The Rat Patrol

Season 1 Episode 12

The Gun Runner Raid

0
Aired Monday 8:30 PM Nov 28, 1966 on ABC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

7.2
out of 10
Average
6 votes
  • The Gun Runner Raid

    7.5
    "What's an American convoy doing this far behind enemy lines?" Sgt. Troy mutters as the Rats are scouting a road from behind a tall dune. Troy and the Rats drive forward to investigate, without thinking that it's not really an American convoy--we know that the Germans used plenty of captured Allied vehicles through the entire campaign, and should certainly be suspicious. But the Rats drive right up to it, and it's no surprise that they are suddenly facing guns held by soldiers who are not American. The Rats are captured again, a fine way to start episode 12!



    A rather dapper fellow by the name of Ned Cunningham is quite aware of the Rats and even their names. The captured Rats are force to drive along with the convoy to an elegant compound, where Troy and Moffitt are given their favorite drinks (a salted beer for Troy and a Keebling for Moffitt--war is hell, sometimes!) Turns out that Cunningham is a gunrunner, and is very knowledgeable of the Rats because they have cost him over a half-million dollars in losses with their raids upon his convoys. (If we are to believe the dates that Cunningham spouts as he lists the lost convoys, we must also believe that the Rat Patrol arrived in the Western Desert well before "Operation Torch" and the other US troops; perhaps this is the only way to accept the series' premise at all--otherwise, all episodes are taking place in mid-February and early March of 1943, the only time Rommel historically faced GIs in the



    Turns out that Cunningham was a former pilot, and well-decorated for his bravery, but one too many times being shot down in combat turned him into a defector; the war won't last forever, and there's money to be made while it's going on. As Cunningham explains all of this to Troy and Moffitt, his floozy girlfriend, Fay, joins in for a drink herself. An offer is made for the Rat Patrol to join up and get a piece of the action. Moffitt encourages Troy to play along and get a better look at the operation. Cunningham describes his latest shipment: 200 bazookas, 12 105mm howitzers, and 100,000 rounds of ammo. The buyer will be none other than Hauptmann Dietrich himself--what a small world it is! (And this explains how Dietrich gets by after losing so much equipment: he's been replacing it with the Allied equipment bought from Cunningham! So, in a roundabout way, the Rats have been helping Cunningham get rich all



    Troy and Moffitt have heard enough, and try to make their escape by leaping off the balcony onto the arab guards while Cunningham is away for a moment. Hitch and Tully are freed from their guards and the Rats jump into their jeeps. But the jeeps won't start; Cunningham is a much smarter opponent than they are used to and he has removed the rotors from the jeep ignitions. Troy and Moffitt wind up back in the dining room, forced to endure the whiny Cunningham insulting the drunken Fay over a fine dinner while they await Dietrich's arrival. Things almost get out of hand when he tells about how he bought Fay, a former bargirl, from an arab and she throws her drink into his face. But, an arab arrives and defuses the tense moment by asking to buy a halftrack, and having no money, the arab trades his fine young daughter, Zubaida, for the halftrack. As Fay stews over this new event, the lights flicker (sandstorm outside), prompting Troy and Moffitt to leap into action. They shoot the guards with their own guns and almost make it out of the building when Cunningham appears with his own submachinegun (looking just like Al Pacino's Scarface!). But Fay has had enough of this monkey business and shoots Cunningham with a .45, taunting him as he dies (they had a very creepy relationship: he called her "mommy" and she called him "baby"!)



    The episode closes out with Troy handing over the captured convoy to US forces, along with Fay. She asks that Troy come visit her if she gets convicted for killing Cunningham (I'm not really sure what she could be convicted for in this situation), and Troy agrees, giving the somewhat dark episode a happy ending. It's never explained why Dietrich doesn't show up (the storm that kept him away earlier would have also kept the Rats from moving the convoy before he got there). It's never explained where Cunningham was getting all of the equipment and munitions either.



    An unusual episode, as there's just a small amount of fighting and only a few shots fired here and there. It'smore of a psychdrama than anything else. Steve Franken and Fay Spain both do a fine job, but their characters are both despicable. A very odd episode, but nevertheless enjoyable.
  • Interesting idea marred by poor casting.

    6.0
    The Gunrunner Raid could have been a classic episode of The Rat Patrol. That is, if such a show like The Rat Patrol could ever have a classic episode. The storyline is very interesting: an Allied flying ace gets tired of the war and becomes a black marketeer. This puts him into direct conflict with our heroes from the Rat Patrol who are interfering with his operations and costing him money.

    The storyline might sound a little far-fetched but at least it's a more original and interesting premise than your run of the mill shoot it out with the Germans episode of the series. So why in the hell did they cast Steve Franken as the gunrunner? That guy was as out of place on The Rat Patrol as a hen in a den of foxes. Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. as a gunrunning war profiteer? I think not.

    Franken's role of Ned Cunningham cries out to be played by someone like Bradford Dillman (the ideal choice) or Jack Kelly (a close second). Either Dillman or Kelly in the role would have made The Gunrunner Raid memorable. Just by showing up. Instead it's routine. And that's the way it is.
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