General Electric Theater/The Patsy

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The Patsy
Season 8, Episode 21
Airdate February 21, 1960
Production Number 13105
Written by
Directed by
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The Story of Judith
General Electric TheaterSeason Eight
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The Patsy is the twenty-first episode of the eighth season of General Electric Theater, and the two hundred twenty-third episode overall.

Guest Stars: Doug DeCosta (Field Instructor), Tyler McVey (Colonel), William Giorgio (Two Ton), Roy Glenn (Jelly Bean), Hari Rhodes (Jinks), Sam Cooke (Sam), Ernest Anderson (Sergeant Cullen), Robert Culp (Captain Masters), Sammy Davis, Jr. (Jacob Johnson)


Plot Overview

Army recruit (Davis) from Peanut, S.C., is the butt of all jokes in his training platoon. He's a bumpkin with a golden heart and takes the frequent, often cruel ribbing in stride, choosing to think of his fellow enlisted troops as his friends. For example, at one point his platoon makes him "coffee sergeant" whose duty it is to taste the cook's coffee. They goad him into telling the cook that his coffee is putrid. The cook directs his anger at the hapless recruit.

At another point they simply tease him by taking his only letter from home and tossing it from one another while he tries to intercept it. It becomes obvious that he can't read. But the letter represents his connection with family. They make fun of his lack of sophistication and slow wit. But he does not lose his temper and remains sweetly resigned to his low status among his fellow soldiers.

The denouement comes when the platoon trains with dummy hand grenades. A few of the trainees see an opportunity to scare their patsy by throwing one of the practice grenades at their feet and huddling together in mock panic as he looks on with great fear. He yells at them to flee, and when they don't, he dives on the grenade and braces for what he believes will be certain death. This has a decidedly sobering effect on them. Their commanding officer coincidentally observes what happened and approaches. They snap to attention and he helps (Davis) to his feet and dusts him off.

Boiling with anger, he tells the wiseguys that of all the men in the platoon there is no one he'd rather have with him in combat.



The Show

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments

When the Patsy dives on what he believes to be a live hand grenade to save his fellow platoon members. It was a dummy grenade they threw as a practical joke at at him.