Monday, May 26, 2014






Lt. Gil Hanley ("Gil" was probably short for Gilbert.) was a second lieutenant during World War II.  Although it was never stated during the series, his family may have come from the New York area.  (Perhaps they were descended from a Matthew Hanley who arrived in New York in 1812.)

The Hanley family motto is "Valiant Archer Forever".  It could be that Ed Norton's twin brother, a costumed criminal known as The Archer, got his inspiration from the family motto.  (The mother of the Norton boys could have been a Hanley.)

Hanley was probably born in 1905, being almost forty years old in 1944.  He was a college graduate (perhaps Hudson University in New York City?) and I think he had a degree in art history, considering his knowledge of sculpture and fine art.

Gil Hanley must have graduated from college around 1928, and perhaps sought employment with a museum in connection to that degree.  Perhaps he even applied to work for the mysterious Metropolitan Museum.

But during the Great Depression, such employment was hard to come by and so Hanley decided to enlist in the United States Army.  There he eventually rose to the rank of Technical Sergeant.  It wouldn't be until D-Day (June 6, 1944) that Hanley finally saw active combat.

After the landing at Omaha Beach, Hanley received a battlefield commission and was elevated to the rank of Second Lieutenant.  As such, he was put in command of King Company's second platoon with Chip Saunders as his sergeant.  Among his other troops were William G. Kirby, Caje LeMay, "Littlejohn", Braddock, and the two medics, both known as "Doc".

At one point during the remainder of the war, the OSS enlisted Hanley to undertake an espionage mission behind enemy lines.  During this mission, he was was reunited with the family of his college roommate Raymond Barole, a French exchange student.  Raymond was now dead, but Hanley managed to help his family escape to Switzerland.

It could be that after the war, Gil Hanley went to work for one of the myriad secret spy organizations that proliferated during the Cold War.  Because of his military background, I think it pozz'ble, just pozz'ble that he was enlisted into the international service of UNIT.  (Although never seen onscreen, I like the notion that at one point he traveled with the Time Lord known as the Doctor, perhaps to stem a global crisis at its roots in History.)

It could be that during that trip in the TARDIS, Gil Hanley acquired the pinky ring he wore on his right hand.  On his left hand was another pinky ring, a family heirloom which was handed down to him by his father.  Because of some traumatic experience during the war, I'd like to think that the ring was imbued with energies associated with the artifacts collected by the agents of Warehouse 13.  (The ring was probably snagged, bagged, and tagged for the Warehouse after Hanley's death.)

There would be plenty of traumatic experiences from which such an artifact could have been created.  Lt. Hanley's left arm was a mess of scars from battle, probably on a par with the scars on Jim Rockford's leg and the back of Joe Mannix's head:
  • Left upper arm, Luger [Entombed]
  • Left shoulder [A Sudden Terror]
  • Left shoulder [Finest Hour], the bullet is cut out
  • Left shoulder, on the back [A Distant Drum], bullet passes through
  • Left shoulder, rifleshot [Rescue]
  • Left wrist/hand, rifleshot [Pillbox]
  • Left thigh, outside, pistol shot [The Convict]
  • Right arm, just below shoulder [Anniversary]
  • Knocked unconscious in church during airraid [Any Second Now]
  • Shrapnel passes through upper left arm [The Volunteer]
  • Bumps head falling down hill [The Volunteer]
  • Possible concussion, or just shell-shock [Rescue]
  • Concussion [Escape to Nowhere]
  • Possible left leg broken [Any Second Now]
  • Sprained wrist [A Walk with an Eagle]
Considering his track record, that sprained wrist was probably his left one.

Known for his way with the women, I would not be surprised if Hanley eventually married and had children.  Reporter Stuart Hanley, who covered the police beat around the Hill Street precinct, may have been his son.  


If so, he could have been named after an old friend of Gil's, Stuart Bailey.  Bailey was a private eye in Los Angeles who used to be a secret agent during the war, which is where he probably met Hanley.

So this Memorial Day we salute Lt. Gil Hanley.  Had he lived through the war, I think he would have made it to the age of 77 (just as his portrayer, Rick Jason, did.)  This would mean that he died in 1982.  (Jason died in 2000.)

This tribute would not have been possible had it not been for the in-depth research done by Jo David Meyer at his "Combat!" website.  My thanks to him.

Of course, any theories about connections to other TV shows are my own and not to be construed as being official.

  • 'Combat!'
  • 'Doctor Who'
  • 'Warehouse 13'
  • 'The Honeymooners'
  • 'Batman'
  • 'Hill Street Blues'
  • '77 Sunset Strip'
  • The 'Law & Order' franchise
For a remembrance of Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley, click here.

And for a video tribute to Hanley, click here.  (Sorry, it can't be embedded.)

On this Memorial Day, we salute the memory of Gilbert Hanley and say:

"Good night and may God bless....."

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