Twelve O'Clock High (TV series)

12 O'Clock High (also known as Twelve O'Clock High) is an American drama series set in World War II. This TV series was originally broadcast on ABC-TV for two-and-one-half TV seasons from September 18, 1964, through January 13, 1967; it was based on the motion picture Twelve O'Clock High (1949). The series was a co-production of 20th Century Fox Television (Fox had also produced the movie) and QM Productions (one of their few non-law enforcement series). This show is one of the two QM shows not to display a copyright notice at the beginning, but rather at the end (the other was A Man Called Sloane) and the only one not to display the standard "A QM Production" closing card on the closing credits.

Twelve O'Clock High
Paul Burke Twelve OClock High 1965
Paul Burke as Joe Gallagher, 1965
Also known as12 O'Clock High
GenreMilitary drama
Created bySy Bartlett
Beirne Lay, Jr.
StarringRobert Lansing
Frank Overton
Paul Burke
Chris Robinson
Barney Phillips
Theme music composerDominic Frontiere
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes78
Executive producer(s)Quinn Martin
Producer(s)Frank Glicksman
William D. Gordon
Running time51 mins.
Production company(s)20th Century-Fox Television
QM Productions
Distributor20th Century-Fox Television
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack-and-white (61 episodes)
Color (17 episodes)
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 18, 1964 –
January 13, 1967
Related showsTwelve O'Clock High


The series follows the missions of the fictitious 918th Bombardment Group (Heavy) of the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF), equipped with B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers, stationed at Archbury Field, England (a fictitious air base). For the first season, many of the characters from the book and 1949 movie were retained, including Brigadier General Frank Savage, Major Harvey Stovall, Major Cobb, Doc Kaiser, and General Pritchard, albeit played by different actors from in the motion picture. In addition to these characters, several other infrequently reappearing characters were introduced, including Captain (later Major) Joseph "Joe" Gallagher, who appeared in two episodes (episodes 1 and 24).

At the end of the first season, the studio executives decided a younger-looking lead actor was needed.[1] In the first episode of the second season, General Savage, played by Robert Lansing, was killed in action and replaced by Colonel Joe Gallagher, played by Paul Burke. (Burke, though considered more youthful-looking than Lansing, was actually two years older, a fact that TV critics were quick to point out.) The decision to replace Lansing with Burke proved unpopular and the ratings began to drop quickly.

The character Joe Gallagher's father was Lt. General Maxwell Gallagher, played by Barry Sullivan. Burke and Sullivan had previously worked together in the TV series Harbormaster. In an interview given by Lansing on The Mike Douglas Show in 1965,[2] Lansing mentioned that had he known what a boost to his career 12 O'Clock High was, he never would have fired himself. Savage was killed off in a way so as not to require Lansing's participation. According to TV Guide, ABC moved the show from a 10:00 pm Friday time slot to a 7:30 pm Monday time slot for the second season to capture a younger audience.[3] It was hoped that TV viewers would identify more with a colonel rather than an Army Air Corps general.[3] Lansing, had he remained, would have received limited air time with Burke's addition.[3]

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 Luftwaffe officers. Bruce Dern appeared four times as three different characters. Tom Skerritt appeared five times, each time in a different role.

Robert Lansing Don Penny Twelve O'Clock High 1965
Lansing (top) in 1965
John van Dreelen Robert Lansing Alf Kjellin Twelve O'Clock High 1965
Lansing in 1965

The first two seasons were filmed in black-and-white, as ABC did not mandate prime time shows to be in color until the 1966-1967 season, but it also allowed the inclusion of actual World War II combat footage supplied by the U.S. Air Force and the library of 20th Century Fox movies.[4] 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 TV series was filmed in color, but this season only ran for 17 episodes, with the series being canceled in midseason. Some of the combat footage used for the third season seemed to be in black-and-white footage tinted blue. Film footage from the 1940s was also used for take-offs and landings since the one B-17 to which the show had access could only taxi. To simulate different aircraft, it was frequently repainted.[1]

In later episodes, Gallagher flew as "mission control" in a North American P-51 Mustang. This plot scheme was added to cut production costs. The single-engine Mustang costs less to fly than the four-engined B-17, and requires only a single pilot rather than two pilots and several crewmen. A wartime precedent for this existed, however: Maj.-Gen. Earle E. Partridge, the G-3 (operations) commander of the 8th Air Force, used a P-51 modified for photo-reconnaissance work to take photographs of his bomber group formations for training and critiquing purposes.[5]

12 O'Clock High was created in an episodic format, with no particular order for the episodes. A trio of episodes produced about a shuttle air raid to North Africa was in fact never aired in story order (episode 44 "We're Not Coming Back", episode 37 "Big Brother", and episode 38 "The Hotshot"). The stories 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-17s.

Much of the filming was carried out on the Chino Airport, just east of Los Angeles County, California, in San Bernardino County. Chino had been a USAAF training field for World War II, and its combination of long, heavy-duty runways and (at the time) wide-open farmland for miles in all directions was rapidly turning the field into a haven for World War II aviation enthusiasts and their restored aircraft. Former Army Air Forces P-51 Mustangs, Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, Lockheed P-38 Lightnings, B-26 Invaders, and former U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps F4U Corsairs and F6F Hellcats could be found, along with a vintage B-17[6] and the P-51 Mustang used in 12 O'Clock High.

The B-17 belonged to Ed Maloney's Air Museum, B-17E, F, and G models of the Flying Fortress (the latter with the chin turret) were used interchangeably. The inclusion of actual combat and crash footage often resulted in the tail designations of the bombers changing between film shots.

The segments in 1966 had the former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot Lynn Garrison coordinating the aerial footage. Garrison had been drawn to the project by his friend, Robert Lansing. Garrison owned the P-51 used in the series.




Season 1 (1964–65)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"Golden Boy Had 9 Black Sheep"Don MedfordAl C. WardSeptember 18, 1964
22"Follow the Leader"William GrahamBeirne Lay, Jr.September 25, 1964
33"The Men and the Boys"William GrahamHarold Jack BloomOctober 2, 1964
44"The Sound of Distant Thunder"Don MedfordEdward J. LaskoOctober 16, 1964
55"The Climate of Doubt"Don MedfordHarold Jack BloomOctober 23, 1964
66"Pressure Point"William GrahamJohn T. DuganOctober 30, 1964
77"Decision"William GrahamTeleplay by: Clair Huffaker & Jack Turley
Story by: Clair Huffaker
November 6, 1964
88"The Hours Before Dawn"Don MedfordDonald S. SanfordNovember 13, 1964
99"Appointment At Liege"Don MedfordTeleplay by: Charles Larson
Story by: John McGreevey
November 20, 1964
1010"Interlude"William GrahamDean RiesnerNovember 27, 1964
1111"Here's to Courageous Cowards"Don MedfordAl C. WardDecember 4, 1964
1212"Soldiers Sometimes Kill"Sutton RoleyTeleplay by: Edmund H. North & Charles Larson
Story by: Edmund H. North
December 11, 1964
1313"The Suspected"Don MedfordTeleplay by: Jack Turley & Charles Larson
Story by: Ken Pettus
December 18, 1964
1414"An Act of War"William GrahamDonald S. SanfordDecember 25, 1964
1515"Those Who Are About to Die"Abner BibermanHarold Jack BloomJanuary 1, 1965
1616"In Search of My Enemy"Don MedfordTeleplay by: Stanford Whitmore
Story by: Jean Holloway
January 8, 1965
1717"The Albatross"William GrahamRichard LandauJanuary 15, 1965
1818"The Lorelei"Don MedfordAlbert AleyJanuary 22, 1965
1919"Faith, Hope and Sergeant Aronson"László BenedekCharles LarsonJanuary 29, 1965
2020"To Heinie, With Love"Ralph SenenskyTeleplay by: Jack Turley & Charles Larson
Story by: Ken Pettus
February 5, 1965
2121"The Clash"Josef LeytesTeleplay by: Jack Turley & Mike Adams
Story by: Mike Adams
February 12, 1965
2222"The Ticket"Josef LeytesAl C. WardFebruary 26, 1965
2323"The Trap"Ralph SenenskyRichard L. NewhaferMarch 5, 1965
2424"End of the Line"Sutton RoleyDean RiesnerMarch 12, 1965
2525"The Threat"Ralph SenenskyJack TurleyMarch 19, 1965
2626"Mutiny at Mutiny at Ten Thousand Feet"Sutton RoleyHarold Jack BloomMarch 26, 1965
2727"The Mission"William GrahamSamuel RoecaApril 2, 1965
2828"The Cry of Fallen Birds"Walter GraumanTeleplay by: Edward J. Lasko & Charles Larson
Story by: Edward J. Lasko
April 9, 1965
2929"V for Vendetta"William GrahamAl C. WardApril 16, 1965
3030"P.O.W. – Part 1"Don MedfordAl C. WardApril 23, 1965
3131"P.O.W. – Part 2"Don MedfordAl C. WardApril 30, 1965
3232"The Hero"Ralph SenenskyAlbert AleyMay 7, 1965

Season 2 (1965–66)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
331"The Loneliest Place in the World"Richard DonnerHarold Jack BloomSeptember 13, 1965
342"R/X For a Sick Bird"Richard DonnerWilliam C. Anderson & William D. Hamilton & Marc HuntleySeptember 20, 1965
353"Then Came the Mighty Hunter"László BenedekJack ParitzSeptember 27, 1965
364"The Idolator"László BenedekTeleplay by: Gerald Sanford & Marc Huntly
Story by: Gustave Field
October 4, 1965
375"Big Brother"Jerry HopperJack TurleyOctober 11, 1965
386"The Hotshot"Richard DonnerRobert LewinOctober 18, 1965
397"Show Me a Hero, I'll Show You a Bum"Richard DonnerRobert HamnerOctober 25, 1965
408"Runway in the Dark"Robert DouglasRobert LewinNovember 1, 1965
419"I Am the Enemy"Robert GistAnthony SpinnerNovember 8, 1965
4210"Grant Me No Favor"Robert DouglasAnthony SpinnerNovember 15, 1965
4311"Storm at Twilight"Robert GistTeleplay by: Anthony Spinner
Story by: James Doherty
November 22, 1965
4412"We're Not Coming Back"Jerry HopperPhilip Saltzman & Dan UllmanNovember 29, 1965
4513"The Jones Boys"Robert DouglasWilliam D. GordonDecember 6, 1965
4614"Between the Lines"Gerald MayerTeleplay by: Andy Lewis
Story by: Coles Trapnell
December 13, 1965
4715"Target 802"Robert DouglasTeleplay by: Sherman Yellen & Marc Huntly
Story by: Sherman Yellen
December 27, 1965
4816"Falling Star"László BenedekAndy LewisJanuary 3, 1966
4917"The Slaughter Pen"Robert DouglasDave and Andy LewisJanuary 10, 1966
5018"Underground"Robert DouglasTeleplay by: Robert Lewin
Story by: James Doherty & Coles Trapnell
January 17, 1966
5119"Which Way the Wind Blows"László BenedekJames M. MillerJanuary 24, 1966
5220"The Outsider"Don MedfordEllis MarcusJanuary 31, 1966
5321"Back to the Drawing Board"Gerald MayerDave and Andy LewisFebruary 7, 1966
5422"Twenty-Fifth Mission"Lawrence DobkinCarey WilberFebruary 14, 1966
5523"The Survivor"Alan Crosland, Jr.Philip SaltzmanFebruary 21, 1966
5624"Angel Babe"Robert DouglasPreston WoodFebruary 28, 1966
5725"Decoy"Gerald MayerLou ShawMarch 7, 1966
5826"The Hollow Man"Robert DouglasGustave Field & Marc HuntlyMarch 14, 1966
5927"Cross Hairs on Death"Alan Crosland, Jr.Robert LewinMarch 21, 1966
6028"Day of Reckoning"Alan Crosland, Jr.Halsted WellesMarch 28, 1966
6129"Siren Voices"Robert DouglasTeleplay by: Carey Wilber
Story by: Ed Kelso
April 4, 1966

Season 3 (1966–67)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
621"Gauntlet of Fire"Joseph PevneyJohn T. DuganSeptember 9, 1966
632"Massacre"Robert DouglasCarey WilberSeptember 16, 1966
643"Face of a Shadow"Richard BenedictDave and Andy LewisSeptember 23, 1966
654"Fortress Weisbaden"Joseph PevneyTeleplay by: Carey Wilber
Story by: Michael Lalor Brown
September 30, 1966
665"A Distant Cry"Robert DouglasJack CurtisOctober 7, 1966
676"Practice to Deceive"Robert DouglasWilliam D. GordonOctober 14, 1966
687"The All-American"Joseph PevneyJack HawnOctober 28, 1966
698"The Pariah"Josef LeytesRobert C. DennisNovember 4, 1966
709"The Fighter Pilot"Robert DouglasE.B. AndersonNovember 11, 1966
7110"To Seek and Destroy"Donald McDougallGlen A. LarsonNovember 18, 1966
7211"Burden of Guilt"László BenedekRobert Longsdorf, JrDecember 2, 1966
7312"The Ace"Robert DouglasOscar MillardDecember 9, 1966
7413"Six Feet Under"Murray GoldenJames DohertyDecember 16, 1966
7514"The Duel at Mont Sainte Marie"Josef LeytesR. Wright CampbellDecember 23, 1966
7615"Graveyard"Robert DouglasWilliam D. GordonDecember 30, 1966
7716"A Long Time Dead"Gene NelsonJames DohertyJanuary 6, 1967
7817"The Hunters and the Killers"Robert DouglasE.B. AndersonJanuary 13, 1967

Awards and honors

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")

Comic books

Dell Comics produced a comic book based on the series that ran two issues in 1965.[7] Both had photocovers and artwork by Joe Sinnott.


  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2014-05-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "YouTube". Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Jerry D. Lewis, TV Guide (May 15–21, 1965),The General Died At Dusk p. 24
  4. ^ Etter, Jonathan; Grauman, Walter (2003). Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder. McFarland. p. 48. ISBN 0-7864-1501-0.
  5. ^ Roger Freeman, year?, Mustang at War, p. ?
  6. ^ David Allen (June 9, 2009). "Chino home to retired 'actor'". Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "12 O'Clock High (1965)". Retrieved 2008-10-19.

External links

3205th Drone Group

The 3205th Drone Group is a discontinued United States Air Force unit that operated obsolete aircraft during the 1950s as radio-controlled aerial targets for various tests. It was the primary post-World War II operator of surplus Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress aircraft, and also operated Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star and a few Boeing RB-47 Stratojet bombers that were converted into drone aircraft during the early years of the Cold War. It was last active with the Air Proving Ground Center, based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, where it was discontinued on 1 February 1961.

A notable moment in the Group's history is that a Douglas DB-17P (Formerly B-17G-90-DL) 44-83684 of the unit's 3225th Drone Squadron flew the last operational mission by a USAF Flying Fortress on 6 August 1959.

V for Vendetta (disambiguation)

V for Vendetta can refer to:

V for Vendetta, ten-issue comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated mostly by David Lloyd.

List of V for Vendetta characters, list of characters within previous novel.

V for Vendetta (film), a 2005 thriller film directed by James McTeigue and written by The Wachowskis, based on the previous novel.

V for Vendetta: Music from the Motion Picture, the soundtrack from the above film.

Guy Fawkes mask or V for Vendetta mask, a stylised depiction of Guy Fawkes, the best-known member of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up the House of Lords in London in 1605.

V for Vendetta, a 1965 episode of Twelve O'Clock High (TV series).

Television series produced or created by Quinn Martin


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