The second season of 12 O'Clock High opened with a shocker of an episode, in terms of killing off a central character. That simply wasn't done on television in those days, even in a series set in wartime. In the pre-credit sequence of the first episode, "The Loneliest Place In The World" -- which was also one of the best-written shows of the entire series -- the plane on which Brigadier General Frank Savage is the pilot and mission commander, returning from a bombing raid, is shot down. We never see the general, who had been played in the first season by Robert Lansing, but are told that he has also been wounded -- and we are told later that only one man, navigator Alex ("Sandy") Kominsky (Chris Robinson), got out alive before it crashed, and that the Germans are burying the general with full military honors. Season two established Paul Burke as the star of the series, in the role of Colonel Joseph A. Gallagher, the new commander of the 918th Heavy Bombardment Group -- Frank Overton returned in the recurring role of Major Harvey Stovall, Barney Philips was back as Doc Kaiser, Andrew Duggan was back as Major General Britt, Gallagher's immediate superior, and Paul Newlan was back as Lieutenant General Pritchard, Britt's commanding officer.
The second season generally featured more combat-oriented scripts, and the same level of acting with perhaps more intensity on the part of the performers. There were a few improbabilities in the stories, such as "Big Brother", in which Gallagher ending up landing at a desert base commanded by his infantry officer brother (played by Jack Lord). And the caliber of the guest stars was usually a bit lower than it had been in the first season. Chris Robinson was pushed heavily as a co-star in several scripts that played off of his character's rebel nature. Several episodes also played off of Gallagher's relationship with his father, established early in the season as a lieutenant general who has more or less run out his string, reduced to administrative functions and no chance of further promotion -- one episode ("Grant Me No Favor") dealt the efforts of the elder Gallagher (Barry Sullivan) to get his son a brigadier general's star as compensation for his own career dead-end. As with the first season, the second focused heavily on the psychology of the air officers, but had fewer espionage-related stories, and more that focused more precisely on combat operations. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
- Paul Burke, Frank Overton, (more)