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Sgt. Saunders Thompson


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#1 Eagle3

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 04:59 PM

I haven't seen much happening on the board, so I guess it is time for a little drivel.

The old J. Curtis Earl catalog contained supposedly the entire MGM collection with a synopsis of the 28's being used on Combat. It displayed two 1921 model and two 1928 model Thompsons.

Now we all know that the good sarge carried a 28, but in the Earl description and pictures of the MGM 28's they had the stamped rear sight. And we again all know that Sarge's had an adjustable lyman sight. Does anyone know if he used a 21 with the horizontal grip?

I have seen in closeups a rivited ejector, which is also not indicitive of a 21. Needless to say, this will change the fate of the world if the correct answer is found. I know I will get some e-mails stating "Get a Life" but this has been bothering me since 1973 when I picked up my Tommy.

Hope everyone is enjoying a good start to the New Year.
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#2 cavediver

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:09 PM

Eagle,
That Thompson was the reason that I got an incurable case of Thompson Fever.
What kid fron the 1960's did not idolize Srgt. Saunders.
A few months ago i bought a leather holster for a Thompson used in filming Combat.
i cant assist with the questions you ask but i think Arthur and others have alot of knowledge and should be able to answer them.
I own a WH 1928 because of Sgt.
Have a Happy New Year
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#3 Mike Hammer

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:44 PM

I believe the gun Vic used in live fire sequences was Colt 1921AC #8245.

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#4 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 06:42 PM

While #8245 Colt TSMG was definitely in the MGM arsenal, the only clear shots of Chip's TSMG, blank firing or carry weapon, in the series show patent numbers on the receiver, WWII style grip, reinforced buttstock, and Savage/AO barrel that indicates a Savage/AO 1928.

Since the dubious Curtis Earl was the one back in 1972 advertising #8245 1921AC Colt TSMG as part of the MGM collection, he may have been the source that it was "THE" "Combat" TSMG as carried by Chip.

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#5 colt21a

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 07:35 PM

they used two on the set.both 28's and i saw the combat one at earl's place in 1971 it was a beater.kinda good memorie's on this stuff.i owned.one of the m.g.m. gun's.however mine was the better of the two colt's.take care.ron
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#6 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 08:19 PM

Ronald,
This is somewhat confusing. #8245 is a Colt 1921AC from the MGM arsenal that Earl owned back in 1971, and you simultaneously owned another 1928 Colt from the MGM collection. Is this right? Yours was a Navy and Earl's was an AC. While both of you owned MGM TSMG's that could have been used on "Combat," the TSMG's on the show appear to be the 1928 Savage/AO TSMG.

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#7 gijive

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 08:58 PM

A couple of years ago I posted a picture, from an original negative, of Vic Morrow holding a Thompson taken during a publicity shot. I have the entire negative strip and he has two guns he is posing with. One is either a Colt or early Savage gun the other is a WWII variety Savage or AO gun. I base this on the position of the patent dates and Auto-Ordnance stamping on the left side of the reciver. I maintain that the guns used on Combat were from Stembridge Gun Rentals; J. Curtis Earl's claims notwithstanding. This is based on the flattened barrel fins on each side of the barrel near the front taper of the barrel. This feature appears on Stembridge rentals dating back to the 1940's (Objective Burma), the 1950's (Attack) and many television series of the late 1950's and early 1960's (The Untouchables, Combat), etc.

According to the current owners of Stembridge Gun Rentals, this was for a barrel change off-camera in the event the gun misfired. The flat areas on each side allowed a wrench to be placed on the barrel for quick barrel changes without taking thegun back to the shop. You'll notice in the picture shown that the compensator is a fake one-piece concoction for the blank adapter, not affixed to the barrel in the correct fashion.

By the way, Combat was not an MGM production. It was a joint venture between ABC Television and Selmur Productions. They rented the MGM lot for filming and utilized MGM's staff of electricians and lighting professionals for a fee. I'm not saying that the MGM guns never made an appearance on Combat, but the majority of guns used in the firing sequences over the five year run were Stembridge rentals. I have spoken with actor Jack Hogan and he maintains the BAR he used was rented from Stembridge.

I'll repost the picture again as soon as I locate it on my computer.

Here are the pictures:

user posted image

user posted image
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#8 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 09:20 PM

G.I.Jive,
The first person account by Kirby is the kind of on the scene info needed. I believe the pic you posted of Chip/Vic has him holding a Savage/AO 1928.

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#9 John Jr

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 11:25 PM

Colt, Savage, all the same machines, who can tell...

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#10 TD.

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 11:51 PM

gijive/Arthur,
I believe the early Savage Thompsons had the 1922 Patent Dates. While this publicity still of Vic with his Tommy-Gun is not the best to highlight the markings of the Thompson, it appears to my old eyes that the patent markings on Vic's Thompson look like this:

user posted image

If so, this Tommy-Gun is definitely a Colt. Check the number of lines for the patent dates on Vic's Thompson. The 1922 Patent Date receivers for late Colt and early Savage Thompsons have 6 lines (12 patent dates) with no indention. This Tommy-Gun appears to have 4 lines of patent dates with one patent date (9 patent dates) at the bottom that is indented (like the Colt receiver shown, above).

Jr., I do not believe they are all the same...but they are all the best!

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#11 colt21a

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 12:23 AM

yeah that what earl handed me and said this is the gun from combat???also check the file's.i owned #3965. and know who has it now since around 1995, and he still own's it i traded it to him.with some cash for the "mason city colt'

heck i had alot of thompson's..and after you get past over 20 you tend to forget some detail's..i'm sure alot of people today don't really have that problem with current value's.they are lucky to own a few...

sometime's new info doe's come up.glad people can report on that...and most of it i already have packed away in the vault...do i care about releasing any of it.

and yes i have stembridge info along with m.g.m. info from one of the last surviving prop guy's in the seventie's.now deceased.

so some of my info came from them..check out 'bataan'and "the big house"and a few other's with thompson's.a mix-mosh of info on those gun's also.along with flynn in "edge of darkness"

and let''s not forget bogie in "sahara"was it a colt uummm! ???wink!

and to all a good night!

T.C.ron
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#12 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 12:33 AM

Yeah! That 2nd pic is definitely a Colt receiver. It is the changed position Chip is holding the TSMG from the first pic that shows off the patent dates.

G.I. Jive, did you print that freeze frame pic off the dvd from your TV? The photo that shows Chip using a 1928 Savage/AO is on page 32 of Jo Davidsmeyer's companion book. Now that we see both a Colt and a Savage were used, all that is left to determine are the serial numbers. That would indicate who provided the TSMG's for the show.

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#13 gijive

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 07:25 AM

QUOTE (Arthur Fliegenheimer @ Jan 6 2006, 12:33 AM)
Yeah! That 2nd pic is definitely a Colt receiver.  

G.I. Jive, did you print that freeze frame pic off the dvd from your TV?  The photo that shows Chip using a 1928 Savage/AO is on page 32 of Jo Davidsmeyer's companion book. Now that we see both a Colt and a Savage were used, all that is left to determine are the serial numbers.  That would indicate who provided the TSMG's for the show.

Arthur and TD,

I agree that it is a Colt receiver. I just didn't want to offend some of the Board members that have a problem with us Colt Thompson aficionados. laugh.gif

No, I didn't freeze frame it from a DVD. I have some original 35mm black and white negatives I purchased at an auction several years ago from a photo shoot from the 4th Season episode "Hear No Evil." I provided Jo Davidsmeyer with several of the stills from this shoot for her Combat book. Some of the photos also appear as "extra' material on the recent Combat DVD's released by Image Entertainment.

I have several other very sharp images of the gun, including the one from the picture in Jo's book. My scanner isn't working very well, however, so they aren't as sharp as I would like. Email me off-line for more information.

I have been in contact with Gordon Herigstad over a period of time regarding the Stembridge records of their gun rentals during the 1960's. Gordon has conducted research on these records and I requested that he check to see if any records exist between 1962 and 1967 for the rentals of weapons for Combat. These records would contain the serial numbers of the guns that were taken to the production locations on a weekly basis. So far, he has not located any records for Selmur or ABC Television Productions. That doesn't mean that they don't exist, he just has not run across them yet. In addition, it really isn't one of his interests or a priority for his research. I may contact Stembridge again, myself, and see what kind of information I can receive. The problem is, that they won't go through the old records for me and transcribe the information. I would probably have to go out to Califiornia myself, which really isn't convenient. I'll keep the Board informed if Gordon does ever run across the records of the serial numbers of the guns used in Combat.
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#14 Eagle3

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 10:19 AM

I would like to thank everyone who has responded to my inquiry about sarge's tommy. What a wealth of information. gijive, thanks for the highly informative pictures. It seems that just about any mystery can be cleared up in this forum.

If any more light is shed on the definitive answer, please post it.

Now for my next question. Who really killed JFK?
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#15 Lancer

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 10:29 AM

QUOTE (Eagle3 @ Jan 6 2006, 10:19 AM)
Now for my next question.  Who really killed JFK?

Don't know who it was but I heard J. Curtis Earl had the gun and sold it in "75". LOL laugh.gif laugh.gif
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#16 Hawkeye_Joe

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 12:42 PM

On a nearly related note...while watching the MGM movie "Go for Broke" about the 442 Regimental Combat Team of Japanese-Americans I noticed that the German officer that was shooting at them in one scene was using the "Combat" Reising MP-40. Once you have seen it you can recognize it in an instant.

On the Blooper and triva section of the last Combat episode I watched last week it mentioned that Caje was carrying the Reising MP-40 in one scene. But if you look closely at the German who was killed while shooting it you can see it is a real MP-40 you can also see the mag come out of it when he drops it to the cobblestones as he dies. *OUCH!*
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#17 colt21a

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 12:54 PM

and in one episode "gideon's army".you can see the switch, from mock-up which functioned to original mp-40.the one with richard jackel as the german. from "dirty dozen" and guadalcanal diary,and devil's brigade fame,and countless other flic's.

i had the chance to buy one of those. and i should have a nice little movie bit, now you know since this has been reported. the new owner figure's it's now worth $50,000.00 plus,

even tho i was offered it for $3,000.00 wink!

good info on this post...however i won't start one on "the mobster's" thompson's....they was wes-hurley's....

take care,ron
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#18 Hawkeye_Joe

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 01:01 PM

I did a frame by frame of the German as he fell while firing the MP-40. It was an original (or a firing copy) not the Reising. I could see it hit the street and the mag flip up in the air...as they were walking toward the building that Kirby had just cleared Caje picked it up and started to put it over his shoulder but instead just carried it by the sling...the mag was still missing. He soon placed it down before they entered the building.....
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#19 colt21a

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 01:18 PM

it's nice to catch these thing's when you can...earl had alot of mp-40's in his collection in 1999,i took a few pic's...wobbly stock's when unfolded or folded. wobbly reciever to lower frame fit.{man do i hate those two problem's on mp-40's.} misplaced part's reblued and refinished.and those that had original finish...about 50% gun's..

however the mp-40 has just a great history on it as the thompson...so why should not they be shown in a great show like combat??

heck they could have had them with k98k's all day.wink!

i am not sure if i have seen one episode with a mp-44 yet.

and some of those 30 cal belt feed gun scene's with brit vicker's and american watercool's..most of the tripod's give that stuff away.however they did use mg-34's and mg-42's..kool stuff!!

yes it's good we can still have this stuff today........

t.c.ron
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#20 Eagle3

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:03 PM

rolleyes.gif After a bit of clarification things are starting to get cloudy again.

I agree that some of the guns on Combat could have come from the Stembridge collection. But as stated by a forum member, MGM did not have a hand in the production, but the Reising/MP-40's from Earl's MGM collection were used on the show. So why not the Thompsons? And, once again his pictures of the 28's he was selling had the stamped rear sight. So am I safe to assume he used one of the 21's or a Stembridge gun. I also mentioned on one of the episodes a closeup shows a rivited extractor, this of course could have been a replacement.

I will not give up my quest until the correct answer is found.
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