The Lieutenant TV show was a 60 minute military drama series on NBC about a U.S. Marine Corps Second Lieutenant who was fresh from officer training school at Quantico, Virginia and had been assigned as a rifle platoon leader at Camp Pendleton which is also an enlisted man training base. The series took place during peace time and, therefore, concentrated on the lives of the new recruits in basic training, Lieutenant Rice and the men in his platoon, and the other personnel at Camp Pendleton.
The Lieutenant Cast
Gary Lockwood .... Second Lieutenant William "Bill" Tiberius Rice
Robert Vaughn .... Captain Raymond Rambridge
Richard Anderson .... Lieutenant Colonel Steve Hiland
John Milford .... Sergeant Kagey
Henry Beckman .... Major Al Barker
Don Penny .... Lieutenant Harris
Steven Franken .... Lieutenant Samwell "Sanpan" Panosian
Chris Noel .... Miscellaneous Roles
Linda Evans .... Nan Hiland
Carmen Phillips .... Lily
The Lieutenant Trivia
Lieutenant Rice was a graduate of Annapolis, the United States Naval Academy.
Camp Pendleton is located near San Diego, California.
The Lieutenant TV show was the first series created by Gene Roddenberry. Gene is best known as the creator of the "Star Trek" series. Gene also created a couple of other sci-fi series titled "Andromeda" and "Earth: Final Conflict". Back as far as the 1950s, Gene had been one of the writers on "Have Gun - Will Travel".
You may have noticed that actress "Chris Noel" is listed in the cast list above as playing "Miscellaneous Roles". In a rarely seen move, Gene Roddenberry cast her in a different roles each time she appeared on a new episode!
The Lieutenant is generally considered to be a much better show than its short time on the air might tend to indicate. It didn't help that CBS was running the hugely popular "Jackie Gleason Show" in the same time slot but The Lieutenant did manage to get decent ratings despite that competition. Gene Roddenberry once credited the public's attitude about the military was not great during that time due to the escalating situation in Vietnam, especially among those in the liberal TV industry. That made production of the series difficult and limited the potential audience.
Ironically, considering that Vietnam may have been the overwhelming reason for the series' demise, Lieutenant Rice was sent to a ficticious country in Asia in the final episode. That country was obviously based on Vietnam!
The cast of The Lieutenant included some who would go on to be stars on future TV shows including Robert Vaughn ("The Man from U.N.C.L.E."), Linda Evans ("The Big Valley"), and Richard Anderson ("The Six Million Dollar Man").
Robert Vaughn played Lieutenant Rice's commander. He was a no-nonsense Captain who had worked his way up from the ranks.
Many other actors had their careers boosted by guest-starring on the Lieutenant TV show including, Edward Asner ("Lou Grant"), Barbara Bain ("Mission Impossible"), Bill Bixby ("My Favorite Martian"), Dennis Hopper ("McCloud"), Nichelle Nichols ("Star Trek"), and Leonard Nimoy ("Star Trek").
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