Monday, August 29, 2016


If we traveled back in time to 1964 and you asked the 12-year-old me what my favorite TV show was the answer would be, without hesitation, Combat!. And yes, the exclamation point always follows the name of the show. 

I had no idea that there were Combat! cards produced back during the show's run. I used to find all kinds of non-sports cards for sale at my uncle's pharmacy but I don't think I ever saw these. But a few weeks back I found these at my local hotel show in a bargain bin. 

Combat! ran for five seasons on ABC and it was a must watch in my house and among my friends. My buddies and I would argue about which of the two main characters, Lt. Hanley (played by Rick Jason) or Sgt. Saunders (Vic Morrow) was 'cooler'. My choice was Morrow who is featured in both of the cards above.

Combat! was the story of one platoon as they moved across France after D-Day. A couple of years ago I found a DVD copy of several Season One episodes at a used book store and picked it up. Unlike the original Star Trek shows I've been checking out via my new TV set-up the Combat! episodes hold up well.

This next card shows Rick Jason in his role as the Lieutenant. He was usually the calm 'voice of reason' who frequently clashed with the volatile Morrow.

The list of guest stars who appeared through the five year run is impressive and includes Ted Knight and Frank Gorshin made appearances. Other notable guest stars included Lee Marvin, Robert Duvall, James Coburn, Bill Bixby, Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson, James Caan, Leonard Nimoy, Roddy McDowell, Mickey Rooney, and Jack Lord.

The set was produced by Donruss but their name wasn't on the cards. With really good eyes you can see their name on this wrapper (image found on the 'net):

When 'read' in numerical order the set told a story of one campaign by the platoon. The narrative on the backs more or less correspond to the photos on the front. Here is the front and back of #51.

#55 and #56 are an example of the way the cards are sequenced.

The 132 card set was issued in two series of 66 cards in 1963 and 1964. And finally here is an interesting fact from the set's blurb on Dean's Cards:
One problem faced in production of the 1964 Donruss Combat cards was that Donruss only had a license to use images of the regular cast members. Thus if an “extra” was in the photo, his face had to be removed from the card and drawn on by hand. Therefore, many of the cards have a cartoonish look to them.
I don't plan to chase any more of these, I have enough projects going on as it is. But they were a fun and nostalgic find and grabbing these 10 or so for a couple of dollars was kind of cool.

EDIT: I just found this page with some more details about the set.

Another EDIT: I found this picture online on MeTV's page. There is plenty of Cobat! trivia and info on that page as well. Access it here.

Of course that's Braves' star lefty Warren Spahn with Combat lead actors Rick Jason and Vic Morrow.


  1. Combat! is a show that needs to get on Netflix or Prime. I have seen a few episodes, but need to binge watch the thing.


    HMMMMMMM. Going to have to bookmark that and see if all the seasons work. Or I could search YT.

  3. I purchased all five seasons on ebay.

  4. Just a little before my time. I'll have to search for some episodes. Cool cards

  5. Bob! Combat! That was my favorite show in elementary school, and yes I did collect the cards. (In fact, I was just looking at one yesterday and considered scanning it and posting to my 60s Pop Culture blog.)

    You said you and your buddies argued who was the cooler of the 2 stars. Me and my buddies argued over which of us was going to be "Sgt Saunders" during our backyard army games.

    One odd thing I remember about these cards is that on the backs, the 2 stars are always referred to as "Sgt Morrow" and "Lt Jason", (except for the two cards where they appear in street clothes, oddly enough).

  6. Wow, never heard of this show before and it ran 5 years.

  7. "Unlike the original Star Trek shows I've been checking out... the Combat! episodes hold up well."

    Star Trek not holding up well? Them's fightin' words!!

    ...Unless you're talking about the tne with the "Space hippies"... or the one where Spock's brain was stolen... or the ones with the children taking control of the ship...

    OK, fine... maybe them's not fightin' words.

    I've got to say, I'm intrigued at the prospect of going into battle with Ted Baxter and The Riddler.

  8. "...Unless you're talking about the tne with the "Space hippies"... or the one where Spock's brain was stolen... or the ones with the children taking control of the ship...

    Yup, and the one where Spock is playing the lute or whatever you call that thing. Hey, I am loving those early ST shows but they have some cringe-worthy moments. Like Shatner in the red tights teaching the weird kid his self-defense moves.