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Twelve O'Clock High or 12 O'Clock High is an Americanmarker drama series set in World War II. It aired on ABC for three seasons from September 18, 1964, to January 13, 1967, and was based on the 1949 motion picture of the same name.

Overview

The series follows the missions of the United States Army Air Force's 918th Bomb Group, equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses, stationed at [fictional] Archbury, Englandmarker. For the first season, many of the characters from the movie were retained, including Brigadier General Frank Savage, Major Harvey Stovall, Major Cobb, Doc Kaiser and General Pritchard, albeit played by different actors than in the movie. In addition to these characters, several other infrequently reappearing characters were introduced, including Captain (later Major) Joseph "Joe" Gallagher, who was in two episodes.

At the end of the first season, studio executives decided a younger looking lead actor was needed. In the first episode of the second season, General Savage (played by Robert Lansing) was killed in action and replaced by Joe Gallagher (Paul Burke), now a full colonel. In reality, Burke was two years older than Lansing. According to executive producer Quinn Martin, he decided to fire Lansing because he had become difficult to work with.

For the second season, most of the supporting cast from the first season was replaced, with the exception of Major Stovall, Doc Kaiser and an occasional appearance by General Pritchard. Other actors who did reappear after the first season played other characters. Edward Mulhare appeared twice, as different German officers. Bruce Dern appeared four times as three different characters. Tom Skerritt appeared five times, each time in a different role.

The first two seasons were filmed in black-and-white. This was done mostly to allow the inclusion of actual World War II combat footage supplied by the United States Air Force and the library of 20th Century Fox.The inclusion of combat footage was often obvious, as it was often quite degraded. Limited usable combat footage often resulted in the same shot being reused in multiple episodes. For the third season, the series was filmed in color, but only ran for 17 episodes, being cancelled in mid-season. Some of the combat footage used for the third season seemed to be black and white footage tinted blue.

In later episodes, Gallagher flew as a "pathfinder" in a P-51 Mustang. This plot element was added to cut production costs. The single-engine Mustang cost less to fly than the four-engine B-17, and required only a single pilot rather than two pilots and several extras needed for bomber scenes. There was wartime precedent for this, however. General Partridge, the G-3 of the 8th Air Force, used a P-51 modified for photoreconaissance work to take photographs of his bomber group formations for training and critiquing purposes. General Partridge's use of his Mustang in this role is discussed in Roger Freeman's P-51 Mustang at War.

As with most television programs, Twelve O'Clock High was created in episodic form. There is no particular order in which the episodes have to be watched. A trio of episodes produced about a shuttle raid to North Africa were in fact never aired in story order. The stories themselves were often based more on character drama than action, usually involving individuals who felt the need to redeem themselves in the eyes of others. Other story lines focused on actual war events, such as the development of bombing through cloud cover using radar and the complexities of operating a large fleet of (often malfunctioning) B-17 bombers.

Much of the filming was carried out on the Chino Airport, east of Los Angeles. Chino had been a WWII Air Corps training field, and the combination of long, heavy-duty runways and (at the time) wide open farmland for miles in any direction was rapidly turning the field into a haven for World War II aviation enthusiasts and their restored aircraft. P-51s, P-47s, P-38s, Corsairs, B-26s and F6Fs could be found roosting here, along with a vintage B-17 Flying Fortress, used in 12 O'Clock High. This belonged to Ed Maloney's Air Museum. The 1966 segments had ex-RCAF pilot Lynn Garrison coordinating the aerial footage. He had been drawn to the project by his friend Robert Lansing. Garrison had his personal P-51 that would be used in the series to cut costs.

B-17 E and G models (with chin turret) were used interchangeably. The inclusion of actual combat and crash footage often resulted in tail designations of aircraft changing between shots.

Cast

  • Robert Lansing as Brigadier General Frank Savage (season 1)
  • Frank Overton as Major Harvey Stovall
  • Paul Burke as Colonel Joe Gallagher (seasons 2 and 3, recurring season 1)
  • Chris Robinson as T/Sgt. Alexander "Sandy" Komansky (seasons 2 and 3)
  • John Larkin as General Wiley Crowe (season 1)
  • Barney Phillips as Major "Doc" Kaiser
  • Andrew Duggan as General Ed Britt (seasons 2 and 3)
  • Paul Newlan as General Pritchard
  • Lew Gallo as Major Joe Cobb (season 1)
  • Robert Dornan as Lieutenant/Captain Fowler (seasons 2 and 3)
Picadilly Lily as B-17 {http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_12553732}

Trivia

Twelve O'Clock High was aired in Brazil in the sixties under the title Inferno no Céu ("Hell in the Heavens").

Comic books

Dell Comics produced a comic book based on the series that ran two issues in 1965. Both had photocovers and artwork by Joe Sinnott.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1965 Golden Globe Award Nominated Best TV Show
-
Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment - Cinematographer William W. Spencer
1967 American Cinema Editors Won Best Edited Television Program Jodie Copelan (For episode "The All American")


References

External links




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