Two Episodes of 'Combat!' Cost Half a Million Dollars

By: H&I Staff     Posted: February 19, 2021, 3:47PM   

Famed war series Combat! told the story of an American infantry unit fighting their way across Europe during WWII with engaging cinematic production. The series had two leading stars with Rick Jason as Second Lieutenant Gil Hanley and Vic Morrow as Sgt. Chip Saunders who would often alternate as primary leads.

The average episode for Combat! cost around $150,000 per episode, over a million dollars in today’s money. While the series already stood out among the rest in it's production price tag, two episodes in particular cost the studio over half a million dollars by the time that they were done, "Hills are for Heroes" part 1 and 2. 

This two part story was filmed for season 4 of Combat! and is regarded as the series finest hour by fans on top of being the most expensive to make. Directed by the leading man himself, Vic Morrow, the infantry unit found itself battling over a hill for strategic valule against 2 German bunkers. 

The majority of Combat! episodes were filmed at MGM studios in Southern California. However because they needed a hill for the setting the production had to be moved to Albertson Ranch. Additionally for the set they had to develop completely from scratch 2 new bunkers for the Germans and 1 for the Americans. 

Filming for both part 1 and 2 of “Hills are for Heroes” was scheduled to last 12 days but instead took 21. ABC would often send Morrow letters about going over schedule during production, which he would use to light his cigarettes. By the time filming was finished both episodes cost over half a million dollars, which would cost over $4 million today.

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