Wayne Zurl supplied
some items for Tour of Duty.
Which he talks about below , here are a few details about some items he supplied &
some extra information supplied by Mr Lee Russell:
"Aside from some very common and easily obtained insignia there were two
contributions I made to the show via Dottie Amos of Hollywood Rags.
Lee Russell called me first to provide a complete Aussie SAS uniform
for an actor who was to portray a warrant officer who was assisting Carl Weathers in some
special operations. The uniform consisted in everything except the shoes (boots), ie. sand
colored beret, stable belt and blue lanyard which would set this soldier off as from the
Special Air Service.
changed from being a plausible warrant officer to being a major, which was most
improbable. The show was also provided with several hard to find photos of Aussie SAS
soldiers in uniform to give them a good idea of how the uniform should be worn.
Apparently these were not taken seriously and the actor looked like anything but a
professional soldier; almost wearing the beret like a Russian Marine rather than in the
Aussie/Brit style. But, the proper way to don a beret seemed to escape the actors as can
be witnessed by the shapeless bag Carl weathers wore in most of his episodes.
I'm certain Mike Christy would have told them how to properly wear a
beret but I assume these suggestions fell on deaf ears as well.
I contacted a fellow I knew in Australia and had him assemble what they needed in as close
to the necessary sizes as possible.
The next item was worn by a newspaper reporter Jennifer met in Saigon and was
killed for having something that marked him as something other than a reporter.
Lee Russell asked me for some "exotic" cammo item, perhaps he saw me wearing
this, I'm not sure, but I sent them an old, sort of Funky , French lizard pattern para
smock that I had for some time. I removed my personal tags, patches and badges and sent
this in too. I never found out if the jacket had fake blood on it from the actor being
killed by a VC agent."
I contacted Lee Russell about the above mentioned items to see if he could
enlighten us any further.
Craig: Mr Russell can you tell us any more abut the Australian
uniform Wayne mentions ?
The Australian matter was a Third Season episode.
I was no longer working for
the show, but the costumers contacted me and asked for information about the uniform of an
Australian SAS soldier serving in Vietnam. Rather than deal with this as an intermediary,
I asked Wayne if he would help them directly and he did. This was one of the few Third
Season episodes I saw and I agree with Wayne's comments. (I don't know the name of the
episode, but it dealt with the loss of "Team Thor" as I recall.
"Upping" the rank of a character was a common TOD thing. In "Sealed With A
Kiss", the Navy SEAL character's rank was raised from what I had suggested (a Navy
junior NCO) to officer status. Oh well.
Craig: I believe the jacket mentioned was the one worn
in ' Popular Forces ', could you tell me if I'm am I correct ?
Lee: Yes. This is a Second Season episode. The evolution of this concept was as
follows. The writer of the episode (Dennis Cooper) wanted to depict a depict a Walter
Mitty-type American civilian who wears some exotic uniform that attracts the attention of
a Viet Cong "hit team" in Saigon.
This is not exactly a correct idea.
You can't walk around most countries wearing military uniforms during wartime
unless you are in the military. (You will be arrested.) However it was part of the plot. I
suggested he might be wearing an older type of French-style camo jacket, called the
"Lizard Pattern", that the Vietnamese Army copied and wore, but which was sort
of "going out of style" in 1968.
You could have this made up in any tailor shop. These were
all over the place in Vietnam, I even saw one on a Firebase, all properly sandbagged and
I would then need to find the actual item, more or less immediately, AND, in a human
size too, to fit an American actor. I contacted Wayne about this, and he actually had one
of his own and was willing to let TOD have it, as he told you.
Wayne also provided another item for a First Season episode. I do not recall it. An
insignia I think, perhaps for "Sitting Ducks"? Some items provided
were not used.