12 O'Clock High (1964–1967)
8.8/10
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Two black U.S. soldiers guarding enemy POWs on an island help Gallagher and his wounded after they bail out, but the good medic in charge, may be hiding a secret.

Director:

Robert Douglas

Writers:

William D. Gordon, Beirne Lay Jr. (characters based on the novel) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
Paul Burke ... Col. Joe Gallagher
Frank Overton ... Maj. Harvey Stovall
Chris Robinson ... Sgt. Sandy Komansky
Ossie Davis ... Major Glenn Luke
Joe Maross ... Brig. Gen. Ken Chandler
Jon Voight ... Capt. Karl Holtke
Don Marshall ... Sgt. Earl Conklin
Paul Lukather ... Staff Sgt. Pargon
William Arvin William Arvin ... Shadrack Ellis
Horst Ebersberg ... Bruno Zemler
Dallas Mitchell Dallas Mitchell ... Major Cook
Lloyd Haynes ... Chase Mayhew
Geoffrey Deuel ... American Pilot
Chris Anders Chris Anders ... German Pilot
Garrison True Garrison True ... Technical Sergeant Banning
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Storyline

Gallagher and Komansky, along with critically wounded passenger General Chandler, bail out over a recently liberated Italian island with a small airfield manned by just two African-American soldiers and a handful of German POWs. Komansky is suspicious of Major Luke, the commander of the base, with good reason. Luke turns out to be an AWOL private who doesn't mind serving as long as he doesn't have to shoot anybody. The situation becomes dangerous when a German pilot parachutes onto the island, takes Gen. Chandler prisoner, frees the POWs and radios for help from the Luftwaffe. PS: The Tuskegee Airmen make an appearance. Written by alexk-6

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Genres:

Drama | War

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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 December 1966 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Best Show of the Final Season
5 February 2012 | by sammysdad97See all my reviews

Some shows were simply better in black and white. This is certainly true of 12 O'Clock High which when it transitioned to color in the 3rd season seemed to lose the seemingly more authentic WWII look that is B&W. Too, the scripts deteriorated markedly as there are only so many stories you can tell about planes taking off, making bombing runs, and being shot at and with 59 episodes through season 2 it is understandable that the writers had to look far afield for material for the last 17 shows which would comprise the half season 3 before the show was mercifully shot down in the first week of January of 1967. Maybe the switch to color made the reality of the bombing, etc. more real and less "entertaining". "Combat", another WWII B&W staple of the early and mid '60's would surrender its timeslot just two months later (March 14 1967) and the boomlet of WWII drama series was at an end. "The Rat Patrol" (more of a WWII dramedy) and "Hogan's Heroes" (almost straight comedy) would survive a little longer. TRP was RIP in March '68 while Hogan would last until the spring of '71 - almost long enough to hand off the war comedy franchise to the Korean War with M*A*S*H.

Vietnam was beginning to have its effect as well at this time but I truly think the transition to color and the lack of new stories to tell was what killed the WWII drama which simply doesn't look right in color - something that is also true for WWI. Not so true for earlier wars like our Civil War, for example. I think it was the pervasiveness of the B&W newsreels for both World Wars which sears them into our memories as being fought in black and white. Certainly WWII - the last "good war" - was the last Black and White war on multiple levels.

That said, this is a great episode - the best of 12 O'Clock High's final season. It features a very young John Voight as a German pilot and an equally young Ossie Davis as an American soldier with an interesting back story. No spoilers here! Watch it if you liked this series or want to see one of its best episodes.


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