Mail Call

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This article is about the History Channel TV series. For the World War II radio series, see Mail Call (radio program).
Mail Call
Mail Call.DVD.The best of season 2.jpg
Mail Call Season 2 DVD cover
Starring R. Lee Ermey
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Robert Kirk & Rob Lihani
Running time 30 to 60 minutes
Original channel History
Original release August 4, 2002 – 2009

Mail Call was a television program that appeared on the History Channel and hosted by R. Lee Ermey, a retired United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, (given the honorary rank of Gunnery Sergeant in May 2002). The show debuted on August 4, 2002 as part of the 'Fighting Fridays' lineup. Most episodes were 30 minutes, but from 2007 through the show's end in 2009 some episodes were 60 minutes.

During each episode, Ermey read and answered questions submitted by viewers regarding weapons and equipment used by all branches of the U.S. military now or in the past, as well as by other armed forces in history. Ermey often took his viewers on location to military training areas to film demonstrations and consult with experts. When not on location, Ermey broadcast from a set resembling a military outpost, including a tent, a Jeep, and various other pieces of military gear which changed throughout the series. At times, he would also have a bulldog - usually symbolic of Marines, especially drill instructors - on his show as well.

Comic relief was provided as Ermey inflicted DI-style verbal abuse on his viewers or tested the effects of various weapons on watermelons (the host's "sworn enemy") and paint cans, as well as occasional appearances of "Mini-Lee", an action figure styled in Ermey's likeness, often seen berating a luckless G.I. Joe figurine. His demeanor as host was similar to the character "Gunnery Sergeant Hartman" portrayed by Ermey in the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket, though this attitude was shown only towards his viewers (e.g., ordering viewers to return after a commercial break) and not the military special guests. Older viewers might compare him to Sergeant Vincent Carter, a character in the Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. television program.

The program had several DVD video releases, including selected episodes from seasons one through seven, as well as a blooper video called Mail Call: S.N.A.F.U..


Mail Call was produced by Digital Ranch in Sherman Oaks, CA, for A&E Networks. Key production staff include:

  • Rob Kirk - Executive Producer
  • Rob Lihani - Executive Producer
  • Bill Rogin - Executive Producer
  • Rob Beemer - Supervising Producer
  • Keith Guinto - Coordinating Producer
  • Harlan Glenn - Director / segment producer
  • Susan Michaels - Writer
  • Tony Long - Writer
  • David Aykens - Director/segment producer
  • David Cargill - Producer
  • David Connelly - Coordinating producer
  • Scott Corburn - Co-producer / Segment producer
  • Ann Hackett - Supervising producer
  • Mike Phillips - Co-producer
  • Mike Vincenti - Co-producer
  • Martha Sloan - Co-executive producer
  • Gary Harper- Armorer

Show name origin[edit]

Mail Call was drawn from the military practice of the same name where soldiers assembled to receive mail from a designated person, who would call each soldier's name in turn to pick up their mail.

Mail Call also was the name of a popular World War II-era radio program. It was created by the Armed Forces Radio Service and debuted August 11, 1942. It featured celebrities of the day and was meant as entertainment for American overseas forces featuring music, comedy and sketches. Command Performance, G.I. Journal, Jubilee and GI Jive are similar WWII era radio variety programs.

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