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|Tour of Duty|
Title card (Seasons 2–3)
|Music by||Joseph Conlan|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||58 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Steve Duncan |
L. Travis Clark
|Running time||47 minutes|
20th Century Fox Television/Disney-ABC International Television (non-US)
|Original release||September 24, 1987 –|
April 28, 1990
Tour of Duty is an American military drama television series based on events in the Vietnam War, broadcast on CBS. The series ran for three seasons, from September 24, 1987, to April 28, 1990, for a total of 58 one-hour episodes. The show was created by Steve Duncan and L. Travis Clark and produced by Zev Braun.
The show follows an American infantry platoon on a tour of duty during the Vietnam War. It was the first television series to regularly show Americans in combat in South Vietnam and was one of several similarly themed series to be produced in the wake of the acclaimed Oliver Stone film Platoon (1986).
Tour of Duty examined the issues of politics, faith, teamwork, racism, suicide, fragging, terrorism, civilian deaths, sexuality, drug abuse, and how the lives of soldiers and civilians were permanently affected by the Vietnam War.
The first season began in 1967 and followed Bravo company's second platoon, a standard light infantry platoon conducting "search and destroy" missions in Vietnam, under the command of 2nd Lieutenant (1st Lieutenant from the start of season 2) Myron Goldman (Stephen Caffrey) and Staff Sergeant (later Sergeant First Class) Zeke Anderson (Terence Knox). It was filmed on location in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks.
For the second and third seasons, the series was filmed around Los Angeles, California, to reduce the budget. The same locations, notably a small river with grass on one bank and woods on the other, were reused in a number of episodes. The old set of war comedy-drama television series M*A*S*H was also used for filming.
The change of location also led to a change in the show's direction. Beginning in the second season, the platoon was relocated to a base near Saigon. Production staff interviewed in Vietnam Magazine said this change in premise doomed the series because it shifted from being a realistic chronicle about the life of an average combat infantryman to an action/romantic/drama show. CBS wanted female characters because ABC had premiered China Beach, a Vietnam Army Nurses drama, which was aimed directly at attracting more female viewers.
In Tour of Duty's third season, the remaining female character was killed off, and the platoon was transferred to a SOG unit under the command of Colonel Brewster (played by Carl Weathers). The unit conducted covert operations in Vietnam and Cambodia which included a fictional version of the raid on Son Tay Prison. The show was canceled at the end of this season due to falling ratings.
|Clayton Ezekiel "Zeke" Anderson||Terence Knox||Staff Sgt./Sgt. 1st Class||Main Cast|
|Myron Goldman||Stephen Caffrey||2nd Lt./1st Lt.||Main Cast|
|Daniel "Danny" Percell||Tony Becker||PFC./Cpl./SP4.||Main Cast|
|Alberto Ruiz||Ramón Franco||Pvt./PFC./SP4.||Main Cast|
|Marcus Taylor||Miguel A. Núñez Jr.||Pvt./PFC./SP4./Sgt.||Main Cast|
|Marvin Johnson||Stan Foster||SP4./Sgt.||Main Cast||Main Cast (11 episodes)|
|Scott Baker||Eric Bruskotter||Pvt./SP4.||Main Cast||Guest Star (1 episode)|
|Roger Horn||Joshua D. Maurer||Pvt./PFC./SP4.||Main Cast|
|Randy "Doc" Matsuda||Steve Akahoshi||SP4.||Main Cast (13 episodes)|
|Rusty Wallace||Kevin Conroy||Captain||Main Cast (11 episodes)|
|Nikki Raines||Pamela Gidley||2nd Lt.||Recurring Guest Star|
|Dalby||Bruce Gray||Lt. Col.||Recurring Guest Star|
|Johnny McKay||Dan Gauthier||1st Lt.||Main Cast|
|Alex Devlin||Kim Delaney||Reporter||Main Cast||Main Cast (2 episodes)|
|Dr. Jennifer Seymour||Betsy Brantley||Civilian Contracted Psychiatrist / then Major U.S. Army Medical Corps||Recurring Guest Star|
|Darling||Richard Brestoff||Major||Also Starring|
|Marion Hannegan/Putman||Charles Hyman||Master Sergeant (as Hannegan), SFC (as Putnam)||Recurring Guest Star|
|Francis "Doc Hock" Hockenbury||John Dye||PFC./SP4.||Main Cast|
|Carl Brewster||Carl Weathers||Colonel||Special Guest Star|
|Thomas "Pop" Scarlett||Lee Majors||Private||Special Guest Star|
|William Griner||Kyle Chandler||Pvt.||Recurring Guest Star|
|Duke Fontaine||Patrick Kilpatrick||CIA Agent||Recurring Guest Star|
|Joseph "Skip" Beller||Greg Germann||1st Lt.||Recurring Guest Star|
|Mike Duncan||Michael B. Christy||Major||Also Starring|
|Sister Bernardette||Maria Mayenzet||Nun (Civilian)||Also Starring|
|Stringer||Alan Scarfe||Colonel||Also Starring|
|Jack Elliot||Peter Vogt||General||Also Starring|
|Edward Higgins||Michael Fairman||Major General||Also Starring|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||21||September 24, 1987||April 30, 1988|
|2||16||January 3, 1989||May 16, 1989|
|3||21||September 23, 1989||April 28, 1990|
Emmy Award nominations:
- 1989: Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (for "I Wish it Could Rain")
- 1990: Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (for "And Make Death Proud to Take Us")
Eddie Award nominations
- 1988: Best Edited Episode from a Television Series (for the pilot episode)
In Australia, Network Ten originally aired the series at 7:30 pm. In recent years, repeats have returned to Australian television with the Seven Network repeating the series in 2006 in late Thursday night/Early Friday morning timeslots airing at 11.30 pm then later bumped to 12:00 am midnight. Repeats also returned with Channel Ten repeating the series in 2010 in late Sunday nights/Early Monday mornings airing at 1:30am. FOX Classics started airing the first series on the 17 September 2012.
In Dominican Republic, the show was aired with the title "Misión del Deber" in channel 11.
In Costa Rica, it was aired by channel 9 and then by channel 7 as "Misión Vietnam" (Mission Vietnam).
In Denmark, the show was broadcast in the 1990s as "Platoon B" on various local-TV networks, mainly on Kanal 2.
In France and the Canadian province of Québec, the French-speaking version was called "L'Enfer du devoir" (The Hell of duty) and aired on La Cinq in France, and on the Historia channel in Québec Monday through Thursday at 5 PM in July and August 2005.
In Israel, the show aired in the mid-2000s on the now-defunct local version of the AXN cable channel under the name "Sherut Kravi" (Combat Service). It was also previously broadcast on the METV channel.
In the Philippines, it was weekly aired in English on GMA 7 every Monday night at 9:00 pm. The American service members stationed in the Philippines routinely watched it on the local network because the episodes were newer than the ones on Armed Forces Radio and Television Service's Far East Network.
In Sri Lanka, the show has been aired at least twice, once in 1990s and once in 2007/8 by MTV.
In Sweden, the show was originally scheduled by the public service SVT network as "Pluton B i Vietnam" (Platoon B in Vietnam), but only the pilot episode was broadcast followed by a massive media outcry for the heavy violence in the show. In the late 1990s, the show was picked up by Kanal 5 under the same name.
In Taiwan (Republic of China), the show has been aired on China Television Company, Ltd. (CTV) as 霹靂神兵. The Ministry of National Defense (Republic of China) also purchased the series, renamed 天降神兵 and aired it on Chinese Television System (CTS) and CTS Education and Culture.
In Zimbabwe, the show was broadcast in the early 1990s, showing on the national television channel ZBC TV1 (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television 1) at nine o'clock pm on Thursdays and developed a cult following, becoming a hit television series throughout its screening.
The opening theme song was an abbreviated version of The Rolling Stones hit "Paint It, Black" that had featured in the end titles of the 1987 Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket; this was removed for the US DVD release. The closing consisted of an instrumental, synthesized tune with a distinctive Asian sound mixed in with acoustic guitar; it was performed by Joseph Conlan, and was never released for public consumption other than in the series. That music was used as background music for most of the series. On the US release DVD most of the Vietnam War era popular music was replaced by instrumental bits to cover the blank spots of music.
All three seasons that have been released in the United Kingdom feature the complete original soundtrack, including "Paint It, Black".
The show was known for its classic American rock soundtrack including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix, and Jefferson Airplane. One first-season episode, "USO Down", used "live" versions of "Wooly Bully", and "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" as performed by a USO band, the latter song being used also for ironic comment. The songs in this episode were retained in the DVD soundtracks. But for copyright reasons, the VHS and DVD soundtracks of the majority of episodes were replaced with soundalikes (the music played, but there were no voices)—a move which was widely protested by buyers, and resulted in a significantly lower sales volume for the third-season DVD set than for the first two.
In the Netherlands, amongst other European nations, a total number of seven albums were released, containing most of the songs featured on the show. As a result, "Paint It, Black" was re-released as a single, again hitting the number 1 position in the Dutch top 40 popchart in May 1990.
The original soundtrack albums
The Tour of Duty television series soundtrack was released by CBS on Columbia Records as four different compilation albums during 1988 and 1989. The original albums are now out of print. Their track listings are as follows:
|Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 1 (1988)
||Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 2 (1988)
|Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 3 (1989)
||Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 4 (1989)
Compilation soundtrack CDs
In 1992, Sony Music released a compilation CD titled The Best of 'Tour of Duty'. It contains only twenty of the songs featured in the four original Tour of Duty Soundtrack albums.
|The Best of Tour of Duty (1992)
|Tour of Duty Top 100 (2008)
Sony Pictures released all 3 seasons in the USA for the very first time in 2004-2005. All original music was replaced with sound-alike versions. These releases have been discontinued and are out of print.
On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library including Tour of Duty. They subsequently re-released the first season on DVD on September 16, 2014.
On April 21, 2015, Mill Creek released a budget priced complete series set, an eleven-disc set featuring all 58 episodes of the series.
On November 7, 2011 Fabulous Films (licensed from Fremantle Home Entertainment) in the United Kingdom released the complete first season as a region 2 PAL boxed set. This release has improved sound and picture quality and the complete original soundtrack, including "Paint It, Black". The release consists of 5 DVDs covering all 21 episodes. The fifth disc contains extras including hundreds of behind the scenes stills and images and a brand new documentary that runs for 55 minutes. Fabulous Films filmed a series of interviews in Los Angeles in July 2011 with seven of the key cast: Terence Knox, Joshua D. Maurer, Steve Akahoshi, Tony Becker, Eric Bruskotter, Kevin Conroy and Miguel A. Núñez Jr. and key members of the production crew that included Zev Braun (producer) Bill L. Norton (writer/director), Steve Smith (writer/producer), Steve Duncan (creator) and Paul Sinor (military advisor). Additional documentaries are being produced for the season 2 and 3 releases.
The complete second season was released on May 14, 2012 in the UK. Featuring a brand new making of documentary 'The Story of Tour Of Duty' Part 2 (30 mins) featuring Cast and Crew, Character Biographies, Original Cast Biographies, Original Crew Biographies, Action Stills, Behind The Scenes Stills, Publicity Stills, Synopses and Glossary of Tour of Duty Military Terms.
On November 26, 2012, Fabulous released the complete third season on DVD in the UK, along with the complete series set which was released simultaneously. The third installment of the documentary features Dan Gauthier (1st Lieutenant Johnny McKay).
- "TOUR OF DUTY – 10 Facts About the 1980s Vietnam War Drama". www.get.tv. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
- "Hawaii Film Office | Television Series and Specials Shot in Hawaii". filmoffice.hawaii.gov. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
- "Mill Creek Licenses 52 TV Shows from Sony for Low-Cost DVD Release". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Tour of Duty DVD news: Re-Release for Tour of Duty - Season 1". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Tour of Duty DVD news: Re-Release for Tour of Duty - The Complete Series". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Tour of Duty – The Complete Second Season". Amazon. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
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