Tour of Duty (TV series)
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|Tour of Duty|
|Format||Vietnam War, drama|
|Created by||Steve Duncan
Miguel A. Núñez Jr.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||58 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original run||September 24, 1987 – April 28, 1990|
Tour of Duty is an American drama television series on CBS. It ran for three seasons from September 1987 to April 1990 as 58 one-hour episodes. The show was created by Steve Duncan and L. Travis Clark, and produced by Zev Braun.
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, drug abuse, and the shattered lives and confused feelings of those troops who finally made it home alive. The story focuses 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 redress 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 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.
- Terence Knox as SSgt Clayton Ezekiel "Zeke" Anderson
- Stephen Caffrey as Lt. Myron Goldman
- Tony Becker as Daniel "Danny" Percell
- Ramón Franco as Alberto Ruiz
- Miguel A. Núñez Jr. as Marcus Taylor
- Kim Delaney as Alex Devlin (1989–1990)
- Steve Akahoshi as Randy "Doc" Matsuda (1987–1988)
- Betsy Brantley as Dr. Jennifer Seymour (1989)
- Richard Brestoff as Darling (1989)
- Eric Bruskotter as Scott Baker (1987–1988)
- Kyle Chandler as William Griner (1990)
- Michael B. Christy as Duncan (1989–1990)
- Kevin Conroy as Rusty Wallace (1987–1988)
- John Dye as Francis "Doc Hoc" Hockenbury (1989–1990)
- Stan Foster as Marvin Johnson
- Dan Gauthier as John McKay (1989–1990)
- Patrick Kilpatrick as CIA Agent Duke Fontaine (1989–1990)
- Lee Majors as Thomas "Pop" Scarlett (1990)
- Joshua D. Maurer as Roger Horn (1987–1988)
- Maria Mayenzet as Sister Bernardette (1989–1990)
- Alan Scarfe as Stringer (1990)
- Peter Vogt as Elliot (1989–1990)
- Carl Weathers as Brewster (1989–1990)
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.
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 night Thursday timeslots airing at 11.30 pm then later bumped to 12:00 midnight. FOX Classics started airing the first series on the 17 September 2012.
In the Netherlands it was broadcast by Veronica on the national television network.
In the United Kingdom Tour of Duty was screened on ITV on Friday nights at various times, usually around midnight. It was later broadcast on the FX channel.
The French-speaking version was called "L'Enfer du Devoir" (The Hell of duty), and aired in France and the Province of Québec (aired on the Historia channel in Québec Monday through Thursday at 5pm, in July and August 2005).
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 Costa Rica it was aired by channel 9 and then by channel 7 as "Misión Vietnam" (Mission Vietnam).
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 Japan the show with the title "Good Luck Saigon" was aired through the Wowow, a paid satellite broadcast around 1991. By this reason the show is least known by Japanese public.
In Zimbabwe the show was broadcast in the early nineties, 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.
In Denmark the show was broadcast in the 1990s as "Platoon B" on various local-TV networks, mainly on "Kanal 2".
In Brazil the show was aired with the title "Combate no Vietnã" ("Combat in Vietnam").
In Colombia and Chile the show was aired with the title "Misión del Deber" ("Duty Mission"), based in the Mexican dub of the series.
In Poland the show was never aired, but there was a VHS release with the title "Rok w Piekle" ("Year in Hell").
In Sri Lanka the show has been aired at least twice, once in 1990s and once in 2007/8 by MTV.
In the United Arab Emirates it was aired on Dubai's channel 33.
In Korea (Republic of Korea) the show was aired with the title "머나먼 정글" ("Faraway Jungle") by MBC from 1990. It had been aired on Monday 11:00 PM at first. But it became popular program, so it does on Sunday 6:00 PM, later.
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 Saudi Arabia, it is currently (as of July 2013) being shown with the original title and in English with Arabic subtitles. It is broadcast on the "MBC Action" channel.
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, if generic, 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 3 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—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 albums
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 CDs
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. On July 24, 2014, it was announced that they will re-release the first season on DVD on September 16, 2014.
On November 7, 2011 Fabulous Films (licenced 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.
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