Tour of Duty (TV series)
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Tour of Duty is an American television series from 1987–1990, based on events in the Vietnam War, broadcast on CBS. The series ran for three seasons, from September 1987 to April 1990, for a total of 58 one-hour episodes. The show was created by Steve Duncan and L. Travis Clark and produced by Zev Braun.
|Tour of Duty|
Title card (Seasons 2–3)
|Music by||Joseph Conlan|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||58 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||47 minutes|
|Original release||September 24, 1987 –|
April 28, 1990
The show follows an American infantry platoon on a tour of duty during the Vietnam War. It was the first television series to regularly show Americans in combat in Vietnam and was one of several similarly themed series to be produced in the wake of the acclaimed Oliver Stone film Platoon. The series won an Emmy Award in 1988 for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series, and it was nominated again in 1989 and 1990.
Not simply an action program, Tour of Duty was also groundbreaking as it addressed the issues of politics, faith, teamwork, racism, suicide, fragging, terrorism, civilian deaths, sexuality, drug abuse, and the shattered lives and confused feelings of those troops who finally made it home alive. The story focused mainly on Bravo company's second platoon under the command of 2nd Lieutenant (1st Lieutenant from the start of season 2) Myron Goldman (Stephen Caffrey) and Staff Sergeant (later Sergeant First Class) Zeke Anderson (Terence Knox).
The first season was filmed on location in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks. For the second and third seasons, the series was filmed around Los Angeles, California in order to reduce costs. This also enabled the producers to re-dress a studio backlot as Saigon. The move also meant reusing the same locations, notably a small river with grass on one bank and woods on the other which turns up in a number of episodes. A lot of filming was undertaken on the old set of M*A*S*H. Helicopter scenes with 1st Lt. McKay were filmed on the ground with the rotors running.
The first season opens in 1967 and follows a standard light infantry platoon. In the second season, the troops found themselves relocated to a base near Saigon while conducting the typical "search and destroy" missions. Production staff interviewed in VIETNAM Magazine cited this change as a change in premise that doomed the series, as female characters were also introduced (in hopes of gaining more female viewership and because of the premiere of the ABC Vietnam Army Nurses drama China Beach, which was aimed at a more female audience), and the show ceased to be a realistic chronicle of life in the field for the average line infantryman in favor of being more romance- and action/adventure-oriented. In the third season, the remaining female character was killed off, and the platoon was transferred to a SOG (Studies and Observation Group) unit under the command of Colonel Brewster (played by Carl Weathers), conducting covert operations in Vietnam and in Cambodia, culminating in the fictional version of the raid on Son Tay Prison. The third season was the show's last.
In its third season, CBS moved the show to the Saturday 9:00 p.m. time slot. Being forced to compete with NBC's The Golden Girls and Empty Nest, the show's ratings dropped, and the show was canceled at the end of the season.
|Clayton Ezekiel "Zeke" Anderson||Terence Knox||Staff Sgt./Sgt. 1st Class||Main Cast|
|Myron Goldman||Stephen Caffrey||2nd Lt./1st Lt.||Main Cast|
|Daniel "Danny" Percell||Tony Becker||PFC./Cpl./SP4.||Main Cast|
|Alberto Ruiz||Ramón Franco||Pvt./PFC./SP4.||Main Cast|
|Marcus Taylor||Miguel A. Núñez Jr.||Pvt./PFC./SP4./Sgt.||Main Cast|
|Marvin Johnson||Stan Foster||SP4./Sgt.||Main Cast||Main Cast (11 episodes)|
|Scott Baker||Eric Bruskotter||Pvt./SP4.||Main Cast||Guest Star (1 episode)|
|Roger Horn||Joshua D. Maurer||Pvt./PFC./SP4.||Main Cast|
|Randy "Doc" Matsuda||Steve Akahoshi||SP4.||Main Cast (13 episodes)|
|Rusty Wallace||Kevin Conroy||Captain||Main Cast (11 episodes)|
|Nikki Raines||Pamela Gidley||2nd Lt.||Recurring Guest Star|
|Dalby||Bruce Gray||Lt. Col.||Recurring Guest Star|
|Johnny McKay||Dan Gauthier||1st Lt.||Main Cast|
|Alex Devlin||Kim Delaney||Reporter||Main Cast||Main Cast (2 episodes)|
|Dr. Jennifer Seymour||Betsy Brantley||Civilian Contracted Psychiatrist / then Major U.S. Army Medical Corps||Recurring Guest Star|
|Darling||Richard Brestoff||Major||Also Starring|
|Marion Hannegan/Putman||Charles Hyman||Master Sergeant (as Hannegan), SFC (as Putnam)||Recurring Guest Star|
|Francis "Doc Hock" Hockenbury||John Dye||PFC./SP4.||Main Cast|
|Carl Brewster||Carl Weathers||Colonel||Special Guest Star|
|Thomas "Pop" Scarlett||Lee Majors||Private||Special Guest Star|
|William Griner||Kyle Chandler||Pvt.||Recurring Guest Star|
|Duke Fontaine||Patrick Kilpatrick||CIA Agent||Recurring Guest Star|
|Joseph "Skip" Beller||Greg Germann||1st Lt.||Recurring Guest Star|
|Mike Duncan||Michael B. Christy||Major||Also Starring|
|Sister Bernardette||Maria Mayenzet||Nun (Civilian)||Also Starring|
|Stringer||Alan Scarfe||Colonel||Also Starring|
|Jack Elliot||Peter Vogt||General||Also Starring|
|Edward Higgins||Michael Fairman||Major General||Also Starring|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||21||September 24, 1987||April 30, 1988|
|2||16||January 3, 1989||May 16, 1989|
|3||21||September 23, 1989||April 28, 1990|
Emmy Award nominations:
- 1989: Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (for "I Wish it Could Rain")
- 1990: Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (for "And Make Death Proud to Take Us")
Eddie Award nominations
- 1988: Best Edited Episode from a Television Series (for the pilot episode)
In Australia, Network Ten originally aired the series at 7:30 pm. In recent years, repeats have returned to Australian television with the Seven Network repeating the series in 2006 in late Thursday night/Early Friday morning timeslots airing at 11.30 pm then later bumped to 12:00 am midnight. Repeats also returned with Channel Ten repeating the series in 2010 in late Sunday nights/Early Monday mornings airing at 1:30am. FOX Classics started airing the first series on the 17 September 2012.
In Dominican Republic, the show was aired with the title "Misión del Deber" in channel 11.
In Costa Rica, it was aired by channel 9 and then by channel 7 as "Misión Vietnam" (Mission Vietnam).
In Denmark, the show was broadcast in the 1990s as "Platoon B" on various local-TV networks, mainly on Kanal 2.
In France and the Canadian province of Québec, the French-speaking version was called "L'Enfer du devoir" (The Hell of duty) and aired on La Cinq in France, and on the Historia channel in Québec Monday through Thursday at 5 PM in July and August 2005.
In Israel, the show aired in the mid-2000s on the now-defunct local version of the AXN cable channel under the name "Sherut Kravi" (Combat Service). It was also previously broadcast on the METV channel.
In the Philippines, it was weekly aired in English on GMA 7 every Monday night at 9:00 pm. The American service members stationed in the Philippines routinely watched it on the local network because the episodes were newer than the ones on Armed Forces Radio and Television Service's Far East Network.
In Sri Lanka, the show has been aired at least twice, once in 1990s and once in 2007/8 by MTV.
In Sweden, the show was originally scheduled by the public service SVT network as "Pluton B i Vietnam" (Platoon B in Vietnam), but only the pilot episode was broadcast followed by a massive media outcry for the heavy violence in the show. In the late 1990s, the show was picked up by Kanal 5 under the same name.
In Taiwan (Republic of China), the show has been aired on China Television Company, Ltd. (CTV) as 霹靂神兵. The Ministry of National Defense (Republic of China) also purchased the series, renamed 天降神兵 and aired it on Chinese Television System (CTS) and CTS Education and Culture.
In Zimbabwe, the show was broadcast in the early 1990s, showing on the national television channel ZBC TV1 (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television 1) at nine o'clock pm on Thursdays and developed a cult following, becoming a hit television series throughout its screening.
The opening theme song was an abbreviated version of The Rolling Stones hit "Paint It, Black" that had featured in the end titles of the 1987 Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket; this was removed for the US DVD release. The closing consisted of an instrumental, synthesized tune with a distinctive Asian sound mixed in with acoustic guitar; it was performed by Joseph Conlan, and was never released for public consumption other than in the series. That music was used as background music for most of the series. On the US release DVD most of the Vietnam War era popular music was replaced by instrumental bits to cover the blank spots of music.
All three seasons that have been released in the United Kingdom, has the complete original soundtrack including "Paint It, Black".
The show was known for its classic American rock soundtrack including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix, and Jefferson Airplane. One first-season episode, "USO Down", used "live" versions of "Wooly Bully", and "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" as performed by a USO band, the latter song being used also for ironic comment. The songs in this episode were retained in the DVD soundtracks. But for copyright reasons, the VHS and DVD soundtracks of the majority of episodes were replaced with sound alikes (the music played but there were no voices)—a move which was widely protested by buyers, and resulted in a significantly lower sales volume for the third-season DVD set than for the first two.
In the Netherlands, amongst other European nations, a total number of seven albums were released, containing most of the songs featured on the show. As a result, "Paint It, Black" was re-released as a single, again hitting the number 1 position in the Dutch top 40 popchart in May 1990.
The original soundtrack albumsEdit
The Tour of Duty television series soundtrack was released by CBS on Columbia Records as four different compilation albums during 1988 and 1989. The original albums are now out of print. Their track listings are as follows:
|Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 1 (1988)
||Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 2 (1988)
|Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 3 (1989)
||Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 4 (1989)
Compilation soundtrack CDsEdit
In 1992, Sony Music released a compilation CD titled The Best of 'Tour of Duty'. It contains only twenty of the songs featured in the four original Tour of Duty Soundtrack albums.
|The Best of Tour of Duty (1992)
|Tour of Duty Top 100 (2008)
Sony released all 3 seasons in the USA for the very first time in 2004-2005. All original music was replaced with sound-alike versions. These releases have been discontinued and are out of print.
On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library including Tour of Duty. They subsequently re-released the first season on DVD on September 16, 2014.
On April 21, 2015, Mill Creek released a budget priced complete series set, an eleven-disc set featuring all 58 episodes of the series.
On November 7, 2011 Fabulous Films (licensed from Fremantle Home Entertainment) in the United Kingdom released the complete first season as a region 2 PAL boxed set. This release has improved sound and picture quality and the complete original soundtrack, including "Paint It, Black". The release consists of 5 DVDs covering all 21 episodes. The fifth disc contains extras including hundreds of behind the scenes stills and images and a brand new documentary that runs for 55 minutes. Fabulous Films filmed a series of interviews in Los Angeles in July 2011 with 7 of the key cast: Terence Knox, Josh Maurer, Steve Akahoshi, Tony Becker, Eric Bruskotter, Kevin Conroy and Miguel A Nunez Jr. and key members of the production crew that included Zev Braun (producer) Bill Norton (writer/director), Steve Smith (writer/producer), Steve Duncan (creator) and Paul Sinor (military advisor). Additional documentaries are being produced for the season 2 and 3 releases.
The complete second season was released on May 14, 2012 in the UK. Featuring a brand new making of documentary 'The Story of Tour Of Duty' Part 2 (30 mins) featuring Cast and Crew, Character Biographies, Original Cast Biographies, Original Crew Biographies, Action Stills, Behind The Scenes Stills, Publicity Stills, Synopses and Glossary of Tour of Duty Military Terms.
On November 26, 2012, Fabulous released the complete third season on DVD in the UK, along with the complete series set which was released simultaneously. The third instalment of the documentary features Dan Gauthier AKA Lt. Johnny McKay
- "TOUR OF DUTY – 10 Facts About the 1980s Vietnam War Drama". www.get.tv. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
- "Hawaii Film Office | Television Series and Specials Shot in Hawaii". filmoffice.hawaii.gov. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
- "Mill Creek Licenses 52 TV Shows from Sony for Low-Cost DVD Release". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Tour of Duty DVD news: Re-Release for Tour of Duty - Season 1". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Tour of Duty DVD news: Re-Release for Tour of Duty - The Complete Series". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Tour of Duty – The Complete Second Season". Amazon. Retrieved 2012-02-07.