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Baa Baa Black Sheep (TV series)

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Created by
First episode date
21 September 1976

Program creator
Stephen J. Cannell



Narrated by
Baa Baa Black Sheep (TV series) Baa Baa Black Sheep Black Sheep Squadron vol 1 Boing Boing

Directed by
Alex BeatonRobert ConradLarry DohenyWalter Doniger

Robert ConradSimon OaklandDana ElcarJames Whitmore Jr.Dirk BlockerRobert GintyJohn LarroquetteJeff MacKayLarry Manetti

Theme music composer
Mike PostPete Carpenter


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Baa Baa Black Sheep (later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron) is a period military television series that aired on NBC from 1976 until 1978. Its premise was based on the experiences of United States Marine Corps aviator Greg Boyington and his World War II "Black Sheep Squadron". The series was created and produced by Stephen J. Cannell. The opening credits read: "In World War II, Marine Corps Major Greg 'Pappy' Boyington commanded a squadron of fighter pilots. They were a collection of misfits and screwballs who became the terrors of the South Pacific. They were known as the Black Sheep."


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Baa Baa Black Sheep (TV series) Black Sheep Squadron TV Series 19761978 IMDb

Greg "Pappy" Boyington is the commanding officer of VMF-214, a group of fighter pilots based in the Solomon Islands during World War II. Pappy often intercedes in altercations at the base, but everyone seems to pull together when they are assigned missions in the air. "Pappy" likes to drink and fight a lot when not flying missions, and owns a Bull Terrier named "Meatball" — which he claims belongs to General Moore in Flying Misfits, but General Moore says "he wouldn't own an ugly mutt like that."

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The series premise was very loosely based on a portion of the real-life military career of Gregory Boyington, known as "Pappy" due to his "advanced" age compared to the younger pilots under his command. (He was 30 when he took command of VMF-214.) Boyington, who was a technical adviser for the series, commented that this was "fiction based on reality" and that no regular character in the series except for himself actually existed. In the documentary film Pappy Boyington Field Robert Conrad shares personal insight about Pappy from their time together during the television series.

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Popular character John "Hutch" Hutchinson (Joey Aresco) was killed off in the episode Last One for Hutch and replaced as chief mechanic by master sergeant Andy Micklin (Red West), who had joined the squadron a few episodes earlier in Devil in the Slot.

Main characters

  • MAJ Gregory/Greg "Pappy" Boyington (Pilot/Commanding Officer VMF-214) (1976–1978). Played by Robert Conrad.

  • Baa Baa Black Sheep (TV series) Classic TV Shows Baa Baa Black Sheep FiftiesWeb

  • CAPT James "Jim" Gutterman (Pilot/Executive Officer) (1976–1977). Played by James Whitmore, Jr..
  • 1LT/CAPT Lawrence "Larry" Casey (Pilot/Executive Officer) (1976–1978). Played by W.K. Stratton. Casey was promoted to the rank of Marine Captain in the Season 2 episode "The 200 Pound Gorilla."
  • 1LT Jerome "Jerry" Bragg (Pilot) (1976–1978). Played by Dirk Blocker.
  • 1LT Thomas Joseph "T.J." Wiley (Pilot) (1976–1978). Played by Robert Ginty.
  • 2LT Robert "Bob" Anderson (Pilot) (1976–1978). Played by John Larroquette
  • 1LT Donald "Don" French (Pilot) (1976–1978). Played by Jeff MacKay.
  • 1LT Robert A. "Bob/Bobby" Boyle (Pilot) (1976–1978). Played by Larry Manetti.
  • 2LT Jeb Pruitt (Pilot) (1977–1978). Played by Jeb Stuart Adams.
  • MGSGT/WO1/CAPT Andrew "Andy" Micklin (Chief Mechanic) (1977–1978). Played by Red West. Micklin was promoted to Warrant Officer at the start of the episode "The 200 Pound Gorilla," and was made a temporary Captain by Boyington while sitting in the brig for punching out a major in a bar fight, resulting in his reduction in grade/rank back to master gunnery sergeant. In the season 2 episode "Fighting Angels," Micklin's background as a mud marine in China was referenced, and he has been described by Boyington as being "part commando, part Indian tracker, and 100 percent mean."
  • SGT John David "Hutch" Hutchinson (Chief/Asst. Chief Mechanic) (1976–1977). Played by Joey Aresco. Hutch is killed off in Season 1, Episode 21 (Last One for Hutch) by an enemy strafing run during an attack on Vella La Cava.
  • COL Thomas A. Lard (Executive Officer, Espritos Marcos) (1976–1978). Played by Dana Elcar. Lard, modeled on one of the real Boyington's actual superiors, USMC LTCOL Joseph Smoak, is a strictly-by-the-book staff officer. A highly competent career Marine who has seen action in China, Lard is offended by Boyington's frequent disregard for regulations and policies, and the two men rarely get along personally. (The real Boyington and Smoak were bitter personal enemies, and Boyington never forgave Smoak or made any kind of peace with him) However, Lard sees a lot of promise in Boyington, though he does not admit it, and he puts aside his opinions to further the mission.
  • BGEN/MGEN Thomas Moore (Commanding Officer, Esprito Marcos) (1976–1978). Played by Simon Oakland. Moore is impressed by Boyington's initiative in "stealing" the 214th and then by the results obtained by the Black Sheep, so he keeps Lard in check as much as possible. Moore was promoted from brigadier general to major general in the second season episode "The 200 Pound Gorilla." (The actual general officer who provided the real Boyington with support where needed was named James T. Moore, and was nicknamed "Nuts." He and the real Boyington had been "drinking buddies.").
  • Recurring characters

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  • General Claire Lee Chennault (Commander, AVG) (1976). Played by George Gaynes.
  • Admiral Chester Nimitz (1976). Played by Byron Morrow.
  • Col. Mathis (1976). Played by Peter Donat.
  • Lt. Freddy (1976). Played by Anthony Charnota.
  • Huckabee (Flying Tigers Pilot) (1976). Played by Lance LeGault.
  • Dr. James "Jim" Reese (1976). Played by John Lawlor.
  • Lt. Cmdr. Delmonte (Head Nurse) (1976). Played by Janice Carroll.
  • Note: the above characters only appeared in the premiere episode, Flying Misfits, a 90-minute movie which is sometimes broken up into a two-episode viewing.

  • Imperial Japanese Navy Capt. Tomio Harachi (Pilot) (1976–1978). Played by Byron Chung.
  • Lard's Secretary (Pamela) (1976–1977). Played by Jill Jaress.
  • First Commando/Capt. Ishima/Japanese Officer (1976–1978). Played by Marcus Mucai.
  • Maj. Red Buell (Pilot, Former Commanding Officer, VMF-214) (1976–1977). Played by Charles Napier.
  • Third Commando/Ensign Kira (1977). Played by James Saito.
  • Lt. Ted Carter (Pilot) (1976–1977). Played by Frederick Herrick.
  • Lt. Cmdr. Gladys Hope (Head Nurse) (1977). Played by Anne Francis.
  • Richards/Eddie (1977). Played by Johnny Fain.
  • Rouva (Coastwatcher)/Looey (1976–1978). Played by Muni Zano.
  • Lt. Caroline Holden (Nurse) (1977). Played by Linda Scruggs Bogart.
  • Lt. Nancy Gilmore (Nurse) (1977–1978). Played by Nancy Conrad.
  • Lt. Cmdr. Dottie Dixon (Head Nurse) (1977–1978). Played by Katherine Cannon. Dixon was killed in action during the season 2 episode Fighting Angels while defending Vella La Cava against an invasion by Japanese forces.
  • Lt. Alma Peterson/Pretty Nurse/Lt. Susan Ames (1977–1978). Played by Brianne Leary.
  • Ensign Barret (1978). Played by Ron Roy.
  • Lt. Ellie Kovaks (Nurse) (1978). Played by Kathy McCullen.
  • Doc Roberts/Sgt. Dutch Savage (1976–1978). Played by John Durren.
  • Col. Tokura/Lt. Miragochi (1977). Played by Soon-Tek Oh.
  • Lt. Samantha Green/Moore (Nurse) (1977–1978). Played by Denise DuBarry. Lt. Green is the daughter of Brig./Maj. General Moore, as established in the season 2 episode Forbidden Fruit.
  • Lt. Robert A. Doyle (1976). Played by Jake Mitchell, and later by Larry Manetti.
  • Critical response

    The day of the show's debut, The Washington Post called Baa Baa Black Sheep a "war-is-swell series [aimed] at anyone who remembers World War II as a rousing, blowzy, fraternity turkey-shoot." The series was cancelled after 2 seasons, consisting of 36 episodes.

    DVD releases

    Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released the complete first season on DVD in Region 1 in 2 volume sets. They also released volume 1 on DVD in the UK.

    In Germany, ZYX Music GmbH released the entire series on DVD.

    On December 7, 2015, it was announced that Shout! Factory has acquired the rights to the series in Region 1 and would release the final season on DVD on May 17, 2016.


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