12 O’Clock High

12 O’Clock High is based on the motion picture by the same name. The series followed the missions of the fictitious U.S. Army Air Forces 918th Bombardment Group in their B-17 bombers. Stationed in England at the fictional airbase Archbury Field, the group is commanded by General Frank Savage (Robert Lansing) and later by Colonel Joe Gallagher (Paul Burke).

Due to the first two seasons being filmed in black and white, actual World War II combat footage supplied by the U.S. Air Force was included in many episodes. The show also had access to a real B-17 bomber, but it could only taxi. In later 12 O’Clock High episodes, a P-51 Mustang was worked into the storylines to cut production costs. The Mustang cost less to fly than a four-engined B-17 and only required one pilot.

The show ran for 3 seasons on ABC and was a co-production of 20th Century Fox Television and QM Productions.

Table of Contents

Broadcast History

Related Pages

A Quinn Martin Production

Network: ABC
Broadcast: 1964-1967
First Broadcast: September 18, 1964
Last Broadcast: January 13, 1967

Sep 1964 – Jan 1965 Fri 9:30 – 10:30pm
Jan 1965 – Sep 1965 Fri 10:00 – 11:00pm
Sep 1965 – Sep 1966 Mon 7:30 – 8:30pm
Sep 1966 – Jan 1967 Fri 10:00 – 11:00pm


Actor Character(s)Notes
Frank OvertonMaj. Harvey Stovall 
Paul BurkeCol. Joe Gallagher 
Chris RobinsonSgt. Sandy Komansky 
Robert LansingBrig. Gen. Frank Savage 
Barney PhillipsMaj. Donald “Doc” Kaiser 
Robert DornanCapt. Bob Fowler 
John LarkinMaj. Gen. Wiley Crowe 
Andrew DugganMaj. Gen. Ed Britt 
Lew GalloMaj. Joe Cobb 

Regulars & Guest Stars

Actor Character(s)Notes
Tom SkerrittTech. Sgt. Nick Neely / Lt. Paddy Gialella / Sgt. Ben Rodale / Lt. Steve Parmalee / Lieutenant Ryan 
Barry CahillCapt. Curt Douglas 
Richard AndersonBrig. Gen. Phil Doud 
Bruce DernTSgt. Frank Jones / Lt. Michaels / Lt. Danton 
Gary LockwoodMaj. Gus Denver / Lt. Josh McGraw 
Lloyd BochnerMajor Mallory / Kirby Wyatt / Capt. Derek Evans 
Bernard FoxSgt. Major Higgins / Major Dutton / Colonel Charles 
Lee MeriwetherCapt. Phyllis Vincent / Lt. Amy Patterson 
Judy CarneDoris / Floy / Jill 
Jack LordCol. Arnold Yates / Lt. Col. Preston Gallagher 
James WhitmoreCol. Harry Connelly / Col. Paul ‘Pappy’ Hartley 
Norman FellMaj. George Praeger / Lt. Canello 
James FarentinoMoxey 
Sally KellermanLt. Libby MacAndrews 
Roy ThinnesCapt. Paul Pridie / Maj. Jake Hays 
Burt ReynoldsTech. Sgt. Vern Chapman 
Edward MulhareCol. Gert Schotten / Kurt Halland 
Jill IrelandSara Blodgett / Alyce Carpenter 
Dabney ColemanCaptain Robbins / Captain Wilson 

Theme Song / Opening Credits


There were 3 seasons and 78 episodes of 12 O’Clock High. Check out the 12 O’Clock High episode guide.


The producers approached Volkswagen about being a sponsor of the show. The scenes of the pilot episode that they showed VW executives included actual war footage. One of the executives recognized one of the buildings being bombed as a VW plant and declined to sponsor the show.

Gregory Peck played General Frank Savage in the Twelve O’Clock High movie. George Nader was originally set to play the role in the tv series, but the role was eventually given to Robert Lansing.

The fictional 918th Bomb Group was based on the real 306th Bomb Group, (3×306=918).

The aircraft General Savage flies is named the “Piccadilly Lily” and the radio operator on the craft is named “Cliff”.

Four generations of Colonel Gallagher’s family were in the military.

In the show, the name of the base was Archbury. This fictional name was based on the real-life base of Alconbury, which was the wartime home of the 306th Bomb Group, the group after which the 918th was modeled.

If you have a keen ear, you’ll notice that some of the music used for segues on Star Trek are also used on 12 O’clock High.

Robert Lansing was reportedly difficult to work with, which is why he was replaced by Paul Burke in the second season.

At the Primetime Emmys of 1965, 12 O’Clock High won Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment – Cinematographer (William W. Spencer). The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Bonanza were also nominated.

12 O’Clock High was the only QM Production show to not show “A QM Production” in the closing credits.


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12 O’Clock High Fan Fiction (Fan Fiction) – Fan fiction based on the 12 O’Clock High tv series.

12 O’Clock High Forum (Forum) – Connect with fans and discuss the show in our forum.

Fans of 12 O’Clock High Facebook Group (Facebook) – A Facebook group for 12 O’Clock High fans to interact and share their love of the show.

12 O’Clock High Fan Fiction at ArchiveOfOurOwn.org (Fan Fiction) – Archive of fan fiction for the show.

Bob’s B-17 Page (Fan Site) – A fan site with information about the 12 O’Clock High tv series.

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TV Guide Covers


Tags: 12 o’clock high, 12 o’clock high tv show, robert lansing, paul burke, frank overton