|This article does not cite any references (sources). (October 2008)|
Mail Call Season 2 DVD cover
|Starring||R. Lee Ermey|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Robert Kirk & Rob Lihani|
|Running time||30 to 60 minutes|
|Original release||August 4, 2002 – 2009|
Mail Call is a television program that appeared on the History Channel. It was hosted by R. Lee Ermey, a retired United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant who had received the honorary rank of Gunnery Sergeant in May of 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. Ermey's demeanor as host was similar to the character of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman whom he had acted out in the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket, though he only showed this attitude towards his viewers, e.g., ordering viewers to return after a commercial break, 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.. Reruns continue to be aired on the Military History Channel.
Show name origin
The title of Mail Call for the series was drawn from the military practice of the same name where soldiers assemble to receive mail from a designated person, who then calls each soldier's name in turn to pick up their mail.
- Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey, a show with a similar premise which Ermey also hosted.