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Semper Fi--The Facts Behind the Story

The creative brain behind this failed TV series pilot was none other than our friend Steven Spielberg. He wanted to create a network TV series that would follow four Marine recruits from the decision to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps, through boot camp training and on into service with the Fleet Marine Force. Steven called me in and made me an Associate Producer on the proposed series. I used my Marine Corps contacts to arrange a meeting with the Commandant of the Marine Corps at the time General James Jones, and we obtained the full cooperation of the Corps in making a two-hour series pilot at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC.

Since the Producers wanted to include a female Marine, we had a struggle with the pilot script - female recruits are not trained with male recruits as they are in the other services - and with designing their relationships for follow-on episodes. In consultation with active duty Marines, we worked out the kinks and had at least ten story lines in mind when we began to shoot the pilot at Parris Island. Most of my early work was conceptual and involved guiding the writers as well as doing the required legwork and liaison with the Marine Corps.

This was to be a here and now series and the Marine Corps was willing to give us full access to their people and modern equipment once the network bought off on the pilot. The idea was to look inside the fraternity of the Corps, to drag the audience through the process of becoming a Marine and to highlight the sacrifices Marines make every day in service to their nation.