Trying to get a wounded Doc to safety, Saunders, Caje, and communication sergeant
Meider (Gary Lockwood) stumble upon a German patrol setting up a radio center in a French
farmhouse. When Saunders overhears that the Germans are expecting a visit from Colonel von
Stolzing, the mastermind behind the battle at St. Lo, Saunders determines to lay a trap to
catch the Colonel. Saunders captures the German headquarters, makes certain that it still
looks operational, and waits for the Colonel. But the longer he waits, the weaker Doc
becomes and the greater risk they run in being discovered. The German panzer post calls
frequently demanding to speak with the German captain.
A dispatch rider falls into Saunders' trap, along with his detailed map of the German
positions. Soon Saunders realizes that one German is missing. Meider does a slipshod
search of the basement, failing to find the German corporal hiding there. Caje sees the
German flee, but is unable to stop him. Just as Saunders decides that the risk is too
great to remain, they get word on the radio that Colonel von Stolzing is en route to them.
Saunders figures he can cut it close, knowing that the escaped corporal will take several
minutes to reach help. But the corporal stumbles across a fallen soldier with a working
radio on his back and calls ahead to the Panzer group. It's a race to see who will arrive
at the farmhouse first: von Stolzing or the truck of German troops to the rescue. Do you
need to be told who wins that race, or that Meider, who has been a complainer and
me-firster through the whole episode, comes through for Saunders in the end?
script for "Operation Fly Trap," Don Tait gives us a middle-of-the-road episode
that entertains, but never quite moves. This episode trods familiar ground, both in its
locales and its plot. Sergeant Saunders is again saddled with an uncooperative Sergeant
who has special skills and an attitude. By the final act, he turns out to be a softie that
saves the day ... been there, done that, but at least this time we do it with Gary
The story offers plenty of potential for interesting drama, but the script and John
Peyser's direction merely gloss over the surface. There's no depth to the plot or the
characterizations. Saunders is caught in the dilemma of pursuing a coup for the Allies
that could cost Doc his life. Great drama, huh? Well, not in this case.
Conlan Carter as Doc is wonderfully pathetic when appropriate. Most of the time he lays
forgotten behind the curtain, except when the script calls for him to make some noise that
threatens to reveal the Americans. Doc is downright amiable when discussing with Saunders
a decision that could mean his life. With Doc so meekly accepting the situation, it's hard
for the audience to get emotionally wrapped up in it. I love how at the end, with some
aid, Doc walks on both feet to the truck. Pretty good for someone who just moments later
Caje describes as "falling apart." Couldn't they have carried him to the truck?
Caje is particularly macho in this episode as he man-handles German prisoners and
brandishes his bayonet. But overall, our Cajun is wasted in this episode. He moves around
a lot, but says and accomplishes little. Lots of closeups of Caje in this episode as he
stands around listening to other people talk. Even Vic Morrow takes his classic stoicism a
bit far in the episode, almost crossing that line into apathy. There's no passion in his
performance, or anyone else's in this episode, except for the Germans. Compared to the
similar situation in "Glow Against The Sky," Saunders and Caje are acting
laidback and almost bored.
The performances I enjoy most in "Operation Fly Trap" are from our incidental
players. The casting agent must have called out the reserves of "dialog Germans"
for this episode. The script provided over a dozen speaking roles for the
"enemy" actors. "Operation Fly Trap" presents viewers with a steady
parade of bit players enjoying their moment in front of the camera. This episode is
populated with wall-to-wall gorgeous blonds. Paul Busch is very chatty as the radio
operator at the Panzer camp; Lee Millar is convincing as the nervous radioman trying to
function under Saunders' Tommy gun;
the beautiful Mike Krempels lingers in front of the camera as the lost half-track driver;
and Jim Goodwin is deliciously befuddled as the poor dispatch driver caught in Saunders'
snare. I should know the name of the actor playing the German corporal, since I've seen
him killed in many an episode, but his name escapes me. As fun as these vanity moments
are, their sheer number dooms this episode to mediocrity. Too much time is spent on minor
characters and not enough is spent focusing on the drama happening in the farmhouse. I
would have traded all the beautiful Germans in the episode for one impassioned PPT.
I shouldn't rail too much against this episode. It's a solid two-bayonetter. An
enjoyable way to spend an hour, this episode doesn't tax your brain or emotions. It's
great cotton candy; but it had the potential to be so much more.
Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers
More fun with chickens. How much trouble could our group have avoided if they'd
developed the habit of machine-gunning any stray chickens on sight?
This has to be the most captured farmhouse in all of France.
Opening sequence is reused from "Anatomy of a Patrol". Just one problem with
that: Saunders in that footage is leading a patrol of many men, but it's just four of them
when the real episode starts. Pity they couldn't film Doc getting hit, he got wounded so
In the barn, Doc's uniform has little blood on it; but in the hayloft he's dripping
blood down on the German.
The end of Act I bothers me. It's an odd shot of Saunders flinging his camo helmet into
a corner, while turning away from three prisoners that he should be carefully watching.
The background music is particularly intrusive in this episode.
Don't mess with Saunders. The German Captain challenges Saunders orders and says
"I'm afraid, sergeant, you're going to have to force me," Saunders does just
Trek connection: Star Trek fans will remember Gary Lockwood from the second pilot
"Where No Man Has Gone Before."
Continuity error: Lockwood leaves the house with a carbine, but he doesn't have it when the
battle begins. What did he do, fling it away at the first sign of trouble?
The final battle scene is poorly staged. That German behind the water barrel kept
standing up before firing. How did Saunders continually miss such a good target?
For the female fans, note the great bun shot of the escaping German as seen through the
wall of the cellar.
My goodness! The much captured French farmhouse is right on Euccy Road. The staff car
pulls out past it as Saunders and company escape. But there's bad re-use of the same
locale a few edits later; when the car is supposed to have progressed down the road, the
car pulls into the same location (the only difference is that now the house isn't in the
as Sgt. Saunders
as Lt. Hanley (Note: does not appearin episode)
Gary Lockwood as Sgt. Meider
Conlan Carter as Doc
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Leonard Bell .... Major Orcutt
Bob Garrett .... German Sgt.
Lee Millar .... German Radio Operator
Jim Goodwin .... Dispatch Rider
Mike Krempels .... Half Track Passenger
Lou Robb .... German #1
Herb Andreas .... German #2
as German Captain
[Note: Paul Busch in uncredited appearance as the
Major's radio operator.]
Sergeant, we have an old saying which goes, when a reckless hunter sets a trap, he often
becomes its first victim.
Hey, Doc, can you hold out a little longer?
Yeah, I heard.
See, if we can nail this Colonel, it'll be real important.
It's okay, Sarge, I understand.
Just beautiful, Sergeant, nearly choked me up. You should have really told him that it
doesn't matter if he kicks off, long as you pull a Silver Star out of this and a couple of
weeks in Piccadilly to show it off.
All right, shut up!
This is absolutely screwy. The entire German army could be on its way here right now,
and probably is. Now, what about us?
He's right, Sergeant. Your first responsibility is the lives of the men in your charge,
Yeah. Well, it doesn't bother this guy yet if a handful of dogfaces get shot to bits.
He's got some kind of a suicide complex.
Two more minutes.
Eh! Two minutes. Do you realize a whole platoon can be mowed down in two minutes? Or
Knock it off.
Sergeant, may I say something?
You already said it. By now your corporal has already met up with his buddies and now
your half-tracks and tanks are on their way, huh?
No, no. Let us assume that I am wrong in that, eh? And let us further assume that you
are correct and Colonel Stolzing will soon be here, ja?
Let us assume that.
Now, Sergeant, do you think that German Colonels travel alone? Do you expect Colonel
Stolzing to -- to walk in here with no aides, no driver, no protection at all? Sergeant,
now what is the first thing they will see when they drive into that yard, heh? The
telephone wires are not even connected. There is no sentry on duty. There is nothing. Now,
Sergeant, do think that German field officers are stupid?
Of course, they are. They are because Sergeant Saunders says so. He thinks we're going
to take von Stoltzing just like Grant took ... [von Stolzing's car arrives ]
There's your medal, Sergeant.
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