The Rat Patrol

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Name: The Rat Patrol
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: Tom Gries
Date(s): 1966 - 1968
Medium: Television
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: wikipedia, IMDB
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Contents

The Rat Patrol was a 1960s US television series set during World War II. The four main characters — Sergeants Sam Troy and Jack Moffitt and Privates Tully Pettigrew and Mark T. Hitchcock — were members of the Long Range Desert Group, stationed in North Africa, assigned the task of harrying Axis convoys in the desert, sending troop movements and intelligence to the Allies, and occasionally conducting clandestine raids on towns and fixed military positions. Often operating behind enemy lines, the unit generally found themselves fighting against German forces commanded by Hauptmann (Captain) Hans Dietrich, almost as many times as various Arabic tribes and desert conditions saw them reluctantly and temporarily joining forces.

Though only lasting for two seasons, the show did attempt to address the various tensions and subtleties of the North African campaign, the necessities of war, and the colonization of North Africa by European countries. The efforts of resistance movements are taken into account, as well. Each episode was approximately thirty-two minutes long, and infrequently narrated.

The show's substitution of American military for all but one major characters (the British Sgt. Moffitt was seconded from the Scots Greys) and military personnel created controversy. The real life Long Range Desert Group was, in fact, a division of the British Commonwealth Forces, made up of New Zealander, British, and Rhodesian troops[1].

For some related fandoms, see List of Military Fandoms.

Cast

The Main Characters were: Sergeant Sam Troy (Christopher George[2]), Sergeant Jack Moffitt (Gary Raymond[3]), Private Tully Pettigrew (Justin Tarr[4]), and Private Mark T. "Hitch" Hitchcock (Lawrence Casey[5]).

Their most consistent antagonist, Hauptmann (Captain) Hans Dietrich, was played by Eric Braeden [6].

Fandom Controversies

Sockpuppets

The fandom is infamous across online fandoms for a particularly bad sockpuppet incident. See The Rat Patrol Sockpuppet Debacle. [7] [8][9][10]

Cease and Desist

The fandom is also known for receiving a cease and desist notice that led to the reduction of the number of fanzines.

Sometime in the mid to late 90's, a popular RP writer, editor, and zine publisher received a very stern cease-and-desist order (C&D) from MGM/UA, who were under the impression that she was publishing actual books based on Rat Patrol. When she spoke with them on the phone, they apologized and said that if they had realized that she was just putting out zines, she would have gotten the milder letter they occasionally send to fans. They said that they were forced to send her a letter to protect their copyright because they had received a letter from someone on the email listserv that gave the impression that the zine publisher was a professional publisher. They described the letter as "surprisingly hate-filled." No one ever found out who the listserv member was who sent the letter to the copyright holders...[11]

In the end KnightWriter Press made the following announcement: "(Special note — On any of these fanzines containing Rat Patrol material the Rat Patrol stories will have to be 'removed' from the fanzine. If this constitutes more than 2-3 pgs you will be credited for the difference. Sorry — this action is caused by the legal order by MGM/UA)."[12] After some back and forth negotiations with MGM/UA, Knightwriter was allowed to continue publishing Rat Patrol fanzines without using any images from the series.[13]

Fanzines

For a list of Rat Patrol Fanzines, see List of Rat Patrol Fanzines.

References

  1. [1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Range_Desert_Group
  2. [2]http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0313387/
  3. [3]http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0713267/
  4. [4]http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0850607/]
  5. [5]http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0143472/
  6. [6]http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000967/
  7. amedia, rough draft - RP sockpuppeteer account June 22, 2006; reference link.
  8. Kathy Agel in amedia's LJ, Another account of the RP sock puppet fiasco June 26, 2006; reference link.
  9. [http://amedia.livejournal.com/59214.html Maquisbabe's Posts (RP Sock Account)] dated June 27, 2006; reference link.
  10. Additional contributions to RP Sock Account dated June 27, 2006; reference link.
  11. amedia, The C&D and additional tidbits on the RP sock fiasco June 27, 2006; reference link.
  12. Knightwriter website announcement (1998)
  13. Knightwriter website accessed March 13, 2010; archived link.
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