Twelve O'Clock High

Season 1 Episode 11

Here's to Courageous Cowards

Aired Friday 9:30 PM Dec 04, 1964 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Here's to Courageous Cowards

TV Rating: TV-PG: This episode deals with two members of the 918 who for their own reasons are coming to grip with their role in combat. Corporal Russell Lawrence. a clerk in the 918 Group Office, is starting out and taking the rocky path (as General Savage calls it). Major Morse is trying to hang on to his combat leadership role, but is so worn out it could be costing the lives of the men under his command.

"Here's to Courageous Cowards" is a look at the hard decisions soldiers of all ranks must make in finding and deciding their personal place. It is also a look at the difficulties superior officers go through in helping the men under their command come to the right decision for the military and themselves.

Tune in (or watch on DVD) this episode to see how General Savage deals with these two men and helps them both make the right decision for their individual situation.


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  • An air force cadet wants out. Savage thinks he can push the young man into fighting with disastrous results.

    Name of episode is fitting. "Here's To Courages Cowards" is about one young man who doesn't want to fight in the military. This is strange given the fact that he stows away on a mission trying to be a gunner. When he has a chance to prove himself, he doesn't follow through.

    When Savage tries to push into fighting, it has disastrous results. The lack of fighting spirit results in one of his other cadets getting killed.

    Meanwhile, one of the Captains is breaking under pressure leading Savage to plan his replacements.

    It's a rather unusual episode in a very pro-military program especially given the time period with so many pro-military TV shows. This episode stands out then in a great way. It's realistic and doesn't have the tacked on endings of other episodes. Recommended.moreless
Robert Lansing

Robert Lansing

Brigadier General Frank Savage (1964-65)

Frank Overton

Frank Overton

Major Harvey Stovall

Brandon de Wilde

Brandon de Wilde

Corporal Russell Lawrence (promoted to Staff Sergeant)

Guest Star

Gerald S. O'Loughlin

Gerald S. O'Loughlin

Major Joe "Mac " Morse

Guest Star

Dabney Coleman

Dabney Coleman

Captain Wilson

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Goof: When General Savage and Corporal Lawrence are talking about the need for WWII, Corporal Lawrence says he knows about and is against the concentration camps.  This episode is suppose to be taking place in or around 1943.  Yet it wasn't until April 5, 1945 that units from the American Fourth Armored Division of the Third Army discovered the first concentration camp seen by American troops.

    • The group Major Joe "Mac " Morse is leading returns with 12 out of 18 aircraft. This is a loss rate of 33 1/3%, 6 aircraft, and 60 men (10 crew members times 6 aircraft).  General Savage says this type of loss rumbles its way back to the Pentagon and should this rate continue it could jeopardize the future of daylight precision bombing.

    • The Father of Corporal Lawrence died in action on November 11, 1918.  He he grew up in an orphanage. Corporal Lawrence has orders to report to Colonel Taylor for training (Maybe the Ground Exec. ?) after which he will be promoted Staff Sergeant.

    • Joe Morse is from Des Moines, IA and has flown 35 missions. He says he became an officer first then a pilot. His last 6 missions have had heavy losses. His aircraft is "Terrible Tillie"

    • Goof: The dates and age concerning Corporal Lawrence don't make sense (are suspect).  The episode takes place some time after February 10, 1943.  We know this because:

      1) Corporal Russell Lawrence enlisted February 10 (year not given) in Springfield, IL after spending a year in interment, as a "conscientious objector."
      2) Per General Savage, the Pentagon was open, which occurred on January 15, 1943.

      When Captain Wilson read the personal report on Corporal Lawrence, he stated his age as being 21.  For the corporal to be 21 sometime after February 10, 1943, it means his birthday had to be on or after February 10, 1922.

      When the corporal talks to General Savage, we learn:

      1) He never knew his parents.
      2) His Father died in France during WWI on November 11, 1918.
      3) His Mother died during child birth.

      Even if his conception occurred the day his Father died, the corporal's birth had to be much earlier than 1922.  His birthday is (most likely) in 1918 or 1919 and thus making him at least 23 and possibility as old as 25.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Brig. General Savage: (to Corporal Ross Lawrence) This is a better world than when your father was killed. And it will be a better world than it is now. Because of all of the pain, Corporal, men of good will have learned one thing since 1939 . . . Giving-up -- doesn't work.

  • NOTES (1)