Callan the Wargamer: Part 3Posted: February 23, 2010
The pilot was entitled A MAGNUM FOR SCHNEIDER and the plot was later used as the basis for the film CALLAN: THE MOVIE.
As in the film, Callan is set the task of liquidating Schneider, with whom he shares an interest in wargaming. This first comes to light when Callan deliberately bumps into Schneider in the corridor outside the offices where they both work, and seeing that Schneider has some military figures, Callan manages to get himself invited into Schneider’s office. On a table in the office Schneider has a display of some of his figures set up.
Callan demonstrates his tactical adroitness yet again when Schneider orders Pickett’s division to charge …
… and Callan counters by outflanking the attackers with his cavalry.
At this point Schneider decides that rather than attack, he will withdraw. In the subsequent scenes Callan kills Schneider.
As will be obvious from the quality of the images, the original recording was made in black and white 405-line format, which does not allow current viewers to see a great deal of detail. The wargames were fought on maps rather than on a beautifully sculptured terrain, and the miniatures seem to be 54mm round figures, with the occasional larger scale figure thrown in for good luck.
By modern standards this is not quite how wargamers expect to see wargames portrayed on TV or film, but to a 16-year old (I was 17 three days after the programme was transmitted) this showed a lot of my sceptical friends that wargaming was not ‘playing with toy soldiers’; it was a legitimate, if somewhat little known, hobby.
It did wonders for my self-esteem, and I very pleased that I now own a copy of the programme.