays, but then got moved back to Fridays, and...

Third season was a disaster, ranking 88th out of 91 shows when cancelled at midseason. 10.5 rating was far behind LAREDO (14.4) and CBS' movie (21.8).

I agree, all the cast changes, while realistic for a war show, didn't help the show build an audience. Not as good as COMBAT by any means, but not bad.

hobbyfan said...

And it wasn't long before Combat! was also cancelled, as it ended in March '67.

12 O'Clock High, I thought, would've rated higher than it did, or were people tiring of being reminded of WWII by that point?