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From the Mountain Democrat--Placerville, California
Thursday, October 6, 1994
Peabody's Place by Richard Peabody

Richard Roland Benson Jr.

Dick Peabody recalls working with Jack Hogan (Kirby) in the Combat! TV series.

Jack Hogan played "Kirby" the BAR man (Browning Automatic Rifle) in the '60s TV show "Combat!" He has lived in Hawaii for the past 10 years and had a recurring role as the judge in the "Jake and the Fatman" series. Before that he was the casting director for Tom Selleck's "Magnum P.I." Both of these shows were shot in Hawaii.

Two months ago, Jack moved back to his hometown, Chapel Hill, N.C., to help an older brother remodel his house.

Jack was born Richard Roland Benson Jr. but when he decided to make acting his career, he figured he'd change his name to something more user-friendly. On the theory that everybody loves the Irish (a theory I don't necessarily subscribe to) he picked "Jack Hogan." That's who he's been for more than 40 years.

Neither he nor I were in the "Combat!" pilot. I was hired for a small part in the first episode filmed after the pilot sold and Jack, a respected working actor, was hired by director Robert Altman as a guest star in the third episode. Altman had worked with him before and was impressed with his talent.

As free-lancers, Jack and I were in as many episodes as some of the "Combat!" regulars and by the end of the first 13 weeks, both of us had been signed to five year contracts--Jack for more money, which he deserved, since he had been a working actor for 10 years starring in the movie, "The Legend of Tom Dooley," among other roles. I was a beginner.

We discovered that we shared the diverse interests of contemporary jazz, architecture, carpentry and plumbing. Jack had majored in architecture at the University of North Carolina. He is multi-talented--equally adept at acting, writing, and even the building trades.

When he visited us recently on his way to North Carolina, he said he'd thought he would like to live in the Sierra foothills ever since he starred in the TV series "Sierra" shot in Yosemite.

We've given parties for Jack on his trips to Placerville and our friends here are as fond of him as we are. His letters always crack me up and I hope these excerpts from a recent one will do the same for you:

"Dear Peabody and Tina,..To let you know the kind of company I'm keeping here, the other day my 70-year-old-cousin, William, my coworker, looked at me and asked, 'You got bifocals?' I said, 'Yeah, have you?' He answered, 'Yeah, without my glasses I couldn't spot a horse turd in the bottom of a glass of sweet milk'. That pretty much says it, doesn't it?

"Most people here know what they know, but they have no idea what they do not know. They, therefore, change little over time. At the same time, they endure (hey, it was OK) crises better than the rest of us. After all, they're banking on the end of the world coming from time to time because it says so on page 127. This is all very interesting to me up to this point and I expect to get out of this alive, without angst..

"..There's one good FM jazz station in this neck of the woods, and it seldom lets me down. Combat's playing every night at 8, and I can get a decent table at about any greasy spoon on Main Street. I appreciate that you would accept me as a neighbor in No. California. I may do that someday. Both my kids are living in So. Calif. now, as are both ex-wives.

"My best, Jack"

We hope Jack doesn't stay too long in North Carolina. If he does, he might get his Southern accent back and we wouldn't be able to understand him.

Dick Peabody's columns about Combat!:
Dick Peabody writes about Rick Jason
Dick Peabody writes about Vic Morrow
Dick Peabody writes about Robert Goulet
Dick Peabody writes about Vic Morrow's death
Combat Guest Stars
Dick Peabody writes about Jack Hogan
Dick Peabody writes about Rick Jason on The Dangerous Robin

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