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(Casey Interview)

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(Casey Interview)

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(Casey Interview)

Hitch
(Casey Interview)

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(Casey Interview)

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Larry Casey 
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An 'Interview' with Larry Casey of The Rat Patrol

The Show

 

If you have watched any episodes recently, how do you feel in general about them now?  Impressed? Disappointed? Pleased?  Are you surprised that after all these years there are still many of us who fondly remember the show? 

LC: I'm amazed that anyone remembers the show.  I haven't watched the show since it came out and began its re-runs.  I some times watch five or ten minutes of it now and then, if I see it on cable.  It's difficult to watch.  I've never been able to watch any of the television shows or films that I made.  It's difficult for me watching and knowing that you could have made different and better choices as an actor.  So for me, it's always been a bit painful.

 

Do you have a favorite story about anything related to Rat Patrol - people, places, things, work?  Humorous, touching, memorable, awesome? 

LC: I'll, have to think about that.

Do you have a favorite episode or one that you remember particularly well? Which episode? Why is it memorable for you?  Do you have any favorite ‘Hitch' moments?

LC: Working with John Peyser who really took over for Tom Gries and gave the Rat Patrol the feel and look that  made the show a success.  John and Dick Landau, Fred Lemoine, the cast, all made it a special time.  Of all of the shows, I enjoyed the Pilot and the three-parter where I  worked with Claudine Longet.  In the States we did a couple of shows up in Big Sur at the Big Sur light-house that I remember fondly.

If you remember the episodes, do you have a least favorite episode? Which one? Why?

LC: No, it's difficult to remember, all of the shows they begin to run together in my mind.

Do you have recollection of any scene that gave you more difficulty than any other one?  Props that didn't work or lines that didn't come?  Was there an episode that was fraught with difficulties or problems?  If so, which one comes to mind?

LC: The weapons often mis-fired and that always caused frustration.  Driving the jeeps when the 50 calibre machine guns were being fired, the hot shells would spray all over you, down your shirt.  It was mostly uncomfortable.  There was a show that I had to go down a well and save a child, that was physically difficult and I got beat-up a bit.

Are there lines from the series that come to mind instantly even after thirty-five years?  Either your lines or lines of others?  Who came up with the line, ‘who was there'?  Do you have any comment on why was it used and reused? Did you grow tired of it?

LC: I did get tired of it after awhile.  Gary had a line where we were waiting to attack a German convoy and he said in the scene, as he looked at his watch,  that it was his birthday.  It was a small moment that brought a bit of humanity to the characters.

['Interviewer' comment:  The Interviewer does not recall seeing that scene in any of the episodes but wonders, given Moffitt's cryptic comment of 'timely', if it may have been cut out of the beginning of 'Hickory Dickory Dock Raid'.  If anyone knows for sure from which episode the above clip came please email suncompass@fandom.tv]

What was the process by which the actors prepared for shooting?  What were the steps you went through from the time when you were handed your new script to the final shoot?

LC: Usually the day of the final shooting, we would receive the new script for the next show.  Being mostly action, there were few lines and little to memorize.  So we didn't have time to make changes or suggest improvements.

Was it difficult to adjust to the fact that the directors changed fairly frequently, particularly after the return to the US?

LC: By the time we returned to the States, we all knew what we were going to do with our characters.  The directors for the most part did not want to vary from what was already established.  They were more interested in getting the show made on time and on budget.  Don't forget, they had only three and half days to shoot the show and if they went over, they would probably not be asked back by the producers.

Do you have any thoughts as to why the series was cancelled after just two seasons?  How did you feel about that?

LC: There were a number of reasons that it was taken off the air.  The demographics showed that the audience was mostly under 18 years old and we had a beer and cigarette sponsor.  Also, the show was not improving after Spain.  Tom Gries was approached by ABC after the show was off the schedule and asked if he would be interested in expanding the show to an hour and producing it.  Nothing happened.  Also, it was the middle of the Viet Nam war and I don't think anyone wanted to see a fictionalized war when the real thing was going on.

If ABC, in its infinite wisdom, hadn't cancelled the show do you think everyone would have been interested in doing another season?

LC: Yes, although we had no choice.  We all were under contract for seven years.  I would have loved at least another year.

If Rat Patrol were filmed today how do you think it might be different? Longer format? More serious? Grittier? Who might you imagine playing Hitch and the others?

LC: There are so many young talented actors that could do the show.  Now, with the kind of special effects available it would be interesting.  I would like to see it with less gun-fire and more time developing the solutions of how the raids were going to be done successfully.

What might you envision Hitch and the others doing after the war? 

LC: Hitch?  I don't know.  Chris was probably a career soldier.  Tarr going back to the farm and Gary becoming a diplomat.  How do you like that for guessing.

Why the switch in jeep drivers' positions after the pilot?  Hitch, who had been driver for Moffitt in the pilot, was moved to drive for Troy from then on while Tully went with Moffitt. Any reason that you know of for that switch?

LC: I have no idea.  I just went where they pointed me.

One of the fans recalls reading in two separate major newspaper TV listings about a first season episode where Hitch was kidnapped by white slave traders and the Patrol was sent to rescue him. No one has ever seen any episode like that one described and we wonder if it really existed.  Do you have any recall of such an episode being filmed?  And if so, any thoughts on why it wasn't aired? (And if you do happen to recall it, would you describe as much of the storyline as you recall?)

LC: It was never shot and I'm afraid it was the figment of some press agent.

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Hitch

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Larry Casey

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