WWII Costumes for Combat!
Beau Vanden Ecker and one assistant provided costumes for the cast and the
armies of extras. They strove for authenticity (on a budget) and researched the uniforms
of the European theater. Pictured above is costumer Beau Vanden Ecker putting final
touches on the uniform of guest actor, and baseball great, Warren Spahn.
season, Beau Vanden Ecker provided special fiberglass helmets for the cast and the stunt
doubles, replacing the authentic steel helmets. Vic Morrow's helmet was covered with
authentic camo parachute silk used in the European Theater some soliders in
Normandy used the freely available fabric on their helmets. It is not a Marine Camo
In the December 1983 issue of TV Collector, Rick Jason said "Our helmets were
custom made because the steel pots can press your vertebrae after wearing 'em for about
sixteen hours a day ... They cost 115 bucks a copy then. I've still got mine. My boots had
to be made-to-order because I wear a size 13 shoe." The fiberglass helmets, though
comfortable for the actors, caused problems during shooting. When running and jumping into
a foxhole, the actors would go one way and the helmet would go the other.
Beau Vanden Ecker replaced the wool uniforms with tailored cotton replicas, dyed the
proper olive drab, making it easier for the actors to work in California heat. "Beau
was incredible in wardrobe," says Fenady. "He could wardrobe 15 guys in 15
To entice Vanden Ecker to stay with the show, they started casting him in small roles.
"It was getting boring for him," says Fenady. "We always wanted to sweeten
the pot, and he said 'I wouldn't mind doing a little stunt once in a while, a few lines.'
So he got plenty of them. As long as he was happy, we were happy. He was very good, too,
very good." Beau later moved to Hawaii, where he acted and directed for "Hawaii
5-0" and "Magnum, P.I."
The German canteen and ammunition pouches shown here were made from wood in
the prop shop and painted. The metal belt buckle and German bayonet are metal made from
molds. Sorry about the bayonet image, the bottom of the bayonet was cut off in the
picture. (Items from the collection of Jo Davidsmeyer.)
The helmet pictured above is one of Vic Morrow's hand-made fiberglass helmets. (From
the collection of Chris Andersen). All items were used on the TV show Combat! and
were purchased from auctions of merchandise from Beau Vanden Ecker.