Sunday, February 20, 2005

Was Vic Morrow of the TV series Combat a Hero?

Was Vic Morrow of the TV series Combat a Hero?

I just finished watching the recently released first season of Vic Morrow’s TV series Combat on DVD. It shows the honor and goodness that our culture still had in the 60’s.

Morrow’s character the Sarge is to this day, for me, an image of what a hero should be. Tough and courageous, but compassionate.

Vic Morrow played the hero and on the set he was a hero. The assistant director of Combat Michael Caffey in the audio commentary for the Combat DVD had this to say about Morrow:

“He was very nice person. He never yelled at anyone...He was very quiet when he had something to say... He had a 104 temperature in one show. He was there. He should have been in the hospital. It’s a wonder it didn’t kill him. He was just tremendous. He reached down into a tank and pulled someone out in one show and got a double hernia. So they put the little belts on him and he went right on acting. He was an amazing man. He was very knowledgeable about film and what it could do. It was pleasure to have him...I can’t speak highly enough of him. ”

Tom Lowell, who played Billy in the series, said on an audio commentary for the DVD that “Vic” didn’t care about the “series being successful, he wanted it to be good.” Before it was ever shot “Vic and the director” would go over the script for hours to make sure it was “good.”

Yes, Vic Morrow on Combat was a hero. He showed us that being a hero always begins with being good in our day-in and day-out life.

And as Caffey said “He was very knowledgeable about film and what it could do,” so Morrow knew what he was doing in creating a heroic model as an actor and director in the series.

I know that I’ve said the following many times, but it needs to be repeated. What our American and global culture needs are heroes as models. Steve Ditko, the artist and co-creator of Spider-Man says, "Aristotle said that art is more important than history. History tells how man did act. Art shows how man should and could act. It creates a model.” "The self-flawed and anti-hero provide the heroic label without the need to act better. A crooked cop, a flawed cop, is not a valid model of a good law enforcer," Ditko said.

"An anti-cop corrupts the legal good, and an anti-hero corrupts the moral good."

According to one website, Morrow’s character the Sarge was a model for the soldier in the Vietnam:
“I have a cousin who did 13 months as a Marine grunt in Nam back in 68-69. He said that in the area he was in, the South Vietnamese Army Commanders showed reruns of Vic Morrow's early sixties series COMBAT! to their troops. They thought old Vic was a badder ass than John Wayne himself. They went nuts for the guy. Years later, I bought a book on armored units used in the Vietnam War... I found a photograph in it of an ARVN tank circa. 1968, with VIC MORROW scrawled across the turret in huge white letters.”

[http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:dgHp-wVmwAcJ:www.findadeath.com/Deceased/m/Vic%2520Morrow/vic_morrow.htm+Vic+Morrow+vietnam&hl=en&ie=UTF-8]

Some might say this is a bad example because a small number of soldiers in that war did dishonorable acts. But the vast majority of the soldiers in the Vietnam War who were honorable were so because of models in art and real life who were like the Sarge.

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