Mail Call Reality TV Series Overview (2002)


Introduction

Mail Call was a television program that aired on the History Channel. It was hosted by R. Lee Ermey, a retired United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and honorary gunnery sergeant, answering viewers’ questions about military technology.

The show debuted on 04 August 2002 as part of the “Fighting Fridays” lineup. Most episodes were 30 minutes, but at some point episodes became 60 minutes.

Outline

During each episode, Ermey read and answered questions submitted by viewers regarding weapons, equipment, customs, and terminology used by all branches of the US military now or in the past, as well as by other armed forces in history. Ermey often took his viewers on location to military training areas to film demonstrations and consult with experts. When not on location, Ermey broadcast from a set resembling a military outpost, including a tent, a Jeep, and various other pieces of military gear which changed throughout the series. At times, he would also have a bulldog – usually symbolic of Marines – on his show as well.

Ermey often provided comic relief in the form of light-hearted DI-style verbal abuse aimed at viewers; testing the effects of weapons on assorted objects (most often watermelons, which he described as his “sworn enemy”); and occasional appearances of “Mini-Lee”, an action figure styled in Ermey’s likeness, often seen berating a luckless G.I. Joe figure. His demeanour in character as host was similar to that of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, the character he portrayed in the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket. However, he only showed this attitude toward viewers, such as ordering them to return in time for the end of a commercial break.

The programme had several DVD video releases, including selected episodes from the first seven seasons, as well as a blooper video called Mail Call: S.N.A.F.U. Reruns continue to be aired on the Military History Channel.

Refer to Lock n’ Load with R. Lee Ermey, a show with a similar premise which Ermey also hosted.

Show Name Origin

The title of Mail Call for the series was drawn from the military practice of the same name, in which soldiers assemble to receive mail from a designated person who calls out each recipient’s name in turn.

Mail Call Series

Unassigned Episodes = 6.

A total of 118 episodes across 8 series.

I am nowhere near certain that the above are in the right order or in the right series (by year) as the various sources have the episodes in different years and order, with differing numbers of total episodes (varying from 81 to 118), and differing numbers of series (7 or 8).

Production & Filming Details

  • Presenter(s):
    • R. Lee Ermey
  • Director(s):
    • Rob Lihani.
    • Tony Long.
    • David M. Barsky.
    • Robert Beemer.
    • Andy Papadopoulos.
    • Tom Jennings.
    • David Aykens.
    • Bill Katz.
    • Robert Kirk.
    • Harlan Glenn.
    • Tara L. Craig.
    • Arthur Drooker.
    • Dan Gagliasso.
    • Jim Lindsay.
    • Hugh Daly.
  • Producer(s):
    • Bill Rogin … consulting producer / executive producer / supervising producer.
    • Keith Guinto … supervising producer / co-producer / coordinating producer / producer / segment producer.
    • David Cargill … producer / coordinating producer / co-producer.
    • Robert Kirk … executive producer.
    • Rob Lihani … executive producer.
    • Robert Beemer … supervising producer / staff producer / associate producer.
    • Martha Sloan … co-producer / co-executive producer.
    • David Connelly … co-producer / coordinating producer / segment producer.
    • Ann Hackett … supervising producer.
    • David Aykens … segment producer.
    • Mike Vincenti … co-producer.
    • Mike Phillips … co-producer.
    • Scott Corburn … co-producer / segment producer.
    • Harlan Glenn … producer / segment producer.
    • Tara L. Craig … co-producer.
    • Hugh Daly … associate producer / co-producer / segment producer.
    • David M. Barsky … producer.
    • Allan Duffin … segment producer.
    • Dan Gagliasso … producer.
    • Mark Satterlee … executive producer.
    • David D. Connell … co-producer.
    • Brian Coughlin … producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Hugh Daly.
    • Dan Gagliasso.
    • Tony Long.
    • Susan Michaels.
  • Music:
    • Alan Ett.
      Scott Liggett.
    • Jeremy Sweet.
  • Cinematography:
    • Matthew W. Davis.
    • Brian Callahan.
    • Peter Krajewski.
  • Editor(s):
    • Joey Barasch.
    • Steve Pomerantz.
    • Matt Stevenson.
    • John Bininger.
    • Joe Louis.
    • Tayayuki Fujiwara.
  • Production:
    • Digital Ranch.
  • Distributor(s):
    • History Channel.
  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 04 August 2002 to 28 October 2002.
    • Series 02: 15 December 2002 to 12 April 2003.
    • Series 03: 06 July 2003 to 02 November 2003.
    • Series 04: 11 January 2004 to 06 June 2004.
    • Series 05: 11 July 2004 to 09 November 2004.
    • Series 06: 04 March 2005 to 24 June 2005.
    • Series 07: 16 September 2005 to 07 March 2006.
    • Series 08: 02 March 2007 to 25 May 2007.
    • Specials: January 2004 to August 2007.
  • Rating: TV-PG.
  • Running Time:
    • 30 or 60 minutes (per episode with adverts).
    • 25 or 45 minutes (per episode without adverts).
    • 98 episodes at 30/25 minutes.
    • 18 episodes at 60/45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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