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Twelve O'Clock High

Season 1 Episode 2

Follow the Leader

Aired Friday 9:30 PM Sep 25, 1964 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
10 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Follow the Leader
Rated: TV G Savage wants the 918th to try a new technique, bombing on the leader.

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  • Fine introduction to the General and a great representative what to expect from the first season.

    This is another outstanding pilot episode for a great series. It does the entire first season justice.

    We see the guts it takes to be a General, as well as the concern he shows his men. Between this and the first broadcast episode, we get a clear picture of the concern Brigadier General Savage has for his men. He really is a great leader and it is a shame the writers / producers didn't allow him to continue through the three seasons or at least promote him to an off screen position. (As they did with Major General Wiley Crowe.)

    I found the episode enjoyable not just for the action, but for the drama involved in dealing with the emotions of those under the General's command. I found myself wishing I'd been older when I originally saw them in the 60s and had been able to appreciate the work place lessons they taught.

    While we have books on teaching management style using Star Trek today, this series can also teach leadership and management skills.

    I can only hope you'll have the opportunity to view this episode and series sometime.moreless
  • A routine missions leads to the bombing of a school of children.

    A rather interesting episode from a show most people will never see. Robert Lansing is great here as the rather cold blooded, and sometimes insane General commanding the air squadron of pilots.

    Here the General's miscalculations results in the death of one pilot, and the bombing of a school of children.

    An inquiry is made into what happened but everyone goes back to their duties.

    Since this show is promilitary we get no real insight about the victims. Except is business as usual.

    It's different from the pilot where there are no casualties.

    Lansing does his usual performance as this questionable General who often puts lives at risk for the sake of completing a mission.moreless
Bert Remsen

Bert Remsen

Sergeant Nero

Lew Gallo

Lew Gallo

Major Joseph Cobb (1964-65)

Barney Phillips

Barney Phillips

Major "Doc" Kaiser

Frank Overton

Frank Overton

Major Harvey Stovall

Hazel Court

Hazel Court


Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson

Technical Sergeant Alexander "Sandy" Komanski

Paul Carr

Paul Carr

Lieutenant Jesse Bishop

Guest Star

Andrew Prine

Andrew Prine

Lieutenant Robert Mellon

Guest Star

Jud Taylor

Jud Taylor

Lieutenant Harold Zimmerman

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Brigadier General Savage grew up on a farm and as kid would wave at the mail carrier when he flew back. A few times the pilot would wave back.

    • At the age of twenty General Savage was learning to fly airplanes.

    • When Lieutenant Robert Mellon asks Brig. General Savage why he pushed him so hard, Savage tells him of an incident from his past where his crew was killed and he was afraid it was his fault. Major General Wiley Crowe believed in him and forced him back into the air.

    • This is the first (and only) episode from which all the actors speak their parts through the oxygen mask and they wear goggles over their eyes.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • General Savage: (to Lieutenant Mellon) Look, I am faced with a true explanation of a lot of people getting killed. As far as I'm concerned, this is it!

  • NOTES (5)

    • This episode has the first (and only) exterior shot ever used of the Lily showing the pilot's cabin with actors in it. All other cockpit shots are interior views.

    • Actor Andrew Prine (Lieutenant Robert Mellon) returns as an unrelated character in the second season 13th episode "The Jones Boys," as Lieutenant Jaydee Jones.

    • The producers shot this episode as the series pilot, yet decided to show it as the second episode (instead of the first episode).

    • An interesting side note is that every character in this story was mentioned in the book and movie though in vastly different context. The writer of this episode is Beirne Lay, Jr., co-author of the book.

    • The bomb on the leader concept was not used this early (Mid 1942) but was used later and was very successful. In fact by the end of the war, the bombardier (a highly trained officer) had been replaced by a "Toggler", a Sergeant who would act as a gunner as well as drop the bombs when the lead aircraft did (hit the "toggle" switch").