Friday, February 14, 2014

February 14, 2014

February 14, 2014

My Dad and I were invited by Dean Stockwell to the set for the TV show “Combat!, ” which at that time was a show about World War 2 troops in Europe that I was obsessed with.  My memory is that we went to the MGM lot in Culver City where they filmed the series.  I was nervous because I was going to meet not only Roddy McDowell, who was the guest co-star, and a friend of Dean’s, but also the star of the series, Vic Morrow.  As a kid I idolized Morrow, and to this day, I do not even know why?  I was very much attracted to the clothing that he wore in the series, for instance I liked how he wore his helmet, which was always tilted up, and there was something very tragic about his stance, or the character he played.  Nothing bad happens to him as the main character, but his eyes were always sad, even if the scene called out for some sort of joy.   The juxtaposition of a happy ending in an episode, is always telling another story through his sorrowful expression.  

Meeting Morrow was brief, just a shake of the hand and that was it.  It was mentioned that he co-wrote a screenplay based on Jean Genet’s “Haute Surveillance” (“Deathwatch”) starring his friend at the time, Leonard Nimoy.  Morrow directed the film as well.  I remember him looking at me, and asking Dean and my dad, if I would be interested in appearing in his film.   There was a flashback scene where the main character (played by Nimoy) as a little boy running around stealing fruit from a stand, probably somewhere in Rue Montorgeuil, which is the oldest outdoors food market in Paris.   My dad looked at me, and asked if I wanted to do the part.  I looked up at Morrow’s sad eyes and nodded “no.” He laughed, and put his hand on my head and messed up my hair a bit. That previous Christmas, as a gift from my parents, I got a “Combat!” toy gift box, which consists of Dr. Saunders’ dog tags, as well as a toy machine gun, and a plastic canteen.   I wanted to tell Vic that fact, but I was too shy to bring it up with him.

As we walked around the MGM Culver City lot, we ran into the actor Edward Platt, who at that time was in “Get Smart.” It was weird meeting him, because in the show he plays Maxwell Smart’s boss, who was hysterical to me.  But meeting him I was shocked how serious he was, and he was perfectly polite, but the difference between who he plays on the TV screen and in real life was a huge leap from fantasy to reality.  Morrow on the other hand didn’t disappoint me, he was really Sgt. Saunders in “Combat!”  

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