For our "As Seen On TV" feature today, we're taking a look at how the TV Universe can idealize the way real people look. Examples in the past have been Judith Light as the mother of Ryan White, and Richard Crenna as H. Ross Perot. That casting would never fly if "On Wings Of Eagles" had been made after Perot made himself recognizable to the whole country by running for president.
But for today the subject is Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington, the main character from 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' back in the late 1970s. Here we have a side-by-side comparison of the real Boyington and of Boyington as played by Robert Conrad.
If someone had to look exactly like Boyington to play the role, then it would have to have been an actor along the lines of Simon Oakland (who also appeared in the show as General Thomas More, one of Boyington's superiors). If we were casting the role today, maybe James Gandolfini might fit the bill.....
Just one other note regarding that series - halfway through its run, the show changed its title to 'The Black Sheep Squadron'. Had it used that name right from the beginning, they would have had a larger audience straight off.